STOKE Guide: Men’s World Surf League 2016 – Part 1
It only seems like yesterday that our boy Mick Fanning was fighting off the Brazilian storm to try and clinch a 4th world title. Unfortunately for Mick and Australia, Adriano de Souza got the chocolates on the day in the tightest world title race in history. Time flies though, and here we are nearing the first event of the new season which starts again at the famous ‘Superbank’ in March. What happened last year is now irrelevant! Each competitor has gone away, enjoyed some free surfing and regrouped in order to face another long year.
In this blog I wanted to take a look at some of the big names in Surfing and see where their heads and bodies are at for season 2016:
Fresh off the Volcom Pipe Pro win where he answered any debate about whether he could match it with the younger competitors, Kelly will be looking for more wins. He is a competitive beast and is not used to being stuck in mediocrity so expect a solid year again from our favourite 40-something year old surfer. After practising at his new wave park all off season there is no doubt Kelly will be fired up for 2016. Look for some quirky board selection, sponsorship and marketing deals as well as philosophical gems on surfing and life.
*Top 5 overall, Best Bets – Fiji, J-Bay, Teahupo’o and Pipe
Everyone’s favourite, he is a smooth moving and good looking fella who, like many of the other competitors has a laid back vibe but on the inside have this will to win and compete. He had a solid year in 2015, managing to be a part of the group competing for the World Title at the Pipe contest, but just didn’t quite do enough. Julian can get on crazy runs in contest where he looks unstoppable but just needs to turn those into contest wins!
*Top 10 overall, Best Bets – Gold Coast, Rio, France or Trestles
Freakishly talented, when he is on point he is virtually impossible to beat. Medina has really improved in the big, heavier waves which has added to his crazy air and rail game. No doubt season 2016 will bring plenty of heat wins and post heat hugs with his step-dad Charlie, but will Gabi be able to do enough to win a second World Title and keep the Brazilian storm coming?
*Top 5 overall, Best Bets – Rio, Teahupo’o, Trestles or Portugal
Adriano de Souza
The much maligned Brazilian, fresh off his maiden World Title doesn’t strike me as the type to think that one is enough. His obsession with winning is unparalleled and drives him to be consistent throughout the long year. I’ve been guilty of underrating Adriano too often, and true to form I will do the same for 2016 because I just don’t think he can win enough contests to get a nose in front of the best of the rest.
*Top 10 overall, Best Bets – Bells Beach, Margaret River or J-bay
John John Florence
Without a doubt the most exciting surfer on the planet and his credentials have continued to build after the success of the movie ‘A View from a Blue Moon’ (if you haven’t seen the movie yet, treat yourself!). Season 2016 will be a year of thrills and spills for JJF, he can work his magic on anything from 2-foot slop to 15-foot Teahupo’o. If able to reduce the gap between his best results and worst results, Florence could be the runaway leader of the ratings three quarters of the way through the season.
*Top 3 overall, Best Bets – All of them
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