Margaret River Fantasy Preview
Last updated April 24, 2022 by Balyn McDonald
I’m aware of just how late this is dropping.
I’ve had sick kids and the fantasy stuff has had to take a back seat. Hopefully you’ve been making good use of the data and surfer comparison features that are build into the FSS game.
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.
Honestly through, this event is harder to pin down in regards to conditions than most as there are four 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 (the average wave height is in the 6-8′ range), 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 doesn’t look great. Check the official forecast update from the WSL here.
Replacements / Wildcards / Injuries
Bronte Macaulay (AUS) will continue surfing as the WSL Injury Replacement for Caroline Marks (USA), who has withdrawn from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach due to medical reasons.
Three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) has withdrawn from his last event before returning at G-Land. He will be replaced by Barron Mamiya (HAW).
Yago Dora (BRA) continues his recovery from his injury ahead of the season and will be replaced by WSL Injury Replacement, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF). Carlos Munoz (CRI) and Liam O’Brien (AUS) sustained injuries at Pipeline and continue their recoveries. They will be replaced by Caio Ibelli (BRA) and WA local Jacob Willcox (AUS), respectively.
The wildcard spots for men and women have been awarded to Ben Spence, Jack Thomas & Mia McCarthy. They earned their spots by taking out the trials event earlier in the week.
Margaret River MetricsKey:
Season = data from 2022 championship tour events
Win % = percentage of heats won
AHS = average heat score
Right = data from events held in right-hand breaking conditions
Reef = data from events held in reef break conditions
6-8' = data from heats run in 6-8' wave height conditions
MR = data specifically from Margaret River events
Avg Place = average finishing place for event (lower place is better, as 1st is an event win)
|Surfer Name||Season Win %||Right win %||Reef win %||6-8' win%||Season AHS||Right hand AHS||Reef AHS||6-8' AHS||MR Avg Place||MR Win %||MR AHS|
|John John Florence||73.33||65.63||71.19||75.34||15.18||15.11||15.10||15.07||6.86||79.31||16.05|
Pick ’em – fantasy suggestions
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 if 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.
Matthew McGillivray – sure, he’s had an annus horibilis, but he did finish 3rd here in 2021, with an AHS of 14.67 no less. One event isn’t really a solid run of form, but he could surprise.
Jordy Smith – a solid performer here, with a final last year and quarters-or-better finishes since 2017. Solid metrics across the board.
Kolohe Andino – great winning percentage for this event. Another solid option for quarters or better.
Seth Moniz – two events here, two 5th places.
Flick ’em – be wary of these surfers
Frederico– looked much improved last year, with a 9th, but was 0-6 in heats at this event prior to 2021. His reef data is the lowest of any surfer with a full season or more.
Jacob Willcox – seems like a solid pick, but his win % here is quite low. Be wary.
Ezekiel Lau – has won 1 out of 7 heats at this event and has the lowest AHS for the event out of all current surfers.
Jack Robinson – I’ll be honest; he’ll probably be on my team, but his numbers for this event aren’t actually that amazing. That said, he’s certainly building as a competitor this year, so success could only be a matter of time.
Here’s the thing about data-driven fantasy selections: they almost always guarantee you a safe score. What they don’t earn you is a winning score, a score that is only gained through defying the popular choices with an against-the odds Sleeper. Here are some options that we have our eyes on:
Top Tier – we suggested Filipe last event, and he won. Not John, not Jordy, not Italo, not Slater, not even the #1 seed Kanoa. I don’t think we can get away with that again, especially since he’s wearing the yellow. This time, we’re looking at Kanoa. His early exit at Bells will make him less popular, but he surfs best when he is the underdog.
Mid Tier – Let’s throw in two names again in this section, since it makes up a bulk of your team. Nat Young has a great record at this event and has surprised a few already this year. He could be a great ‘contrarian’ option for Margies. Another dark horse could be Jackson Baker. He has looked solid all season and won’t be afraid to unleash his frontside gouges at this event.
Low Tier – our heart says Joao; especially given his season AHS. He will probably be on a few teams though, so he’s not really a sleeper. The data also suggests that McGillivray could be worth a sneaky chance.
Fantasy Surf Sessions
As usual, we’ll be offering prizes for this event; the Bells fantasy champion wins a 12-month subscription to fuel.tv, as well as 12 months access to Holistica‘s awesome surf training programs. The loser gets a prize too; 12 months of digital stoke through a Surfing Life subscription, just to take the sting away.
All you need to do is make sure your team is saved before the event starts.
Best of luck,