The waiting period for the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang kicks off on July 1 and given how much of a tube-fest it generally is, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to start.

Every Aussies’ favourite three-time world champ, Mick Fanning, was charged with the task of picking the four international surfers in the draw and although I wouldn’t have minded seeing him add himself and Clay Marzo to the mix, he chose a pretty handy squad. Hawaiian-based Saffa Benji Brand was his under-the-radar pick, Barron Mamiya got his attention and rightfully so, Kai Otton will enjoy a welcome return to competition thanks to his old tour buddy and so will former rival Taj Burrow. Joining them will be last year’s winner and tube pig extraordinaire, Jack Robinson, who, given his track record in grinding pits, will no doubt be the man to beat.

Then there’s the Indo contingent who always perform well on their home turf. Two-time champs Mega Semadhi and Bol Adi Putra will be joined by former winner Garut Widiarta and last year’s runner-up, Agus "Blacky" Setiawan.

Last year's Rip Curl Cup winner Jack Robinson will come into the event as one of the favourites.

The final four entrants will be decided by a local trials which is running today, June 28.

Word is the swells have been pretty lacklustre out on the Bukit through most of June and many see this as a sign that Padang will fire up good and proper come July, right in time for the one-month waiting period. Given the event’s status as a specialty tube-riding event it stands as a pretty unique contest in surfing’s current climate. Add in the fact it’s run and won in a day and it’s easy to see why its popularity has endured with surf fans.

Personally I’d love to see Jack Robo and Taj Burrow face off in the final for a good old-fashioned West Oz cross-generational tube battle royal.

Who’d be your pick to win that one?