Passion Picks: 2015 Hurley Pro

Could this be the year of Mr. John John Florence? Only time will tell. Photo: JimmicaneCould this be the year of the John? Only time will tell. Photo: Jimmicane

Want to challenge my team and make money doing it? You can. Sign up on and enter the Full Event Tournament for $25. There's a prize purse of $2,000 and top 10 make "straight cash homie."

This is my team for that big tournament, but I have many teams and will be playing each individual round too.

Julian Wilson ($17000)
This was a tough one up at the top of the rankings but after that Bali edit Julian put out last week, I had to choose him. Today confirmed my instincts watching Jules dismantle about 10 perfect rights, one of which he burned Kieren Perrow on.

Gabriel Medina ($15500)
I originally had Italo here but pussed out last second and changed to Gabby. He stuck a crazy frontside full rotation this morning which forced the switch. Will be interesting to see how that call plays out.

John John Florence ($7500)
A year ago I would've said Lowers is a weak point for John and I know many of the surfers on tour would agree. It doesn't perfectly suite his style because of the slow pace of the wave, but 2014 was a game changer. John's creativity makes up for any mismatch. He's cheap and he's dangerous. I'm all in on John.

Joel Parkinson ($6500)
Sure hasn't been Parko's year. In fact, it's the worst he's ever done on tour. Maybe this is the end of the road for Parko but I'll be dammed if he doesn't at least make a few heats at Lowers. Weirdly enough, I haven't seen him freesurf once.

Kolohe Andino ($5000)
Another dude on a major shocker. After flaring up so hard last year, I wonder what's gone wrong with Kolohe this year? My guess would be he's putting too much pressure on himself to perform and the bad results have just snowballed. Kolohe could probably surf Lowers perfectly with a blindfold on. My advise would be don't think, just react. Easier said than done but is anyone with this price tag less of a risk?

Ace Buchan ($5500)
The silent killer. Not many backhands fit the curve of the Lowers right but Ace has that silky carve/snap that just gets shit done. Ask Gabriel about last year.

Michel Bourez ($5000)
In smaller conditions I'd go with Miggy here but theres a decent amount of swell forecasted and I have a feeling the judges are going to love the power carves. Few do them better than Michel.

Dusty Payne ($3000)
I admit this is a risky pick, but this is a big tournament and you gotta take some risk to reap the rewards of a $2,000 prize purse. I think most people have kinda lost faith in Dusty doing well on tour and are just waiting for Psychic Migrations to come out. I can't blame them, but he was dialed in during the Oakley Lowers Pro so I'll give it him one last hail mary and hope for the best.

Injury News:

Jordy Smith- As expected, he will not surf in this event and won't return until completely healthy. That could be a while folks. He came back too soon for J-Bay and it backfired.

Matt Banting- Still out with the sprained knee. A shame to see his rookie season go like this. If one of Jordy and Michel don't re-qualify through the tour, he'll be shit out of luck for the injury wildcard and back on the QS. Yikes.

Kelly Slater- Last night I heard Kelly tell Steph Gilmore his patellar tendon (knee) was bothering him. Shane Beschen told me that he saw him do a fucked up turn yesterday mid-day. I don't know what to think but I'd rather stay away and see how he looks first, then put some money on him in a later round instead of the full event.

Alejo Muniz- No injury here but maybe to his brain? Alejo couldn't get his visa situation sorted, forcing him to pull out of the event. What a shocker. Can't be too stoked on that if you're Hurley. Tomas Hermes will replace him.