MargiesPro WSL and Fantasy Surfer Outlook
Last updated April 12, 2015 by Surf-Stats
Well, we gave you about 78% good advice for Bells, which is a very good success rate. We hope to have helped you pick your team for either site, and as always give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook to let us know if we did! Select the tabs to see our overview for each site’s Men’s and Women’s Fantasy.
Also feel free to use our Sortable Conditions AHS Table and Fantasy Surfer Points Per Dollar Value Table as very helpful tools to up your research game. Both open in new windows so don’t be scared to dive right in!
WSL Fantasy Surfing – Men’s CT
Up next is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, and the Tiers have tightened up a bit. We told you this would happen (and hope you took advantage of Tier B at Bells), but nonetheless, you’ve got a team to pick. For an event with limited CT history and an unprecedented forecast, we’ll rely more on conditions-based statistics than location…[showhide type=”WSL Fantasy”]
Don’t – Adriano De Souza. The #MargiesPro forecast is one of the most exciting we’ve seen for the Dream Tour in a long time – consistent 6-10+’ swell with offshore winds, epic, Excellent conditions across the board likely for the whole competition. Expect up to double-overhead, clean, glass, barreling waves breaking both left and right throughout the event window. This is not where De Souza shines brightest. His 10.48 AHS in 6-10′ surf ranks 24th and he has trouble when winds go offshore as well. That “trouble” is not that he hates epic conditions, but that he cannot capitalize on them as well as others on tour. Who can? Our Tier A Do‘s below. *HEAT DRAW: Unfavorable. He’s up against two very comfortable big wave barrel-slayers in Sebastian Zietz and our Tier C pick C.J. Hobgood. Our money is on C.J. for R1.
Do – Here are three names to consider for your Tier A at Margies (and only because Taj Burrow is in Tier B).
Mick Fanning – Tough to argue this guy’s form right now, and even though he has a rough Margaret River location AHS of 11.5, we’ll need to consider that the event will look much different this year. Consider this more of a Supertubos or Pipeline event, the way the forecast is lining up. And in those places, Mick is dominant – 2nd best 6-10′ Wave AHS at 14.72 and a 15.42 AHS in Excellent conditions. Once again, many teams will be drafting Mick Fanning – be one of them. *HEAT DRAW: Favorable. Matt Wilkinson and WC 2.
Julian Wilson – 14.00 Margaret River AHS, and an average 12.9 AHS in 6-10′ but that is including a Sophomore Slump year – he ended 2014 by winning the Pipe Masters, remember? His off-season regime has got Wilson back in the game for 2015 and he can’t be happy with his R3 exit at Bells. He’ll want to finish off strong in his last home field event. He’ll have to if he want’s a shot at a title – which he certainly does. *HEAT DRAW: Unfavorable. Julian won’t have it easy in R1, drawing Owen Wilson and Matt Banting.
Nat Young – We want to personally thank Nat for coming through for our projection model at Bells by beating Filipe Toledo. We love Filipe and his aquatic/aerial displays, but our model simply told a different story than the post-Gold Coast rankings. That being said, let’s take a look at Nat for Margaret River and his first Tier A landing of 2015. He’s got a 13.89 6-10′ Wave AHS (4th ranked) and Margaret River looks to provide him some forehand action with a few Lefts. CT# 3 is a reef break but behaves quite a bit like a beach break, throwing waves in every direction – and big barrel conditions at such a break are very similar to his home spot in California. Coming off a very strong Bells event, Nat is a strong pick for Margies. How strong for Tier A? We’ll let you decide, but he should be considered a high draft option. *HEAT DRAW: Medium. Young beat Michel Bourez in his Bells R1 and should be able to do it again, but these conditions suit Bourez far more than Nat. There is a risk here if Bourez gets his act together after a very JQS-looking elimination heat at Bells.
Still tricky in Tier B, but this is your make-or-break Tier. With four surfers in the slot, you’ll stand to gain – or lose – the most points possible. We’ll start with our easy picks:
Taj Burrow – We have Taj projected at a 13.45 AHS for 111.4 WSL Fantasy Points this year. He’ll be looking to bounce back after a disappointing exit at his home break in 2014 and with the waves pumping, his superior knowledge of the location will give him a big advantage. We don’t expect Taj to win this one, but he should be a good contender for the QF-SF range. *HEAT DRAW: Favorable. Burrow is up against Bede Durbidge, and (a potentially dangerous) Jeremy Flores. Flores is coming off a hot event at Bells, but mostly for his standards. His form right now is a far cry from the Pipe Masters winner we’ve seen in the past.
