We should be hyping up how great of a wave Mundaka is, how you should be picking tube-riding specialists for your Fantasy Surfer team, and how tight the title race is coming into the homestretch, but we'd be full of shit if we did. Instead, judging by Kelly's insurmountable lead, the preliminary forecast, and the amount of potential no-shows, we're shooting you straight for this Billabong Pro Mundaka preview. As you start to pick your Fantasy Surfer team here are five things to keep in mind as the start-date nears:
1. The Kelly Situation
After a heartbreaking loss in France, the champ's eager to clinch Number Nine and be done with the madness. To do so all he has to do is get ninth (make Round 4) or better. That said, Taj still has a mathematical chance at Kelly, but he'd have to win everything for the rest of the year and Kelly would basically have to no-show. Kelly's wrapped up previous title runs in Spain, and it's almost a foregone conclusion he'll do it again this year.
For various reasons neither Andy or Bruce Irons are going to be in Spain, and given that Dean Morrison and Neco Padaratz didn't show face in France, make sure you pay very close attention to the heat draw as the contest draws near. Kelly's taken the wind out of a lot of sails and the "over it" factor is in full effect.
3. Small Wave Wizardry
For the first week of the contest all signs are pointing to a miserable week of waves. If you recall last year's Billabong Pro, which was held up the coast at quite possibly the world's worst beachbreak, stocking your team with guys whose specialty is small waves could be the key to success. If it's at throbbing Mundaka, a guy like Pancho Sullivan or Taylor Knox may be a good pick, but given the conditions, you may want to take a closer look at Adriano De Souza, Jeremy Flores, and lighter, more nimble surfers who are capable of making a lot out of a little.
4. For the Pride of It All
Both Mick and Parko were knocked out of the France event way too early for their comfort. And while they may be out of the title picture, the shot to the ego may be just what they need to raise their game. Neither one has won an event this year (heck, who can remember the last time Parko won an event?), so if you're throwing some of your salary cap at a high-dollar surfer, they may be good options—providing, of course, that you don't have Kelly on your squad.
5. Go Goofy
Yes, this a predictable bit of advice, but given the roll that Ace Buchan's been on, and the consistency with which Bobby Martinez is surfing, not to mention the performances the brothers Hobgood are capable of, should Mundaka come to life and show the world what it's capable of, it'd be wise to have a couple of goofy-footers rounding out your team.