Ocean Beach Preview

Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy Surfer team

Perhaps more than any other location on Tour, the conditions at Ocean Beach will decide who makes heats and who takes a beating. Photo: Ellis

Since I have been slipping this year on Fantasy Surfer, I reached out to an old friend who happens to be the current No. 1 for some help going into San Francisco. His name is Mike Reilly, he was an NSSA star as a kid, tried a brief stint on the WQS, then followed that up by getting an MBA, and now a job at Quiksilver. If you think maybe he has inside knowledge on the events, or if Dane is going to surf in an event, you have another thing coming. Here is a direct excerpt from one of his emails to me, "I'm a VP in operations now at Quiksilver, yet most don't even know I surf. I'm an MBA suit to most of them. Hahahaha." He was even one of the many that picked Dane for NYC and got burned, keeping him from securing another 1000-plus-point event score.

The last time I saw Mike was in Ericeira, Portugal, during a WQS event. I was on the WCT and he was grinding it out on the WQS. This is Mike's recollection of that event: "I will always remember when you snapped at the judges when I lost at Ericera with an interference. They judged it as a pointbreak all day and then changed it to a peak, but they never really announced it. As you know, Ericiera is a point. I had been slogging away on the WQS that year hard and had like two 8's in that heat and ended up losing due to an interference. Glory Days. Haha. It was tough back then going from winning three NSSA titles to slogging on the WQS and realizing how many gnarly guys there were around the world. Definitely a good time though and great experiences."

I asked Mike how he ended up in the lead on Fantasy Surfer, and who will be on his team for San Francisco.

"I basically have stayed with the same team ever since Dane pulled a no-show, and will keep it for SF since I have them at pretty low costs," says Reilly. "Mick at $8.5 million is a deal and Simp at $5.2 million is solid. Not to mention Dane being close to home? If anything I will trade Adriano for Mick. This will be a game-time decision. San Francisco is going to be all about the conditions. If it is 5- to 6-foot and under I will stay with my team, and if it gets bigger I will definitely swap Adriano out for Fanning and possibly get rid of Medina and Heitor for some guys who look better on big open faces. With that said, do the judges never give Rossy any love? He does true man-turns with full power and commitment, but no flair. I personally dig his surfing especially on some face, but the judges discount it, I think."

Here is Mike Reilly's Fantasy Surfer team for SF:

Medina
Kerr
Slater
Taj
Adriano
Parko
Julian
Heitor

Current No. 1 on Fantasy Surfer Mike Reilly obviously has some skills away from his laptop as well.

That's Mike's recipe for success: Three Brazilians that have been on a tear are great calls. And Slater, Taj, and Parko are almost sure things. The two Aussies are poster boys for the new judging criteria.

Now, for my Fantasy Surfer team, I've assembled a crew to handle whatever Ocean Beach dishes out. These men should at least have a shot at some of those ever shifting, rapidly moving walls of water:

Kelly Slater
Secures 11 while on the Search.

Joel Parkinson
Looks perfectly matched to the wide-open space of OB.

Mick Fanning
Will make it happen.

Jordy Smith
Can make sense of an ocean that has no rhyme or reason by way of brute force.

Julian Wilson
Won't take no for an answer.

Fred Patacchia
Displaces a ton of water with his turns, which will look great from far away at the judges' booth.

Pat Gudauskas
A paddling machine that gets better the larger the surf is. He's comfortable and experienced with the area.

Dean Brady
Brought in to show the kids how to do man-turns.

Of course Knox and Ross should fare well out there if the waves cooperate. They just didn't fit in my budget.

Click here to see a full guide to the San Francisco event.