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Men's Portugal Fantasy Outlook

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Men's Portugal Fantasy Outlook

Last updated October 18, 2015 by Surf-Stats

France was a lot more entertaining than we though it would be,  and our picks did pretty well.  There’s nothing better than the Tier A Lock taking the cake at 9% started – thank you,  Gabby!  Our second Tier A pick Adriano de Souza locked in the second-best score amongst the upper crust as well.

The 2015 Surf-Stats Clubhouse [password: fantasy] France Champion is Aaron’s Picks,  putting the hurt on us all with 600.97 points.  Well done!

We have been giving bragging rights like it’s going out of style for our Clubhouse winners,  but it’s time we stepped up our game.  Our partners over at have put up a small prize of $10 in credits to the winners of each Men’s and Women’s Clubhouse events [password for both:  fantasy].  If you’ve previously won the Clubhouse,  head over to to sign up!  Let us know your email and we’ll make sure you get your $10 prize.  You can use this just like real money with no risk and translate your skills into dollars.

The unexpected Bede Durbidge Train wreaked havoc for Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning – best mates aside,  he really didn’t do them any favors by bumping them from the event.  All Durbo did was pave the way for Medina or de Souza to chip away at Fanning’s lead and increase his own rank,  jumping a huge 5 spots to number 11.  De Souza couldn’t capitalize on Mick’s QF falter,  but still made up 1,300 points to cut the lead to a mere 450 points.  If either Fanning or de Souza finish SF or better at Portugal,  it will most likely mean the end of the road for anyone outside their club.

John John Florence dropped another ugly heat against Gabriel Medina,  hitting the showers after a QF loss that makes his event look good on paper.  But we’ll analyze that in our Tier B writeup,  for now let’s kick it off with the big guns.  Onto the Outlook…

Tier A

LOCK:  Gabriel Medina (14.02 Proj AHS for 116.03 Proj Pts / 16% Start) – Our projection model only gives Medina second place for Portugal,  but by less than 10 points to Mick Fanning.  The start percentage difference is gigantic,  though,  with Fanning representing at 52%.  Fantasy surfing is played not only by picking great players,  but by fielding the market and lining yourself up for the biggest impact against the crowd.  With an almost identical projection and coming off an event win,  we’re definitely picking up Medina again here.  Besides the surface value,  Gabriel also has a 14.68 career AHS and 7 QSFW in Portugal,  finishing second in 2012 (albeit against tier-mate Julian Wilson).  We’re extremely surprised he’s only at 16%  started,  but happy as a clam to take advantage.  .

Julian Wilson (13.8 Proj AHS for 115.53 Proj Pts / 23% Start) – The only thing our model seems to have favored Medina over Julian Wilson for is recent performance.  It’s certainly close between these two,  and even though Wilson picked up his slack a bit at France,  Medina won the thing.  Wilson is definitely the better candidate on paper,  with a gigantic #1 ranked 15.76 career Portugal AHS and 17 QSFW.  In his young career he already has a win here and is definitely a threat for number two.  But Medina is awesome right now,  undeniably so,  and has a much more proven track record with a World Title under his early CT belt.  We’re taking Gabby over Jules,  but wouldn’t blame you for swapping that game plan or even grabbing both.

It’s A Trap

Filipe Toledo (12.03 Proj AHS for 101.55 Proj Pts / 30% Start) – Toledo is the second-most drafted Tier A surfer for Portugal so far.  In our opinion,  that’s preposterous.  What has Toledo done in throaty left-hand barrels that would have you considering him here?  His 11.65 Portugal AHS is the worst among the tier (not including Italo Ferreira who has not surfed the event yet) and a 1 QSFW means Toledo was eliminated in the only QF he made.  What’s the risk here?  Well,  in fading Filipe there’s a chance he could come out swinging with the small,  choppy forecast on deck.  If they don’t wait for the end of the event window (where there is only a small chance for improved conditions),  it could look very different from classic Supertubos.  Even then,  we’ve seen Toledo get eliminated to much surprise in spots like Trestles,  so the risk is just too high either way.  Fade until 2016.


