Mitch Coleborn. Photo: Carey

Mitch Coleborn. Photo: Carey

Granger Larsen. Photo: Jimmicane

Granger Larsen. Photo: Jimmicane

Conner Coffin. Photo: Jimmicane

Conner Coffin. Photo: Jimmicane

Carlos Munoz, a long shot. Photo: Lugo

Carlos Munoz. Photo: Lugo

Four On The Cusp

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If the WQS were to end today, the 2014 WCT would look awfully familiar. As it stands, Kolohe Andino, Adam Melling, Jadson Andre, Alejo Muniz, Mitch Crews, Travis Logie, Aritz Aranburu, Willian Cardoso, Marc Lacomare and Mitch Coleborn have spots on the ’14 tour. Aside from Marc and the Mitches — whom we are very excited about — that’s no new faces.

Good news: it ain’t over today. The series technically ends once the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach wraps up between Nov 24 – Dec 6, 2013. But after that, things are still apt to change. Pipe’s waiting period is Dec 8 – 20 and that gives the ratings their last and final shake of the year. For example, Melling could get a big result at Pipe, re-qualify through World Tour and subsequently free up a spot on the Prime series. This logic also works in reverse — Brett Simpson might have a shocker at Pipe, drop his ‘CT spot and soak up a spot on the Primes.

Hawaii is strikingly unpredictable. For some, a stint on the rock results in a lackluster performance and a lobe full of broken dreams. For others, it is the place to become a hero. It is a last minute sprint to stardom. It is a Triple Crown. Just ask Sebastian Zietz, he’ll tell you all about it.

So before you scowl at the ASP for making it difficult for new talent to reach the elite tour, here are four names to keep in mind. All these guys are on the cusp of qualification and would each bring a lot to the tour. Because who doesn’t love a dark horse, and hey you never know…

Mitch Coleborn: Mitch won the second Prime event of the year and has been in a bit of a tailspin ever since. He currently sits in the last qualifying spot on the ‘QS, but he can count on someone trying to swoop that from him in Hawaii. Hence, he’ll need to get a result out of Haliewa or Sunset. Mitch seems to spend a good amount of time at the Volcom house every winter and he’s got a backhand like Goliath, so look for him to protect that spot.

Granger Larsen: Granger sits right behind Mitch, one place out of qualification. He is great in bigger surf and both Haliewa and Sunset suit his palette. If all goes well for Granger, he could end up becoming this year’s Seabass.

Conner Coffin: Four spots out of qualification, Conner has a decent chance at it this year. He just placed second in Portugal and will carry this momentum into Hawaii. His family owns a house on the North Shore and he’s spent enough time here to know both Haliewa and Sunset well. And if you’ve seen his movie Highline, then you already know that he’s ready for a WCT tussle.

Carlos Munoz: Currently sitting just over ten spots away from the cutoff, Carlos is definitely a long shot. Still, he’s got a chance. It’s only a question of when, not if, he’ll become the first Costa Rican to ever qualify. And while 2014 might not be his year, stranger things have happened.

—Brendan Buckley