Shea’s Bali Roster

Shea Lopez gives his Fantasy Surfer picks heading into Keramas

The rippable righthand barrel at Keramas will make for an incredible high-performance venue. Photo: Childs

Bailing for Bali has been the soul surfer’s ideal since Gerry Lopez and others first discovered the potential of this mystical place. Captivating our attention, occupying our dreams, the gravitational pull of surfers towards Bali is strong. In fact, the majority of surfers on this planet have already, or are planning to one day max out credit cards and jeopardize relationships to live it up in this culturally rich region—a place that blends up a cerebral smoothie of stimulation 24 hours a day.

And what a terrific location for a World Tour event Indonesia is. Previously, Quiksilver took us on an unforgettable adventure running Tour events from the jungle of G-Land in Speedies perfection. More recently, Rip Curl put on a mobile event in Bali during 2008, which was won by Bruce Irons. Bruce was given the wildcard for the upcoming Oakley Pro Bali, and with the forecast looking good for multiple days of the waiting period, certain forces just might align for Bruce to duplicate his previous result.

Regarding the break at Keramas, Ross Williams summed it up best when he said that the wave “could quite possibly be the best World Tour venue available on the planet.” That’s a rather large statement from an otherwise understated man. And if you’re regular foot, that statement is correct. This is why my Fantasy Surfer team for the Oakley Bali Pro is composed of all regular footers. Think about this for a second: Of the countless video parts filmed there, how many goofyfooters get sections, or even clips? The talent level of the elite regular footers on Tour continues to rise, and for this event they are licking their chops in anticipation.

Sebastian Zietz:
Some people have an engine that runs faster and harder than the rest of us. When Zietz goes hard, not to worry, there’s always more in the tank for him to draw from. We’re going to see maximum focus from the young Kauaian virtuoso, whose surfing and approach are showing many similarities to AI.

Kolohe Andino:
“I think, therefore I blow it.” Kolohe’s true talent often gets buried under the weight of crushing expectation, but I’m getting a hint that Kolohe is becoming better at turning off his brain and letting his surfing speak for itself. Here and Lowers are where Kolohe needs breakthrough results if he is to rejoin the discussion of future world title contenders.

Filipe Toledo:
When do the rookies become the veterans? Filipe has competed at Keramas numerous times during the the World Junior Championships, while the World Tour veterans have yet to surf a heat there. Do not expect a loss from Filipe if it’s head high with a light crumble, unless his opponents name is John John Florence.

John John Florence:
How can you argue with the body of work John has produced in the last year? You can’t. Only Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith can put out the kind of groundbreaking, jaw dropping, revelatory clips within comparison. A rematch with Kelly in Bali is in the cards for John, and you can guarantee he won’t be smiling going into that heat. Florence was once the smallest towhead on the beach, intently watching Kelly rack up world titles from his North Shore sandbox. But today I’ve dropped Kelly from my team in anticipation of the drubbing he will receive.

Jordy Smith:
His surfing in Fiji last week was an exercise in brute strength. Jordy overpowered Cloudbreak walls and sent disgusting amounts of water into the air with every turn. The confidence that he exuded during the contest let it be known that he is surfing to win. These are the same tells AI gave on his way to 3 world titles and 2 runner-up finishes. Does anyone else remember 2010, when Jordy won best maneuver at Surfer Poll for a huge air at Keramas? I do.

Julian Wilson:
Julian surfs Bali very well, and from surfing so consistently well, he has learned to tap into his highest performance level much easier there. That’s how Kelly Slater makes it look so damn easy all the time—he has literally experienced every possible scenario that may present itself in the water.

Adriano de Souza:
Adriano’s surfing has morphed over the years, and his approach is now similarly aggressive and radical as Julian, but with a more raw line. Stranger things have happened in the world of surfing than Adriano getting the win here en route to getting back that No. 1 position.

Adam Melling:
I am playing with fire picking Adam, as he has proven himself to be a highly unreliable and volatile Fantasy Surfer pick. But, if you are able to pick which events he is going to deliver in, you can walk away with a great return for you money at the bargain basement price of 3 million. It was a choice between Adam and Dusty with my remaining budget, and Dusty has proven to be a less reliable pick than even Adam.

The Oakley Pro Bali starts on June 18, so click here to ready your Fantasy Surfer team for Round 1. Also, check out Ross Williams’ Bali preview here.