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The little pocket rocket who took his strong air game and made it stronger, improved his rail game out of nowhere and began to charge bigger barrelling waves. Toleno was an early leader of the title race and was a part of the crew vying for the title in the final event of the year but was just unable to get over the line. He will be throwing down memorable moments left, right and centre again this season but I don’t think Toledo will factor into the title race by years’ end.
*Top 10 overall, Best Bets – Gold Coast, Rio, Trestles and Portugal
Rumoured to be retiring at the conclusion of the 2016 World Surf League season, Taj is one of my personal favourites over the years and his sportsmanship and approach to professional surfing will be missed if that is the case. Rarely seen without a smile on his face, Taj is generally stoked on his own and his competitor’s performances. His rail game is one of the best in the business and can link turns together that will have you hypnotised! He was one of the most progressive surfers, bringing air and flare to the world tour many years ago.
*Top 15 overall, Best Bets – Gold Coast, Bells Beach, Margaret river and J-Bay
What can we say about Mick!? He is the ultimate professional, a legend and a surfing icon. The poor fella has gone through more heavy experiences in the last year than most of us deal with in a decade, yet he persists. Having come out and said that 2016 will be a ‘personal year’ where he will surf in certain events but take time off where he feels he needs it, the likelihood is that Mick won’t be challenging for a 4th Title. He has said that he will surf the first two events of the year and made comment that J-bay, the same wave he got caught up in a shark-wrestle with last season, is definitely on his radar. Rest up Mick!
*Top 20 (hard to say…), Best Bets – Gold Coast, Bells Beach, J-Bay
It's really an unknown as to how Jordy goes in 2016. He has the potential to blow everyone away and win a World Title but has been unable to maintain consistency. Coming off long term injury at the start of 2015, Jordy will be amped to make up for lost time and test his limits.
*Top 15 overall, Best Bets – unsure
The specimen! Many believe Owen is the fittest guy on tour, but unfortunately in recent years he has suffered some set backs with a long term back injury and then having to pull out of the Pipe Masters because of a heavy wipe-out in a free surf. Up until the Pipe Masters Owen had made a charge for the World Title, showing his serious ability and competitive nous. Even though he is a giant, he can win contests in the small conditions but revels in the biggest, heaviest conditions that places like Pipe, Fiji or Teahupo’o can throw at him. Hopefully he has recovered well from the recent set back, look for a big year from Owen.
*Top 5 overall, Best Bets – Fiji, Teahupo’o, Pipe or France
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast - March 10-21, 2016
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach - March 24-April 5, 2016
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro - April 8-19, 2016
Rio Pro - May 10-21, 2016
Fiji Pro - June 5-17, 2016
J-Bay Open - July 6-17, 2016
Billabong Pro Teahupo'o - August 19-30, 2016
Hurley Pro at Trestles - September 7-18, 2016
Quiksilver Pro France - October 4-15, 2016
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal - October 18-29, 2016
Billabong Pipe Masters - December 8-20, 2016