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Rottnest Fantasy Preview

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Rottnest Fantasy Preview

Last updated May 14, 2021 by Balyn McDonald

Margies Congratulations

Filipe earned his first win since Rio 2019 and cemented his spot in the current top 5.

Tatiana scored her 2nd CT victory (matching Samantha Cornish*) and raced to second place in the rankings.

Meanwhile, the big news was FSS champ Crow, who also scored his second victory and raced to 2nd on the leaderboard. What was particularly impressive was that he did it without Filipe:

It just goes to show how valuable a solid sleeper (McGillivray) can be.

Crow and JVC (who scored an impressive 77th place to match Filipe’s jersey) will both be getting their prizes shortly.

*Forgive my obscure, home-town reference


The Search returns, and this time it’s going to… Perth?

While Rotto isn’t quite the exotic locale our minds conjure up when we think of the Search, it certainly throws up some novelty value. Most CT surfers have never ridden Strickland Bay (or any other break on the island), and few would be familiar with its set-up. While it makes for a horror show when it comes to historical metrics, it should make for an entertaining event.

Let’s dig in…


While Strickland is the main break for the event, the island actually hosts a few decent reef breaks around the the corners and bays of Rotto. The WSL seems reluctant to move though, and we expect the event to run mostly at the main break.

Stickland’s south-facing aspect means that it picks up more swell than a few of its neighbouring options, and it offers a fairly consistent promise of waves at this time of year. It’s a reef-bottom split peak, with both lefts and rights offering plenty of scoring potential, including a few barrels. It can handle overhead swells without trouble and offers a fair bit of power when it’s big. There’s a WSL preview piece available here for those who want to know more.


The official forecast suggests the opening day of the waiting period could be a worthy of a few heats, with the swell pulse and favourable winds possibly extending to the Monday as well.

Sunday 16th: Overhead surf, favorable wind possible

Monday 17th: Surf may ease some from Sunday while conditions remain favorable

Tuesday 18th: Similar surf to Monday as favorable wind may continue

Long Range: Cross-shore or cross-onshore wind may develop the 19th-20th

Surfers IN :

Taj Burrow: the West Australian golden child has been retired after an incendiary loss at the Fiji contest in 2016. Why he’s pulling on the jersey again, we don’t know; perhaps he saw Mick sullying his legacy at Narrabeen and wanted in.

Mikey Wright: keeps his replacement spot (in for Kelly), but remains one of the most out-of-form surfers of the season.

Jacob Willcox: rewarded with a sponsor wildcard after a decent showing at Margies.

Stu Kennedy: gets thrown a bone as the next-in-line replacement from the 2019 cut-off. Could relive his relevant days if he can light up a few of the rights with his break-neck turns, or alternatively fade back into obscurity.

Liam O’Brien: LOB is ranked 4th on the QS and narrowly missed out on a spot via the QS in 2019. Has a pretty solid underground following and is a genuine dark horse.

Kael Walsh: won the local wildcard spot after taking out the Drug Aware trials (named after a sponsor, not a lifestyle choice). Has copped a few injuries between now and his 13th place at Margies in 2018 , but he’s looking fit and his insta clips indicate he could be a potential spoiler for bigger names.

Mia McCarthy: finished 2nd to Felicity Palmateer at the trials event, but gets a chance to surf her second CT event anyway. Mia is yet another charging young West-Australian, and could do well.

Amuro Tsuzuki: again replaces Lakey> She looked solid at Margies until she didn’t.

Surfers OUT:

Kelly Slater – hiding in Hawaii with a Kolohe-shaped voodoo doll.

Kolohe Andino – healing as fast as he can.

Lakey Peterson – ???

Ace Buchan – hurt his back at Margies; could be out for a while.

John John Florence – just had surgery on his good (?) knee. Will probably aim to return for the Olympics.

