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Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy Surfer team in Hossegor

Look for young Gabs Medina to make an impact in the beachies in Hossegor. Photo: Joli

Look for young Gabs Medina to make an impact in the beachies in Hossegor. Photo: Joli

With just three events remaining this year, Kelly controls the 2013 World Title race. Mick may be currently in first on unadjusted ratings, but he has yet to win an event this year and his lowest result to drop is a ninth. It's highly unlikely that he'll pull a PT or CJ--winning the world title without winning an event. And it's not just Mick and Kelly in the race. Jordy, Taj, and Parko are close by, and they're even closer when you factor in their two lowest results getting dropped.

Last week my Fantasy Surfer team produced, except for John. Along with 68 percent of all Fantasy Surfer players, I put John on my team believing he would excel at the Hurley Pro. But I should have known better. I've witnessed him struggle with too-thin equipment at "sLowers" throughout his childhood, and the event's modest pulse of swell was not John’s forte. Looking at Julian and Taj (held by 28 and 19 percent of FS players, respectively) they have always performed well at Lowers with equipment perfectly suited to the conditions. Their results came as no surprise, especially when you consider one had the aid of Mayhem, and the other the direction of Shane Beschen.

For Hossegor, there is a glimmer of hope on the charts for some surf by the end of the waiting period. But if it doesn't deliver, there are more than a handful of ridiculously talented Brazilians on Tour who can rip anything--all a good value for any Fantasy Surfer team.

Gabriel Medina
Market Price: $6,500,000
He scored a perfect heat in a junior event at Hossegor, and won the Quik Pro there right after qualifying in 2011. With high expectations of his own--as well as those of his family, friends, and the entire surf world--Gabriel often finds himself drowning in his own passion to become the first ever Brazilian World Champion. To realize his dreams, Gabriel needs to recognize what benefits this goal and what does not.

Miguel Pupo
Market Price: $4,500,000
Miguel has done a lot to eliminate the stereotype that Brazilian surfers rip, but in a style that is only digestible to an ASP judging panel conforming to a rigid criteria. Noticeably free from injury at Lowers, Pupo reaffirmed that he is a rising star among the world’s best competitors. He’s already high amongst the most respected freesurfers.

Filipe Toledo
Market Price: $4,500,000
He possesses the ability to go supernatural in heats--not something you want to do, or something your body can withstand, wave after wave. But like Kelly Slater, Filipe can make the impossible a reality when necessary. Filipe is the kind of intense competitor that is mentally capable of performing at his very best when the pressure is most intense. This ability is what defines a champion.

Kolohe Andino
Market Price: $4,250,000
Kolohe has gained ground, momentum, and most importantly size as of late. By this time next year he should be in the top 10. For now, Hossegor serves as a great opportunity to let people know where he's headed when he finishes growing.

Sebastian Zietz
Market Price: $5,000,000
I made this decision for a number of reasons. First, he was born from the WQS grind, where surfing small waves and fighting for every last scrap is how you make it. Second, his forehand whip is looking better than Fanning’s everyday. Third, AI surfs with him.

Jordy Smith:
Market Price: $9,250,000
Overall, Jordy has been surfing better than anyone on Tour. Success is there for the taking, if he's able to keep his focus through the chaos that comes with a life of traveling to a different country to compete every other week.

Julian Wilson
Market Price: $9,250,000
He was a beast a Lowers: a tactician on the lefts when needed to be, and limitless in his ability to perform on the rights. Just one or two mistakes, coupled with a perfectly calculated and executed approach from Taj, were the only things that kept him from cashing $105,000 worth of Hurley money. It's highly unlikely that Julian will let that happen again.

Taj Burrow
Market Price: $10,750,000
At every event, there is a moment where the eventual champion recognizes what must be done to win. For Taj, you could see that recognition in his eyes during his post heat interview after defeating Pat Gudauskas. Taj was replaying one of the day's rare quality waves where he had fallen attempting an air reverse, yet still scored a 7.5. For the rest of the day, he rode every quality wave in a uniform manner (hardly difficult or risky for Taj) and scored his way to a very lucrative win. By recognizing the conditions, the judging tendencies, and his competitors, we got to watch an experienced athlete find new ways to win.