Passion Picks: 2016 Billabong Pro Tahiti

seth-de-roulet-jjExhibit A. Photo: Seth De Roulet

Everyone’s been talking down the forecast but it might not be so bad. Sunday and Monday look decent to fun. They will grind out as many heats possible and then we could be in for a wait till the end of the period. It’s been a shit year for waves in Tahiti and it’s been a shit year for the entire CT (excluding Fiji) but let’s look on the bright side, it’s better than Huntington and John John could win a World Title!

The Elite:
John Florence
I tried so hard to pick someone else because I know everyone will have John on their team. Just couldn’t do it. Even with a mediocre forecast, this guy is a wizard. He lost to Medina last year with an 18.84 heat total. Other than that, he’s never lost before the Quarters.

Gabriel Medina
It’s hard to root for someone when they hate you. That’s the case with Gabriel and me. So much that he won’t talk to me, look at me, or even acknowledge my existence. Even when stuck on a five acre island together for two weeks. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I shot a photo of him burning Jordy in a freesurf at Cloudbreak. Pretty lame, but I can’t deny Medina’s talent and he’s my insurance policy if John has a shocker. Trust that I won’t be bummed for a moment if he loses in Round 2 though.

The Commoners:
Ace Buchan
He’s a former event champion, but he’s also good in all conditions. Ace practically makes every barrel he enters and you can’t blow a good wave out here when there aren’t many coming in.

Kelly Slater
The chances of Kelly winning a 55th CT event are dwindling. I would point to only Fiji, Tahiti and Pipe as places he still has a decent shot at taking. His odds increase with a solid forecast and those odds aren’t looking amazing right now in the South Pacific, but it’s still Teahupo’o at the end of the day. Slater might still make my team at age 55 here. He’s that fucking good.

Josh Kerr
His boards are tailor made for Teahupo’o with all asymmetrical tails. From what I’ve heard, this is one of the only waves in the world you would strongly benefit off boards made specifically for it. You’ll often hear people say, “That looked like Chopes!” but really, it didn’t. Nothing is quite like Teahupo’o and no one is quite like Josh Kerr.

Nat Young
I had a friend ask me if Nat is already past his prime the other day. I said, “No chance he’s only 25 years old,” but the friend continued to put a fork in him. Nat’s finished 8th, 13th and 10th in three years on tour but currently sits at 18th. Wilko is 3 years older and making the run of his life. I’m pretty ready to shut that friend up. Nat, now would be a good time to win some shit.

The Strugglers:
Jeremy Flores
This year’s been a shocker for Jeremy, but luckily he has Tahiti. He can do no wrong here (when not suspended from the tour). Tow size and lagooning people, perfect heat. Broken face and helmet on, no worries. Win!

Ryan Callinan
I went to Indo with Ryan when he was 18. Had never seen him in waves over head high and we pull up to firing Greenbush. His best friend and current roommate, Craig Anderson, went out on a single fin and dominated the place. Ryan followed suit, you saw it in Lost Atlas. He’s only won two heats on tour so far (Snapper and Rio), but at this point has nothing to lose.