Kelly Slater – It’s hard to argue that Kelly isn’t slipping a bit in his golden years. But he’s one of the most versatile wave riders on tour. He has been one of the best in big surf (#1 AHS for 6-10′ at 15.25, and that’s tested over a very large sample size). Kelly’s one of the best barrel readers in the history of the sport, and is a judges surfer who knows the criteria front to back. He hasn’t seen conditions that suit him in a while, and it has been reflected in his performance. We’re certain Slater is drooling over the forecast for Margaret River, watch out for a big score. *HEAT DRAW: Extremely Favorable. Kelly’s R1 has him up against Kai Otton and Ricardo Christie, who are both projected to fare worse than Fanning’s foe Matt Wilkinson. This is the widest margined heat in the entire draw.
Choose Wisely – Tier B has a lot of names, so you’re going to have some choices to make. Check out these comparisons, but we suggest not drafting two of the same.
Gabriel Medina or Wiggolly Dantas – We like any goofy footer with a penchant for big tubes for this event, and Medina fits the bill easily. For the time being, we are going to consider him among the middle of the pack and take him off the pedestal – try it, it helps you think more clearly. In that light, he is very comparable to an in-form Wiggolly Dantas, who we suspect will be very eager to get into some barreling left-handers and show why he’s on the tour. Medina has already proven he can walk the walk in double overhead, but we advise only grabbing one of these two. *HEAT DRAW: Medina – Favorable. Surfing against a Fredrick Patacchia and WC Alejo Muniz. Dantas – Unfavorable. He’ll have to beat a big-time threat in John John Florence if he wants to advance quickly.
John John Florence or Joel Parkinson – John John is a clear bet for these conditions and should feel right at home, but let’s consider that the clearest bets don’t always work out. We gave you John John for Bells and he disappointed. We can swallow that and put him on the block again for Margies, considering the insane forecast. He has a very impressive line for these conditions (see our Sortable Stats Table) and we’re projecting a 14.56 AHS for 124.94 WSL Pts – he has a 15.04 AHS for Margaret River already. Parko, on the other hand, has shown he can dominate these conditions as well and we have him slated for 2nd highest PAHS at 14.47. The call is yours to make. *HEAT DRAW: Florence – Medium. His Bells performance didn’t thrill anyone and there’s a very reasonable risk he goes down to Wiggolly Dantas in R1. The middle class of the CT is rising this year and there is a greater talent pool to beat. Florence should go deep into this one, but there’s no guarantee. Parkinson – Extremely Favorable. Up against Kolohe Andino and Adam Melling, Parko is a lock for R3 off the start.
Honorable Mention: Owen Wright – Fearless big time barrel riding skill and a goofy footer, too. Not a bad combo.
C.J. Hobgood – Period. Strong PAHS at 12.7 (which is worse than Alejo Muniz, but has been tested and proven over a longer career), and a 12.82 6-10′ Wave AHS locks him in as our first ranked Tier C man. In layman’s terms, C.J. is in his winning element here, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a QF. As a Tier C pick, that’s more than enough to exceed value. *HEAT DRAW: Favorable. Yes, Adriano De Souza is looking very good at the moment, but these are not his strongest conditions. We expect that C.J. can take R1.
Honorable Mention: Dusty Payne – Hawaiian tube-centric with some flare, but a grueling road ahead as the 31st seed.[/showhide]
Fantasy Surfer – Men’s CT
If you listened to us over here before Bells, you would have pounced on Nat Young. His value jumped 3/4 of a million in one event! Here’ s a look at some other surfers at prices you’ll want to consider…[showhide type=”Fantasy Surfer”]
John John Florence – We have JJ up for a 14.56 PAHS and locking down a win at Margies this year. If he does, that gives him the best value overall. Who can know if Florence will light up his forecast dream conditions though, if he flounders as he has so far this year, he could easily hurt your score at that price.
Taj Burrow – While we don’t think Taj will win this one, we certainly like his chances for a QF or SF. At $8.5M he’s a steal if you ask us, and should payoff easily at his backyard break.
Kelly Slater – Risky pick given his lackluster start to the year, but Margarets River will be going off big time in 2015 and Kelly thrives in big barrel conditions. We consider him less risky than John John Florence with greater upside, and his R1 Heat Draw should put him right into R3.
No Go’s – For us, these are the pricey Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and Jordy Smith. Jordy has a small chance at payoff based solely on his cheaper status. Don’t get us wrong, Fanning and Medina will surely get the job done here, but the risk doesn’t outweigh a potential disaster. Steer clear if you can manage it.
Now is the time to cash in on guys who are going to do some very big damage at Rio – the Brazilians. But be cautious, you’ll want to choose guys who will show a price increase after Margaret River – think lower tier with any upside. Otherwise you could be stuck with someone who can’t get the job done in West Oz and their price only drops heading into Brazil, #frustrating. That brings us to….
Wiggolly Dantas – An easy pickup at $4.25M since the forecast suits him beautifully. Look for Dantas to quickly payoff at Margaret River and then take it a step further. We think he’ll pull some big upsets and he’ll see a jump in price heading into Rio. You’ll thank us for having him for both events, and for one of them, possibly $500,000 – $750,000 less than cost.
