Shea’s Fantasy Surfer Picks for the Gold Coast

All you need to know before the World Tour returns

Photo: Joli

Who will you pick, to pick apart this? Photo: Joli

It's hard to imagine anything stealing the focus from the El Nino-fueled winter that the North Pacific has experienced, but the Gold Coast's Superbank has been on an absolute tear as of late. And right now, with the event's holding period inching closer, the forecasts for the comp look promising. For my Fantasy team, I'm going with all regular footers who excel when perfect conditions align, whether they be in head-high walls or overhead draining pits. With expectations high, I’m hoping for draining pits.

Kelly Slater
Market Price: $8,000,000
The GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) continues to impress the surfing world. With a unique quiver of Tomo and Webber rockets under his feet on the Gold Coast, Slater is sure to be setting the pace with every heat he surfs. As Slater has shown in the past, he can never be counted out and remains one of the most consistent competitors in the game today.

Jack Freestone
Market Price: $3,500,000
It's not a question of whether or not Jack Freestone is primed for great things on the World Tour, and it's not hard to imagine a future where he's not a Top-10 competitor. There's no doubt the talent and know-how are there, but just how quickly Freestone rises to that level remains to be seen.

John John Florence
Market Price: $7,000,000
Currently, John's the only surfer who can compete at Kelly's level in every type of condition Mother Nature can throw at the tour. When John's relaxed and focused—just look at his performance at The Eddie as an example—it's pretty clear that nothing can faze him.

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Kolohe Andino
Market Price: $3,500,000
Let's get one thing straight: Kolohe isn't a kid anymore. He's reached a point in his career where there are no more excuses for underperformed results. For the most highly touted Californian to compete since Dane Reynolds, the stage is set for Kolohe to make his presence felt. And there’s no place like the Goldie for him to do that. No matter the conditions at Snapper, Kolohe is well equipped to put on a strong showing at this event.

Jordy Smith
Market Price: $7,000,000
I'm expecting 2016 to mark a major comeback season for Jordy. With both his power and creativity to draw on, he should be destroying his competition. With any luck, this will be the year that a healthy Jordy fully embraces his potential.

Filipe Toledo
Market Price: $10,500,000
As one of the fastest surfers on the planet, Filipe's continually redefining what's considered possible in progressive surfing — and thin-lipped Snapper, as we bore witness to last year, is Filipe's bread and butter. When the conditions are in his favor, no one is safe when they draw Filipe.

Taj Burrow
Market Price: $6,500,000
Over his nearly two-decade-long career, Taj has proven to be deadly at Snapper time and again. He knows this wave inside and out (literally) and exactly what needs to be done to win heats here. If the waves are firing, you can guarantee that Taj will be in the mix; if the waves aren't stellar, you can guarantee that Taj will still be in the mix. Long story short, TB's got your back at Snapper.

Caio Ibelli
Market Price: $4,000,000
Caio has shown that he's both unpredictable and consistent in a heat — two traits that sound counterintuitive but make for some exciting surfing. Both entertaining and calculating, you never quite know what he's going to do on a wave, yet he continues to play it smart in heats—all of which yields to solid showings in events. There are more than a few people with some lofty expectations for Caio this season.