Fiji Picks

Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy Surfer team

If you can afford him, there's no reason to not have Kelly Slater on your Fiji roster. Photo: Joli

If you can afford him, there’s no reason to not have Kelly Slater and his experience on your Fiji roster. Photo: Joli

The waves breaking along the reefs at Tavarua are surrounded by some of our planet’s most awe-inspiring imagery. It feels so grand in design, the perfect surf spots are just one element making up the completely surreal environment. From the time you wake up until you fall asleep, Cloudbreak sits on the distant horizon beckoning you out into the lineup. For this year’s event, with little in the way of storm energy on the charts, we will likely be seeing average waves at Cloudbreak to start the waiting period. But there is still potential for something of merit to develop late.

When picking my Fantasy Surfer team for Fiji, I added a number of goofyfooters. From past experience, myself and every other goofy-footer on Tour would be licking our chops in anticipation of this event. The main advantage to being goofy at Cloudbreak is the ease at which you can narrowly escape through the doggy door exits at the end of the reef at a section called Shishkabobs. Below is my Fantasy Surfer team for Fiji.

Kelly Slater
Market Price: $12,500,000
What can appear to be completely random events to most, take on an entirely different meaning when seen through the eyes of the experienced. Kelly has experienced every nuance that a wave can exhibit at Cloudbreak. Returning to defend his 2013 victory, only the fear of disappointment and defeat in his campaign for a 12th world title can prevent him from reaching his unmatchable best in Fiji.

John Florence
Market Price: $6,750,000
Exhibiting an often raw and rough edge to his surfing during competition, John is suffering from a lack of consistency, with both himself and the ocean. Put him in a pulsing ocean with lots of options, however, and the current ASP ratings will serve no further bearing regarding future direction of young John.

Gabriel Medina
Market Price: $8,250,000
When freesurfing, Gabriel blows minds with his radical approach and consistency. When competing, Gabriel still blows minds with his radical approach and consistency. I remember when it was common to say, “It would be great if people competed like they were freesurfing”…someone was listening in South America.

Owen Wright
Market Price: $3,750,000
I get the feeling that Owen has just about found the level of comfort he needs to start dominating for years to come. An event win in Fiji is what he should be setting his aim for now.

Ace Buchan
Market Price: $5,000,000
It may be that Ace needs to turn off that big brain of his to regain the edge he once exhibited over his opponents in waves of consequence, especially tropical left reef passes. No matter the formula he uses to advance his position, Ace should have something nicely packaged and presentable to show us when the event begins.

C.J. Hobgood
Market Price: $6,500,000
Still without a main sponsor, C.J. is pissed, and he surfs better than any other goofyfooter on Tour at Cloudbreak. C.J. is heavy favorite in most any heat.

Fred Patacchia
Market Price: $4,750,000
This is Fred’s chance to make noise. Loud, raucous sounds that deafen both opponents and naysayers alike. There’s no better field fit for him to showcase his varied skill set than Cloudbreak.

Matt Wilkinson
Market Price: $3,500,000
A few years back Wilko was doing massive hacks at solid Cloudbreak and they left a mark on my memory that stick with me today. With solid wave choice, a couple head dips, and those hacks, he’d be capable of serious damage out there…if only it was that easy.

The waiting period for the Fiji Pro starts on Saturday. Click here to pick your Fantasy Surfer team now.