Italo Ferreira (13.11 Proj AHS for 101.69 Proj Pts / 0% Start) – 0%?  Is everyone joking?  This guy is seriously so legitimate it hurts to see that.  We’re hoping it’s just the France hangover and no one realizes he’s jumped tiers yet.  Get on this faster than clean overhead at your local secret spot – especially if you have percentage leader Mick Fanning.  If you’re running with the Fanno Pack,  this is a great pickup.  Ferreira is unproven here,  but remember where else you may not have expected a big turnout (Fiji – 87.54 points,  Tahiti – 88.31 points)  the talent is there and he’s a great pick if the conditions don’t line up perfectly as well.  While Italo’s ceiling probably isn’t an event win,  he could easily make a solid run even in Tier A.  Brett Simpson and Joel Parkinson’s 2015 bizarro doppelgänger in R1?  Check.

* Quick note on Mick Fanning (14.38 Proj AHS for 123.97 Proj Pts / 52% Start):  Our model is giving Fanno the win,  and he’s a great pick for the event.  15.05 career AHS here and a 31 QSFW (finally,  someone better than Slater!).  He’s a great candidate to steal the show and very motivated to take it down.  But it was the same story for France and he dropped in the QF.  The risk is low,  however,  but his start percentage is right in that range where we’ll avoid him.  If it were more like 70%  he’d easily have been the LOCK.  No harm in giving him the nod if you want to play it “safe.” 

Tier B

LOCK:  Jeremy Flores (12.21 Proj AHS for 93.19 Proj Pts / 5% Start) – We love a palindromic AHS and Flores looks like the best candidate for a solid result in Tier B at less than 10% started.  There’s a lot to love about Jeremy in Portugal that will get us over his 11.64 career AHS.  For one,  he knows these European beach breaks well (granted he exited France in R5,  but in a tough-luck loss to Owen Wright with a 16.17).  If we get the big,  classic Supertubos at some point during the event window,  look for Flores to shine – remember his performance at Tahiti this year?  He’s easily one of the best at critical,  left-handed drops and his natural barrel style is a points magnet.  We’re honestly on the fence between Jeremy and Nat Young,  but based on proven success,  recent performance and a lower start percentage it’ll be Flores for us.

Nat Young (12.87 Proj AHS for 92.73 Proj Pts / 14% Start) – Nat Young looks like a very strong option for Portugal.  He has an identical QSFW to Jeremy Flores (7),  but a better career AHS at 12.81 and very similar projections.  Nat will still probably make our squad,  but his recent finishes have left us a bit skeptical.  He still hasn’t made a F yet in 2015,  which we keep saying was supposed to be his breakout year.  And we say that because it’s true.  Nat got through the sophomore slump and has the tremendous talent to take it to the next level.  Even without making a finals appearance yet this year he’s still #10 in the world.  We like the conditions in Portugal no matter what for Nat,  it’s the one spot on tour that most closely resembles his home break in Santa Cruz  – not just for standard beach/left/tidal variables,  but in water color and temperature as well.  These are small factors but they may have an impact if he can reach a comfort zone.  The upside is there,  but so is the risk and we like Flores’  R1 matchup (Wilkinson and Christie)  better than Young vs.  Kai Otton.

Wiggolly Dantas (13.05 Proj AHS for 87.04 Proj Pts / 22% Start) – With four spots to fill for our Portugal lineup,  there’s plenty of room for Wiggolly.  Before the season we outlined where we thought he’d be strongest,  and that was mainly the European Leg and Pipeline.  The only thing we don’t like about Dantas here is his start percentage,  which is just enough to consider at 22%,  and that he hasn’t panned out as we hoped in left breaking conditions.  Only 11.95 on the CT for his frontside,  so we might not put him in the lineup here.

It’s A Trap

Joel Parkinson (11.74 Proj AHS for 54.23 Proj Pts / 44% Start) – Joel Parkinson has looked about as lost as they come this year.  For nearly anyone else on tour we might consider this an average run,  but Parko hasn’t been ranked this bad (without a season-ending injury) since his rookie 2001 campaign.  He just finished France with 13.36 total fantasy points and is chirping about some slight nagging injuries.  On Instagram last week Parko stated “life just isn’t the same walking around [France] solo.  #missinghard #kookeditincomp”  to describe missing his family on the tour stop.  #kookeditincomp?  It’s just not a great headspace and there’s no motivation without a shot at a Title.  We expect 44%  of teams to be very,  very unhappy. 