Filipe Toledo – With his price already high, we don’t recommend Toledo for MR as the conditions won’t suit his style or panache; youth and inexperience will be on display more than his air game. His price won’t likely increase before Rio, where you’ll be sure to pick him up anyway. Leave him on the shelf for this one (hey, if you listened to us before Bells, he’ll already be on the shelf).
Adriano De Souza – We also highly recommend against the pricey De Souza. He is a star in the grind-it-out, milk-the-last-drop status quo of the CT, but these forecasts are no joke. De Souza does not perform his best in the barrel, so his price will likely only drop before Rio, where you’ll be sure to pick him up as well (catching a theme for Rio?)
Since the pricing on Fantasy Surfer has nothing to do with how a surfer is projected to perform at an upcoming event, it leaves the door wide open for lower tier value scores. If you haven’t noticed one of them, you should open your eyes….
C.J. Hobgood – $3M is absurd for C.J. in conditions he where he will target and destroy heats. He eats big left-hand barrels (and right-hand barrels) for breakfast – and he’s very hungry (Commando™). And you can still drop him before Rio, where his price will likely drop again – so don’t worry if you like him for ‘Chopes. You can have Hobgood in his element for the same price as Glenn Hall. Don’t not do it (that means “do it”).
Alejo Muniz – There is no surfer with a better chance at a R3 berth at this price. We’ve seen some damage done by WC’s already this year and Muniz is a proven CT veteran. For $1.5M, all he has to do is get into R3 to pay off, and he might even get through to R4. WC 2 will be facing the highest seed in R2 and is already doomed, but Muniz will have it a bit easier. Only spending $1.5M on a slot will free up a lot of cap space. He might even be around for Rio. Muniz is a very low risk pick with tremendous upside, get on it.
Michel Bourez – With the good sleeper picks, we’ll also give you one to steer clear of. Bourez looked absolutely lost in his knock-out heat at Bells. His whole 2015 campaign has been dismal so far, yet many will still jump to pick him up at a middle/upper-tier price because he’s the defending event champion. We’ll give him that – he certainly won last year – but given the forecast, 2015 Margaret River is going to be an entirely different place. If you subtract last years success and add his current form, there’s simply far too much risk with a giant, looming downside. Let everyone else experiment here, but don’t join them.[/showhide]
WSL Fantasy Surfing Women’s CT
We gave you Lakey Peterson over Silvana Lima last time and that worked out pretty well. Everything else lined up too for a pretty successful Women’s Bells Beach Event. The Margaret River forecast is big. We’re going to recommend girls who have dominated in overhead, barreling surf in beach or reef breaks, with Excellent conditions and offshore wind…[showhide type=”WSL Women’s Fantasy”]
Don’t – Tyler Wright. Tyler has looked shabby in the last few events and we don’t trust her to excel in the forecast conditions. Mistakes will offer greater consequence this year at Margies, and Tyler made most of her errors on larger set waves during the final days at Bells. We’re projecting a healthy 77.14 WSL Fantasy Points for Wright, but that’s nowhere near good enough for Tier A. *HEAT DRAW: Medium. She’s got Silvana Lima, and though we don’t expect Lima to have a stellar event, you might have a different opinion. So your choice is between:
Stephanie Gilmore – 13.78 PAHS for 101.07 WSL Fantasy Points is our projection. Gilmore has a great reputation in all conditions and should be able to go very deep into the bracket. We have her coming in 3rd behind Moore and Fitz, but she could easily win, or get knocked out by someone like Tatiana Weston-Webb. For this reason, we recommend a less risky pick due to a higher seed (Ding! If you guessed Carissa Moore). *HEAT DRAW: Favorable. But with some risk – Bianca Buitendag has a 15.2 AHS for 6-10′ waves, and while that is monstrous, it is of a small sample size.
Carissa Moore – Our pick for Tier A. Can she open 2015 with 3 wins in a row? She easily could, given her tremendous form at the moment and her R1 Heat is the most favorable. As the highest seed in the event, she is looking at the easiest road to the Finals – it’ll be tough to slow her down. *HEAT DRAW – Extremely Favorable. Coco Ho and a WC.
Sally Fitzgibbons – Don’t be crazy and leave Fitz off your team for this one, she’s an obvious choice. PAHS of 14.09 for 108.27 WSL Fantasy Points, 13.47 AHS at Margaret River, 13.27 AHS in 6-10′ conditions. Finding herself in Tier B again only because of her quick exit at the Gold Coast, this might be her last debut with the B Squad – take advantage.
