Julian Wilson, our pick/guess for the 2016 World Title. Photo: Corey Wilson
2015 came. 2015 went. A lot of good things happened in between.
We saw some things coming, like a breathtaking View From a Blue Moon courtesy of John John Florence. Others blindsided us, like Mick Fanning getting attacked by a shark at J-Bay. But, as a new year dawns, we can’t help but wonder what lies ahead. Our wonder led to speculation and our speculation led to action.
We gathered our intelligence (we use that term loosely), consulted sources, bitch-slapped crystal balls, yelled at astrologers, spliced in a bit of speculation and proceeded to distill it all into the following list of predictions for the coming 12 months. Call them hypotheses, forecasts, or wild, unchecked guesses — regardless of what they prove to be, one thing is certain: It’ll be fun to watch it all unfold.
01. Julian Wilson wins the 2016 world title.
Here’s a comprehensive list of flaws in his surfing:
John John Florence. Photo: Trevor Moran
02. John John Florence gets horny for a Title.
With his cinematic opus behind him, John turns his full attention (and rail) to competition. He arrives to every event early and follows a strict diet — maybe even stealing Mick’s lunch sometimes? He resists temptation in freesurfs and never breaks that zealous stare at the crown. The Internet weeps, and so do his fellow CT competitors. The result? John finishes second in the world. (But he wins in 2017.)
03. Kelly Slater retires.
Toward the end of 2016, Kelly posts a long and almost vague note on Instagram that hints at retirement. It confuses everybody at first — much to the king’s delight — but the truth eventually surfaces: He’s gone. The world doesn’t stop spinning. Kelly works with mainstream media, and that helps surfing. Also, those rich people you’re camping next to are wearing Outerknown. The WSL retires the number 11.
04. Jack Freestone wins Snapper…
In the opening event of his rookie CT campaign, Jack blitzes through the field like it’s just another freesurf at his homebreak…
05. …And then he proposes to Alana Blanchard.
Julian Wilson officially put on notice.
06. The number of shark attacks declines.
After an overly busy 2015, we’re feeling pretty confident about this one. 2015 saw 93 attacks worldwide (70 is the average) as of November 1. That number has gotta go down, right? Righhhtttt?
07. Dane Reynolds starts something.
You order a T-Shirt after coming home drunk one night.
08. Taiwan hosts a WQS.
And 6.67s are manufactured on a very large scale. But, for real, Taiwan gets good surf.
Nudity is a virtue. Photo: Stuart Gibson
09. Somebody gets naked.
Kelly got naked. Laird got naked. Coco got naked. Steph got naked. Alana got…never mind. We don’t know who it’ll be in 2016, but we can almost guarantee they have nice glutes.
10. The straight air replaces the air reverse.
Tired of seeing edits that are composed of 85 percent of the same maneuver? Apparently so are pro surfers. The standard air reverse goes the way of a half-rotated alley-oop (Remember those? Gross) and more emphasis is put on getting really high sans spin.
Oliver Kurtz, very high. Photo: Scotty Hammonds
11. Coincidentally, California fully legalizes marijuana.
All of the notoriously localized spots turn into hippie communes complete with children dancing, men wearing hemp shorts and those women who have eyes that seem like they’re trying to pierce your soul every time they look at you. There’d be a kale farm too, probably.
12. Puerto Rico hosts the SURFING Factory.
SURFING’s live production sets up shop on the Enchanted Isle and produces some of the best clips to ever come out of the Caribbean. The first reggaeton surf edit still isn’t born.
13. WSL implements mandatory drug testing at every event.
Was Rick James right?
14. Kolohe Andino wins a WCT event.
And guess what? It won’t be at Lowers.
15. World’s surfing population surpasses 30 million.
Or at least it says so in a WSL press release.
Will DK Walsh meet his new best friend? Photo: Brent Bielmann
16. Freesurfers buy guns.
Not the shooting ones. Bored with chest-high ramps, Creed McTaggart and Chippa Wilson order 9’8”s and wrangle a few XXL walls. Most ironically, Creed puts a track top on his gun.
17. No full-length surf movie blows minds in 2016.
All hail the webclip. (Then click it, but definitely hail it first.)
18. The new Point Break reinspires a wildfire of surf-related bank heists all across the world.
And by that, we mean a schizophrenic homeless guy mentions the film at some point during his wild, incoherent interrogation monologue after trying to rob a gas station.
19. Greg Long and Grant “Twiggy” Baker find a new wave in Africa — and it’s better than Skeleton Bay.
We know where they’re looking. We’re just not sure whether or not they’ll tell us about it.
20. Filipe Toledo lands the first backside 540.
Spinning at the speed of next year.
Jack Robinson. Photo: Corey Wilson
21. Jack Robinson makes the final at Teahupo’o as a wildcard.
Everyone’s favorite pubescent madman outcharges men twice his size and becomes the youngest-ever finalist in Tahiti. Oh, and he’ll get a wildcard at Pipe, too…
22. Ghost Tree returns to the big wave scene — now as a paddle wave.
Names like that don’t just disappear. And El Niño. Speaking of which…
23. El Niño almost kills Jamie O’Brien.
Somehow, kayaking into a wave at Jaws with a goat wearing a tuxedo strapped to JOB’s back wasn’t such a great idea.
24. A girl lands a rodeo flip.
We’re looking at you, Silvana Lima.
25. Style settles the f–k down.
Are you tired of having to wear nice clothes and doing your hair just to get laid at the bar? Well, then 2016 is the year for you! Man buns will prove to have pushed things too far, and men’s style will regress back into the caveman-like days of 1998. Grab your white tee and a spear! Unga bunga!
26. Your favorite photographer becomes your favorite videographer, too.
Because frame grabs are the future. And who says you can’t have (or, in this case, do) everything?
Craig Anderson. Photo: Rob Owen
27. Craig Anderson competes.
Maybe he’ll embark on a WQS warpath and become involved in a leash-pulling controversy with Ian Gouveia at Saquarema. Or maybe he’ll just dabble in some weird specialty event. Either way, he’ll compete — the only question is whether or not he’ll ponytail his hair for his heat.
28. Carissa Moore hits her Slater stride.
From 1994-1998, Kelly Slater won five consecutive world titles. ‘Riss will win from 2015-2019. (She won’t, however, lose her hair.) Speaking of 2015 world champions…
29. The CT returns to Indo.
Fortunately, the WSL gets around the insurance nightmare that is having a contest in Indonesia, and the event features the best waves and performances of the season. Unfortunately, Brett Simpson gets Bali belly.
30. The WSL starts charging for the webcast.
You pay. Or maybe your friend pays and you steal the login credentials. See: Netflix.