John John Florence (13.1 Proj AHS for 83.77 Proj Pts / 53% Start) – Here we go again with John John Florence.  Highest start percentage of any surfer for Portugal and,  in our opinion,  completely unwarranted.  Florence is a former France Champion and didn’t get through the QF this year.  Sure he’s got a great projection line for Tier B,  but he hasn’t lived up to his own hype of last year.  That FRA QF loss to Gabriel Medina was extremely telling for us,  and we suggest watching it from start to finish if you are considering JJF for your team.  Florence got beat out of the gate,  Medina was tactical,  practical and all over the best waves.  In stark contrast,  John John was timid,  uncertain and seemingly dazed.  At one point he hung out way North only to lose precious clock time to readjust,  coming back to Medina’s more strategic location.  JJ also had a total score of 8.16 with 42 seconds left on the clock before grabbing his second keeper – but watch that too;  he didn’t get a winning score and instead of kicking out to try for another wave,  he came on in and called it a day.   He stumbled coming out of that last barrel and then struggled to stick the last air,  too.  So don’t just look at the scores,  actual heats are more telling.


Kai Otton (11.98 Proj AHS for 78.65 Proj Pts / 10% Start) – Kai has been so successful in Portugal over his career,  wielding a sub-average 11.16 AHS into an aggressive 18 QSFW.  He’s a goofy-footer and a -.35 RLD suggests he likes going left.  Kai will have plenty of opportunity for that in PRT and we like his R1 heat draw,  too.  He’ll be on our team if Nat Young doesn’t make the cut.

* We also like Bede Durbidge (11.7 Proj AHS for 82.32 Proj Pts / 13% Start),  but even though his Portugal AHS is better than Kai,  he’s -8 in QSFW.  Bede has been great on his forehand the last few events,  but it seems to be a different story for the regular-footer going left. 

 Tier C

Lock:  Aritz Aranburu (12.18 Proj AHS for 46.65 Proj Pts / 5% Start) – Let’s be honest with this Tier C,  and we say this a lot,  but it doesn’t look promising at all.  Besides the two standard Wild Cards,  there are five replacement surfers filling in the low seeds.  Only 5/12  Tier C competitors are CT regulars and it’s not a good sign for them that they weren’t a Lock.  Aritz’s 9.38 career AHS in Portugal isn’t encouraging,  but it’s a small data sample.  More encouraging is his 12.72 left-hand and 13.1 beach break AHS combo.  We’ve seen his backside barrel-riding come into play this year and it is definitely impressive.  With 22% of teams jumping all over our Tier C Trap C.J. Hobgood,  you stand to make a real statement if Aranburu can come through.  With Slater banged up and out of touch with his competitive side,  there’s a chance he can steal R1 as well.

It’s A Trap

C.J. Hobgood (11.2 Proj AHS for 27.9 Proj Pts / 22% Start) – CJ seems like an easy choice in a lackluster Tier C,  but he’s on the most teams at 22%.  In all his years on tour (mostly since 2009 on the event’s modern inception),  C.J. has only mustered a Portugal AHS of 10.9 and a 1 QSFW.  He seems to fit the bill as one of the more successful goofy-footers in Supertubos conditions,  but it hasn’t been the case in his prime nor will it be the case in his golden year of retirement.  R1 pits him against John John Florence and Bede Durbidge in a heat filled with potential risk.  Hobgood might easily find himself in an unfavorable R2 heat-of-death.  Don’t go with the crowd here,  if anything look ahead towards Pipe.


Mason Ho (11.86 Proj AHS for 26.57 Proj Pts / 3% Start) – Mason Ho played giant-slayer at Bells this year,  taking out event favorite Mick Fanning.  He’s comfortable on the CT level and has just enough blind confidence for us to consider.  Very limited data for Ho,  but a 12.38 left-wave AHS is encouraging.  Obviously we don’t expect a QF result,  but he only needs to outcompete the rest of Tier  C – a feat that we think could be accomplished by Ross Williams coming out of the booth.

Hope that helps and as always,  Tweet us any questions you’ve got!   With the quick turnover we won’t be able to get a Fantasy Surfer Outlook up before the event window,  but if they go on hold we’ll have it prepared.  If you want our advice on a comparison,  such as “Should I start Italo or Nat Young?”  we’ll be glad to let you know our thoughts.  Just give us a shout @surfstats Twitter and Instagram.

Hope to see you at the Surf-Stats Clubhouse [password: fantasy],  where we’ll crown a 2015 Portugal Champion.  Beat us and take home $10 in free money!  You can also check out the Fantasurf Lobby to play our contributor’s Fantasy Wash-Up Leagues.

Happy Drafting!

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