Stab Magazine | Will Gabs Medina Take The Pipe Masters From John Florence?

Will Gabs Medina Take The Pipe Masters From John Florence?

Stab’s just-in-time picks for the big dance.  

news // Dec 9, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ah man, it’s been a weird year. The waves have been depressing and the results suicidal. Regardless the best have risen to the top, and until Europe, it was still anyone for the taking. But after JJF won it felt like all the energy was taken out of the world tour, the QS has the most random mix of gents qualified for the ’17 tour to date and Frederico Morais is the Triple Crown Leader going into Pipe, WTF? To keep things extra interesting Pipe is looking pretty sad until the second half of the waiting period and that swell could still change. So with that, here are my very assertive, anxious picks. 

At this stage, who cares? 

John Florence.
The only thing that would make this guy’s year any better is a win at Pipe. And why not? He’s achieved everything else but a Pipe Masters. For a hot moment, I thought he was going to do the thrice and win Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipe, a feat no one has achieved. Anyway, like JJF said at the Surfer Poll, an old boy called Slater keeps getting in his way, but I’m not betting on Kelly this year.

Keanu 2

Keanu needs a result to requalify. And as he said in France, “I’m not gonna let these guys take my money and my job, so I’m gonna give it the best I can.”

Keanu Asing.
This little fella is a fighter, and he also happens to be good at Pipe and Backdoor. I’m also not sure if in the history of the world tour someone has won an event and not qualified for the next year. I’m assuming Keanu ain’t about to be that guy. It’s going to be small and tricky, two conditions that suit Mr Asing quite well. He’s good in the tube and knows how to hunt down the score. I’m putting the scrill on this guy getting a quarter or better.

Gabby 2

The air that stopped Mick Fanning’s title run in the semis at the Pipe Masters last year and led Gabby to his Triple Crown win.

Gabby Medina.
Because other than JJF he’s the most deserving of a Pipe Master. The dude is flawless in every condition out there – small or huge, he’s capable. Gabs had a weird year with a lot of missed opportunities, but he knows placing second behind John is not the worst that could happen. Gabs has a unique ability to get busy when he doesn’t have priority, which is huge for those overlapping heats. Chris Ward did the same thing – it always saved him. The only thing that will be working against him is when it’s small the rights seem to score better. 

JUles 3

Julian shines at Pipeline and the man’s due… but, we’ve been saying that all season.

Julian Wilson.
One last ditch effort. Never has someone let me down more or cost me more money that Jules. I really feel for this guy. It can’t be easy being as good as him and constantly watching surfers worse than you place higher. Good thing for Jules is he’s a Pipe Master, and he’s one of the best tube riders on tour. His only flaw at Pipe is he charges too hard. He too often goes on big closeouts that result in putting himself out of priority. Jules could take a second Pipe Master title as long as he gets busy and stays out of his head.

Kolohe’s coming off an injury, he sat out the first two jewels of the Triple Crown and is coming into Pipe healthy and rested.

Kolohe Andino.
So unless no one noticed this dude is a really good tube rider and a maniac when it’s big. He also happens to be an underachiever. Brother has never won an event. Other than JJF he’s the most secure surfer on the Hurley team so there’s no pressure for him to perform other than his own. But, to win his first event at the Banzai just makes sense for the prodigal son. 


Wigs at the Volcom Pipe Pro. The Brazilian’s barrel prowess is on par with his backhand.

Wiggolly Dantas. 
I’m not sure if a more honorary Hawaiian exists. Wiggles has put in his time and is rewarded for it. Not only is he a wave magnet but he’s well respected at Pipe and charges big or small. Every time he paddles out he happens to be on a bomb. I remember once burning him there on a very good big wave, nose diving, eating shit and when I came up he was more concerned about me than the fact I had just burned him; so for that I’m grateful. He also happens to need this result to requalify. I have absolute faith in him. 

Jordy 3

With a questionable forecast, expect Jordy to be working his patented rail on the walls of Backdoor.

Jordy Smith.
You know what Jordy did right after he won Sunset? He paddled straight out to Pipe and got one of his best waves ever out there. “One and done,” he called it. For Jords the back half of the year has been astounding and although second on the rankings is a tough feat he’s got in in him. Sure I’m biased, but for Jordy it’s never been about fear out at Pipe it’s just about positioning. With the forecast at hand and reasonable Backdoor, I assume the big fella is going to be able to push through doggy doors and finish with strong moves. Much like the year, Taj Burrow won against Slater.


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