Rottnest Sortable Metrics

Left/Right = venues with both left- and right-hander waves
Reef = venues with reef bottom breaks
win % = win percentage in given condition
AHS = average heat score (2 waves) in given condition
1-4' = waves shoulder height and lower
4-6' = waves shoulder to slightly overhead
Surfer NameSeason Win %L/R win %Reef win %1-4' win %4-6' win%Season AHSL/R AHSReef AHS1-4' AHS4-6' AHS
Owen Wright5040.7458.975052.211.6512.0612.9510.2813.04
Caio Ibelli58.3341.4345.4537.541.0310.1510.5410.928.3211.52
Michel Bourez44.4447.6656.484049.619.6710.8612.049.5512
Jordy Smith7566.9157.4371.4360.9210.6912.9212.110.4813.39
Conner Coffin52.9446.674066.6742.8610.3811.2910.7710.6211.76
Julian Wilson5056.1260.165058.829.5811.8812.199.4212.73
Italo Ferreira83.3367.6264.185.7162.513.112.7312.5213.4413.09
Leonardo Fioravanti41.6736.1741.67034.299.649.9310.599.1811.1
Gabriel Medina85.7173.3371.8890.9170.1312.3313.9413.6912.5914.02
Griffin Colapinto73.3360.6158.6277.7853.712.210.7811.0212.0111.58
Mikey Wright2043.755033.33508.4410.6610.498.212.02
Kanoa Igarashi71.4356.6350.7966.6748.989.9311.0110.118.7611.19
Adriano de Souza45.4556.255057.1455.299.0912.7611.689.5913.11
Jeremy Flores58.3344.4458.15045.3310.4911.4212.899.6312.44
Yago Dora58.3354.7643.7555.5646.8811.1611.659.3111.4110.8
Filipe Toledo81.2558.9648.8985.7159.4212.1613.1910.9312.6813.36
Frederico Morais64.2944.0719.357040.8210.5410.92911.0811.6
Connor O'Leary3031.03502040.919.5410.4711.49.111.54
Wade Carmichael5041.0337.9357.1446.588.488.837.9910.2110.37
Kael Walsh33.3333.338.678.67
Jack Robinson5046.1533.334033.3311.9711.3111.629.0810.47
Matthew McGillivray5028.5775042.8611.258.8212.867.9111.98
Alex Ribeiro3026.0921.434016.138.118.597.499.149.06
Deivid Silva54.5543.4846.678045.4510.9810.589.8510.9510.69
Ethan Ewing54.554526.6766.6719.2310.3510.318.761110.23
Jack Freestone4043.8638.894036.2610.9711.3110.6810.1711.47
Seth Moniz6053.8562.55056.4110.4910.6911.269.7811.11
Jacob Willcox5016.6712.522.2214.8210.6811.4710.71
Jadson Andre54.5534.9436.845030.879.4610.7610.2510.1611.2
Morgan Cibilic64.2966.674085.7166.6711.6810.659.1813.319.83
Miguel Pupo55.5641.4930.775033.919.5711.229.329.9811.1
Peterson Crisanto54.5548.1555.565044.
Ryan Callinan64.2948.1544.748041.2511.2111.4810.811.8411.54
Stuart Kennedy27.5910.5325.410.348.5610.94
Taj Burrow53.3345.4552.3412.412.412.88

Selection Notes


Filipe – will be full of piss and vinegar after ‘proving’ himself at a serious wave. The conditions at Rottnest are largely untested, but Filipe should be a solid form pick.

Gabe – recommending top surfers is hardly revelatory, but Gabe has the best metrics for both reef and left/right wave conditions. Margies may be his weak point, but we’re expecting him to feel much more comfortable here. Watch that left end section.

Morgs– has some good data and some pretty solid form. Margaret was a bit of a far cry from the Narra/Newcastle waves, but Rotto could see him back feeling loose and confident.

Owen– a cheeky low-tier prospect with some promising reef/split peak/4-6′ AHS metrics.


Mikey– what happened? Gone is the raging mongrel; now he just looks like he needs a haircut and a coach.

Stu– pretty poor reef/split peak win % data from earlier seasons.

Ribeiro– naming him here is pretty low hanging fruit, sure. But the numbers say no, and I don’t want to leave him off this list and having you thinking it’s an endorsement. NO.

Frederico – ‘fingers’ doesn’t like the reefs, apparently.

Taj – I hope I’m wrong, but low seeded wildcards and retired comebacks haven’t provided much for fantasy players this season. I see more risk than reward here.


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 takes risks with an against-the odds darkhorse-come-good. For that, you need to back yourself with a solid sleeper pick. Here are my non-data-based suggestions:


Jordy– There’s no such thing as a genuine top tier sleeper, but Smith is actually well suited to these conditions and will probably be less selected compared to the Brazilian trio.


Peterson – I wanted to suggest him for Margaret River, but thought it too risky. I’m now going all-in and giving him my sleeper pick for Rotto. Watch him thank me with a 33rd!


Kael Walsh– probably a poor pick due to his seeding, but he surfs well and will fly under the radar due to the Taj factor. If you want a safer seeded option, look at LOB.

FSS Features

While you’re here reading, don’t forget to check out all of the features that have been added to the FSS fantasy game.

Prizes – most fantasy games (WSL, FS) ask you to play for fun with no hope of prizes, while others (BeachGrit) ask you to pay for the chance to win. NOT US. Play for free, with a superior game, and still get a chance to win. Crazy, huh?

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 the past 14 months 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 (set to Rotto for the moment), you can check any updates at a glance.

Good luck!

– Balyn

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