Since the first Rip Curl Pro Search scored epic Reunion Island surf in 2005, the event has continued to hone in on world-class waves at the right time (check out flashbacks of all the events). This year they will unleash the ASP men's and women's World Tours onto the island of Puerto Rico.
Typically this time of year Puerto Rico gets kicking in a big way—ever hear of the Halloween swell of '91? But the Atlantic Ocean has gone dormant for the month of October, causing surfers from Nova Scotia to Puerto Rico to pull their hair out. The forecast for the beginning of the holding period ain't looking so hot, but things can change in a heartbeat. Plus there's a whole 'nother dynamic about to happen in Puerto Rico.
With Jordy Smith being the only one able to catch Kelly Slater, the current World Title scenario looks like this: "If Kelly gets a 3rd or better in Puerto Rico, he clinches the title; Kelly gets a 5th/9th, Jordy needs a 1st; Kelly gets 13th/25th, Jordy needs a 3rd; We can also say that if Jordy gets a 5th or worse, Kelly is the Champion—even with a 25th."
It's almost inevitable that the 9-time champ will become the 10-time champ before the year is finished. And with Jordy rolling his ankle last week it's added even more of a challenge for the young South African. Jordy seems to thrive on challenges though, so don't count this thing over yet.
With all the focus on these two men and the implications of what could ensue in Puerto Rico, it makes guys like Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, and Owen Wright that much more dangerous for this event—putting guys near the top but not in the World Title mix on your FASL team is probably a good idea. They've got nothing to lose and you know that everyone Kelly comes up against is going to be putting even more into it—playing the spoiler is always fun.—Ryan Brower
The Rip Curl Pro Search gets going October 30th and runs till November 10th. Watch the event live.
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Check out our FASL picks below and get your team picked today. And who you got on your FASL team? Are our picks whack or on track?
Chris Cote, Editor In Chief
Winner: Andy Irons. Amid all the Kelly/Jordy madness, Andy will sneak in and show everybody yet again that he is a contender. Andy will be ready to rip and fly under the radar into Puerto Rico, and slash his way to another tour victory. He's a good bargain on FASL as well, add him to your team for some much needed end of the year points.
Best Rookie Performance: Pat Gudauskas will stake his claim for Rookie Of The Year by making the finals and nearly winning this event. The G-banger is hungry and wants a victory.
Shocker: Owen Wright will break six boards in one heat, and still win.
World Title: Duh.
Casey Koteen, Managing Editor
Winner: Mick Fanning. Kelly will make it to the quarters where he'll have sealed the title, and will get knocked out due to being completely overcome, and Mick will swoop in and win the event.
Best Rookie Performance: After being dormant for much of the year, Dusty Payne will get a much needed result to keep himself on tour for 2011.
Shocker: Although I hope it doesn't happen, I have a bad feeling the Rip Curl Search event will get skunked for the first time in a while.
World Title: See first answer.
Aaron Checkwood, Photo Editor
Winner: I'm assuming the contest will be at a certain beach break and these types of conditions with some windy bump make guys like Damien and CJ Hobgood horny. I'm going out on a limb and saying a Hobgood will win. Yeah. They know these waves.
Best Rookie Performance: Owen. He froths.
Shocker: One of the Puerto Rican locals like Tothy or Dylan Graves will do some damage. Boricua!
World Title: Kelly does really well in these types of waves as well. Shit, any type of wave. But so does Jordy. How cool would it be if they met up early? The title goes to Hawaii. I want to see it come down to Pipe.
Justin Cote, Online Editor
Winner: Kelly Slater. The man is on a roll and history has proven that when he's hot, nobody can stop him.
Best Rookie Performance: Having grown up in warm and windy Maui wedges, Dusty Payne will get a decent result.
Shocker: I'd be shocked if the "Search" event gets perfect surf for the sixth year in a row.
World Title: Kelly takes it.
Ryan Brower, Edit Assistant
Winner: Owen Wright wins and solidifies Rookie Of The Year, since Jadson is the only rookie with a win at the moment.
Best Rookie Performance: Owen, duh. But look out for Pat G., Simpo, and Wilko to put up good results.
Shocker: Jordy does all he can but it's still not enough.
World Title: Kelly is going to make it to the semis, solidifying his 10th World Title then he'll buy the island of Puerto Rico with the $10-million bonus he was promised by Quik…
Jeff Baldwin, Sales Turkey
Winner: Andy Irons is going to make it back to the winners circle. He's had two really close loses which are motivating him to push through. As well, he's back in the tropics which he loves.
Best Rookie Performance: Brett Simpson has turned on the gas these last few events and will go the furthest.
Shocker: Where is Bobby Martinez?
World Title: Kelly takes #10 at this event! Amazing.