With the Hurley surf team getting retrenched en masse and a number of Dream Tour stops once again without naming rights sponsors, it’s hard to imagine any kind of delicious hypothetical becoming a reality in pro surfing’s current landscape, but that’s exactly what just happened for competitors on the 2020 World Qualifying Series.

An enviable decision had to be made. Namely, one that involved choosing between heaving tubes at Pipe or insanely rippable right-handers at one of Morocco’s premier points.

With 5,000 points on offer at each, for some the decision was purely geographical. Zero Hawaiians made the trek over to the Pro Taghazout Bay, for example. Likewise, very few Europeans chose to compete at the Volcom Pipe Pro. But for the Australians, who had a long way to go to either event (although considerably longer to Morocco), a more calculated decision had to be made.

So how did they go about choosing?

With only slightly more Aussies heading to Hawaii (15) than Morocco (10), it’s clear there was no obvious consensus among the surfers.

For Reef Heazlewood, who made the final at the 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro, there wasn’t much to consider.

‘For me, it was pretty simple. I just wanted to get barrels and I’d gotten third last year, so I was super excited to come back and try for some more,’ he said. ‘I had my heart set on Pipe even before it got upgraded.’

Wollongong’s Nic Squires was of a similar opinion.

‘The chance to surf Pipeline with three other people in the water and potentially score amazing Pipeline is the reward in itself,’ he said.

Sammy Gray chose Pipe over Morocco, and looking at this wave we're sure he's comfortable with his decision. Photo: WSL/Seguibo

But he also saw how the Morocco event might’ve been viewed as a more even playing field. 

‘It’s definitely a hard competition (Pipe) when there’s a bunch of guys in the draw that surf the wave every day and know it like the back of their hand,’ he said. ‘A firing righthand point break in Morocco is also a worthy drawcard.’

For Gold Coast ripper, Sheldon Simkus, there were a number of factors that influenced his decision to head to the Pro Taghazout Bay. Not least of all was the fact the Pipe contest was originally sanctioned as a QS3000. But his main reason actually had less to do with chasing points than it did with satisfying one of a surfer’s strongest impulses.

‘My main decision was having spent the Triple Crown on the North Shore (six weeks) and seeing a wave like Anchor Point come up online as a 5000, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to check out somewhere new and a place I’ve wanted to check out for quite some time,’ he said.

As it turned out, neither Pipe or Morocco was particularly fruitful in a competitive sense for any of the Aussies. Round 5 was the furthest our guys progressed in either event.

But it didn’t sound like any of the surfers I spoke to regretted their decisions.

‘This year was absolutely firing for the first three days of the competition and everyone was losing it at how good it was,’ Nic said of Pipe.

‘I didn’t do well in the contest at all but the place blew me away for how good quality the wave setups are and the venues they can run the contest at,’ Sheldon said of Morocco. ‘Will go back sometime for sure.’

There you have it. 

But it begs the question: where would you choose?