Kelly Slater PIpeline
Want a sure bet if Pipe pumps? Kelly. He has the top AHS for this event, for reefs, for lefts and for eight-to-ten-foot conditions for the past three seasons. | Photo: WSL/Cestari

Top 5 Worst (and best) Pro’s at Pipe!

How to bet smart on the Billabong Pipeline Masters!

One week ago, I discovered the website surf-stats. Wrote a story about it. (Read that here.)

Now, I’m compelled to pour everything related to competition through its prism. I used to be all gut instinct, but who knew cute smiles and a pleasant phone manner didn’t necessarily translate into results? Now I just Moneyball the hell out of it.

So for this year’s final event, the Billabong Pipeline Masters, I got the proprietor of surf-stats Balyn McDonald, to run the numbers on the five best, and five worst, surfers at Pipe. Here’s what he’s got.

Best Five.
  1. Kelly Slater: Top AHS (average heat score) for this event, for reefs, for lefts and for eight-to-ten-foot conditions for the past three seasons. Second best for six-to-eight-foot. Past champ.
  2. John John Florence: Best AHS in rights, six-to-eight-foot 2016 season, left/right breaks, second best in eight-to-ten-foot conditions and reefs, third best in four-to-six-foot and lefts, fourth best for AHS at this event. A consummate all-rounder.
  3. Gabriel Medina: Best in four-to-six foot, second best in lefts and 2016 season, third best for event AHS, reefs, eight-to-ten-foot, left/right breaks. Made the last two finals.
  4. Italo Ferreira*: Top five in the following categories: event AHS, overall AHS, six-to-eight foot, eight-to-ten foot, reefs, lefts and left/right breaks. A great dark horse at $40+ on most betting markets.
  5. Joel Parkinson: Past winner, top 5 in 2016 AHS, overall AHS, rights (second best), four-to-six foot (second best) and eight-to-ten foot. Best average results at this event of all surfers over the past five years.

Worst Five.

  1. Matt Wilkinson: In the past 5 years, has finished better than 25th at this event only once and his event AHS reflects this.
  2. Bede Durbidge: Coming back from massive injury at Pipe, and a past winner, but recent history is poor.
  3. Miguel Pupo: AHS figures of <10 in several significant categories.
  4. Wiggolly Dantas: Did poorly here last year, stats for these conditions aren’t great, especially if it’s big.
  5. Keanu Asing*: AHS figures for this event, for eight-to-ten foot, for reefs and (surprisingly) for lefts are all <10.

Fantasy Surfer projections

The best value for money on Fantasy Surfer is Seabass, at less than $15,000 per projected fantasy point
The worst is Wilko with a projected cost of $141,000 per point

(*data is only for 2015/16 seasons)

Oh! And my Fantasy Surfer team for Pipe?

Gabriel. John John. Kolohe. Kelly. Adriano. Julian. Bede.

Want to see the data in detail? Click here. 

Albee Layer 720
720 or 540? Which way do you swing? Or much ado about nothing?

Watch: Albee Layer’s Backside 540!

Start counting rotations! It's a sculpture in the sky!

Two days ago, you read here that the Maui surfer Albee Layer had hucked the first-ever backside 540.

In an interview with BeachGrit’s fabulous little Jake Tellkamp, Albee told us that he wished John John was still chasing spins (“He’s, like, changed to a full comp guy now practicing power turns. I wish he was putting his heart and soul into progression like he was a year or two ago”) and that surfing was now in its “racing stage.”

“Look at a lot of action sports,” said Albee. “Moto, mountain biking, skiing, snow-mobiles, they all start as racing being where all the money and time is spent and freestyle being a side show. But eventually, freestyle is all people really wanted to watch and people started figuring out how to make competitions based around progression and not sticking to the same formula of the last three decades.”

Anyhow, Albee held onto the clip until Monday, US time, rather than squander on the dead-air of the weekend, always a bad time to release anything into the wild.

Watch. You like?

Do you find hard, fast rotations things of architectural beauty?

As sculptures in the sky?

And, wait, is it a double spin, as suggested by Albee, or one-and-a-half rotations?

Surfers really are math-tards! Read story below!

Rotation: Surfers are math-tards!

Even after all these years, the basic rotation is a vast mystery to the surfer mind.

(This helpful story first appeared on LodgeGrit. How fun!)

This video just came out of this surfer doing a 720, yet they call it a “double spin.”

