Stab Magazine | Who Won’t Be Taking The Title At Pipe
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Who Won’t Be Taking The Title At Pipe

And who will command your attention, regardless, with their will to survive (on tour).

news // Nov 2, 2017
Words by Rick Snowden
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Before the European leg, Jake ‘Snake’ Paterson told us to bet the house on John if he’s wearing yellow at Pipe.

If I wasn’t a poor Australian millennial with a diet rich in avocado and smoothies (and avocado smoothies), I’d probably take him up on that. We can talk all day about a scripted rivalry, or crunch data with our new numbers guy, Mike Ciaramella, but odds are, come late December, the blonde Hawaiian will only require nine more titles to go full GOAT.

While there are four unmissable names listed on the heat draw (five, if you read our exchange with Kelly), there’s another kind of battle taking place. A parallel war raging.

The fight for re-qualification.

So for this episode with our ex-tour vet, we had Snake peel his eye from his handicam viewfinder and touch on the less glamorous, yet almost as important, struggle happening on the back-end.

Stab: Let’s start with Portugal and why the 2017 trophy isn’t already atop the Florence’s mantlepiece?
Snake: Supertubos is one of the hardest, if not the hardest wave on tour [to compete at] in my opinion. Nineteen times during the comp, surfers couldn’t get over five point heat totals; fifty-eight times surfers couldn’t get over a heat total of ten points!

With Supertubos, you need to have the ability to adapt at the drop of a hat or boost a big air to get yourself out of trouble. The top four guys at this event did it all. 

The reason I think John John lost? He chased his tail up and down the beach, trying to make something happen. It happened to a lot of others along the way as well. Guys were eating so much shit trying their hardest to nail scores.

Pipeline. What does your crystal ball and years of experience tell you?
A Pipe showdown is what everyone wanted to see, besides John’s camp I guess (laughs).

The viewership for this event could break all records—it’s going to be sooo bloody exciting, I can’t wait! 

I bet Gabby wished Pipe was this week. Keep that ball rolling. I hope it’s huge so the boys have to put their balls on the line and we can see who really, really wants the win. 

Wildcards at Pipe are always a handful for the top seeds, so that will be worth keeping an eye on for sure.

For me its John’s title to lose. Pipe’s his spot. Even though Gabby has had an amazing run there over the last few years, I can’t see John losing early. 

How about qualification, who’ll be boarding and who’ll be alighting from the Tour train? Who just plain blows-up at Pipe and will be worthy of following?
With two Prime events remaining, almost anyone in the top 80 have a chance at making the top 10 cut off on the QS. Zeke Lau jumped 83 spots after winning the prime in Portugal; Dusty Payne came from about 80th spot to qualify a few years back.

In Hawaii, anyone can come along and make this shit happen. I personally think the top 4 on the QS are safe, everyone below that are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride (laughs).

Personally, I love the way Wade Carmichael goes about his business, pure power and draws amazing lines. He’s won Haleiwa before, so he should have a heap of confidence going into Hawaii. I think he will make the cut this year.

Two guys I coach, Griffin Colapinto and Zeke Lau better bloody make it! Both have shown in the past that they can mix with the best at the two Prime locations. They should be shoe-ins.

Italo Ferreira is a freak of nature. I think he will do just enough to catch one of the 10 spots to qualify, along with a couple of rough underdogs. Ricardo Christie and Mikey Wright are both big powerful boys and if the heat draw doesn’t stack up against them too badly, they should shine through.

Everyone wants to see Mikey on tour and I really think this is his chance.

And the Triple Crown?
Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipe are worlds apart in the kind of waves they all are. You need power, fitness, ocean knowledge; you need skill, confidence, good equipment; and you need balls to pull this little trifecta off. No one that wasn’t on the World Tour already has won the Triple Crown and I don’t think 2017 will be any different.

The guys to watch? Last year’s winner, John John. No brainer. Loves and rips at all three spots.

Jordy’s power, power and a little more power—very hard to beat if the surf gets big.

Seabass has won before and loves surfing here so much that I would just like to see him win again. Best chair up in the history of the Triple Crown as well—that will be hard to beat.

My completely biased underdog pick is Zeke Lau, just because I feel it’s his time. That said, after winning Pipe last year I think Michel Bourez is the only surfer currently on tour that has won at all three Triple Crown locations, so I will throw his hat in the ring as well.

It’s going to be exciting kids, strap yourself in and let the games begin!

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