Remember the high-flying antics of last year’s Bali Protected? Of course you do. Even with our social media-addled, memory-depleted 2019 brains, there are still a few flickering images way back in our hippocampus (or wherever) of Italo throwing some serious Hail Mary punts at Keramas. Why? Because it was just…that…good. Perhaps more than any other event on Tour, Bali is absolutely thrilling. The way Keramas breaks, allowing for deep tubes and massive airs, makes it one of the few stops on Tour where a surfer can stand up on a wave and you have absolutely no idea what they might pull.
With the talent level on the ‘CT today, there are a lot of surfers who could put on an electric performance and take the win. But for our money, these are the surfers most likely to take it all the way in Bali—and shower us in Fantasy Surfer points in the process (click here to pick your team).
STAFF PICKS FOR THE CORONA BALI PROTECTED MEN’S EVENT:
A common refrain this season has been that Medina’s 2018 title campaign never stopped—a calendar year changed, but everything else about the young Brazzo’s laser-like focus remained entirely intact. At various points at both D-Bah and Bells, I thought to myself, “There’s no way anyone is going to beat this guy.” I was wrong, and he got sent packing by Jordy and John John in the quarters of those events, but with how in-form he’s been surfing and competing, you’ve got to think that the third time is the charm–oh yeah, plus Medina can follow a pig-dog tube with a backside full rotation just about any day of the week, which is what it will likely take to win in Bali.–Todd Prodanovich, Editor-in-Chief
John's got his groove back, and thank god for that. Once Bells cranked up 10 notches during the final days of the Rip Curl Pro, we all started having flashbacks to his performance at bombing Margies a few years back. The conditions turned chunky and the event was his to claim, which he most assuredly did. But enough with Bells. Now that blondie's back in rare form, I'm guessing his confidence will propel him to the podium again at Keramas. We can talk all day about that infamous oop he did back in 2013, or about the tweaked-out airs he was landing last year between heats at the Corona Bali Protected. But all that really matters is that John is looking sharp, poised and self-assured this year—which most definitely means his Bells win won’t be a one-off.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
Surfing can be so random that much of the time, even when you pick a surfer who seems best suited for a given wave, the winner ends up coming more or less out of left field. But so far this season, with John John winning Bells and Italo winning on the Goldie, it seems that this season’s turning out to be much more straightforward. For Keramas, I think "barrel-to-air" combos are what will win the day. So I’ll be betting on the surfer who can do that most consistently, even in the sketchiest section, over and over and over: Kolohe Andino.–Pete Taras, Digital Director
Did you know that before John John won Bells, the defending event champions listed on the WSL schedule were nearly all Brazilian? A few of those wins came courtesy of Toledo. So far, Toledo hasn’t been a model of consistency this year, but Bali is where he can really stretch his legs and put forth a repertoire of moves very few have.–Ray Bergman, Fantasy Surfer Manager
It's redemption season for John John. The guy's looking sharper than ever, especially after riding the high of his win at Bells. Bali is a playground for guys like John. If you need a reminder of just how good he can be out there, watch him almost stomp that massive shifty air during the session that injured his knee. He's going to come out swinging.–Adam Jara, Social Media Manager
STAFF PICKS FOR THE CORONA BALI PROTECTED WOMEN’S EVENT:
I mean, really, how can you not back Carissa in a wave like Keramas? If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years about Carissa and punchy rights, it’s that the two were more or less made for each other. We’re gonna see no shortage of deep tubes and tech tail blows from the Hawaiian shred queen, and the only way I could foresee her faltering is if the swell turns tiny and gutless, which seems unlikely at present.–Todd Prodanovich, Editor-in-Chief
Keramas is like a rippable mash-up of Rocky Rights, V-Land and Lowers–it can be barreling, shreddable or a stupidly-perfect combination of both. Which is why I think Coco Ho is primed for a win here. While she might lack the horsepower that some of her fellow competitors possess, she has no problem getting tubed and she can flick that small little board of hers around with all the style in the world—both of which will come in handy the punchy, hollowed-out waves Keramas normally has on offer. If she's riding something similar to whatever magical piece of foam and fiberglass she had beneath her feet at Winkipop last month, she'll be a shoo-in for that $100k check.–Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
To me, sometimes Keramas looks like Huntington Beach if you were six beers deep at the bar. Maybe I’m the only one who sees that, but I think there’s something to it, and since Courtney dominates HB pier, I like her odds here.–Pete Taras, Digital Director
With a solid swell on offer, you’d be hard pressed to find a place more suited to Courtney’s style. She knows she has to get out to a big lead to win a title, and Bali is an event she missed last year. The dark horse could be a ringer.–Ray Bergman, Fantasy Surfer Manager
I don't see a world where Steph doesn't make it to the semi-finals. There's just no way. Keramas can offer up more than a few walls for Steph to lay down her stylish turns on. #GoSteph
Let us know your picks to win at the third event of the season in the comment section below, and click here to build your Fantasy Surfer team.