Rio Pro Preview

Shea Lopez offers some insider knowledge for picking your Fantasy Surfer team

Photo: Lemos

Filipe Toledo ain’t No. 1 in the world right now, but he’s still sure to excite in Rio. Photo: Lemos

The current world champion, Gabriel Medina, is Brazilian; the current world number one, Adriano De Souza, is Brazilian; the winner of the last WSL event at Lowers, Filipe Toledo, is Brazilian. What in the world is in the water down in Brazil? The turbo-charged atmosphere that surrounds their surf scene is producing some of the best competitors in the world. As the event gets underway, you can expect a continued onslaught from the Brazilian contingency as they attack the beachbreak wedges of Rio. With that in mind, I've built my Fantasy Surfer team to reflect a mix of surfers that can get it done in a wide range of beachbreak conditions.

Kelly Slater
Market Price: $10,500,000
Kelly has to be fired up after watching one of the biggest competitive thorns in his side, Adriano De Souza, leap past the field in the race for the 2015 world title. With that seed planted, Kelly should be surfing out of his skin if the waves cooperate.

Filipe Toledo
Market Price: $7,000,000
For anyone who's tuned into a webcast this season, it should come as no surprise that Filipe Tolede possesses some next-level quickness. If he stays on his feet, Filipe will likely repeat his winning performance from last week at Lowers. It'll take either a bad heat from him, or an amazing heat from someone else, to keep Filipe off the podium.

Jordy Smith
Market Price: $9,250,000
Jordy Smith has every move that Filipe has, and then a few more. Would the man of the house please come to the door now?

Owen Wright
Market Price: $7,750,000
Owen is too good of a surfer to keep away from the top ranks for too long. His ability should allow for a systematic dismantling of numerous opponents in the near future, and I think that starts in Rio.

Kolohe Andino
Market Price: $6,000,000
Kolohe has proven that he can shine in the type of beachbreak conditions that conjure up nightmares for many of his World Tour counterparts. If he can summon his ability and control it in a 30-minute heat, which he has struggled to do so far this year, he's going to be one to watch.

Matt Banting
Market Price: $4,500,000
Matt Banting's speed is remarkable and suits the abrupt and dredging nature of Rio quite well. A few big moves pulled off in crucial moments could see Banting progress all the way into the finals.

Dusty Payne
Market Price: $3,000,000
Dusty Payne has matured into the kind of competitor you hate to surf against. He understands that he can win with 80 percent effort, and that's a very dangerous thing. Rio can provide conditions very favorable for Dusty, and with a shred of luck, he may finally find himself on the podium.

CJ Hobgood
Market Price: $3,000,000
CJ can find a tube and commit to a big hit as well as anyone. If he's riding the best waves and capitalizing on his strengths, CJ can challenge any competitor in any conditions that may materialize next week in Rio.

Pick your team now at