Wait, did anyone notice it was an offseason? Swell has been non-stop and with all the big wave shit that's gone down, I don't think anyone's mentioned this whole Championship Tour thing that's about to kick off.
Before we get started, I'm going to make a few predictions for 2016. Think these suck? Hit me in comments and we'll compare in December:
-Gabriel Medina will win the World Title
-Taj Burrow will go Kobe Bryant and have a year long retirement tour (minus the rings)
-Conner Coffin will win Rookie Of The Year
-Owen Wright will unfortunately not surf a single event
-No surfer over the age of 30 will finish in the Top 5
-Kanoa Igarashi will impress more than you think
OK. Now here’s my team for Snapper:
Gabriel Medina ($17,250)
The CT has been in a transitional phase the past two years. This is the year that transition will be complete. With Mick out of the equation, there will be no one left from the 30+ generation to win events or challenge for the World Title. We should feel fortunate that Medina got off to the bad start last year because it won't happen again for a long time.
Filipe Toledo ($17,000)
The forecast looks small. Anyone you like more on a grovely right? Didn't think so. 95% chance of thunderstorms.
Taj Burrow ($7,000)
Sometimes it simply comes down to a winnable Round 1 matchup. Taj has Josh Kerr and Kanoa Igarashi. That's no cakewalk but TB and Snapper Rocks is like bacon and eggs. It's good every single day.
Matt Wilkinson ($6,000)
He's just won a QS 6k in surprisingly decent waves. I've been skeptical of picking Wilko over the years but things have changed. He's grown up and is no longer in constant rager/party mode (although it still exists at times). The backhand is too automatic.
Miguel Pupo ($5,000)
3rd, 5th, INJ, 9th. These are numbers I like when picking someone at $5,000 budget on FantasyGrudge. Snapper is easily Miggy's best event on tour. In other news, I'm not sure what's going on with his Instagram account lately? Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
Keanu Asing ($5,000)
You guys might think I'm tripping on this one but Keanu re-qualified through the CT his first year. You know who didn't do that? Josh Kerr, Dusty Payne, Kolohe Andino, Yadin Nicol, Brett Simpson and many other surfers we would all consider to be more talented.
Jack Freestone ($5,000)
I had a hard time choosing between Jack and Conner here. Ultimately it came down the the wave forecast. Jack has the tougher heat draw with Parko and John, but in smaller conditions those guys are not nearly as threatening. I'm guessing John hasn't surfed a wave under six feet in four months and with his brand new Balter Brewery down the street, Parko is slightly more of a risk.
Adam Melling ($1,500)
I don't expect wildcards to do any damage in this event but Melling isn't a bad option on the cheap. Excluding last year, he hasn't gotten a last place finish at Snapper since 2010.