Rio Picks

Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy Surfer team

With a healthy mix of power carves and progressive airs in his arsenal, former Rio Pro winner Jordy Smith is an easy favorite. Photo: Joli
With a healthy mix of power carves and progressive airs in his arsenal, former Rio Pro winner Jordy Smith is an easy favorite. Photo: Joli

A tropical opposite to the veteran-favoring Bells event, Rio de Janeiro requires youthful exuberance to shine. The quick, thick, and challenging sandbars of Rio can be a tuberiding treat or aerial feast for those with the right skill set. It’s a highly-charged atmosphere on the beach, which buckles some competitors and brings out the best in others. With a fun swell forecasted to kick off the waiting period, you can expect the Top 34 to showcase some great surfing in the opening rounds.

My Fantasy Surfer team lost a few of the older, more grounded surfers. Replacing them are younger guys with plenty to prove.

Gabriel Medina:
Market Price: $8,750,000
How far would you go to win a surf contest? What if there were hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake? Or an entire country watching your every move? You still wouldn’t go as far as Gabriel. That’s the thing about being the best; you don’t get there without doing what others won’t.

Filipe Toledo:
Market Price: $5,750,000
I won’t be the least bit surprised when Felipe wins his first WCT event, which could be as early as this week.

Alejo Moniz:
Market Price: $3,000,000
If Alejo shows up ready to surf in Rio, he will provide great value and opportunity to any Fantasy Surfer team, but that is a big if.

Kolohe Andino:
Market Price: $4,250,000
There will be a time for Kolohe, and it must be coming soon…

Owen Wright:
Market Price: $4,250,000
As Owen’s health and confidence return, so does the fear in his fellow competitors, who may have forgotten how proficient a competitor Owen really is.

John Florence:
Market Price: $7,250,000
Wave count is critical to John’s success. His make ratio is better than anyone, yet when you wait through suffocating lulls for only two opportunities…well, everyone falls sometimes. And so, John should find Rio, once again, very similar to Ehukai Beach Park and the multitude of ramps on offer much to his favor.

Julian Wilson:
Market Price: $9,250,000
Distractions and emotions can push and pull someone like Julian from a place of comfort and clarity, into a realm of remorse and indecision. Knowing what to do and how to do it is all that matters when you know what you want. And Julian wants to win.

Jordy Smith:
Market Price: $9,750,000
In the competitive format, just like everything else, there are always flaws to be exposed, and adjustments that can be made to improve upon the past. This is life. Jordy’s life plays out much like everyone else’s, except we get to watch his unfold live. After his heat at Bells, I can’t say enough about how well Jordy has handled the many injustices that he has faced.

The waiting period starts Wednesday for the Billabong Pro in Rio, so click here to get your Fantasy Surfer team ready.