Surf Ranch Fantasy Preview
Last updated June 18, 2021 by Balyn McDonald
Gabe must be stinging from the fact that the WSL have introduced this whole finals series thing at Trestles this year. At this point, he’s all-but-guaranteed a 1st place ranking at the end of the (reduced) regular season, which would otherwise be enough for the trophy.
Meanwhile, Sally Fitz was all ‘American smiles*’ as she took out her first event since Rio 2019 and set herself up for a confident Olympics berth.
The important win though went to Ben. A man humble in name, but legendary in Fantasy achievements. His Rotto team featured both finalists and five of the top 8 surfers. The win puts him at 9th place overall. He wins the glory, but also the $100 surfstitch voucher.
Part of the reason this article is so late is that it’s just so hard to be inspired by a pool event. It’s a mixed bag for metrics analysis as well; there are super consistent conditions data, yet there are few historical events to draw from . It also and an anomalous format, so it’s a strange one to pick.
The WSL have made a Freshwater Strategy piece about what it takes to win here. It basically says, ‘Surf well and don’t fall off’. You can read it here if you don’t believe me.
It’s also worth mentioning that, due to the pool format, seeding is irrelevant. This is the one contest where you can stack your team full of top seeds and bottom seeds and never worry about friendly fire. They could still suck and get basically no points, but it won’t be because they surfed head-to-head and eliminated one-another. Capisce?
In the past, I’ve joked about forecasts and the variability of conditions. I now realise that it was inherently unfunny and I’d like to formally apologise.
The pool’s widely acknowledged ‘perfection’ is it’s fundamental flaw; the wave is too predictable and, most importantly, too long to make for sustained viewing. The pros seem too scared of blowing an extra 100m of perfect wave to take any real risks out the back, leading to cautiously nursed ‘keepers’ that do little to interest the viewer or further the sport.
Add to that the long waits between waves, with no hope of a rogue set on the horizon, and the picture becomes bleak. The slow-mo replays during the long gaps in action only highlight the safe nature of the surfing while reminding us of the lack of personality in the commentary booth.
One positive is that they can’t miss the best wave of a heat during ill-timed commercial break.
If my intro sounded a little jaded, then perhaps you need to cast your eyes over the changes for this event. There have been so many withdrawals and subsequent additions that the WSL took it upon themselves to write an article explaining everything:
Apparently Jordy and Tyler are willing to risk their top 5 spots at Trestles to bypass the pool and prepare for the Olympics. Julian doesn’t count because he’s not in the top 5 and Michel doesn’t because he’s not that good in the pool anyway.
The WSL did miss a few details though:
Ace Buchan is back: he got a 7th in 2019, but he also got 29th in 2018. I wouldn’t think his addition will impact too many teams.
Flores is out: due to ‘health issues and fatigue’, which is French for ‘I can’t be fucked, mate’. He is inexplicably replaced by Jabe Swierkocki, a surfer ranked 21st on the QS and who finished 123rd in 2020.
Surf Ranch Sortable MetricsKey:
L/R = venues with both left- and right-hander waves
Pool = venues with artificial pool waves
win % = win percentage in given condition
AHS = average heat score (2 waves) in given condition
1-4' = waves shoulder height and lower
|Surfer Name||Season Win %||L/R win %||L/R AHS||1-4' win %||1-4' AHS||Season AHS||Career AHS||Pool AHS||Pool Avg Place||Pool win %|
|Adriano de Souza||50||56.52||12.7||60||9.92||9.43||12.94||14.6||13||0|
Gabe – Take your pick: He’s won this pool event every year, his metrics for these conditions (pool, wave height, left/right waves) are better than all other surfers, and he’s the form surfer on tour this season. Maybe it’s ‘D’; all of the above.
Morgs – obviously this position on the list should read ‘Filipe Toledo’, and technically it does (now), but it’s too easy to recommend the top two surfers in the (short) history of the event. Morgs is having a dream rookie year and is tearing up the tour, so his form is good. Surfers with little experience in the pool are usually a bit of a red flag for the Ranch, but if you’re feeling lucky, maybe give form a try rather than the proven, measurable success of Toledo. Or pick both?
Owen– Placing 5th and 3rd in his two events, Owen is a solid mid-range option.
Yago – Looked incendiary at times in the Rottnest event and placed 6th here in 2019.
Kelly – He’ll be riding his own custom built board from his own shaping company in his own pool. Has a ratio of around 200:1 for waves surfed here when compared to the rest of the tour.
Mikey– Like Derek Zoolander, he doesn’t really go both ways.
Peterson – The only surfer in this year’s event to have earned a 33rd in the 2019 pool contest.
just doesn’t seem interested out there. Withdrawn due to disinterest. Replaced by Jabe Swierkocki. No, we haven’t heard of him either. Neither has Cam Richards.
A winning team is one that takes stands out from the crowd. For that, you need to take a calculated risk with a darkhorse-come-good. Here are our non-data-based suggestions for a solid sleeper pick.
Conner – he’s the only surfer in the top tier that I can see being under-selected, which is lucky because he was solid at Rotto.
Miggy – Maybe not quite as underground after his top 8 finish here in 2018, but still potentially overlooked by many.
Patty G – Sure, this depends on how well the judges will score rodeos, but you can bet Pat’s experience here will help compared to many of the other rookies/replacements.
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 a $100 surfstitch voucher. Crazy, huh?
Clubs – make sure you join one or start your own. Talk trash, make stupid punishments for the losing team, revel in the rivalry.
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 18 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).
*So, so many teeth