The swell that’s hitting Maverick’s tomorrow is the type that separates the men from the boys. Only trouble is that tomorrow, they’re all men. The boys weren’t invited to the contest. And so in an effort to help you separate the men from the men, we give you our predictions for tomorrow’s winners and losers. This is based off years of observation, gut feelings and way too many coin flips.
Round 1, Heat 1
1. Ken Collins: First heat and Skinny loves those early mornings. Plus he’s a wave-catching machine. The most positive person around will claim the first heat.
2. Mark Healey: It’s going to be big and scary and Mark eats big and scary for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
3. Anthony Thashnick: Former event winner and one of the most naturally talented people to ever surf Maverick’s. Look for him to be riding something that makes you scratch your head because Tazzy is always doing something that makes you scratch your head.
4. Ryan Augenstein: Wish Augi were more motivated, because he has talent to spare.
5. Chris Bertish: Former event winner but, shit, I don’t know. Just don’t see a repeat here.
6. Jamie Sterling: Haven’t seen Jamie at Mav’s in a while. Will be a tough day to reacclimatize.
Round 1, Heat 2
1. Ryan Seelbach: One of the most underrated guys. He’s smart, talented and has oars for arms. And he’ll need them.
2. Grant Washburn: Age is just a number and his oars are the only ones longer than Seelbach’s.
3. Peter Mel: Has surfed Mav’s, and surfed Mav’s well, in every imaginable mood. Last year’s event winner will squeak into the Semis.
4. Tyler Fox: Underrated is an understatement, but being on your backhand will be a huge disadvantage tomorrow and I don’t see it being a day for lefts.
5. Colin Dwyer: Youngest guy in the event at 23 (going on 53 says his cousin, Travis Payne), might be intimidated by the waves and heat draw.
6. Dave Wassel: All the balls in the world but not the most experienced at Maverick’s.
Round 1, Heat 3
1. Shane Dorian: He’ll probably get barreled.
2. Ben Wilkinson: The hungriest surfer in the entire event. This will be Big Ben’s breakthrough performance.
3. Greg Long: So long as it’s as consistent as they say it’ll be, Greg’s patient approach will pay off. If it’s inconsistent, will be tough for him.
4. Nic Lamb: Could easily be the darkhorse to win the event, but not everyone’s going to make this heat, which is probably the most stacked out of all of them.
5. Zach Wormhoudt: Again, a huge talent with a tough heat draw. But this isn’t Zach’s career and he might not have the drive to hurl himself over the ledge that most of these guys do.
6. Carlos Burle: He could have easily won in 2010, but he’s been towing a lot lately and that doesn’t help much in the way of practice.
Round 1, Heat 4
1. Grant Baker: After losing his sponsorship this year he’s as motivated as ever and coming off a big-wave win in Spain. He’s also a psycho.
2. Shawn Dollar: Talented, fearless and smart. He’s likely meditated on this win for a long time. Last time he meditated on something he broke a world record…twice.
3. Alex Martins: So long as he’s not rattled from Tuesday’s two-wave hold down, he will push the pack into the bowl and then show them the way over it.
4. Nathan Fletcher: One of the best big-wave guys in the world but might be tough on his backhand.
5. Kohl Christensen: Another backside handicap, and haven’t seen him at Mav’s in a while. Could easily upset the heat though.
6. Rusty Long: Talent for days but don’t know if Rusty’s competitive enough to really jockey around the bowl with the rest of these guys.
Semi 1, Heat 2
1. Anthony Tashnick
2. Ken Collins
3. Mark Healey
4. Peter Mel
5. Ryan Seelbach
6. Grant Washburn
Semi 2, Heat 2
1. Shawn Dollar
2. Ben Wilkinson
3. Shane Dorian
4. Grant Baker
5. Greg Long
6. Alex Martins
1. Shawn Dollar
2. Shane Dorian
3. Ben Wilkinson
4. Anthony Tashnick
5. Mark Healey
6. Ken Collins
So there you have it. Shawn Dollar will be your 2014 Body Glove Maverick’s Invitational winner. He is just so driven, focused and fearless to be taken down. Sorry to spoil it for you. You can watch it all unfold, exactly as I’ve predicted, live tomorrow beginning at 8:00 AM (PST) at mavericksinvitational.com. It will not disappoint. —Taylor Paul