Brazil. For some reason it always seems to rank low on the World Tour surfer's to-do list. I'm not sure why, though; for every sand-soaked peak, there are three beautiful women on the beach, and where better to perfect your aggressive in-water tactics?
Luckily, this year's rescheduling of the Santa Catarina Hang Loose Pro and a heightened degree of parity in the 2009 ASP World Tour Ratings has assured a heftier guest list than that of year's past. As such, Brazil provides a prime opportunity for Fantasy Surfer players to make strides toward the grand prize, a VIP trip to the Gold Coast for the ASP Banquet and the kickoff to next year's ASP World Tour.
To give you the inside track, we caught up with Ace Buchan, a man gunning for his own grand prize in an ASP World Title, to find out his picks for the 2009 Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro.
As a disclaimer, Ace is unlikely to compete in the contest after injuring his knee during a reconnaissance mission to Desert Point in Bali. If the injury is as serious as it sounds, we wish him a speedy recovery and return to the title hunt.
Without further ado, here's the team to beat according to Ace Buchan:
If Kelly is going to go, I'd probably pick Kelly. I can't really see him losing in beach breaks when everyone gets plenty of opportunities, you know? I think the reason he's lost so far this year--although he hasn't surfed that well--is that he hasn't had the opportunities that the other guys have had.
Adriano De Souza
Adriano is another guy really to watch. I really like the way he competes. He's really passionate and a home crowd there will spur him on to do well. He didn't surf the event last year, so I think he'll be pretty pumped to surf the event. He's matured a lot since he's come on Tour, as a surfer and as a person, so I reckon he'd be a good pick.
Ace Buchan (Editor’s note: As of June 23, 2009 at 5:35 PM PST, Ace’s participation in the 2009 Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro was rumored to be sketchy at best after a knee injury in Bali.)
I guess I'd pick myself too. That's why I don't play this game, because you can't be cheering for other guys when you're on Tour. You've got to focus on your own game, because who knows? I may draw Kelly or Adriano in a heat. I'm looking forward to Brazil though. I haven't done as well as I wanted to in the last two events so that's a motivator for me, and I seem to bounce back from poor results, so it's a good challenge to do well in Brazil and J-Bay. It's a beachbreak wave that gets pretty fun. Obviously I did well in France, and back home we've got some really good beachbreaks too, so I'm keen on the beachbreaks.
I think Jeremy Flores is due for a result--having not done as well as he's wanted in the last two events. He did well in Brazil last year. He surfs beachbreaks really well and puts his waves together well and has a high completion rate on his waves, so I think he could be a good pick as well.
Jordy. I don't know how viable this team is economically, but I'd have Jordy in there. The waves there suit him. He can pull out all his tricks. It's one of those events where guys who can do backflips will finally have the opportunity to do it.
Dane. Throw him in there, too. If those guys are feeling confident they can do anything.
A wildcard would do well there, too. So I'd save my last pick for a cheap wildcard closer to the event--there are some really good guys like Marcio Farney who do well there.
I think a guy like Heitor Alves is a good pick as well. He did pretty well there last year and is a pretty dangerous guy at home.
Log on to FantasySurfer.com now to win prizes in each Skybox and pick your team for the 2009 Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro.