Crystal balls, tarot cards? Who needs 'em? The immediate future is obvious.
1. Dane Reynolds will subtly attempt to requalify
Despite what you might read, or what denials he might issue, Dane Reynolds knows he has to deliver something a little extra for his four mil a year. His sponsor may have many wonderfully benevolent qualities, but they need more than a cult hero and the odd product shot of their talent in tight-ish brown chinos. Closing in on 30, Dane is a competitive animal. Who doesn't like to win, deep down? Watch Dane take off, watch Dane master the most complex of techniques. It doesn't come from not caring. Dane will compete in four world tour events this year as well as the occasional PRIME.
2. Another two print mags will disappear
Just as I was writing this, The Surfer's Path, a Surfers Journal-esque title published out of Europe with an editor based in the Caribbean, was sunk. Last year it was the occasionally brilliant TransWorld SURF. Think of print as film. It's beautiful. It has qualities that digital can't touch, but ultimately, economics wins. And once the mags get their heads around providing tablet-friendly editions, the game will continue, just in a different form. Still, two major titles will disappear this year while the rest cling, terrified, to the precipice.
3. ASP judging will become increasingly erratic
No human being is immune from self-esteem issues after being attacked, particularly, and surprisingly, in the anonymous online forum. It doesn't matter how bolted on your opinions are or how overwhelmingly right you might be, a couple of pointed comments online and you start to question your abilities and your values. Now can you imagine being an ASP judge? This year will deliver the weirdest results, ever.
4. Kelly Slater will return to conventional surfboards
After stealing the show at Pipe on a two-year-old, 6'6" Semi-Pro, Kelly will enliven his surfing, ironically, with a return to conventional boards. Sure, they'll be quads, everyone's on quads now, but they'll be narrower, thinner, and Kelly will suddenly be back in business even in small waves and even against jibbers like the phenomenal Felipe Toledo.
5. The world champ will be either Slater, Parko, Fanning or Jordy Smith.
Kinda obvious, right?