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Contest Wash-Up – Pipe Masters 2016

The forecast was bleak, the title sewn up, and my personal fantasy team wasn’t even playing for pride anymore in my private leagues. I was steeling myself for a hefty serve of disappointment at Pipe this year by keeping my expectations as low as possible. Robert Burns claimed that ‘suspense is worse than disappointment’, which sucks if it’s true because, in the end, Pipe gave us both. Qualification talk was the new black, and everybody was happy to chat. Here’s how we saw Pipe, in point form for those who are still recovering from a Burns quote:

  • The Champ lost and yet he won. JJF will have to wait 12 months before he can take another stab at the Pipe Master title, with yet another high-quality-yet-not-good-enough-to-win performance. Jordy and Kelly also fell short of achieving their own (Triple Crown) title, handing John yet another piece of silverware for 2016. How many things does he have to win before people stop universally liking him?
  • Kanoa has some solid barrel-riding chops; he was threading some of those backdoor tubes like a man possessed. Has his time at the Ranch come to bear fruit? Did Zeke have some Hawaiian brothers make threats? His performance made a lot of people sit up and take notice, and he also gave the commentators something to talk about after John John lost.
  • Bourez looked so comfortable at backdoor. Did you see some of his positioning at take-off? The 7.17 in R4 was so late and so comfortable, but he was doing it all event. I slipped him into my team at the last minute to replace Italo and I was so stoked to see him return to form.
  • Jordy Smith secured his best (backdoor) Pipe result since 2010 with a solid 5th This helped him to secure 2nd place on the WSL rankings above the luke-warm Gabriel Medina. Speaking of which…
  • Medina was owned by 58%. How does he repay that faith? By failing to get a back-up score against Rhino in R3. Medina had 5 x 13th places this year, which isn’t the pedigree of a contender.
  • Can we talk about Filipe’s 10? A few guys had him in their teams to match the small forecast - and it was a pretty good call - but I felt that that 10 was a bit of a moment for Toledo. If he can do the same thing going left, then he could see himself in serious title contention.
  • Ribeiro won a R1 heat against a former Pipe Master and a current style master at Pipe. Who saw that coming?
  • Kai Otton made the mistake of announcing his retirement after it had become obvious to anyone who followed the tour, thus sucking the life out of the whole thing. He would have had to have won Pipe to requalify (thus pushing out Pupo - see what we did there?), but that was always going to be a tough ask. The WSL did make a nice little montage of his career though (where they mention his missed opportunity). Noted was the absence of any videos for the likes of Nat/Ryan/Keanu (who may requalify via the QS), Adam Melling (who probably won’t) and Alex Ribeiro (come on…). Seriously though, why wasn’t there something for the 31yo Melling?
  • Keanu claimed the dubious record of being the first full-time tour surfer to win an event and still fail to requalify. If you aren’t sure whether that’s ‘tough’ on a guy like Keanu, just watch his interview and he’ll tell you.
  • The wildcards were universal failures, however Finn McGill certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry; that kid’s got promise.
  • Caio won the ROTY crown, with Conner narrowly missing his required score in the final two minutes against the GOAT.
  • The Pipe final had the worst AHS for any round of 2016. The 2nd worst AHS for the year was in R4 of this very same event.

 

Clubhouse Results

Congratulations to the following clubhouse champions:

Surf-Stats WSL group (overall) – Jah Champ finished 4th in the world and, understandably, topped the Surf-Stats group. If we had money or prizes or influence, we’d happily send some your way. How about an interview instead? Hit us up on social media if you’re keen…

Surf-Stats WSL group (event) – One of the teams from our friends at fantasysurfingtips scored 534.64 and made the top 1000 in the world for the event.

Surf-Stats FS group overall – Our old mate The Badger slipped to 2nd place by a mere 5 points. Our season champion for 2016 is none other than landonsea, who finished on 8527 for the year and 202nd overall. Well done!

Surf-Stats FS group event – For the 2nd time this year, my personal team took out an event, finishing with 992 points despite having both Julian and Gabe.

 

Best Possible Team

This 672.43 point team was again too much of an anomaly for WSL players to pick; the top WSL score for Portugal was warriors with 645.39, which only had 6 of these top possible 8 surfers (no Kolohe or Ryan).

 

Worst Possible Team

You’ve got 3 previous Pipe Masters and the ROTY in this mix. Low ownership percentages across the board meant that this team was highly unlikely.

 

Surf-Stats Projection Reflections:

Surf Stats WSL Numbers WSL

Yeah, not great. We changed our team last-minute to reflect the updated projections for wildcards. This was a bad move. Frederico took the place of Ryan Callinan. We did have JJF, Slater and Flores though. We suggested Kolohe as a Tier A sleeper as well…

 

Surf-Stats FS Numbers

A pretty sorry team, really. Our stats took into consideration lefts and larger surf, which never eventuated.

 

Event awards

These winners are in the running to claim the overall SS awards at the end of the year:

Best wave: There were some great barrel rides, including Filipe’s 10 and several by Bourez, Slater, JJF, Jordy and Kolohe. We’re going to give it to Kanoa’s 9.93 to set the stage for Zeke’s 2017 campaign. It was so long and so critical, and it was pretty electric to watch live.

Best heat: See above. Jordy and Kanoa were going toe-to-toe at backdoor and in the process produced the highest scoring heat of the event. Add to that the qualification repercussions for Nat/Zeke and it was probably the most exciting heat of the event.

Biggest disappointments: The final was terrible. The lack of solid 8-10’ lefts in the later rounds was also a bit of a downer.

Best Manoeuvre: Italo’s Rodeo would have been a 9+ score at most events, but didn’t even manage to get into the excellent range at the barrel-orientated Pipe.

Most impressive: Kanoa beat Kelly and Jordy twice on his way to the final with some deft tuberiding. Jordy and Filipe were also surfing beyond their statistical averages.

For now, we’re done. See you in 2017.

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Balyn McDonald
Editor-in-Chief
Balyn grew up on the east coast of Australia, nourishing his passion for surfing through a diet of empty beach breaks, Taylor Steele VHS cassettes and poor amateur competition results. As one of the head writers/analysts for Surf-Stats, he is as comfortable tearing through spreadsheets as he is 6' left-handers.
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