The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach starts next week. Due to Bells' variety of personalities, this can be a tricky event to build a Fantasy team around. The all critical heat draws haven't been posted yet, and it's still a little bit too far out to look at the forecast, but while you're fumbling around at work wasting your time at work trying to sort out your preliminary team, here's a little Fantasy Surfer insight to help you get started. Watch for a more in-depth breakdown next week:
1. You can't bet on Kelly. Yes, he was the second most picked surfer last event, and yes, he won that event. Bells is different. He could show up and blow everybody's mind, or he may not show up all. "I was in the same position back in 2006," told Kelly after Snapper, "and didn't decide on Bells until two days before." It all depends on the champ's mood. If Torquay was Hollywood, and Bells was Topanga, maybe, but you're going 50/50 here.
2. Mick's getting married. If ever there was to be a chink in his steely concentration the sweet honeymoon phase of a blossoming new marriage would be it, but then again, the way he probably sees it, with the wedding off the to-do list he has one less thing to worry about, so as long as the hangover clears up, "all's good, mate."
3. The youngsters are bringing the heat. They're a hungry lot, and not just Dane and Jordy. At the Quik Pro, Jeremy Flores made like Napoleon at Waterloo and almost came away with a win, finishing equal-third. Ace Buchan made the quarters, while Adriano De Souza, Ben Dunn and Kai Otton all finished equal-ninth. If Bells doesn't deliver, and mush prevails, the light-footedness of this next generation will send more to the guillotine.
4. Timmy Reyes is back. After suffering a cut on his foot during his quarterfinal heat, which required several stitches to close up, Timmy's worked way too hard coming back from last year's crippling knee injury to let a silly laceration bring him down. In the words of Monty Python, "It's just a flesh wound."
5. There's something to be said for home-field advantage. Even though nobody on tour's from the immediate area, knowing that Torquay was built on Rip Curl rubber, their stable of riders is sure to be well looked after. Mick and Ben Dunn are a couple obvious technicians, but if there's surf, if indeed Bells provides for big power lines, Taylor Knox, Pancho Sullivan, or even Byron dark-horse Kieran Perrow could be a couple of great mid- to low-level bargains.