Lowers Preview

Shea Lopez on who to pick for you Fantasy Surfer team

Trestles, home to the Lowers Pro come September 18-24. Photo: Lowe-White

After, arguably, two of the best WT events in years, Lowers is now only days away. Unless the tropics flare, the surf should be head-high perfectly average Lowers, which means: watch out for the kids, especially if they are from Brazil. I'm pretty sure the left at lowers is going to be scoring extremely high for the goofyfooters as they land multiple airs per wave. Contest surfing is on the brink of a major change in the way heats are surfed. The number of surfers throwing everything they've got at every section is growing daily with every grom who graduates from the Pro Junior Tour to the Primes and then finally the World Tour. Now hopefully, we'll see more kids moving up to WT level quicker.

Lowers is so much fun to surf, it makes you feel like Kelly Slater when you go down the line, with the wave doing everything for you. When Kelly Slater surfs Lowers, it allows him to push his ridiculous athleticism and tweaked-out equipment above any limit he may find. Watching the lines he draws, it seems a floater isn't even a floater anymore--it becomes more an extension of a carving bottom turn, to an inverted lip-ride, into a weightless free-fall that he lands on his inside rail already bottom turning. Sometimes it is not the maneuver, but the way it is performed during a series of turns that makes it a thing of genius. I'm a big fan of all surfing (rail, tail, or air) as long as you surf well enough to connect the dots without looking a fool.

With three very exciting rookies joining the WT for a little practice before the 2012 season, the two Brazilians went straight on to my Fantasy Surfer team, while I think John Florence still has some work to do when the surf isn't pushing back at him.

My Fantasy Surfer Team:

Gabriel Medina

Medina makes those same combos in heats that I only make when I mind-surf waves. If conditions favor him--afternoon high-tide, NW wind lefts--only a handful of surfers in the world stand a chance, and the majority of them aren't on the WT right now.

Miguel Pupo
Pop and flash. Pupo has heaps of both, while maintaining smooth rail-to-rail transitions. I see quite a few WT surfers that will struggle to keep up with his skill level.

Julian Wilson
Every heat, more regularly than any other WT competitor, he puts a couple clips in the bag--waves worthy of using in a surf video. If Julian starts riding waves at least equal to his opponents, heads will roll at Lowers.

Owen Wright
Another kid who's only 21, Owen is leading the charge of what will very shortly be an entirely different face of pro surfing. The remainder of this seasons surf determines if he or Kelly will be World Champion in 2011.

Josh Kerr

Josh should never do another turn in competition again. When you pull every air you try, why would you?

Joel Parkinson
All that training has made Parko an incredible power surfer; it has done nothing for his small-wave surfing though. Some adjustments need to be made if he has any chance of contending in the near future.

Taj Burrow
Taj should be World Champ this year, but he's not going to be. Not to worry though, he will be surfing good enough to be the world title favorite for at least five more years. He's gotta win one…eventually. Kelly has to retire…eventually.

Kelly Slater
When you're in the zone and pushed to your limits is when you finally show the true potential of your abilities. With these kids (and Taj) pushing Kelly further every event, we are just now seeing the true freak Kelly has always been. I'm pretty convinced now, especially after his recent performances. No other athlete has come close to Slater's level for such an extended amount of time.

When picking your own team, remember with no real waiting period there is bound to be a day or two without much swell and plenty of afternoon heats during the sea breeze. That's why picking guys that will be fine no matter the conditions as the event progresses will help your averages.

One last tip:
Adriano De Souza and Alejo Muniz, although not on my team, have an excellent chance of winning it all.

Log on to Fantasy Surfer now and pick your team before the contest begins this Sunday.