2004 FantasySurfer.com Handicap

Surfers are gamblers by nature. Think about it…we live for the thrill of taking risks: a big air, a late drop, paddling out on a huge day, they all add to our addiction of hazardous behavior, and when we’re dry docked on land it’s only natural that we search for ways to duplicate the buzz. So here’s a scary thought, SURFER Magazine is giving each of you 10 million dollars to gamble with this year. While you can’t take this cash to Vegas and blow it all on one hand of Black Jack you can distract yourself from school or work for hours on end with our new SURFER Magazine Fantasy Surf League. The premise is simple: you pick and name your own team of eight surfers from among the Top 44 in the world to compete against your friend’s team. Then, you manage your team throughout the 2004 pro tour season, making trades, growing your salary cap, and hopefully winning prizes. It’s all live and running now at www.surfermag.com. Just click on the Fantasy Surfer button and sign up absolutely free, but only after you examine this here Fantasy Surfer Review of the Top 44, where you can learn how the game is played, find tips on how to make the most of your money, and get started earning points towards a dream trip to Hawaii or Fiji. -Chris Mauro

1. ANDY IRONS

  • Age: 25
  • Home: Kauai, HI
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 82% Career Victories: 11 WCT, 7 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Irons’ win percentage climbed to 90% (18-2) when he made it past the Quarter Finals in 2003. Had a 17-4 record vs. the Top 10 (80%).
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 44% Top 5: 90% Top 10: 99%
  • Price: $2.5 million
  • How to play him: Pay up and feel good about it.

2. Kelly Slater

  • Age: 32
  • Home: Cocoa Beach, FL
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 80% Career Victories: 27 WCT, 2 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Slater has yet to win at Sunset Beach any time during his remarkable career, a fact that cost him dearly in 2003. Had a 9-4 record vs. the Top 10 (69%).
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 44% Top 5: 89% Top 10: 96%
  • Price: $2.5 million
  • How to play him: He won’t disappoint, but fitting both him and Andy under the cap may be tough. Decision time.

3. Taj Burrow

  • Age: 25
  • Home: Yallingup, Western Australia
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 62% Career Victories: 3 WCT, 5 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Had four Finals appearances in ’03, a personal best, but was 0-3 vs. Andy and 0-2 vs. Kelly.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 20% Top 5: 78% Top 10: 91%
  • Price: $2 million
  • Recommendation: Pricey, but will put up good numbers.

4. Mick Fanning

  • Age: 22
  • Home: Tweed Heads, Australia
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 69% Career Victories: 2 WCT, 3 WQS
  • NOTABLE: had just one Finals appearance in 2003 (Brazil).
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 18% Top 5: 77% Top 10: 90%
  • Price: $2 million
  • Recommendation: Should be swapped with equally priced Taj or Parko depending on surf breaks you think he’ll do well at. (Hint: Gold Coast, J-Bay)

5. Joel Parkinson

  • Age: 23
  • Home: Kirra, Australia
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 69% Career Victories: 3 WCT, 5 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Lost three times to Andy Irons in 2003 during Finals. Is getting married and expecting first child in 2004.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 21% Top 5: 73% Top 10: 90%
  • Price: $2 million
  • Recommendation: Definitely outperforms the rest of the young Aussie crew in Hawaii, so keep that in mind going into the finishing run.

6. Kieren Perrow

  • Age: 27
  • Home: Byron Bay, Australia
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 62% Career Victories: 0 WCT, 0 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Highest rated surfer without a career victory.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 7% Top 5: 16% Top 10: 55%
  • Price: $1.6 million
  • How to play him: There are higher profile names going for much cheaper, but few gather high finishes as consistently, which is why he makes for a good anchor.

7. Taylor Knox

  • Age: 32
  • Home: Carlsbad, California
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 55% Career Victories: 1 WCT, 8 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Jumped up 18 spots in ’03, up from 25th in ’02.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 6%. Top 5: 19% Top 10: 51%
  • Price: $1.6 million
  • How to play him: He’s more likely to win one than Perrow, but not as consistent, so play accordingly off his strengths. (Hint: own him at point breaks)

8. Michael Lowe

  • Age: 27
  • Home: Port Kembla, Australia
  • Surfs: Goofy
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 61% Career Victories: 2 WCT, 4 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Highest rated goofy footer in 2003.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 3% Top 5: 10% Top 10: 47%
  • Price: $1.3 million
  • How to play him: Definitely worth considering on legs two (Tavi, Teahupoo, J-Bay) and five (Hawaii), but everywhere else is dicey.

9. Cory Lopez

  • Age: 27
  • Home: Indian Rocks Beach, Fl
  • Surfs: Goofy
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 64% Career Victories: 1 WCT, 1 WQS
  • NOTABLE: 5-7 vs. the Top 10, with three losses coming from Irons.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 5% Top 5:14% Top 10: 49%
  • Price: $1.6 million
  • How to play him: Cory’s lack of consistency makes him a serious roll of the dice everywhere but Teahupoo and Tavi, and if his price drops before the second leg the risk/reward ratio will be more favorable.

10. Dean Morrison

  • Age: 23
  • Home: Coolangatta, Australia
  • Surfs: Regular
  • KEY INDICATORS
  • 2003 Win Rate: 62% Career Victories: 1 WCT, 2 WQS
  • NOTABLE: Only three surfers besides Slater and Irons won in ’03, Morrison was one of them with his first career ‘CT victory on the Gold Coast.
  • 2004 CHANCES: World Title: 1% Top 5: 10% Top 10: 45%
  • Price: $1.3 million
  • How to play him: Bet on him at home in Australia, but as of today there’s significant risk anywhere else until his focus improves.