After a 2+ month long break, everybody is ready to see some man-on-man warfare in the form of tubes, hacks and airs again. Lucky for us, (most of) our favorite surfers get to tee off on the Disneyland of surf breaks, the Superbank (praying that it’s not D-bah).
We made the switch to the ASP’s new Fantasy Surfing platform this year, and I will say they’ve made changes for the better. Your team consists of two surfers from the top eight, four from the middle sixteen and two of the bottom twelve. It simplifies things and makes it more fun now that you don’t have to think about a “budget.” You can sign up for your own team and start a group with your friends here. --Jimmicane
These are from the top 8 from last year’s final rankings. It will change each event based on the ratings throughout the season.
Remember what happened after Parko won the World Title by beating Kelly at Pipe? He had a GoPro style view of Slater’s ass in the Quiksilver Pro final, while Kelly dropped into victory.
Losing is Kelly Slater’s fuel and right now his tank is full. The only time he’s gone three straight years without a World Title was 2002-2004 when Andy Irons reigned supreme. He’s my bet to win number 12 if the tour is blessed with above average surf this year.
I think we’ve seen enough growth with Jordy Smith over the past couple years to know that he is going to be a force to win at any rippable right hand venue. He’s married, he’s focused, he’s happy, and he’s just simply better than anyone at performance surfing on his frontside.
Unfortunately that still doesn’t mean much for his World Title chances because until Jordy becomes dominant in barreling waves, he just won’t be able to hang onto Number 1 come Pipeline. Then again, bringing back J-Bay helps.
I’m weary of picking…
The guy had a great year in 2013, but picking him out of this category would be sketchy at best. You’d need a miracle.
Recent history at this event favors Parko and Taj, who regularly see themselves in the finals or winning. Last year was the first time Mick made it to the semi-finals of this event since 2009.
You pick 4 out of this batch of 16 surfers and at a place like Snapper, that’s plenty of talent to choose from.
Kerrzy’s been launching frontside airs over this sandbar since he was a pre-teen. I get the feeling this new ASP wants to reward stylish aerial surfing more than ever, and no one is better suited than Josh Kerr.
Adriano De Souza
Just in case the new ASP wants to keep it old-school and reward groveling, I’m handcuffing my Josh Kerr selection by picking Adriano who cares solely about winning heats. If he has to grind a knee high whitewater all the way to Rainbow Bay, this man will do it. It’s worked well for him in the past.
If I had to describe his surfing in one word, it would be “sharp.” Last year it was razor-blade sharp. I expect that blade to keep cutting at Snapper. Eventually Michel will win an event on the WCT and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s right here.
There’s a heap of great options left but I have to start out 2014 with John because it’s time for him to step his WCT game up. When you get paid more money than any surfer ever, you need to be contending for World Titles. Video parts are great and all, but winning a World Title is what really matters to the best surfers on the planet and the public. John needs to go out and at least make the semis here to let everyone know, this year he’s serious.
I’m weary of picking...
Talent can only get you so far. At a certain point, age catches up to you and things like diet and fitness actually start to matter. Wilko can belt the shit out of waves on his backhand but the probability of that gut hanging out and whacking him off balance is too much for me to ignore.
The Strugglers and Wilds
Everyone has to scrape two off the bottom of the barrel for their team but this might end up being fun. So far the wildcard options have not been added but they should show up after the trials are finished. Dane Reynolds will be an option.
This is Crouton’s home event and I know how fired up he is for his debut on the WCT. Talent wise, Mitch might not be the second coming of Mick Fanning or Joel Parkinson but he is (along with Jack Freestone) the best thing Coolangatta’s produced since. Guaranteed to scratch and claw every heat and won’t make a mental mistake that gives one away.
As a photographer shooting this event, I might go grab a water and some food during Logie’s heat because let’s face it, he ain’t very photogenic. Next thing I know it’ll be the quarter-finals and I’m gearing up for Slater’s heat when all of a sudden I see Travis jumping off the rock. Point being, this guy is silent but deadly. Especially on long rights.
I’m weary of picking...
...on anyone in this bracket
The odds are stacked against all of the lowest ranked surfers, but you’ll see at least one of them get on a heater every event. Use this opportunity and root for underdogs to take down the top guys you didn’t pick out of The Elite category.