We’re one week away from one of the most anticipated ASP World Tour FANTASY SURFER seasons ever, and there's plenty to think about. There are individual matchups. There are geo-political struggles. And there are a more than a few guys on the tail end of their careers, some of whom have publicly proclaimed this year to be their last.
As with every year, all of the tours excitement and suspense is played out with SURFER magazine’s FANTASY SURFER as the backdrop. Of course, FANTASY SURFER has tons of prizes, not the least of which is the boat trip for the overall points winner at the end of the year. And in one clubhouse, DOWN THE LINE, the clubhouse that former ASP pro surfer Marty Thomas and I have put together, a brand new RUSTY surfboard is on the line. The DOWN THE LINE clubhouse is for all the listeners of “Down The Line” surf talk radio show on XTRA Sports 1360AM.
The obvious individual match up to watch all year long is Jordy Smith vs. Dane Reynolds. Jordy Smith enters the season with a new sponsor and plenty of expectations. I’ve publicly picked him to win the entire shabang, and therefore Jordy anchors my FANTASY SURFER team. A gutsy move, considering he’s a rookie, and perhaps not one I’d recommend. But your FANTASY SURFER team would be remiss to not at least have one of these two young upstarts on your team. I know many FANTASY SURFER owners who have them both locked in. In the past, we’ve seen the WCT tour accept a rookie superstar that created a big buzz; Kelly Slater back in the early 90s; Bruce Irons also had that sort of cache when he joined the ‘CT. But never before have we seen two surfers with as much excitement, expectation and intrigue as Jordy and Dane, or, as like it to put, Jordy vs. Dane. Come on folks, let’s get a rivalry brewing here. It’s been rumored that Dane secretly hates Jordy’s double grab aerial approach. Still to be unconfirmed, though.
Geopolitically, we have the Rip Curl Search WCT event. Rip Curl has a floating license with the ASP and it adds a lot of flavor to the tour each year. The Rip Curl folks were planning on searching their way over to Gnaraloo station in Western Australia. But common sense won over and now rip Curl is not exactly sure where they will show up yet. Inside information tells us either New Zealand or Bali. When they do decide where to stage the Search, you should give your FANTASY SURFER team a good once over. Some professionals are just that, professional. They can go with travel flow. This event, held in the middle of the year, can be a turning point for many ‘over it’ pros. Keep your eyes on guys like Bruce Irons, who, if he doesn’t have solid early returns on tour, might mail-in the rest of the season. For the record, my FANTASY SURFER teams have been burned so many times by guys like Bruce and Chris Ward that I won’t play them anymore. I steer clear. You should too.
A guy you may want to pay particular close attention to is Taj Burrow. Reports have Taj on a maniacal workout regime. He has publicly stated that this is his last full blown attempt at the world title. Watch this guy like a hawk. Definitely put him on your FANTASY SURFER team for the first event at Snapper. If he gets hot in Coolly, he could be this year's ASP tour conspiracy theory contender for 2008. Conspiracy theory? I contend (without any facts to back this up – pure water cooler fodder) that in certain years the ASP conspires, through subliminal covert messaging to the judges and through the media, to push certain professionals toward their world titles. This especially occurs in down years when the ASP needs some positive spin. The year 1999 comes to mind. So does 2000 for that matter. Again, this is all just fabricated paranoia concocted during a particularly long sit on the dunny. Bear it no mind… but think about it… really. Now, with Jordy and Dane and Kelly and Andy and Mick Fanning, well, I see no need for a conspiracy this year.
FANTASY SURFER gets underway this weekend. Listen to “Down The Line” Surf Talk Radio on the web and sign up for the Down The Line FANTASY SURFER clubhouse. Go do it. You could win a brand new RUSTY surfboard. Do it, man. And watch out for the guy on the grassy knoll at Greenmount.
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