Newcastle Fantasy Preview
Last updated March 31, 2021 by Balyn McDonald
It’s the season re-launch, with surf fans tempering their expectations with the pragmatic modesty that only the WSL can inspire.
We’ve got a new-ish venue to look at and fantasy team to pick, so let’s quit prologuing and start crunching the numbers.
Newcastle offers more breaks than Kelly’s injury schedule, so I’m just going to let local hopeful Ryan Callinan break it down for you via the WSL here. For those who hate hyperlinks, you can basically expect Newcastle to offer up a variety of options from rock-bottom rip-bowls, outer bombies, close-out shorebreaks, Bells-like rights or barrelling beachies depending on the swell and banks.
For the purposes of fantasy analysis, we’re mostly looking at beach-break data at venues that offer both lefts and rights.
More generally, we suggest picking surfers who are adaptable to a variety of conditions, demonstrate plenty of energy and catch lots of waves during heats (ahem! Griff?!).
The official forecast is up, and it reflects what’s been increasingly apparent as the event draws near: it’s not going to be firing. You can expect a bump in swell just prior to the event, with enough sticking around for some waist-high, wind affected conditions for the opening day if they run, but there’s little swell in the longer range forecast. The winds don’t look a great deal better, with variable-to-onshore prospects most days in the first week.
You can feel quite safe in choosing small surfers who know how to grovel in sub-par conditions.
Injuries / Wildcards
Owen Wright and Ace Buchan: After electing to miss Pipe/Sunset/Santa Cruz and Portugal during a global pandemic, Owen and Ace are sitting pretty with only one missed event, no hotel quarantine, and a relaxed start to the year.
Jackson Baker: the QS journeyman and Newcastle local makes his tour debut as a wildcard.
Mikey Wright: After losing his permanent CT gig to Leo at Pipe, Mikey was thrown a bone in the form of an indefinite wildcard sport.
Matt Banting: The former tour also-ran and regular QS challenger has been given an injury replacement spot to cover Kolohe’s injury withdrawal.
Kelly Slater: while the GOAT claims his injury was the cause, we can only guess his real motivations for skipping Newcastle and most likely the rest of the Australian leg.
Kolohe Andino: Chloe, unlike Kelly, braved the 14 day hotel quarantine in Sydney, only to be rewarded with a high-ankle sprain after getting out. He’s since flown back to the states to recover.
Use the following table to sort through the values you think are important and compare surfers. Remember to also use the built-in surfer comparison features at FSS.
|Surfer Name||Season Win %||L/R win %||Beach win %||1-4' win %||4-6' win%||Career AHS||L/R AHS||Beach AHS||1-4' AHS||4-6' AHS|
|John John Florence||100||70||67.82||33.33||67.43||14.62||14.05||13.94||9.99||14.7|
|Adriano de Souza||0||55.96||55.56||25||55.38||13.01||12.8||13.04||9.52||13.11|
Gabriel Medina – in a sea of unknowns, Gabe is a smart pick. He has solid metrics for the forecast, generally keeps busy with a good wave count, and can adapt to shifting conditions.
Ryan Callinan – local pressure asside, Ryan is well-suited to make the most of the forecast and use his knowledge of the break to his advantage. He’s had some great results in beachbreaks, including QS results at this venue, and should do well if the curse of the home town hero doesn’t get to him.
Yago Dora / Mikey Wright – both previous winners here as a QS event, both well suited to make the most of average conditions and both a couple of top-ten metrics that put them in with a chance.
Jack Robinson – I think I’m wrong here, and I hope I am, but Jack has some pretty damning stats around his results so far in beachbreaks and smaller waves. Admittedly, this is based on a limited data set, so we will have to wait and see.
Michel Bourez – when there’s little energy in the ocean, Michel seems to struggle. He also seems to lack any enthusiasm for grovelling, which is probably a byproduct of having grown up in Tahiti. There’s too many better options in his price range.
Wade Carmichael – like a hairy, Aussie Bourez, Wade lacks the form or data to support his selection in this event.
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 risks rising above the pack with an against-the odds darkhorse. For that, you need to back yourself with a solid sleeper pick.
Jordy Smith – despite what people may expect, Jordy has some great small wave metrics. He could surprise here.
Seth Moniz – I’m thinking back to his 5th at D’bah in 2019, and how he dealt with the conditions. Seth can make bad waves look good.
Alex Ribeiro – I won’t pick him because he’s too risky, but Alex has won a QS here against some quality opponents. His metrics aren’t great, but he may just have the self-belief to cause an upset.
While you’re here reading, don’t forget to check out all of the features that have been added to the FSS fantasy game.
Clubs – make sure you join one or start your own. Surfing Life Mag has created one, so maybe, just maybe, you can win some sweet print journalism prizes.
Data – each surfer’s image can be clicked to get 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 and surfers that you see as relevant.
Substitutes – if 2020 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 Pipe 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)