Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2015

Michel BMichel Bourez is probably the most progressive turner in the world. Have you ever seen a man lay rail with such ferocity? ourez, power Western AustraliaMichel Bourez. Photo: Corey Wilson

I have some good news and some bad news as the MWCT (Mushy Wave Championship Tour) continues at Main Break Margaret River.

The good news: A huge swell coincides with the start of the waiting period and it should continue to pump for multiple days.

The bad news: It takes Commissioner Kieren Perrow approximately two hours of getting barreled at The Box before he can comfortably make a call to change locations. Oh, and permits don’t allow for North Point.

The Elite
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Josh Kerr
If you don’t have Kerrzy on your team for Margaret’s, you must not be paying attention. I can’t really blame you because this wave makes Bells look like Lance’s Right — but if there is someone consistently worth tuning in for, it’s Kerr. Not to mention he’s one of the best slab riders in the world. If this thing moves to The Box, he will smash fools.

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Mick Fanning
It’s totally fine if Mick’s not your favorite surfer. It’s 100 percent OK to root for him to lose and think he’s boring to watch. But if you can’t, in some form, appreciate the level at which he dismantles waves, your opinion is completely irrelevant.

In the past week I’ve heard Filipe Toledo, Nat Young, Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore all cite in interviews how much he inspires them. Nat went as far to say Mick’s his “favorite athlete” in any sport.

The past two events have shown the sharpest version of Mick Fanning I’ve ever seen (given the subpar wave quality). Age 33, with three World Titles and zero bitter rivals, I cannot explain what’s driving him right now but it’s clear he’s found some kind of added motivation.

Maybe you should consider…

Nat Young
He’s a beast at navigating lineups in out of control oceans, he finally broke a seven-straight event slump of losing by Round 3, and he’s on the Hurley team. You know they won’t spare any expense when it comes to making sure their team riders are prepared with the right boards.

The Grinders
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John John Florence
Main Break is a big open playing field with large walls of moving water, not dissimilar to Sunset Beach. John’s spent a lot of time here over the past few years filming for his movie projects. Of course zero of those sessions were at Main Break, but there’s still something to be said about feeling comfortable with the area and vibe of West Oz.

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Joel Parkinson
Does this dude bring a box of donuts to the WSL staff every morning? All the best surfers in the world get juiced occasionally but none to the extent of Parko. Ross Williams nearly creamed his pants from a 6.93 in Round 4 (Heat 2). I shit you not. Seriously, watch this again and listen to the commentary.

Gotta be the donuts.

——
Kelly Slater
Not sure what to think of Kelly Slater at this stage. It’s been a year since Outerknown was announced and we still haven’t even seen a sticker. There’s been years of talks about a wave pool, but no construction. Now it’s a majority ownership of Firewire, yet still a Channel Islands under his feet.

I’m sure there are explanations for each of these, but there’s absolutely no way to validate that ridiculous April Fools post. Especially after waiting five days (and after conveniently drawing Keanu Asing) before announcing it was just a joke. If he bombs out in this event I’ve got $100 he no-shows Rio.

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Bede Durbidge
This is my YOLO pick of the event based solely off the fact that he smashed Taj Burrow twice last year when the WSL tried to screw him with a re-surf (see: Lance Burkhard vs Rick Kane).

Also worth noting, this wave fits his surfing perfectly. Go Bede!

Maybe you should consider…

A Rip Curl goofy foot
One of these guys is guaranteed to do well but who will it be?

Gabriel Medina has battled through some heats but seems to lack that spark from 2014. Maybe Filipe Toledo stole it or maybe Gabby bounces back here?

Meanwhile, Owen Wright looks solid but also lacks that X-factor to pull scores into the excellent range unless it’s really gnarly, which it looks like it will be.

The Strugglers and Wildcards
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Michel Bourez
Word on the street is he bogged every turn freesurfing before Bells so I should’ve seen that shocker coming, but come on, how can we pick against him here? It’s last year’s winner available in the strugglers. He’s gotta be on everyone’s team.

——
Dusty Payne
A familiar face in the strugglers yet magnetically attracted to Passion Picks. Dusty is in a big predicament. As a low seed, he’s bound to draw someone difficult every time he enters Round 3. All Dusty needs is one breakthrough result and the path becomes significantly less daunting. Consider this a great opportunity for that to happen. Dusty won this event as a Prime just two years ago, taking out Julian Wilson and Josh Kerr in the process.

Maybe you should consider…

CJ Hobgood
When picking this event’s roster, you need to consider people who can survive and will have the right equipment. Ceej unfortunately did not pack his quiver of rhino chasers when leaving Orlando International Airport, but don’t worry. Damien is coming to the rescue with a quiver of boards and a couple of huge balls ready to score some ridiculous freesurf sessions.

Parting note:
I am extremely frustrated that the Drug Aware saddlebags did not book the option to run at North Point. What are they going to do when their expected crowd of spectators bails, to watch everyone get barreled out of their minds? After what we just went through with Snapper and Bells, the WSL might want to pony up another $200k and get North Point permitted ASAP.