I banked $125 off a $15 entry in the www.fantasygrudge.com $1k Tournament during France. Someone try and stop me! Looks like Portugal won't start until Friday. Still time to get drunk, gain confidence and come at my cash! I wish you all lots of luck.
Adriano De Souza ($17,500)
Over the past four years ADS has an average finish of 5.5 in Portugal, which better than anyone else in that time span. While I'm rooting for Mick to win the World Title, it's good to have a contingency plan. Especially one that makes you a shit ton of money on Fantasy Grudge.
Josh Kerr ($9,500)
We sent Kerrzy to Bocas Del Toro this year and he dominated Filipe at a beach break with somewhat similar characteristics to Supertubes. Anything slabby and/or rampy, I'm putting Kerrzy on.
John John Florence ($8,000)
In four years here, John's never finished worse than 9th.
Kai Otton ($7,500)
While most surf fans are focused on the World Title race, there's a race behind the scenes that isn't getting the boat loads of attention it deserves. I'm here to tell you about the heated battle going on in the "100 Club" (a self-depreciating reference to old age). The 100 Club is a battle between Kai Otton and Joel Parkinson to see who finishes the year better — to many, it is arguably more entertaining than Mick vs Adriano. Kai currently holds the lead at 23,600 to Parko's 22,400. This thing is definitely coming down to Pipe!
Joel Parkinson ($6,500)
Since Parko won the World Title in 2012, there's been a steady decline in motivation (can you blame him?). The battle vs Ottz is just what he needs to fire back up on all cylinders. While the ramifications have not yet been finalized, here are a few possibilities:
-Loser hauls (and pays airline fees for) the winner's boards to every CT event in 2016
-Loser forced to compete in five QS events rated 3000 or lower in 2016
-Loser runs up the beach at Pipe in the nude after heat
Some pretty large stakes here. List any more ideas in the comments and I'll pass them on for consideration.
Jadson Andre ($5,500)
I have limited faith in Jadson here, but also limited budget. This pick is purely based off a Rock/Paper/Scissors style Round 1 matchup against Filipe Toledo and Tomas Hermes.
Michel Bourez ($5,000)
He was on his way to a solid result in France before getting stuck in the dreaded "heat before they call it off due to shitty conditions" situation. Luck has not been on his side so far in 2015 but Michel's a perennial Top 15 surfer on tour, and doesn't belong sitting on the re-qualification bubble.
Kolohe Andino ($5,000)
Interesting stat: Kolohe has beaten Kelly in four of the past five heats they've surfed. That comes after Kelly got the best of him in their first six heats together on tour. Don't get it twisted, this is a huge confidence boost for Brother. Nothing is bigger than confidence when it comes to surfing heats.
Jordy Smith– Still out and enjoying some time at home in SA with the wife. Injury Wildcard a lock.
Matt Banting– Banking on that 2nd Injury Wildcard. Might get it.
Taj Burrow– Busy changing diapers and having a blast watching the webcast from his couch.
Dusty Payne– He's got a bulging disk in his back. Expected to be good for the Triple Crown.
Kelly Slater– It's a big unknown if he'll show up. I'll guess not considering the World Title is 99.9% out of reach and the only thing he's done in Portugal the past three years came in the form of a 540 while freesurfing.
I saw my friends at beachgrit.com post about a possible fine for Kelly not attending. No fine can worry Kelly Slater. He's rich, plus, the WSL fining Kelly Slater is like a child slapping their father in the face. "Bitch, I made you."
Of all the replacement surfers in this event, you'd have to imagine one of them does some damage. The question is which? Don't count out Aritz. If Kelly no-shows, he'll be in a heat against Ace Buchan and someone you've never heard of.