Hurley Pro Trestles: Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks

Hurley Pro Trestles: Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks 2014

Hurley Pro Trestles: Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks 2014The field has arrived. The time is near. Here are our Fantasy Surfer Gut Picks for the 2014 Hurley Pro at Trestles.

$10m+: Welcome Gabriel Medina to the $10m+ crew–we’ve been waiting for you! As always, any of these guys would be great picks. Our gut heavily swings towards Taj on a wave like Trestles, but for this contest, we’re going with Medina and Kelly.

Gabriel Medina: He has the heat strategy, rail game, and aerial assault to destroy all in his path at this high performance venue. His grip on the 2014 title is getting tighter and tighter. A few in the pack are trying to hunt him down, but our gut says he’ll widen the gap.

Kelly Slater: Kelly recently posted a nod to Medina: “Even though I’m gonna do everything in my power to stop this guy this year, I’m a big fan of his surfing“. Let’s focus a bit on the “I’m gonna do everything in my power to stop this guy this year“. Slater likely has 4 events left on tour. After Teahupo’o, his head is back in the game and he is seeing the finish line. …and you know he’s going to sprint to the finish.

$8m/$9m: Wow! There are only four guys in this range–Bourez, Nat, ADS and Jordy. ADS and Nat are competitive machines and both could go deep, but our guts point towards The Spartan and Jordzilla.

Michel Bourez: Everyone talks about the importance of the air game at Trestles, but the rail game is at least as important, if not more. Bourez does his best on waves where he can use his strength to create power on the wave where others can’t–we saw that at Margaret River. He made the semis here in 2013. Our guts says he’ll go deep again.

Jordy Smith: It’s no secret that Jordy has had a rough season. We think this will be the turnaround event for him (like Rio was for Kolohe). He has the air game to compete with the best of the aerialists, but also has the strength to create power on the waves (like he did at Bells with his should-have-been-a-10).

$6m/$7m: This is an interesting group that contains a few surfers who many think are performing below expectations: JJF, Julian and Otton. It also contains Kolohe Andino who has moved further up the seed list than any other this year. We’re picking Julian and Kolohe.

Julian Wilson: Like Jordy, Julian has had a disappointing season. This wave really suits Julian. We think he’ll arrive focused for redemption.

Kolohe Andino: There is so much hype on Kolohe for this event, including being featured in Red Bull’s 21Days. Will he choke like Taj at Margs, or will he rise to the occasion? We think he’ll rise.

$4m/$5m: This a is fairly large category with a number of surfers who could surge into the deep rounds. Our guts point to Owen and Filipe.

Owen Wright: Owen has been slowly building momentum on his comeback year and after Tahiti has cracked the Top 10 again. We think the momentum will continue.

Filipe Toledo: If his ankle has healed, we are going to see an air show that will be unmatched (unless JJF pulls off one of his crazy stunts). If Filipe can add in some rail work and variations, he’ll go deep.

$1.5m/$3m: This range represents the largest group. And we can’t believe Jeremy Flores is in here. We hope he can turn it around, but before we see some sort of spark, we’re staying away. We’re going with Crews and Jadson.

Mitch Crews: Mitch was the first to admit that he felt out of his element at Teahupo’o. He’ll be feeling right at home at Trestles. He’s only a couple of spots out of re-qualification and he’ll be looking to make a jump up with a good result here. We think he could pull it off.

Jadson Andre: Remember when Jadson first jumped on tour and was pulling off air reverses so often that a backlash formed? He has the air skill and has been developing his rail game. If he introduces some variation here, we think he’ll be a threat.

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.