Three reasons for Gabby:
1.) Gabby is one of the world’s best barrel riders. Hands down. Going left or right. His read in the barrel is second to none and he has no problems landing a late drop.
2.) Gabby is on a roll at the moment. His last four CT results read, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd. When Gabby gets on a roll on the CT, his confidence goes through the roof and he begins to believe that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
3.) Gabby’s had some of the best results at Pipeline considering the current crop of guys on tour. Besides Kelly, Jeremy, Julian and Parko, Gabby’s right up there with the best. All the other original Pipeline specialists have retired.
Julian Wilson is the most likely to put up a serious fight for the title that is Gabby’s to lose. If we’re honest with ourselves, Gabby’s probably going to win the title and to ease the pain of losing the title Julian would probably be damned if he didn’t take out the Pipeline Masters. That’s our thinking at least. Let’s see if it holds true.
There’s going to be an abundance of swell available for the Pipeline Masters and if big barreling waves get any man on tour horny, it’s Jeremy Flores. Jeremy loves nothing more than to throw himself over the ledge on a wave that has dire consequences. And on top of that Jezza knows how to ride a barrel, whether going left or right. Oh yes, and he’s a Pipeline Master.
This may seem like an odd pick but let us explain; Joan, Freddy, Yago and Wilko are all in danger of falling off the tour. One of these guys is going to make a dart for qualification via the CT and we reckon that guy is going to be Joan Duru. Joan tried to re-qualify via the Q and fell two spots shy. Duru’s a tenacious competitor and he’d be damned if he got relegated to the QS without throwing himself into some deep ass wide open Pipeline pits before the fat lady sings.
Kolohe’s had a bummer back half of the year. He got defeated by Patty G under the strangest circumstances in France and was visually distraught by the decision. We know Kolohe views himself as a top ten surfer and to do that, he’s going to have to make a couple big heats in big waves at Pipe.
After Wilko got knocked out in Portugal, he looked particularly calm and at ease: as if he know something we didn’t. He knew his re-qualification would come down to Pipe and he seemed relaxed with that idea. He seems confident and he’s backing himself, so we’ll back him too.
When the GOAT surfs Pipe, we suggest you put him in your team, even if his hoof looks a bit sensitive.
Ian Gouveia needs to make a serious leap up the rankings if he wants to re-qualify, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Ian won’t count himself out. Like Joan, Ian’s a tenacious little guy, who loves big barrels and will risk life and limb if that means saving his spot on tour.