Billabong Pro Tahiti: Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks 2014

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Gut Picks 2014The swell is coming. The time is near. Here are our Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks for the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupo’o.

$10m+: At this level, any of the guys could take it. Parko-yes. Taj-a bit of a darkhorse, but yes. Mick and Kelly-hell yes. We pick Mick and Kelly.

Mick Fanning: Mick is a warrior. He’s been here and done that. He’s also a workhorse and is in top physical shape (we saw that pay off at J-Bay in the deeper rounds). Make no mistake that Mick sees a fourth World Title as a major milestone–a title that would put him one up on Tom Curren and Andy Irons, and would put him one away from Mark Richards. Mick has two event wins this year, but also has two throw-aways. Mick can’t afford another soft result. He won’t get one here.

Kelly Slater: It’s no secret that The King hates losing. He hates losing at ping pong. He hates losing at surf contests. And our guess is that he hates nothing more than losing surf contests in epic conditions. There’s a lot of talk out there in internet land about if this is Kelly’s last year on tour. We think it is. And we think he wants to go out with a bang. He’ll be emotionally invested in this one. We can’t wait to see those crazy air drops.

$8m/$9m: We love the guys in this range. They are gunning to join, no takeover, the Big 4. Bourez has had less than stellar results here in the past, but he has momentum, is surfing better than ever, and is running for the title. ADS has been consistent has hell lately and has been steadily improving on backhand barrels. Nat reminds us a bit of a goofy-footed Mick. Jordy is always a threat, but hasn’t proven to be the most strategic or consistent with a jersey on (especially in backhand barrels). We’re going with Medina and Kerr.

Gabriel Medina: Gabby might not be as experienced as some of the others in this price range in solid Chopes, but he learns, adjusts and adapts quickly. He also has talent, drive, good heat strategy, and a solid support crew. Also good to note: he got a perfect 10 in 2012 and made it to the Quarters. He’s more mature now and is running for the title. Our gut says he’ll go deep.

Josh Kerr: Josh came up the ranks in the World Air Show Circuit and became known as an aerial specialist. But he’s also a beast in big barrels. Josh has had a respectable season (currently sitting in 10th) but we don’t think he’s happy with his results. We expect this family man to come out charging hard–like he did in his 3rd place finish in the mega swell of 2011.

$6m/$7m: It’s a small group in this range this time out. We expected Julian to be in the range above at this point. As much as we’re looking forward to seeing how he responds to falling more spots down the seed chain than any other surfer not named Kai Otton, our guts point to JJF and CJ.

CJ Hobgood: It’s no secret how good this guy is at big left-hand barrels. Full of experience, CJ seems to have hit another gear of competitive drive this year. It’s been a long time since he won the World Title, but in conditions like we’re seeing forecasted, he’s as good as ever. We’re looking forward to watching CJ charge.

John John Florence: We don’t know if JJF lacks competitive drive (like Dane), strategic smarts (like Jordy), or if he just can’t bring his interest up enough for sub-par conditions (ADS doesn’t have that problem), but he hasn’t been able to put together the heats required to sit among the elite. On the other hand, Mr. Florence is the best tube rider in the world right now and can draw lines at Teahupo’o that no others can. If the waves come, we’ll see him in the final rounds.

$4m/$5m: There are lots of good options in this range–Ace, Kai, Pupo, SeaBass, Wilko. But our guts point to Owen and Freddy-P.

Owen Wright: Owen came out in the mega swell of 2011. We will see his second coming in 2014.

Fred Patacchia: Freddy-P is surfing with confidence and is fitter than ever. He was raised on heavy reef breaks and has the experience needed at Teahupo’o. Our gut tells us that he’s in for a good run here.

$1.5m/$3m: This range represent the largest group so we’re going to pick four guys.

Aritz Aranburu: Aritz was breast fed on the big lefts of Mundaka. If there is one event we expect to see fireworks from Aritz, it’s this one. Oh, and the fact that he took out Slater here in 2009 (albeit in smaller conditions) adds to our nod.

