Margaret River Picks

Shea Lopez on who to put on your Fantasy Surfer team for the Margaret River Pro

With long, windblown faces, Margaret River caters to more powerful surfers. Photo: Joli
With long, windblown faces, Margaret River caters to more powerful surfers. Photo: Joli

Experience is worth its weight in gold at Margaret River, and experience will determine who does well and who spends their heat getting caught inside, bouncing off the reef en route to a 36th-place finish. In this open-ocean locale, power surfing will seize the day. Think Occy and Luke Egan. If either of them were competing today, they would be the favorites. The Top 34 should be counting their lucky stars that these two are no longer in the draw for this comp. When it comes to picking your team for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, you’d be wise to check the forecast, keeping in mind that conditions could very easily range anywhere between 2 to 20 feet. Historically, Australian surfers occupy the majority of the top slots here. Training will come into play as well, and conditioning could very well decide more than a few heats.

Just removed from Margaret’s is The Box. Like Backdoor, it’s easier to ride frontside than backside, giving the advantage to regular footers if event organizers decide to move the event there for a few rounds. I’m personally praying the event sees multiple rounds ran over there. Without further adieu, here’s my Fantasy Surfer squad for Margaret’s.

Kelly Slater:
Market Price: $11,750,000
Snapper proved to be a mental meltdown of Fukushima proportions for Kelly when he fell victim to Adriano. Time and time again, De Souza has shown that he has what it takes to win against Kelly. Kelly doesn’t take defeat well, especially when it’s consistent and resounding. Adriano may not feel the wrath of Slater this event, but everyone he draws certainly will.

John Florence:
Market Price: $7,000,000
Losing for John is often the result of two things: Either he falls—and that’s understandable when you consider his approach—or he doesn’t find an opportunity to make his big move. At the WCT level, we’ve yet to truly see him turn on for an event. When that happens, it may not turn off and we’ll be left with a display of surfing that’s unparalleled by anyone else on Tour.

Jordy Smith:
Market Price: $9,500,000
Jordy should not lose to Tiago Pires at Snapper in any version of reality. Yet it happened. What happens from here determines whether the new Mrs. Smith has herself a real man or not. Winning Margaret’s, Bells, and J-Bay this year would be a the best way to wash the taste of his Snapper loss out of his mouth.

Michel Bourez:
Market Price: $7,250,000
Michel doesn’t care. The Box is what he puts his lunch in. And Margaret River is just asking for him to belt the crap out of it over and over again. Of anyone outside the hyperbole-diluted world title favorites, Michel has phenomenal odds of winning this event.

Owen Wright:
Market Price: $3,250,000
Owen has returned to his former self. Now we’ll see if he can catch up with his peers he left a year ago. Owen is a top-five surfer if he has a good year—a potential world champion if everything goes his way. Margaret’s is an event that allows for separation of talent amongst the elite with the cream rising to the top, making Owen a must watch.

Bede Durbidge:
Market Price: $5,000,000
Bede is under appreciated by the surf world. Watching Snapper, he looked sharper and more on rail than ever as he displaced mega volumes of water with every turn. If he applies the same degree of power surfing to Margaret’s that he did at Snapper, the judges will be scoring him much better than they did at the first event.

Dion Atkinson:
Market Price: $3,250,000
Dion went berserk at Snapper. His approach was completely original. From his stance and hand placement to the lines he drew, everything was his own. That happens when you surf a lot of large, open waves by yourself. Put Dion up against anyone in a healthy WA ocean and this waterman is sure to be holding his own.

Raoni Montero:
Market Price: $3,000,000
In the past, Raoni has performed exceptionally well at Margaret’s, yet even with that going for him, there are no guarantees when picking Raoni. When he’s on, it becomes extremely difficult to out-surf him. If this happens, don’t be surprised to see more than a few of his competitors resort to tactics over talent to try and slip past Raoni.

Click here to prep your Fantasy Surfer team for Margaret River. The waiting period starts on Tuesday.