Making competitive surfing predictions is a bit of a crapshoot. You can analyze previous results, comb through pro surfers’ Instagram pages for hints about their training regimens or visit a tarot card reader to help flesh out your Fantasy Surfer team (click here to build your team)…or you could just write a bunch of surfer names on the wall and throw a dart in their general direction (I’d actually be curious to see what tactic fares best by season’s end). There are just so many variables in competitive surfing even if you were able to determine with absolute certainty who was the most in-form surfer for a given event, that still doesn’t mean they’ll be on that podium after the final horn.
With that said, here are the surfers that our staff are 100 percent certain will win at Snapper.
STAFF PICKS FOR THE QUIK PRO GOLD COAST:
OK, you’re gonna have to jump in the Wayback Machine with me to return to a time long forgotten, back when Mavericks was still a right and Trump’s presidential campaign was still a punchline (ah, those were the days). Yes, I’m talking about 2015. In my mind, Filipe Toldedo’s surfing in the final day of that year’s Quik Pro is still the high-water mark for competitive surfing at Snapper. If it’s small and rippable (which it almost always is for this event), then I have a really hard time imagining that any surfer will be able to punt and carve their way down the point quite like Toledo.–Todd Prodanovich, Editor-in-Chief
Yep, I'm claiming it. We've all seen Slater do impossible-seeming things before and I have a gut feeling 2019 will be another year filled with such performances. It's no secret the 11-time World Champ lives to entertain–and what would be more entertaining than Kelly Slater, at the age of 47, winning multiple events, contending for the 2019 title and making an honest run for Olympic qualification? All said feats are very Slater-esque and his 2019 domination, I believe, will commence at Snapper. If the GOAT plans on retiring after this year, there's no way he’ll go out without a bang.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
He’s got the right mix of consistency, flash and pop. Heading into Snapper I’d put him neck and neck with Jules as the best "healthy" regularfoots.–Pete Taras, Digital Director
Of all the Brazilians on Tour, Italo is my absolute favorite to watch. If Snapper is clean and a little over shoulder high, I guarantee he'll be combo-ing airs and hacks all the way down the point. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with and I bet he'll have that coveted yellow jersey by the time the stop one is wrapped.–Adam Jara, Social Media Manager
STAFF PICKS FOR THE BOOST MOBILE PRO GOLD COAST:
OK, sure, all the smart money is going in Steph’s direction, but sometimes you gotta bet with your gut and not your head (yeah, I don’t do well in Vegas). But in all seriousness, Caroline has the sharpest backhand on Tour, and historically the judges seem to disproportionately love 12 o’clock backhand turns at Snapper. Caroline can belt that lip seven ways till Sunday, so her greatest challenge is just going to be wave selection. If she puts in the time to find a good rhythm in her warm up sessions, I think she’ll be an absolute weapon out there once the event kicks off.–Todd Prodanovich, Editor-in-Chief
With Olympic qualification on the line, I imagine the competition will be extra fierce on the women's side this year. Sure, Steph's got home court advantage (and, yes, without a doubt she's one of the most talented pointbreak surfers on the planet), but I think drive and determination are going to be the biggest factors in how the results play out this year. That's why I'm going with Lakey for the win at Snapper. A quick scroll through her Instagram shows that the Santa Barbara powerhouse has been training a lot during the off season, and that–combined with her natural brilliance in firing right points–is indicative of her level of focus at present. Plus, she won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast last year, so she knows exactly what it takes to win out at Snapper.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
Is it even close? She has the home court advantage, she’s the most stylish and she has a knack for placing all the right turns in all the right places.–Pete Taras, Digital Director
Last year, I picked Steph for just about every stop on Tour, and lo and behold, she won a title. Is this pure coincidence? Would she have won her 7th world title regardless because she's one of the best surfers on the planet and a fierce competitor? No, it's because she had this unsung hero, pledging his undying support for her competitive campaign on the internet. #GoSteph–Adam Jara, Social Media Manager
Let us know your picks to win at the first event of the season in the comment section below, and click here to build your Fantasy Surfer team.