WORLD TITLE PICKS   Leave a comment

In the midst of a firing January in Orange County, a video of Joel Parkinson putting in the hard yards on the Gold Coast has brought this single reality to the forefront of my mind. The tour is getting ready to kick back into high gear. Guys are ordering boards in bulk, knocking out russian twists with medicine balls, and booking flights a la the team manager of (insert surf company here). Thankfully there’s been a lot of changes. No more mid year cut. Kolohe is on tour two years earlier than we’d thought and if he’s not a world champ soon he’s at least a champ at jump rope (you’ve all seen the video of him in South Africa). Yadin’s injury is healed completely so he’s on tour. So the prognostications begin. I’ve mulled this over  for a while now so without further delay…here are my picks for the world champion this next year.

#1 KELLY SLATER->No surprise here. The world title is a marathon and not a sprint. There are way too many guys who get off to a slow start, lag in the middle, or tank at the end of the year. Unless he’s completely disinterested and attempting to ride a door, Kelly maintains pace EVERYWHERE. He’s one of few guys who is a threat everywhere and AARP do not come in here with “he’s forty freaking years old”. That means nothing. The guy eats lights out and has no apparent vices aside from not keeping his alcohol tolerance up. As said post title no. 10, until someone puts him out to pasture, why should he stop?

#2 OWEN WRIGHT->Owen reflects what modern surfing should and will be. He’s a freak of nature that weaves eloquently through LOST ATLAS and can still throw on a jersey and show up huge at every spot. Encompassing it all from power to speed, quickness, variety, and fearlessness, he’s going to have an even better year. Adding Fiji (thanks to Volcom) only helps him since he’s already proven himself in heaving, hollow reef breaks. His true test will come mid year. Seizing momentum in France will be huge because Kelly hasn’t won there since his first year on tour and Owen’s maiden WCT victory was at a beach break. This year could be closer than we think.

#3 JULIAN WILSON->Soft spoken. Grounded. Immensely talented. Julian deserves a place in this conversation. While he didn’t win an event, he placed 9th in his first year on tour does not do justice to how well rounded he is. Clips of him punting huge airs and torso torquing reverses shadow his solid approach in point breaks and courage in grinding reef breaks. His final appearance with Medina in France could have gone either way but the impression was made. I don’t expect him to start with two 25ths this year and Fiji may prove to be a huge result for him close to mid year. I for one would not mind seeing him in another beach break battle with Medina.

#4 JOEL PARKINSON->I want Parko to win a world title so badly. After the heartbreak of 2009, he has steadily started to gain confidence. Judges will continue to write him off because his style is so effortless. Colleagues continue to be baffled at why he still hasn’t won one. This is a guy willing to put in the hard yards coupled with brilliant talent but the shine disappears in small waves. He can link powerful hooks, snaps, and carves in overhead waves but anything under head high and he appears mortal. Soft sand runs and trunk rotation work outs won’t help him there. Tell Wes to mix in some jump rope, suicides, and ladder drills.

#5 TAJ BURROW->Taj is notorious for disappearing after the first three events. We’ve seen it before. He flares up at Snapper, they carry him up the sand, he makes the declaration, and we’re thinking “this could be the year!!!!” Then he loses to Bobby Martinez in round three at Bells, comes up short to a flailing Adriano, and we don’t hear from him anymore. His delayed coronation is a complete mystery. Thanks to John Gannon he’s got the power to match his incredible speed and quickness but now it’s just a matter of consistent heat strategy. There’s no way Taj should ever lose to Bobby at Bells let alone when it’s incredible Bells.



Posted January 18, 2012 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

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