Then when they’re talking about it, or writing about it, the surf dudes keep calling it a “540.”



That makes no sense! First of all if it’s a double spin, that right there is inferring that it’s a 720. Also, like this move has been done on skateboards and snowboards, so why is it a 720 on a snowboard or a skateboard, yet a 540 on a surfboard?

I don’t want to take away how insane this shit is that this dude is doing, but like, why do you surfer bros keep fucking up rotation names? A wave has transition and it’s like a 1/4 pipe, so name your rotations as such.

It’s not rocket science.

Well maybe it’s like very very basic rocket science in a sense, but still. Get it right surfer bros!

Here is a backside 540…

And here’s a backside 720…

And now you know, bro!

Kaipo Guerrero
"I'm a good luck charm," says the noted part-time commentator Kaipo Guerrero. "Go back to Waimea. I was there. Go back to Rio… who was there? Me. And, then, right now, Haleiwa! Get me on tour! | Photo: Peter King

#TourNotes: “It’s a Chuck-and-Jive!”

There's colour behind the plastic walls of those WCT VIP enclosures!

As I’ve become fond of saying, and do so tenaciously, an event isn’t complete until Peter King has dropped his episode of #TourNotes. Two days ago, John John Florence won the first event of the Triple Crown, the Hawaiian Pro, the first step in becoming the only surfer in history to win an Eddie, a world title and a Triple Crown in the one year.

It‘s a record that will never be touched if the Aikaus and Quiksilver don’t hitch their deal, soon…

Anyway, in this four-minute short, we’re gifted with Kelly Slater explaining the abundance of frontside laybacks, the commentator Kaipo Guerrero looses his tongue from its normally so sensible mooring, Brett Simpson and Miguel Pupo drop their usual one-liners, the former pro surfer Doug Silva is thrown under a bus by the very cruel Fred Pattachia and Ross Williams (remember: glass houses, boys) and there’s plenty of fooling around by Peter Mel and some photogenic children.

“It isn’t the heats. I wanna show the fun. I want to show the silly little conversations,” says PK.

Watch here! 

Leonardo Fioravanti
The Brazilian Storm turned out to be a brief sprinkle followed by a cloudless Hawaiian sky. But a new low pressure system is developing just off the horizon. This one is not spinning in South America though but Europe instead! A European Storm! Or, as they say in European, a “Sturmabteilung!” | Photo: WSL/Cestari

WSL: Here comes the Sturmabteilung!

Do you think John John is going to win multiple titles? Think again!

Do you remember the Brazilian Storm? But do you really? Recall that the World Surf League’s championship trophy was supposed to be handed from one Brazilian hand to another to another for maybe decades? Or even the rest of all time? Yeah?

Of course you don’t!

The Brazilian Storm turned out to be a brief sprinkle followed by a cloudless Hawaiian sky.

But a new low pressure system is developing just off the horizon. This one is not spinning in South America though but Europe instead!

A European Storm! Or, as they say in European, a “Sturmabteilung!”

The World Surf League writes on its website:

One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Qualifying Series has been the rise of Italian Leonardo Fioravanti. The 18-year old went on a charm offensive while ripping his way to the top of the QS rankings and torching several of the world’s best as a CT wildcard.

Though he’s slipped to No. 5 on the QS, Fioravanti has already locked a spot on the 2017 Samsung Galaxy World Championship Tour, and he won’t be the only fresh European face on Tour next year, because one of the hidden headlines of 2016 is there’s serious depth coming from that bench.

The quiet rise of Joan Duru is another big surprise. After a solid performance at the Hawaiian Pro the Frenchman has climbed to No. 2 on the QS, locking his spot on next year’s Tour.

Lacomare has a much tougher road to haul. But the Frenchman’s powerful backhand approach, with its sweet, fading bottom turn, is well suited to Sunset’s reef-churning walls. His heavy-footed snaps throw buckets of spray, too, which helps impress judges sitting on a scaffold tower a quarter-mile away.

Morais is no stranger to big results in Hawaii. In 2013, the man from Portugal won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing “Rookie of the Year” award, mainly on the back of a 4th place finish at the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. For the last week, it would have been easy to argue that outside of World Champ John John Florence, he’s been the form surfer of the event.

That’s an Italian, two Frenchmen and a Portuguese. A new power axis! Or, as they say in European, a “Großdeutsches Reich!”

Do you think John John is scared? Maybe? He probably shouldn’t worry his blonde head but… maybe?