Boys On The Bubble
Even though Kelly Slater has bagged number 8, it doesn’t mean all the action on the WCT is over. Of course Hawaii’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing provides plenty of interest. But behind the scenes, for some WCT surfers, the last events in Hawaii have turned into a Dream Tour wake-up call: survival is at stake. If you were given the power to anoint one surfer the sole ASP wildcard entry onto the 2007 tour, who would it be?
1.Mark Occhilupo: Could this be the end for Occy? Right now, before the start of the Pipe Masters, he’s sitting at a precarious 23rd in the world—good enough to make it in ’07, so long as he doesn’t slip any further. He’s no slouch in Hawaii, remember, he’s won the Pipe Masters before.
2.Pancho Sullivan: There’s no question Pancho can get it done in Hawaii, and sitting one slot away from requalifying, it appears as if he’s going to have to. With his family growing he’s been distracted, and didn’t come on quite as strong as most thought. He’s going to need to find some focus at Pipe or his rookie year will be his last.
3.Mick Lowe: Failing to finish any higher than 9th place all year, Mick appears to be have lacked inspiration, which could result in the Pipe Masters being his final event in an already esteemed career.
4.Darren O’Rafferty: The lanky regular footer has to get a result at Pipe or he’s gone. With no WQS results to fall back on, and currently positioned 28th on the WCT, it’s do or die for Raf.
5.Chris Ward: One more time, where the heck is Wardo? Talk about falling off the map, but somehow Wardo’s still in the Top 30 and definitely within striking distance should he show up in Hawaii.
6.Mikael Picon: The European connection looks like it’s going to be breaking up.
7.Roy Powers: Had a shocker of a freshman year. If he’s going to make the tour next year he better have Sunset on his mind. The WQS is the only thing that can save Roy now…or by some stroke of luck winning Pipe.
8.David Weare: With a new fleet of South Africans jumping the WCT next year, it’s going to be tough for Weare. He’s sitting 23rd on the WQS now, so like Powers, it all comes down to Sunset.
9. Other: Good God man, there are plenty of seemingly worthy recipients: Dane Reynolds – already been anointed; Jamie O’Brien – freaky good; Jordy Smith – good manners; Laird – c’mon, that’d be fun to watch for a year; Rob Machado – talk about an overdue wildcard; YOU – why not?!