Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Billabong Pipeline Masters

ASP passion picks-pipe2014

Many great predictions have come true this year on Passion Picks while others have failed miserably. The good thing is, I’ll be back next year and with me will be a website called FantasyGrudge.com (similar to FanDuel.com but including the World Surf League). Come 2015, not only can you continue to talk shit in the comments, but you can also put your money where your keyboard is and get at me.

The Elite
John Florence
Can someone please explain to me how only 26% of people are starting John on their teams? Pure stupidity. I can’t wait to take all your money next year on FantasyGrudge.com.

Kelly Slater
1st, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. Those are the last six years of Kelly’s results at Pipeline. And oh yeah, big surprise, he smashed everyone in the Volcom Pipe Pro too. My point: Kelly is Pipeline Jesus. You don’t bet against Pipeline Jesus. Especially when he’s at Pipeline.

I’m skeptical of picking…
Gabriel Medina
Do I doubt this kid’s skills? No. Not at all. I think he’s incredible in every condition and it won’t surprise me at all if he wins both the World Title and this event. But if I’m gonna play devil’s advocate, I’ll state the fact that only one goofy footer has made the semi-finals of this contest in the past five years is Damien Hobgood in 2012.

Also remember that Gabriel is going to be matched against the 2nd seed from the Pipe Trials, who could end up being Jamie O’Brien. And if not Jamie, it will certainly be someone legit. Add in the pressure of a whole country on your back and that doesn’t make for the greatest odds. I don’t doubt Medina, but I’m also not counting on him.

The Grinders
The forecast I’m seeing looks like Backdoor could be good, and there aren’t too many people you’d like more than Sebass going right. He’s been staying at the Oakley house looking straight into that tube for about half his life during winter.

Nat Young
When’s the last time you said Nat Young is having a shocker on tour? Not ever before this 5-event slide he’s been on. The slide ends here. Plus he let me stay at his house a couple weeks ago and that means you get on Passion Picks.

Julian Wilson
I’ve ridden with his struggles for most of the year and I ain’t pulling off now. He looked incredible at both Haleiwa and Sunset. After making the Quarters at Pipe last year, I have plenty of confidence in Julian to go at least go that far again. All he needs is an uncrowded playing field to nab a bomb and you know he’ll surf it to near-perfection every time.

Owen Wright
This goes against my statistic about goofyfooters struggling in recent Pipe Master’s history. The reason I’m confident going with Owen is his ability to surf Backdoor, backside. Think back in history and try to remember how many goofies you see regularly go Backdoor on a big day… Cory Lopez, the Hobgoods, Koa Smith and not many others. But Owen can and Owen will. He’s got another gear in heavy waves.

I’m skeptical of picking…
Filipe Toledo
He’s improved tenfold in the past year as an all-around surfer but I’m still not liking Filipe’s chances in large barrels, especially lefts. Maybe he can squeeze through a slow heat by getting some at Backdoor but that’s living on a prayer and I’m not religious, or into karaoke.

The Strugglers and Wilds
Dion Atkinson
Dion has the highest average heat total out of anyone in the Strugglers by a whopping 1.5 points. It’s also higher than all but three surfers in the Grinders. Granted he’s surfed less heats because of some narrow losses, but after what we saw him do at Teahupo’o, I wouldn’t doubt him at Pipe. Sitting at 27th on the rankings, Dion has a chance to sneak back onto the 2015 tour with a big result.

Jeremy Flores
Any former Pipe Masters sitting in the Strugglers should be automatically placed on your fantasy team and locked there. Part of me wanted to get Travis Logie on as a celebration lap for his retirement but no way I can deny Flores out here after watching him slay Slater a few years back and win the comp.

I’m skeptical of picking, but pulling for…
Raoni Monteiro
Did you see him out at Haleiwa? Sticking 360 air reverses and shit. Did I really just type that? It was actually radical to watch. Raoni has done well for himself on many a Hawaii leg, but that was all on the WQS and this is the Pipe Masters. He’s basically doomed and will need a miracle to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions, 2008 Ricky Basnett, and 2014 Alana Blanchard in the winless season club. Yikes!