Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Hurley Pro

ASP passion picks-lowers2014Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Hurley Pro

Nothing will make your head spin like trying to pick a fantasy team after watching the world’s best destroy Lowers for three days straight. One minute you’re set thinking Kelly will continue his stellar track record here and win again, the next you see Michel Bourez and he looks completely unstoppable.

The fact is, everyone surfs insane at Lowers. If you pushed your grandma into a set wave here she’d probably rip. It’s very easy, and thus very fun to watch because these guys make it their bitch. —Jimmicane

The Elite
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Gabriel Medina
I couldn’t really stand this kid a year ago. Cocky, arrogant and seemingly disrespectful to everyone in any lineup worldwide, but my close friend and SURFING Photog Corey Wilson kept saying, “Gaby is the best!” and introduced me to him at our Hurley Pro after party. In blind drunkenness, I went with a quick throat jab straight to his neck. He easily could’ve easily kicked my ass but didn’t, so I kind of have to like him now. Good timing because he’s about to be a World Champ.

Gabriel throat jab.

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Kolohe Andino
One time I watched a 16 year old Kolohe dominate a wave in the US Championship Final. People on the beach were left completely baffled and tried to recall a time when someone surfed a wave at Lowers better than what they just saw. He would’ve gotten a 9+ score had that been in a WCT. Since then, Brother’s battled through some major haters and a couple rough patches, but is now in the best place of his still young career. No longer does he look like a kid out there. Kolohe is throwing power hacks near the level of Jordy Smith. I’m so impressed and stoked, I gotta put him in even though I know I’m missing out on some serious badasses.

I’m skeptical of picking…
Taj Burrow
Last year I told everyone Taj was surfing badly and not to pick him. Well that was one hell of a backfire. He went on to find a good board and win the event. Taj and Lowers is like Have’a Corn Chips and Bitchin’ Sauce (a perfect match), but right now he is dealing with a shoulder problem from wiping out on that Red Bull/Stab photo shoot in West Oz. There’s no jetski assist at Trestles and paddling back out after a long right is a bum shoulder’s worst nightmare.

The Grinders
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Jordy Smith
The underachieving streak continues as Jordy bowed out to previously winless Brett Simpson in Round 2 at Teahupo’o. After suffering a bad wipeout followed by a much worse tow-set to the head, Jordy just seemed like he wanted to go home. Home, as in San Clemente where he just bought a house. While you can never count on him to make a great priority decision, you can count on him to toss more water around than Jon Rose, which equals big fantasy points.

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Julian Wilson
Before the year, I would’ve guessed Julian to be threatening the Top 5 on tour. Instead, he just cracks the top 5 in the Hurley team rankings on tour. Still, no one has looked more solid on their board during freesurfs and I believe this is where he bounces back.

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Nat Young
Natty Ice is looking better than I’ve ever seen him and damn I’ve seen him on some good ones.

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John Florence
If there’s a place that doesn’t suit his surfing perfectly, this might be it. John has never completely blown me away out here… Until today. He stuck one of the craziest backside airs ever and basically obliterated every right he touched. I make the last minute swap and send Filipe Toledo to the bench.

I’m skeptical of picking…
No one in this bracket
It’s a dangerous draw for anyone, this middle pack. Kai Otton exploded on a wave on Saturday. Filipe is a freak, but is he healthy enough to go backside on that ankle? Josh Kerr can stick the biggest air ever on command. Owen Wright seems to finally be back 100%. I dare you to doubt Bede Durbidge anywhere, and the list goes on. Cross your fingers you picked the right four.

The Strugglers
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Mitch Crews
Didn’t see him freesurf but hopefully he’s settled the nerves on tour at this point because Crouton has every reason to feel confident at a wave like this. It’s like an easier version of Snapper. I suggest him not to even look at a left the entire event.

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Alejo Muniz
I just realized I only have one Brazilian on my team and Trestles is like a second home for them. Well I guess everywhere is a second home for Brazilians, but seriously they seem to always be in the conversation so two should be looked at as the absolute minimum on every team. Alejo you’re in.

I’m skeptical of picking…
Everyone in this bracket

Teahupo’o is the great equalizer for the Strugglers. Just make the drop, pull in and hold on, you’ll get at least an 8. Lowers is the exact opposite. It brings out every tiny flaw in their style and beating high seeds becomes an impossible task. At least they get to surf Lowers with one or two other people out for a few minutes and earn a paycheck.