Jadson Andre: OK, so we know a lot of you won’t agree with this one. But after re-watching his incredible drop from the 2012 comp, our guts told us to add him to this list.

Raoni Monteiro: Raoni has proven that he’ll fling himself over the Teahupo’o cliff and handle the landing. He’s locked in three 10-point rides here in big conditions. Like Aritz, this is the event for Raoni to shine.

Nathan Hedge: With the injury replacements Coleborn and Hall, and local charger trials winner Puhetini competing for the $1.5m spots, this pick wasn’t an easy one. But our gut tells us that Hedge’s experience in a jersey, added to his current drive to succeed and the momentum from his 2nd place finish in the trials, makes him a smart pick.

Red Bull 21 Days: Bourez and Hedge (Part 3)

Red Bull 21 Days: Bourez and Hedge (Part 3)

In the third and final episode featuring Michel Bourez and Nathan Hedge, we are reminded that dreams have twists and turns and can build a man up just as easily as they can break a man down. With the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti looming, Nathan and Michel take their final steps towards what could prove to be a very crucial event for their careers.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Warm Up

Billabong Pro Tahiti Warm Up Teahupoo 2014

The boys have arrived at the end of the road and are getting set for what looks to be a spectacle of a contest at Teahupoo. Here’s a sample of some warm up rides. And just think…the swell for the contest is likely going to be bigger.

Teahupoo Tahiti: Kevin Bourez injury update 2

Teahupoo Tahiti: Kevin Bourez injury update 2

Teahupoo Tahiti: Kevin Bourez injury update 2

Polynesia’s update: Kevin Bourez

Kevin Bourez, Michel’s brother, was flung head first into the reef during the Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Pro Teahupoo Trials. Here’s an August 12 update (roughly translated and re-ordered) from Polynesia.

Kevin was victim of a broken jaw and an open wound above the upper arch of the right eye. Initially taken to hospital in Taravao, he was quickly transferred to the hospital in Taaone to undergo major surgery. The surgery lasted 5 hours led by 2 surgeons.

This afternoon, from Kevin’s hospital room, Georges Bourez, Kevin’s dad has given Polynesia the first fresh news. The young surfer could come out of hospital within a week. After the stress, the waiting, and the anxiety is now relief and especially rest. Kevin wakes up, talks a bit, but for now spends a lot of time resting.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Jimmicane

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Jimmicane Teahupoo 2014

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Jimmicane Teahupoo 2014

Jimmicane’s Passion Picks

Surfing Magazine’s Jimmicane gives his passion picks for the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti in Teahupoo.

Pick ’em
The Elite: Michel Bourez, Kelly Slater
The Grinders: John John Florence, Josh Kerr, Owen Wright
The Strugglers: Kai Otton, Brett Simpson

Skeptical
The Elite: Gabriel Medina
The Grinders: Alejo Muniz
The Strugglers: Mitch Crews

After he had yet another shocker here last year, I said that I’d never again pick Michel in Tahiti. He puts too much pressure on himself and isn’t significantly better than the other elite surfers at Teahupo’o. Then I got drunk with him in Fiji and we talked about this event and what would happen if he won. It made me so happy to think about. This is Passion Picks and I want Michel to win so I’m picking him. Fuck the odds. He’s going to do it for his brother, who got severely hurt in the trials just a few days ago.

– Jimmicane -more-

Check out all of our pundit pick posts.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Ross Williams

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Ross Williams Teahupoo 2014

Billabong Pro Tahiti Pundit Picks Ross Williams Teahupoo 2014

Ross Williams’ picks

Ross Williams gives his start ’em, sit ’em list for the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupoo.

Start ‘Em: Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Jadson Andre
Sit ‘Em: Adriano De Souza, Adam Melling, Mitch Crews
Darkhorse: Matt Wilkinson

Jadson loves Tahiti. This is a vibe that can only help when faced with a 10-foot swell. It’s well documented that Jadson’s resurgence on tour is because of his commitment not only to his surfing but his confidence. While taking time to requalify for the tour, Jadson found his inner happy state, conquering his demons by improving every aspect of his surfing. Carves, backhand, and yes, hollow waves.

