Margaret River Fantasy Preview
Last updated April 30, 2021 by Balyn McDonald
The WSL have plenty of venue guides for Margies, or Ben Mondy overviews, as well as detailed break breakdowns, and Kelly Slater’s ‘Vision’ series providing his insights into Main Break, the Box
and North Point (North Point has been confirmed as being off the table this year).
Honestly through, this event is harder to pin down in regards to conditions than most as there are
four three different waves to consider, namely: the three-blasts-to-the-surgeon’s-table of Main Break rights; the big, left-hand mushburgers of Main Break; and the heaving deep-water ledge of The Box, and; the possibly-mindblowing-but-unlikely-to-run promise of North Point.
Regardless of which break they run at, you’ll want to pick surfers that are suited to rock/reef-bottoms, can handle formidable swell sizes, and know their way around right-hand barrels / power turns. Check out the data below and play around with the built-in stats on the FSS site to really dig in to the surfer metrics. Remember also that, while ~90% of scoring waves over the last 8 years have been rights, a larger swell forecast can bring the lefts into play.
It’s not often that the official forecast uses the word ‘pumping’, so it may be time to start getting excited. We’re looking at a possible 3-day wave-fest to open up the waiting period, with rumours of the Box being a possible option:
Sunday 2nd: Building and pumping swell with offshore wind. Likely run day
Monday 3rd: Easing but still solid swell with offshore wind. Likely run day
Tuesday 4th: Much smaller but still rippable and clean. Possible run day
Long Range: Breezy onshore wind may set in the 5th-8th
Surfers IN :
Reef Haezelwood: Kolohe’s replacement looked very comfortable amongst the top 34 on his way to earning a 9th at Narrabeen. He now gets to surf Margies with only 1-2 guys out as a reward.
Mikey Wright: keeps his replacement spot (in for Kelly), but still hasn’t bettered a 17th this year. He surfed two rounds here in 2018 before it moved to Uluwatu (where he got 3rd).
Jacob Willcox: the Margies native and trials winning goofy-footer isn’t scared of what the juiced-up Indian Ocean can deliver. His history at this event isn’t amazing, but he beat Gabe in 2017 and the conditions this year could be in his favour.
Cyrus Cox: the little-known local goofy-footer finished 2nd to Willcox at the trials and will test his wares against the tour for the first time.
Willow Hardy: a 14-year-old WA prodigy who took out the women’s trials. Could surprise a few with her willingness to go on the big ones.
Amuro Tsuzuki: very little has been said about Lakey’s injury, but Japanese replacement Amuro gets the not for the second event in a row.
Kelly Slater – looks like he may actually be injured if he’s missing this WA swell.
Kolohe Andino – out for the entire Oz leg.
Lakey Peterson – ???
Mick Fanning – Mick remembered why he retired after being smacked down by Italo.
Dylan Moffat – can’t really claim a local wildcard spot here.
John John – I’m sorry, but if John’s performance here in 2017 isn’t seared permanently into your memory, then I’m not sure we can be fantasy friends. Nobody in recent history has dominated an event like JJF did at Margaret river. Forget his form, forget looking at the data (though it will back me up, I’m sure) and just pick him already.
Morgs – this is a form pick. Morgan is 4th for the season in both AHS and win %. He’s beaten John John twice this season (nobody else has beaten him even once), and he’s just looked electric these past two events. I don’t know what his big wave form is like, but he’ll be bristling with confidence.
Julian – this is NOT a form pick. This is based on metrics for the break and conditions. If you have blacklisted him forever due to inconsistent (or consistently poor) form, then I completely understand.
JRob – Jack’s has a 25th, 13th (Uluwatu) and 9th out here. Not impressive results, but moving in the right direction. What he does have in his favour is the forecast; his 2019 round 3 18.57 against Filipe showed just how comfortable he is out at the Box, and it seems likely that he could get to surf there. If not, massive Main Break is going to be just as comfortable for him.
Frederico– looked great at Narrabeen, but is 0-6 in heats at this event. His reef data isn’t great either.
Wade – as above, no wins at this event, but in two starts. Poor reef data too.
Ace – hasn’t won a heat here since 2017 and has only made the quarters once in 6 events.
Jaddy / Miggy– both have win % in the 30s and AHS in the 9s for this event. Neither rank highly in reef conditions either.
Margaret River Sortable MetricsKey:
MR = Margaret River contests
Right = venues with right-hander waves
Reef = venues with reef bottom breaks
win % = win percentage in given condition
AHS = average heat score (2 waves) in given condition
4-6' = waves shoulder to slightly overhead
* apologies: our data for 6-8' and 8'+ conditions got corrupted. We're trying to fix ASAP
|Surfer Name||Season Win %||Season AHS||Right win %||Right hand AHS||Reef win %||Reef AHS||4-6' win%||4-6' AHS||MR Win %||MR AHS|
|John John Florence||81.82||13.04||65.12||15.09||71.3||15.06||67.32||14.72||83.33||16.1|
|Adriano de Souza||44.44||8.63||58.26||13.61||50||11.69||55.29||13.11||61.9||13|
Here’s the thing about data-driven fantasy selections: they almost always guarantee you a safe, bankable score. What they don’t earn you is a winning score, a score that takes risks with an against-the odds darkhorse-come-good. For that, you need to back yourself with a solid sleeper pick. Here are my non-data-based suggestions:
Jeremy Flores – while he may be seeded 11th for the event, he can easily slide into the top 8 if he beats Owen and Deivid in R1. He loves a big barrel, and he’s not afraid to send it in the big stuff. (He did lose convincingly to Seabass at the box in 2019 though…)
Caio Ibelli – looked super comfortable at the Box in 2019, taking out Gabe in R3. Can’t change his seeding for the better with a R1 win, but looks likely to progress in his first heat. Has a good history at this event.
Jacob Willcox – he’s a man who isn’t afraid of an upset. He knocked out Medina here in R2 a few years ago, beat Kelly as grom in Portugal, and Kolohe at Bells in 2019. He likes thick, heavy reef breaks too, so don’t count him out.
While you’re here reading, don’t forget to check out all of the features that have been added to the FSS fantasy game.
Prizes – most fantasy games (WSL, FS) ask you to play for fun with no hope of prizes, while others (BeachGrit) ask you to pay for the chance to win. NOT US. Play for free, with a superior game, and still get a chance to win. Crazy, huh?
Clubs – make sure you join one or start your own.
Data – each surfer’s image links to a pop-up screen of historical data. PLUS, there’s the new ‘compare stats for multiple surfers’ feature on the team selection page, where you can compare the data across surfers that you see as relevant.
Substitutes – if the past 14 months has taught us anything, it’s that plans go awry. Make sure you utilize the emergency sub feature for your team (at no cost to your team budget).
Homepage – with scrolling updates of twitter news and a customisable surf forecast (defaulted to Narrabeen at the moment), you can check any updates at a glance.
All that’s left to do is choose your team, and enjoy the return of professional surfing.
– Balyn (surf-stats)