Tatiana Weston-Webb – Yes, she’s up against our other Tier B pick Fitz off the bat in R1 and this smacks our “anti friendly fire” strategy right in the face. But Tati is going to be one of the best big wave, needle-threading, barrel riders on the tour. She has a first ranked 6-10′ AHS of 15.53 and we’re projecting 90.71 WSL Fantasy Points, though that could easily be more if she pulls a big upset or two. With her skills in bigger conditions, she very well might take out Fitz in R1, and many others in the following Rounds. We love Tatiana for this event.
We want to recommend Alessa Quizon for this one, but we couldn’t possibly put 3 of our surfers in the same R1 Heat, could we? Yes! We can and we will. At least now we are guaranteed to have someone cashing in that 20.00 bonus, and Alessa is a clear cut above the rest of the C surfers. She’s the only Hawaiian in Tier C and if you notice a theme here, given the Margies forecast, we think that Hawaiians will earn more points overall. Another reason we liked Carissa Moore.[/showhide]
Fantasy Surfer Women’s CT
The forecast for Margaret River this year should have you drooling, even as a spectator (and for most of us, only as a spectator). When the ladies find themselves in the lineup in these massive conditions, you’ll want to make sure you have some tried and true big wave navigators on your squad. We like Hawaiians across the board in the lower pricing tiers, but the top crop are up for debate…[showhide type=”Fantasy Surfer Women’s”]
Carissa Moore – Moore is on fire right now, but you can’t think with only your heart and eyes if you want to win. The stats tell somewhat of a different tale for Moore in head-high to double-overhead surf. She’s only got a 7th ranked 11.89 AHS in 6-10′ waves, and we’re projecting a modest 13.58 AHS for the Gold Jersey. But here’s what we do like: Moore is the #1 seed, so she’s going to draw the WC’s, the Dimity Stoyles and the Sage Ericksons of the event. This will give her a much easier journey to the finals than her top-tier counterparts – who just might find themselves down Upset Alley without a bodyguard.
Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore – What can you say? Both these ladies have the chops to get it done in epic conditions. They are very close in AHS for 6-10′ waves, Fitz with a 13.27 and Gilmore with a 13.24. What will set them apart is the draw. Sally Fitzgibbons faces Tatiana Weston-Webb in R1 (more on her in a bit) but that heat has big upset potential. We think Sally can overcome it, but both she and Steph are going to face some tough low-tier competition throughout the event. One bad heat and Poof! – gone. We recommend limiting the high price bracket risk and stick with just two of these top 3 – Moore and Fitz. There’s simply too much talent in cheaper options.
We can’t wait to watch the Hawaiian crew take on the conditions at Margie this year – it’s going to be fun to watch. Since all of them but Moore are in the lower price tiers, that qualifies most as sleepers. Who doesn’t love a good sleeper?
Tatiana Weston-Webb – Hands down, needs to be on 100% of teams for this event. Tati has an insane 15.53 career AHS in 6-10′ waves(!) and has already been turning heads with her confidence as a CT freshman. Like C.J. Hobgood on the Men’s side, T-Dub (still trying to find a nickname that sticks, suggestions welcome) is a steal of a deal at $4.5M. Remember when she put up almost 50 Total Heat Points at a pumping Fiji last year? If she makes it towards the QF she’ll pay off with a huge 4.22 PPD. You’d be crazy not to have her on your team for MR as Webb has a chance of knocking out a few higher seeds.
Coco Ho – Too pricey for sleeper status, and with limited upside, she’s too risky for our taste. We’ll move along, but tip our cap.
Alessa Quizon – At $3.5M she has a very good chance at a payoff. All she has to do is get through R2 and for that price, she’ll be worth it. The upside is that she can eke it out into R4. With a 14.84 AHS in 6-10′ surf, don’t expect that this will be much of a challenge. We’ve got Alesssa locked in and ready to see her do work.
Tyler Wright – Wright has looked sloppy, especially when conditions went overhead at Bells. The ability to power through mistakes in head-high, slow-rolling surf is one thing – there’s a lot more room for error than in sharp snapping barrels – but if she’s still surfing like that at Margaret River, it is going to be costly and dangerous. The upside is there for Wright, but at $9.5M, she’s simply not worth the risk.
Silvana Lima – We’ve seen Lima get fired-up and sign her name across a wave’s face for a 10.00, but we’ve also seen what can happen when that emotion and energy work against her. Lima is a low price for her potential upside in any other conditions but these. She works best as being the premiere female aerial artist and grinds out the small to medium waves. Barrel threading is not her strongest suit, and she’s going to try way too hard to make it work. Look for Silvana to make a fairly quick exit before the QF. At $5M, she’s still not worth the risk.
Disclaimer: We have been dumping all over Silvana Lima so far this year, and we hate having to do that. She’s a tremendous athlete and has overcome extensive hurdles to get where she’s at. We can’t wait for Lima to get back in the winner’s circle, but until she does, we’ve gotta stick to the facts. [/showhide]