– Ross Williams -more-

Check out all of our pundit pick posts.

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Pundit Red Bull Cheat Sheet

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Pundit Red Bull Cheat Sheet

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Pundit Red Bull Cheat Sheet

Red Bull Cheat Sheet

Derek Rielly gives his predictions and picks for the 2014 contest in Tahiti.

WINNER: Kelly Slater
FINAL: CJ Hobgood vs Kelly Slater
DARK HORSE: Taj Burrow
STAY AWAY FROM: John John Florence
SURPRISE: Adriano de Souza

This is Kelly’s last year promenading on tour. No more will it feel like 11pm on a warm and humid Harlem night, with Kelly’s skin glistening. Kelly knows it, knows this is his last flip of the coin, and as a surf fan you might wanna pay more attention to that little desktop screen. Tahiti, Europe, Hawaii and then he’s done. And so his air at Teahupoo will be more serious. Kelly is fully aware that a win will secure his legacy. And so he will win, possessing a power that will obliterate the rest.

– Derek Rielly -more

Check out all of our pundit pick posts.

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks Shea Lopez

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks Shea Lopez 2014

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks Shea Lopez 2014

Shea’s detailed write-up

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Pundit Shea Lopez picks his team for the 2014 contest at our favorite mutant wave in Tahiti.

Riding Teahupoo safely requires not only great skill, but tremendous commitment. It takes the highest caliber of surfing to excel out there, and every world champion since Teahupoo’s addition to the Tour has proven themselves fearless when peering over the ledge. With a close ratings race, we should see a number of surfers looking to step up and throw their name in the ring as Teahupoo chargers and world title contenders. This should make for quite a spectacle.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Avg pts (barreling waves*)
Kelly Slater $11,500,000 159
Gabriel Medina $9,500,000 97
Sebastian Zietz $5,000,000 93
Owen Wright $5,000,000 111
Nathan Hedge $1,500,000 50 (wc default)
John John Florence $6,750,000 130
Aritz Aranburu $3,250,000 50 (no value from 12/13)
Michel Bourez $8,750,000 72
Total: $51,250,000 762
*Barreling waves: Pipe 2012/2103, Tahiti 2012/2013, Bali 2013, Fiji 2012/2013

Check out all of our pundit pick posts.

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks: The Blind Team

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks: The Blind Team 2014

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks: The Blind Team 2014

Surfer Stats

Shea Lopez, Derek Rielly, Nick Carroll, Ross Williams, Groundswell and the other pundits offer great insight into the surfers when offering their pundit picks. We do it differently. For our Fantasy Surfer pundit picks, we look at the numbers and not the surfers’ names. We go in blind. For Teahupo’o, the Blind Team is picked based on past results in barreling waves (vs power or performance). For our personal club teams, we pick based on our guts and who we think are in form, but for these picks below, we remove all of the mind games. Here you go. The Billabong Pro Teahupoo Tahiti Pundit Picks: The Blind Team.

Team Teahupo’o Avg pts (barreling waves*)
Kelly Slater $11,500,000 159
Josh Kerr $8,000,000 117
Julian Wilson $7,750,000 109
John John Florence $6,750,000 130
CJ Hobgood $5,500,000 126
Sebastian Zietz $5,000,000 93
Owen Wright $3,250,000 111
wildcard $1,500,000 50
Total: $49,250,000 895
*Barreling waves: Pipe 2012/2103, Tahiti 2012/2013, Bali 2013, Fiji 2012/2013
Past results wave type FS Points FS Rank
Team J-Bay power 843 #1,559
Team Fiji barrels 600 #26,727
Team Rio performance 837 #1,044
Team Bells power 710 #17,472
Team Margs performance 840 #1,033

Check out all of our pundit picks posts.