Cart Details Should Go Here
Ladies and gentleman, it’s the show-down we’ve been waiting for all year! Every December the best surfers from around the world make the pilgrimage to Oahu’s North Shore to battle it out at the famous Banzai Pipeline. With the coveted Pipe Master title at stake, WSL World Tour surfers mixed with a handful of local wildcards will paddle out into (hopefully) pumping, overhead Pipe with their sights set on getting blown out of massive tubes. Although the World Title has already been decided, being crowned a Pipe Master is a highly sought after honor held by only a handful of skilled waterman. On December 8th, the waiting period opens for the final stop of the WSL World Tour and we are expecting to see fireworks from the first heat all the way to the final. With a stacked field of competitors, it’s hard to say who will do well, but we have put together a few of our favorites for you to throw onto your fantasy team before the hooter sounds.
1. John John Florence
Photo: Instagram @john_john_florence / @hankfotomyworld
Let’s be real, John is going down in the history books as one of the greatest surfers of all time. At the ripe age of 24, the North Shore native just clinched his first world title in fine form with a pair of CT wins, and only two round 3 losses. In a sport where consistency is critical for success, John hired an injured Bede Burbage to help him focus during events he has struggled in, and clearly it paid off. As we look to Pipe, however, it’s not likely John will need any help. If anything, other competitors should probably consider hiring him as their coach. Although he may be one of the younger surfers on tour, he’s probably clocked in more hours than anyone at the famous a-frame, which is why he is our favorite to win. With the pressure of the world title off his shoulders, we’re anticipating a relaxed (as if he’s not always relaxed) John John frothed about surfing Pipe with only a couple guys out.
2. Kelly Slater
Photo: Instagram @kellyslater / @leonevesrj
Kelly has already gone down in history books, and for more than a couple of reasons. From his incredible 11 world titles to landing the first 540 in 2014, what’s not to love about him? Aside from being a household name synonymous with surfing, he still rips! Since parting ways with Channel Islands, we’ve seen him on some wild boards that have led to mixed results, but he seems to have worked out most of the kinks with his Slater Designs boards. The 44 year old has already made it clear that he wants another title, and with that fire in his eyes he’s sure to be looking for a little momentum leading into Snapper come March 2017. Slater knows what it takes to win out at Pipe, and if local boy John John slips up, look for the King to capitalize.
3. Gabriel Medina
Photo: Instagram @gabrielmedina / @leonevesrj
The lone Brazilian in our Pipeline Predictions. The goofy foot hailing from Sao Paulo was in the title race from the beginning of the year, and with only one event win this year, still has something to prove. Gabby is primarily known for his lofty punts and aggressive competitive temperament, but the 22 (almost 23) year old charges! With solid performances over the years in waves of consequence like Cloud Break and Teahupo’o, it’s only a matter of time before he does well at Pipe. We think this year, especially after being so close to another world title, could be his time to step up to the challenge.
4. Jordy Smith
Photo: Instagram @jordysmith88 / @nicktereen
The big bru from South Africa has been on fire ever since he stepped off the plane in Hawaii. With a number of clips and pictures demonstrating how to properly use the rail of a surfboard already dropped on his Instagram, it’s no surprise he just took the win at Sunset. 2016 was not the first time we’ve seen Jordy in a serious race for the title, but it’s the strongest and most polished we’ve ever seen him. Like a fine wine, Jordy is getting better and better with age. As one of the biggest and heaviest surfers on tour, the power that comes from his carves is astounding….but does he have what it takes to win at Pipe? Let’s just say this: Jordy is going to absolutely manhandle the caverns he pulls into, and with momentum from his recent victory, he’s a safe bet to make the business end of the contest.
Dark Horse: Jeremy Flores
Photo: Instagram @floresjeremy
Jeremy Flores has had a tough year. If it wasn’t for his QS rating, we wouldn't be seeing him on tour next year, not due to a lack of effort. He’s had a couple tough heats not go his way, but all that is in the past. Jeremy is a madman when it comes to charging big waves and loves getting barreled. With a 9th as his best CT result this year, Mr. Flores is due for a finals berth and you can guarantee he’s hungry for it. Don’t forget, he’s won the Pipe Masters before! Back in 2010 Jeremy took the win over the now WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow, so it’s safe to say he knows how to surf the wave. If you’re running low on cash for your fantasy team, Jeremy is ranked 33rd and is quite the bargain.
Lock in your teams and pray for waves! The 2016 Pipe Masters is looking to be an amazing event, and with only a few days left before the waiting period opens up, all we can do is hope everyone stays safe in their practice sessions and posts inspiring clips on social media.