Look, the first part isn’t too difficult. All of us will center our Fantasy Surfer teams around a combination of these guys: Kelly, Taj, Mick, Joel, Bede (yes, Bede) and Bobby. Then there is the mid-level tier. And this is where things get interesting: Timmy Reyes, the Hobgoods, Jeremy Flores—these four seem promising. However, Taylor Knox, in my opinion, seems a bit long in tooth. Isn’t Knox a card-carrying member of the AARP? More about the mid-tier picks next time.
For now, let’s concentrate on the lower valued surfers. You can really make Fantasy Surfer strides if you can pick the lower tier of surfers correctly (seriously, who had Bede Durbidge on their team in ’07 or even last year for that matter?). The key to any good Fantasy Surfer team is to correctly predict which of the rest will be the best.
Below is my take on four lower valued surfers who have great upside potential for the 2009 ASP Fantasy Surfer season.
1. Phil MacDonald: Macca took Slater to task a few years ago in the finals at Lowers (most Aussies will tell you he was robbed). "It is not rocket science. You have to beat the best to be the best." Macca (AKA "Manpower") is not one to be rattled. Off the tour in 2008, this is a guy I'm counting on to come back with a comeback. He's been there. He faced off with the best. He's only going to cost you $3 million. He could win the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper—easy.
2. Josh Kerr: Like Manpower above, he spent a year off tour in 2008. Probably not as competitively as savvy as, say, the Hobgoods, his upside is his explosive, progressive style. His downside is his explosive, progressive style. Can we count on him to manage his form and pull out the stops when needed? I dunno. But for $3 million he's a value. Plus, Slater gave him a little nod in a recent interview as someone to watch, so…he could win the Quiksilver Pro in France.
You can really make Fantasy Surfer strides if you can pick the lower tier of surfers correctly (seriously, who had Bede Durbidge on their team in ’07 or even last year for that matter?).
3. Nathaniel Curran (Pictured above): Blue collar, this year's version of Kai Otton. Curran stuck it all on the line in 2008 with an exceptional run on the WQS and walked away with the crown. Nathaniel's a well-rounded surfer who can punt with the best and style through speed turns a la his heroes Machado, Knox, and Curre(a)n—as in Tom and Timmy. There's something about this guy…watch out. At $4 million, Nathaniel Curran is worth his weight in gold. Curran could win the Billabong Pro J-Bay event or the Hang Loose Pro in Brazil.
4. David Weare: Here's another guy who has tasted the Dream Tour only to sleep walk through it. Weare is now a finely oiled machine, both competitively and as a free surfer. You won't get hung-over, Spicoli-esque performances. You will get structured, well thought-out heat strategy. Hailing from the sportsman country of South Africa, Weare is focused and can produce wins—now is his time. Oh yeah, he, too, is a value at $3.25 million. Weare could win at the Hurley Pro at Lowers (where he's stood on the victory podium before at the BodyGlove Surfbout).
I can't guarantee these four will produce; anything can happen: injury, homesickness, Wardo as your flat mate. But you will find them on my team for the reasons above. Enjoy the Fantasy Surfer season, which kicks off on Feb 27th.
**Listen to our Scott’s & Marty’s Fantasy Surfer picks on Down The Line.