Shea’s Picks For Margaret River

Who to watch as the Tour heads back to West Oz

Photo: Joli

Good morning, Margaret. Photo: Joli

Much like Bells, Margaret River is exposed to the brunt of open-ocean swells and the unruly weather associated with them. The waves at Main Break are a challenging mix of slabbing lefts and rights, wrought with constantly morphing sections and sloping walls that shift with the tides. In the past, surfers who've shined at Margarets were able to have the foresight and good sense to switch out their equipment based on the ever-changing lineup. When it came to picking my Fantasy Team, I opted for surfers who could adjust well and roll with the myriad conditions on offer in WA.

Kelly Slater
Market Price: $6,500,000 
It's not a matter of if, but when, Kelly comes back to form. When he's able to once again balance his brand of high-performance surfing within the judging criteria, he'll start winning events again. It's just a matter of time until it all falls back into place.

Joel Parkinson
Market Price: $7,000,000
The waves in WA, specifically slabs like The Box, offer up an array of unique canvases that often yield some of the most jaw-dropping performances of the season. It’s those sort of conditions that both excite and invigorate top competitors to perform at new levels. Parko has been a sleeping giant for awhile now, which makes him ripe for a strong showing. Good conditions should give rise to strong showings for Parko.

Conner Coffin
Market Price: $4,000,000
It's hard to recall a rookie from California who came on tour with as much gumption and confidence as Connor. The kid's deeply grounded with a power-based routine that continues to impress me, and apparently the judges, as he's currently sitting in second place on the ratings. Moving forward, the rest of the Tour would be wise to recognize the threat that this young Californian poses.

Matt Wilkinson
Market Price: $7,500,000
Oh what a start Wilko has had this season. With the help of Glenn Hall, we've seen Wilko realize his potential. When he's focused, the man is a machine, and as we've seen at Snapper and Bells, he can hold his own against anyone on Tour. If he can keep hitting them out of the ballpark, I expect Wilko to continue his unexpected ride to the podium.

Caio Ibelli
Market Price:$5,000,000
In the past two events, Caio has been nearly flawless in his heats, allowing him to showcase a well-rounded technique that proves he can stand toe-to-toe with any other competitor on Tour. What I love about Caio is that he calmly goes about his business, silently taking scalps, while the larger stars of the Brazilian Storm revel in the spotlight. All of this makes him a dangerous draw. I would not discount this rookie's ability to hold a position near the top of the rankings for the duration of the season.

Josh Kerr
Market Price: $6,000,000
In WA, it's hard to find another surfer who has a more refined approach than Kerr. Where others are left scrambling in unpredictable slabs, Kerr steps into his own. He's shown what a threat he is here in the past, and I fully expect him to make yet another strong showing this year, especially if the comp moves to The Box.

Jordy Smith
Market Price: $7,000,000
Amid his return to health, Jordy's finally displaying the kind of surfing that I'd hoped to see from the South African, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see him win a few events this season. He's healthy and confident, and one of the most talented draws in the business, all of which should yield some stellar surfing.

John John Florence
Market Price: $7,000,000
The sheer scale of John's air-game is often lost on the webcast. To see the young Hawaiian punt into the stratosphere in person gives you a whole new perspective of just how far John's pushing himself. Time and again this year, he's shown that he's committed to his heats in the water. Be that six-foot airs or knifing a 30-foot drop, he brings it all. And that makes for some impressive performances.