Portugal Fantasy Preview
Last updated February 28, 2022 by Balyn McDonald
Hawai’i was really something, wasn’t it?
Take another quick look at the current tour rankings, and you’ll see that 2022 is far from ‘business as usual’. Unpredictability is exciting, undoubtedly, but it makes choosing a fantasy team that little bit harder. It looks like calculated risks are the way in 2022.
We’ve barely got time to celebrate our fantasy wins (or lick our wounds, as it may be) before we’re in the water again and paddling out into the throes of Portugal’s shore break.
Let’s look at stop #3 on the fantasy tour.
When it comes to Portugal, there are a couple of things that your fantasy team (and our metrics) can take for granted: this event will be run at a beach break with both left- and right-hand options, and surfers with fine-tuned barrel skills and flared end-section manoeuvres will do best (based on previous successes).
Also, like most events in Europe, Portugal will require surfers to roll with the moods of the break, with wind, tide, and swell likely to impact conditions throughout the scheduled event window. Portugal’s variations across days or even afternoons will test the surfers’ ability to adapt to conditions.
If you dig on any of the WSL’s deeper analyses of each break, Surfline have an ultra-detailed Mechanics of Supertubos article available, while the WSL have a good Break Breakdowns with Tiago Pires and Kelly gives us another one of his visions overviews as well. There’s plenty there to make you an armchair expert on the break in no time.
For those who prefer to pick by instinct or don’t dig on hyperlinks, the WSL guide gives us this:
The event’s main site, Supertubos, is a pumping sandbar that offers left and right barrels, plus great launch sections when the size stays in check. Some of the tour’s most skilled progressive surfers (read: Toledo, Ferreira, Medina, and more) make the most of the break’s launchpads when tubes aren’t an option, or sometimes find both on one wave.
It’s worth remembering that the event is semi-mobile, with back-up venues such as Pico do Fabril, Pico da Mota and Piscinas available if needed. Like all events this year, Portugal is a combined men’s/women’s event, meaning there will be a little to-and-fro between hold/run days/rounds over the course of the waiting period.
The official forecast is NOT up, but it looks like there’s been plenty of warm-up action for those tour surfers who left Hawai’i early and started tweaking their beachbreak skills. The opening day looks a little smaller, with unfavourable winds. The swell builds (6-8′) across the following days, but the winds continue to look variable at this stage.
We will update with more detail when the official forecast drops.
Liam O’Brien (broken ankle), Yago Dora (foot), and Carlos Munoz (shoulder) will remain out with their respective injuries and rehab.
That paves the way for replacements Matthew McGillivray, and Caio Ibelli and world #1 Barron Mamiya.
Jordan Lawler missed out to local replacement surfer Vasco Ribeiro.
Gabriel Medina is still out and seems an unlikely possibility for the rest of the season, given the cut-off schedule.
Reigning women’s champ, Caroline Marks may still be out for personal reasons, paving the way for Western Australia’s Bronte McCauley.
Tia Blanco (USA), Justin Becret (FRA), and Afonso Antunes (POR) have all been added as local (?) wildcards for the event.
With the Seeding/Elimination round format of recent years, R1 heat draws have become less and less important for pre-event fantasy analysis. That said, it’s always good to see the seeding, the draw, and the match-ups.
Also, if you want to totally geek out on possible R3 match-ups and scenarios, you can go to fantasy surf bracket and customise it to match the draw.
Meo Pro Portugal Sortable MetricsAll data drawn from the 2013-2022 seasons. Blank fields indicate no available data.
Win %= percentage of heats won for given criteria
AHS = average heat score for given criteria
Beach = metrics for events surfed at beach breaks
L/R= metrics for events surfed at contest breaks offering both left- and right-hand waves
4-6'= metrics for heats when waves were deemed to be in the 4-6' range
|Surfer Name||Season Win %||Season AHS||POR Avg Place||POR Win %||POR AHS||L/R win %||L/R AHS||Beach win %||Beach AHS||4-6' win%||4-6' AHS|
|John John Florence||66.67||15.37||6.20||66.67||13.63||69.93||14.09||66.67||13.88||66.04||14.47|
Italo Ferreira – the reigning champ from the past two events here and has an unrivalled win percentage in Portugal. He’s made 3 finals in the past 5 events here, and never finished lower than 13th.
John John Florence – surprisingly good metrics for beach breaks (he’s won Rio twice), as well as wave size and direction averages. Good average at this event too. Solid option.
Ryan Callinan – this is more of a risk, but Ryan has ‘transferable’ data from beachbreaks (Newcastle, France) and events with similar wave conditions without having had much success at Portugal itself. He’s still recovering from an injury too, so this is a dicey inclusion.
Kolohe Andino – Brother may not have set the world alight in Hawai’i, but he is well priced for this event and could be a smart option, given his data for the conditions.
Morgan Cibilic – has pretty good metrics to be honest, but it’s based on one season (2021), where he finished 5th in the world and didn’t surf an event in Portugal. This season’s looking very different thus far, and we’re wary of putting much faith in the data for Morgs.
Jack Robinson – Pipe and Sunset were meant to set Jack up for a massive season, and yet neither were massive results for him. Now he’ll have to rely on a solid result at Potugal and a massive Australian leg. It’s not beyond him, and his numbers aren’t terrible, but it’s a tough ask.
Jadson Andre – in his 8 appearances at Peniche, he has been winless 4 times and only made it past R3 once. His metrics for the event and its conditions look bleak.
Jordy Smith – normally, I’d say Jordy would be a solid option for this event, but he’s still nursing a niggling injury, and his form hasn’t been at 100%. Maybe spend your big money elsewhere.
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 is only earned through risking the popular choices with an against-the odds Sleeper.
So, just for you, we’re going to delve into the realms of subjectivity in order to find you a stab-in-the-dark-horse:
Top Seed – The seeding for this event looks all over the place, what with replacements and wildcards doing so well. I know it sounds weird, but world #2 Kanoa Igarashi is probably best placed to slip under the radar while most punters favour of John, Filipe, Jordy and Kelly.
Mid-Tier – It’s been a while since he was on tour, but Nat Young’s proving to be a decent sleeper option so far. His data isn’t too bad either, so he may be worth a look.
Low Seed – What even IS a low seed anymore? Looking at the draw, you’ve got Barron and Caio in the bottom tier, along with Callinan, Wright, Colapinto and Cibilic. None of these qualify as sleeper, though. Maybe look at Jackson Baker; the guy eats thick beachies for breakfast.
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