2008 Fosters ASP World Championship Tour Dates And Predictions

Feb 23-Mar 5
Gold Coast, Qld-Australia
Quiksilver Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Mick Fanning
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Mick Fanning
In a repeat of last year’s scintillating “heat of the year between Mick Fanning and ’07 WCT rookie Josh Kerr, Fanning will once again prevail over a hyped-up rookie, this time South Africa’s Jordy Smith.

Mar 18-29
Bells Beach, Victoria-Australia
Rip Curl Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Taj Burrow
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Andy Irons
After a lackluster 2007, AI will be revved up, refocused, and hungry in 2008. Look for him to better his runner up placing at Bells last year.

May 8-18
Teahupoo, Taiarapu-Tahiti
Billabong Pro Teahupoo
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Damien Hobgood
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Kai Otton
Will somebody please send a swell to Chopes this year for the contest? If it’s eight foot and scary, look for Australia’s Kai Otton to thrive–he grew up surfing big, gnarly lefts and had a strong showing in Tahiti last year.

May 23-Jun 6
Globe Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Nobody
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Pancho Sullivan
Big Pancho Sullivan had a great 2007–especially late in the year when he rocketed up the WCT ratings. There’s not many on tour that match Pancho’s work ethic and preparation. In big lefts at Cloudbreak, look for Pancho to match power with power.

July 9-20
Jeffreys Bay-South Africa
Billabong Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Kelly Slater
One of Kelly’s favorite waves on the tour, his style is perfectly suited to the racy walls at J-Bay. Shit, I should’ve picked him to win Bells…

July 30-Aug 10
Somewhere in Western Australia
Rip Curl Pro Search
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Andy Irons (The event was held in Arica, Chile.)
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Taj Burrow
Rip Curl’s highly successful “Search events have scored the last couple years and there’s no reason they won’t score again at Gnarloo…oops, cat’s out of the bag. That said, look for Taj Burrow–who has the shortest commute to the event–to win on his home turf. Note: There is currently an online petition circulating that is aiming to stop the event from being held at the idyllic West Oz spot. Stay tuned for the outcome…

Sept 5-14
Trestles, California-USA
Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Kelly Slater
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Jordy Smith
After watching Jordy surf at Lowers last year–where he was sidelined after a wave-starved clash with Ben Dunn–it’d be hard to bet on anyone else, he simply destroyed the long, mushy rights with futuristic, high-performance surfing that was years ahead of anyone.

Sept 19-28
South West Coast-France
Quiksilver Pro France
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Mick Fanning
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Jeremy Flores
From 2007 WCT Rookie Of The Year to Quiksilver Pro Champion in 2008, Frenchman Jeremy Flores will give his country something to cheer for.

Sept 29-Oct 12
Mundaka, Euskadi-Spain
Billabong Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Bobby Martinez
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Andy Irons
Another event that is need of a major swell–who wants to watch the world’s best battle it out at Bakio? Our call is for Andy Irons to show off his backside (that sounded weird) barrel attack at macking Mundaka–a really formidable wave when it’s breaking properly.

Oct 28-Nov 5
Santa Catarina-Brazil
Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Mick Fanning
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Mick Fanning
Who would have thought that the best waves the 2007 WCT season saw would be in Brazil? Pretty hard to bet against Mick Fanningg here–he’s won the event the last two years, and, a lot of the best guys (Kelly, Andy, etc.) don’t even show up for this one unless they’re in the title race.

Dec 8-20
Banzai Pipeline, Oahu-Hawaii
Billabong Pipeline Masters
Prize Money: $320,000
2007 Champion: Bede Durbidge
Transworld SURF’s 2008 Champion: Bruce IronsIf he decides to do the tour, (rumors are flying, but they’re just that–rumors) our bet is that Bruce will rule Pipe. There’s also talk that he’ll set up a zip line from the third floor of the Volcom house straight to second reef Pipe which would really rattle whoever was in his heat.

Assorted Awards:
Rookie Of The Year: Jordy Smith in a landslide.
Most Improved: Plagued by injuries in 2007 Travis Logie should improve and finish way better than 31st.
Triple Crown Winner: Channeling his family roots, Mason Ho will shock the world in 2008.
Event of the year: Rip Curl Search at Gnalroo. Rip Curl’s Search Series will continue to score.
Women’s World Champion: Pretty hard to bet against Stephanie Gilmore, but look for South Americans Sofia Mulanovich and Silvana Lima to give her a run for the ’08 title.
Men’s World Champion: Mick Fanning. The “Man On Fire will continue to light it up in ’08.