Sweet lady Pipeline is just about to heave fury onto the reef at Ehukai Beach Park for the last WSL World Tour event of the year. Medina, Filipe and Julian (#carnJoycey) are all in World Title contention, ready to go into battle and risk evisceration or embarrassment for the sake of the coveted cup. There are also minor skirmishes being fought on the sidelines. Parko is gunning to end his career with a Triple Crown win. Guys like Wilko and Dooku Duru are scrapping to qualify. The working man’s Jesus and Portuguese Panda are vying for Rookie of the Year. Double John and Kelly are both back to see who can play the biggest spoiler in the Pipe Masters. There’s so much excitement going down I’m about to burst like an overheated tin of sliced pineapple. Sweet, tangy and frothy.

Considering you’re probably fighting your own battle for king of your clubhouse, here’s a Pipe Masters Fantasy Surfer form guide to help you pick the bombs.

Tier A - 3 Guys, 1 Cup

Who’s picking Filipe? No one. That’s who. Unless the forecast is for 3-4ft Backdoor Pipe, this freak of nature has as much chance of winning the World Title this year as Martin Potter getting awarded best sports commentator. Sure he rips, but when it comes to proper Pipe Filipe doesn’t have a show compared with his two biggest rivals. So really, it’s 2 guys, 1 Cup. Julian is a Pipe Master. Gabby came second a couple of years back (to Julian, zing!) and has made multiple final series. Considering Gabby is a fair way in front of the title race, you’d think it’s his to lose. However, Julian has the edge at this wave on paper, so it’s definitely possible he could ruin Gabby’s dreams and achieve his own. Considering both will be ultra-focused and on point, I’d say they both deserve a spot in your team for the Pipe Masters.

The one thing about picking the two top guys, however, is that they’re going to draw wildcards. That’s gnarly anywhere in the world, but at Pipe it’s proper deadly. Not only that but if they beat someone like Jamie O’Brien or Jack Robbo in Rnd 1 and 2, then they’ll probably be against the likes of Kelly or John John in Rnd 3. Oh god, I just shit my pants. If you’re thinking you’d like to pick a dark horse and avoid these clashes, there are a couple of really solid options available. Owen and Kanoa are the two main ones. Italo is another, maybe.

Kanoa especially has a wild record at the Pipe Masters. Two starts and he’s had a 2nd and a 3rd. Pretty amazing strike rate. Italo made quarters at the Pipe Masters last year and has been on the winning podium 3 times in 2018. Owen is a proper madman at Pipe, especially on the lefts. If it’s big, he’d be my #1 go to. If it’s looking more Backdoor for swell direction, or it’s on the smaller side, then Kanoa would be the pick.

In short:

Main picks – Julian and Gabby
Dark Horses – Kanoa and Owen

Tier B - Where the Wild Wins are

Pipe Masters, Triple Crown Winners, Hot Young Hopefuls. Tier B has more talent than Leo DiCaprio’s Raya list. This is likely where you’ll win the game if you pick well since Tier A has only a few variations and there’s really only 2 surfers you’re going to pick in tier C. For me, the two walk-ups here are Jeremy Flores and Michel Bourez. Not only because their names rhyme. Jeremy has won Pipe twice and rides thick pits harder than a doctor smacks newborns. Michel has also won before and has Polynesian power on his side. Get them in.

After that, it’s somewhat of a toss-up. Kolohe is a look in. He’s got a good record at Pipe and will be stinging after a terrible Euro leg. Still, he had a terrible Euro leg where he normally does well and seemed more focused on next year than this one. Seabass is another who has looked classy at Pipe, out-shooting Double John at Backdoor for a Triple Crown Win a few years back. Zeke Lau will be relaxed at home and looking to cement his slot on the 2019 tour. So-Cal Colapinto will be itching for his first start at the event and seems to be a wizard at making steep drops and impossible tunnels. Ace Buchan could be a veteran to get you points at the pointy end of the draw.

The only crew I’d avoid here are T-Rex Hermes who doesn’t have the arm length to drag and stall on the lefts, and Willian Cardoso who is outmatched by guys with more experience at the wave.

In short:

Main Picks: Jeremy, Bourez, Kolohe and Seabass
Dark Horses: Zeke Lau, So-Calapinto and perhaps Conner Coffin

Tier C - The GOAT and his Goatee

John John and Kelly. I don’t need to write any more than that. Sure Parko could be a good pick. Sure there are wildcards. But, it’s the greatest of all times and his bum-fluffed successor. And, if there’s any wave on the planet these two are at their most deadly, it’s Pipe. Get them in. Don’t overthink it. Double John and Kelly.

In short:

Main Picks: Double John and Kelly
Dark Horses: Double John and Kelly

If you’re still needing more Fantasy Surfer talk, and we’d say you do, give the Lipped podcast (below) a listen. They’ve also got a Fantasy Surfer Clubhouse happening, hit it up.