Well, this is it: The last comp before the dreaded mid-year cut. The WT is clearly in a transitional period with so many young guys about to push on and most likely become tour mainstays, while other loved veterans get the boot and maybe never make it back. Long Beach could quickly become the site of a retirement party if things go wrong.
But that’s not what this event is about. It’s about a surf contest in the best city in the entire world IMO (and #passion picks is all about opinions — my opinions). And it’s about the biggest prize purse in surfing history: $1,000,000. This is what I like to see! People stepping their game up, and Quiksilver most certainly did that. Unfortunately the city cancelled the other festivities. From what I hear on the streets, locals are not happy about that and someone in the city who makes these decisions has taken a major dip in popularity.
Now here we go with the passion! —Jimmicane
I’m in the Balaram camp full on. I’ll be staying with him this whole event and documenting the chaos that comes along with being the event wildcard/hometown hero/Quik team rider/legendary human being. This isn’t going down as just a friend pick either. Contest-wise, I truly have faith in him and I’ll be back on my grind as Coach Jimmikanga to make sure Bal is ready to roll…and roll right through Slater if he happens to stand in the way. If you aren’t already familiar with this kid, prepare to be.
This is my handcuff pick in case Balaram gets unlucky and bows out in Round 3 to Ke11y. If they meet up, expect a similar spectator scene to Slater vs. Graves from last year’s Puerto Rico event. The New Yorkers support Balaram 100% and Kelly will feel that “me against the world” vibe right away. The icy cold Slater is always prepared, though, and will especially be looking to cash that $300k first-place check, while also showing his best side to the non-surfing world that he cares so much about being a part of (IMO). This event could essentially decide the title for Slater, I believe. If he wins it, Joel, Mick, Taj, Adriano and Jordy can probably just pack it up and hope things go better in 2012.
Some people are going to get booted from tour after this event. CJ will not. He needs a 5th or better to hang on. I’m still baffled that he lost at Chopes. Good thing the Long Beach lefts are the perfect whipping boys — they’re about to have some serious aggression taken out on them. Go CJ! Get some! (P.S. have you seen the new Globe movie 0000? CJ has still got it, folks.)
This is probably not a smart decision on my team’s part, but Dane could surprise like he did at the US Open, where he came for the sole purpose of watching Lost Atlas (not actually doing the contest). He’s not 100% confirmed to be in the event because of hurt ribs from a Japan trip last week (stand by, Cory Lopez), but I know he will at least be here, out drinking with the community like the true people’s champion he is. #seriouspassion4living
I had Dane in this spot just because he’s my favorite surfer, but as of today my favorite person and newly crowned #teamgivinithell captain (#teamgivinithell is painted on his board) is now entered in the contest. Asher Nolan makes his first appearance on the modern day WT by way of the Quiksilver Pro trials — and top seeds beware. He may have won the trials in knee-high waves, but last time he was winning in New York it was in overhead perfect barrels (something we might see later this week). Tonight we are going into the city to celebrate! Lay day will be called Monday, and it’s on for Tuesday! Slasher “Eddie” Nolan is in!
I’m sold on this guy. He’s got a great last name and a great backside. The scores out here will be primarily on lefts and I don’t think there are many people better suited to take advantage of that, especially if there’s good punt sections. This will be fun to watch.
Adriano De Souz
How could you not pick this man in a beachbreak event? Seriously.
Again I keep the faith for my St. Auggie doggie, and I hope this won’t be the last time I can put Gabe on my team. I believe he will pop back in that top 32 for another few segments even if it isn’t in 2011. Surfing-wise, this will be Gabe’s best event. He absolutely fucking rips backside. Power hack city! Many of his best career results have come from conditions we might see here in Long Beach.
It was between Brett and Kerrzy here, but after hanging with Brett last night in the luxury box at the Yankees game, I can’t deny the dude. He’s just too classic and I’m bummed I didn’t have him on my picks for Teahupo’o so I’m looking to make up for that here. I’ll be coaching him as well. Gonna make him head bang to Waka Flocka before each heat to get psyched.
The Quiksilver Pro New York waiting period is underway. Keep the dial tuned here for the live webcast and to surfingmagazine.com for more from Jimmicane and the rest of us as we descend into Gotham.