After an entire year of opening trading at the last minute, the WSL have finally come through with the goods! We now have a week to change our team 24,554 times, wondering if we’ve made the right choices. Yessss. The final event at Pipeline is going to be a doozy too. There are four guys in the running for the title (sorry Kolohe, I’ve already assumed you’ll get 2nd). There’s a crazy field of tube pigs and a GOAT. There’s bound to be some wildcard sticks in the spokes as well.

Pipe is obviously all about, well, pipes. Right drainers, left drainers, straight hand drainers. Everyone will be hoping the North Shore lights up for this show. Indications right now are that it’s going to be solid! If it does turn out to be small, adjust towards guys who are great at 3-4ft backdoor. Hello Filipe on his knees praying to Wade Carmichael right now. Assuming there’s some reasonable swell though, here are your WSL Fantasy Surfer Guide for Pipeline, Hawaii.


Tier A in our WSL Fantasy Surfer Guide for Pipeline is full of more shredders than the CIA’s mail room. First, Double John is back. It’s absolutely insane that he has missed half the year and is still in this tier. Assuming he’s even at 80%, Double John still has to be well and truly in the favourites to take out the event. Then there’s Gabriel. Defending champ and 2nd place in both 2014 and 2015. His record here speaks for itself. He still has to be firm favourite for the title, despite Italo’s brilliant surge at Portugal. Speaking of Italo, he will also be all over lady Pipeline like a mongoose in a snake hole. He’s proven he shreds here and is a definite threat.

Other solid options include Owen as a deadset charger at thicc Pipe. Given the larger forecast he’s a major threat. He’ll have his Gath on like some kind of streamlined Samurai, ready to slice the Banzai a new hole. Jordy is one who could absolutely slide under the radar here for a win. He made semis last year and has made quarters before as well. Especially if it’s at Backdoor, look for him as a semi ‘dark horse’ pick. Even Kolohe and Kanoa could dazzle their way onto the podium. It’s that tight. The only one I’d be flinging toward Pupukea is Filipe. Sure he could do well, but ultimately he’s bottom of the queue when it comes to people you expect to do well at Pipe. Leave him out for better options, unless the forecast is small for the entire event window.

In Short
In – Gabby and Double John

Back up – Owen
Leave – Filipe


There are four Pipe Masters in tier B and four slots for your team. Coincidence? Probably. Fortuitous? Absolutely. If you’re the kind of person who picks on history alone, then dust your hands, your job is done. Kelly, Julian, Jeremy and Bourez are all star contenders at this wave. How good would it be to see the GOAT take out a win at Pipe, retire on the spot, then come back to surf ‘1 more event’ 10 times next year? Can’t wait.

If were sprinkling in some dark horses for our WSL Fantasy Surfer Guide for Pipeline, then Seth has to be in play here. The ROTY bread of the year, he’ll be dipping his body in the curry of Pipeline more than I’ve had Indian dinners. R-Cal is another who loves a heaving sea. If it’s lefts, he’ll blow minds. Conner Coffin and Caio Ibelli are two other guys who I’d expect to do well that are likely to have low ownership percentages. Look to them as inclusions if you’re lagging in your Fantasy Surfer Clubhouse and want to come through with a Hail Mary win.

The couple of names I’d leave out here include Peterson Crisanto, because as a rookie he’s unlikely to have the experience to do well here, and Michael Rodriguez, who is sure to melt like an Açai bowl under the harsh Hawaiian glare.

In Short
In – Julian, Jeremy, GOAT, Bourez

Back up – Conner and Seth
Leave – M-Rod and P-Cris


Can you smell that? It’s desperation. There are a bunch of guys in tier C all hoping against hope for a breakthrough result here at Pipe if they have any chance of keeping their CT dreams alive in 2020. Seabass, Zeke, and Soli are three who all need a clanger and could still feasibly dial in a wild win at this event. Each of those guys are solid options you could consider. Just ask yourself, are they known for performing under pressure? There’s at least one in there who’s reputation is a bit fishy in that respect. Still, I’m sure he’d give his spare thumb to be where he belongs come Snapper time next year.

Jaddy, Freddy and Yago are three who are safe on the QS, so probably won’t have the motivation to take death slabs if they need to for a progression. I’d also cut out Ricardo Christie from the equation. There are better options unless he dials in some voodoo with his jade necklace. Jessie Meh-Des can sit on the bench as well. A former triple crown winner, I’m still not convinced he belongs in the top 32. One guy who is super interesting is Leonardo Fiorivanti. Will he get an injury wildcard next year? Not over De Souza or Mikey Wright by the looks of it. He’ll need to perform at Pipeline to sure up his place, so look to him as a possible runner.

Finally, there’s the wildcards. At the time of writing I don’t know who will get in. But, you can bet they’ll be deadly at Pipe. Jack Robbo, Josh Moniz, Finn McGill and Cam Richards would all be well worth a punt if they get in the draw. My advice would be to see who draws M-Rod in Rnd 1. Whoever it is will almost certainly get a fast track to Rnd 3 along with Ferrari.

In short
Yes – Zeke and Leo

Maybe – Seabass or Wildcardage
No – Jaddy

With that, lock ‘em in and fantasise about being showered in winner’s champagne come finals time.

For those who are driving, walking or just don’t care to read, the below Portugal Preview from Lipped will be of interest. Can’t say it’ll get you a win, but it’ll get you some laughs and some insights amongst it all. Join their Fantasy Surfer League too, it’s got prizes from Dragon and some good banter – join here (pw is lipped)

Podcast hasn’t gone live yet, we’ll upload when it does later today/tomorrow. Until then, take time to go back over our previous team picks, you can see how good Tim is at picking teams – he’s currently leading (was, he’s fifth now after his melt in France ha) the clubs he’s in.

Or just read about getting a new springsuit for the coming summer warmth 🙂