Passion Picks: 2016 Fiji Pro

UnknownUknown. Photo: Jimmicane

I'm currently sitting middle seat in economy sandwiched between the Fijian equivalent of Vince Wilfork and just a regular Fijian, which is still pretty massive. About 1/4th the CT walked past me laughing at the situation. And that's what I'm going to do too. A rough red-eye can't hold me down. I'm going to Fiji! Just for shits, first person to nail in the comments what surfers on my team fly Economy and who flies Buisness, wins a new Mental Paradise SURFING tee.

The Elite:

John Florence
John was on Passion Picks for Brazil, and it's highly unlikely he'd come off for a perfect left reef in the South Pacific. Interesting fact, I pooled a couple random Brazilian fans in Rio and the general public was nearly 50/50 rooting for John over Gabriel. So much for that storm they talk about.

Does John fly Buisness or Economy?

Italo Ferreira
It's a weak Top 8/Elite bracket by Fiji standards but after watching him dissect Slater in huge, tricky conditions last year when Kelly was pleading to call the comp off, I'm on the Italo bandwagon.

Buisness or Economy for Italo?


Seabass and Jordy made the Quarters back in 2013 when it was firing. Although it was tiny, Kolohe made the Semis in 2014. De Souza's slid into the Quarters a couple times since they brought Fiji back on the schedule. You'd probably be smart to steer clear of Wilko who's made one heat in four attempts here. Caio is complete unknown but he definitely charges.

The Commoners:

Gabriel Medina
This guy is unleashing a new haircut you'll see soon. I have a feeling he's also going to unleash hell on his competitors. Gabby was the most in-form surfer during Rio until Jack Freestone rolled up. That was after looking completely human and average during the Aussie leg. As it stands, every other year Gabby kills Fiji. 2nd, 25th, 1st, 13th… Can you predict what's coming? I already know.

Buisness or Economy? Tie-breaker for guessing Charlie too.

Nat Young
I would've never been to Fiji in the first place if not for Nat vouching for me to stay with him on Tavarua. That lands you an easy spot on Passion Picks for three years. The contract expires this year though and I'm on Namotu anyway. You gotta earn it Natty!

Is Nat sitting upright or laid back to Nadi?

Conner Coffin
As a rookie, Conner has already spent more time at Cloudbreak than all but maybe 5-7 surfers on tour. He's pulled stints as a boatman for Tavarua multiple times and is my go-to contact for bouncing off swell forecasts for a 2nd opinion. I might as well mention he's a fucking beast too. Only question I have is if he puts too much pressure on himself to do well because he knows he should.

Buisness or Economy for Conner? (Maybe the toughest pick of the bunch!)

Julian Wilson
Julian brought his better half, Ashley to Tavarua last year and it ended a perfect heat away from $100k. This year he's doing the same, only now Ashley's his fiancé, and Owen Wright isn't around being all impossible to beat and shit.

Buisness or Economy, Julian?

    Don't forget:

Parko did the splits yesterday and fucked his knee up. He won't be surfing. Mick Fanning will. That's a tough one to pass on but understand this is Taj's last event ever and Namotu might break a record for Skull Drags. On that note, I think Mick's a coin flip.

The Strugglers:

Kelly Slater
After four events and not one injury, am I really throwing Kelly on in the Strugglers bracket? It's slightly BS because that guy is the polar opposite of struggling. Especially after that wave pool deal WSL just went in on. Wouldn't be surprised to see him crack the 2017 Forbes List but how about surprising us with a result? I did pack my Great State of Florida flag just in case.

Did Kelly fly Business or on a private jet?

Josh Kerr
Why am I not throwing Dusty on my team being his coach? First, I'm superstitious. Dusty has never done well when I've picked him, and I've picked him a shit-ton. Second, he opted to stay on Tavarua instead of Namotu and that is lame sauce. Josh Kerr on the other hand, ia about to lose his Namotu virginity. I gotta go home team.

Does Josh go Buisness or Economy?