John John, last year's Margies Pro, also plagued with a shark sighting. Photo: Joli
John John, last year's Margies Pro, also plagued with a shark sighting. Photo: Joli

Fantasy Surfer: Our Picks for Margaret River

The SURFER staff's predictions for the most wave-diverse stop on tour

The Margaret River Pro is an interesting tour stop. In a single event a competitor can be expected to surf three totally different waves; Main Break, The Box and North Point. With a forecast projecting 15-20 ft surf for the event, and extraneous variables like sharks–the Margaret River Pro is the antithesis of the Surf Ranch event that will happen later this year.

With a diverse array of sizable waves on tap, “Margies” seems like one specific surfer’s event to lose (you’ll see his name frequently below but you know who he is), especially after last year’s performance. However, SURFER has yet to accurately predict a men’s event winner this year. Will that change in a few days? Without further ado, here are our men’s and women’s fantasy picks for the 2018 Margaret River Pro.

Men’s Margaret River Pro Picks:

Pat Gudauskas
Enthusiasm is contagious, and it was hard to not to jump on the positivity train with Pat G after watching him rip the bag out of Bells and then buzz like a kid on caffeine in his post-heat interviews. Do I want Pat to win? Yes. Do I think Pat can actually win the whole Margarets event? Also totally yes. In my mind, the fact that The Box is in play means that you'd be a fool to put your money on a goofyfoot, which eliminates a large chunk of the field. Of those left, you want someone who has power to burn and isn't afraid of a dry slab. Sure, John John might seem obvious, but the chosen one seems out of sorts thus far this season. Pat can do this, and it helps that there are a whole lot of folks back home fueling his competitive stoke post Bells.–Todd Prodonavich, Editor

John John Florence
There aren’t too many places that I would actually list John John as THE favorite to win the event, but Margaret River is definitely one of them. The terrain will be varied and each of the breaks they could surf plays to John John’s strengths. I’m betting he gets extra coached up and makes the last stop on the Australian leg of the tour worth remembering. Nothing like being out in the middle of nowhere to sharpen your focus.–Ray Bergman, Fantasy Surf Director

John John Florence 
The Margaret River event is awesome and absurd. In theory, the winner must excel in way overhead deepwater walls, terrifying right-hand slabs, and freight-training right-hand barrels, considering heats can be run at Main Break, The Box, and North Point. How can you pick anybody else but John John? He'd be a favorite if the event was held entirely at any of those spots anyway, and if it runs in at least two of them, he's a shoe-in. Seabass is a tempting pick too, but he just doesn't have the competitive polish of the champ.–Justin Housman, Features Editor

[CHOOSE YOUR FANTASY SURFER TEAM FOR THE MARGARET RIVER PRO HERE]

John John Florence
I'm crossing my fingers we'll see another mind-blowing performance from John John this year. Remember last year, how he made chunky, oversized Margaret's look like it was flawless Trestles? While the rest of the 'CT guys looked like they were surviving, John John looked completely comfortable at unruly Main Break. His past two performances at the Quik and Rip Curl Pros have me a little worried that he's on a weird, uncharacteristically bad streak right now, but I think he'll tap into that same power and style that got him a win here last year.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor

Sebastian Zeitz
Seabass' 10 last year at North Point was one of the greatest barrels ever ridden in competition, in my opinion. Lest we forget, the ride turned commentator Peter Mel into a giddy/incoherent school child, and for good reason. Seabass' results so far this year haven't been terrific but then again, neither has a lot of the top standouts like John, Jordy, etc. If Seabass' free surf edit from the Gold Coast and Bells tell us anything, it's that Seabass is looking very dialed and he's a serious threat on tour. West Oz favors those who can adapt to the vast variety of waves on offer from barrels, to open walls to slabbing tubes. You need to be proficient in at least one of these to make it past Round 3. The forecast looks rather large for the start of the event so we may see a repeat of insane barrels from Seabass and the rest of the polished barrel hounds on tour.–Adam Jara, Social Media Manager

Italo Ferreira
It might seem crazy to pick a goofyfoot to win Margaret River but after watching Ferreira’s performance at Bells, I’m convinced that he’s got the best and most versatile backhand on tour right now. With his ability to effortlessly generate speed, combined with his low-center of gravity, he’ll have no problem navigating those late backside drops at The Box. I think it’s within Ferreira’s ability to do powerful backside turns at chunky Main Break that rival John John’s highly scoring frontside turns from last year. Ferreira’s top-to-bottom attack in the pocket, mixed with his tube skills, will help him advance through any rounds held at North Point.–Ben Waldron, Online Editor

Women’s Margaret River Pro Picks:

Caroline Marks
Betting it all on a 16-year-old might seem like a Hail Mary, but all you need to watch is one of her bottom-turn-to-vertical-hack combos from Bells to know that she's on the cusp of something extraordinary. I'm not sure if the shifty peaks of Margaret River's Main Break are necessarily the place where she'll have that breakout win, but a major victory is coming down the pike, and it's going to be sooner rather than later. – Todd Prodanovich

Carissa Moore
Besides Tyler Wright, Carissa is the only person whose power can match the power of West Oz when it's firing, and the forecast is looking promising for some serious size. It's a close toss-up between the two so we'll have to wait and see.–Adam Jara, Social Media Manager

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Carissa Moore. Photo: Joli

Tyler Wright
I was all set to pick Courtney Conlogue here--I've seen her surf big, outer reef waves on the North Shore with reckless abandon and Main Break suits her so well--but she's out with a foot injury. So I'll go with Tyler Wright. Again. Power will meet power and there's not another surfer on the women's side who can match Wright. Malia Manuel might give this thing a serious run, but Wright's relentlessness will seal the deal.–Justin Housman, Features Editor

Carissa Moore
There’s been a few consistent surfers at Margaret River over the years, but none as much as Carissa.  Four quarterfinals, 3 finals, and one win.  I’m playing the percentages on her and chalking this up as a Hawaiian sweep of the event.–Ray Bergman, Fantasy Surfer Director

Carissa Moore
I'm having a difficult time deciding between Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright, but I'm leaning towards Carissa for the win. Obviously the winner of this event requires a strong power base to advance through the rounds, but I think Carissa has that added element of surprise and progression, even when the waves are chunky and bumpy--which they almost always are at Main Break. But as much as I'd like to watch her lay down hefty hacks at Main Break, I'd absolutely love to see her and rest of the women go ham at North Point or the Box if the conditions call for a venue change.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor

Tyler Wright
Based on her runner-up performance last year, it’s evident that Tyler Wright is comfortable at Margaret River. Wright’s power surfing approach suits Main Break and I think that she’ll be in the final again this year, but this time as the winner.–Ben Waldron, Online Editor

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