fantasy surfer

Rio Preview

Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy team

| posted on May 05, 2013

Julian Wilson's diverse skills make him a solid pick for Rio. Photo: ASP

What do you visualize when you think of the surf in Brazil? Odds are, your perceptions are off. From my experience, while the South Atlantic may not be the South Pacific, the curvaceous coastline provides an ample amount of pounding shorebreaks spread across pristine coves, all of them loaded with potential.

I can recall a session long ago at a Rio beachbreak where Shane Dorian was attempting to ride Off the Wall-type 10 footers. That session alone changed my perception of that part of the world for good. This year’s edition of the Rio Pro is set for a solid pulse of swell to arrive early in the waiting period. With any luck, we’ll be in for a visual treat of South American perfection. Here’s my Fantasy Surfer picks for Rio:

Jordy Smith

Improvement comes in waves. Jordy is currently riding a tsunami of maturity that has seen him handle some tough losses without dwelling on the past. He’s improving at every event, and eventually, we’ll see him distance himself from the rest of the pack and the tables turn in his favor.

Sebastian Zietz

Adaptability and evolution play an important role in our lives. Day to day, Seabass and his extra digit find the desired sweet spot to milk the most fun out of any situation or circumstance. A big result could happen at any time for Seabass.

Dusty Payne

Loaded with self-control, discipline, and experience, Dusty should have risen to the top of the ranks already. Now, with the younger crop quickly making their presence felt on tour, this could provide an extra sense of drive and urgency to Dusty’s approach in a jersey. Hopefully, we’ll see his talents properly displayed in a contest setting.

Julian Wilson

Still backing his competitive act and flashy freesurfing, I put Julian on my fantasy team for his ability to consistently bring a determined, skilled approach to any event he enters. You don’t make my team if I can’t visualize you on the podium holding up some token of a trophy and oversized check stuffed with zeros.

Alejo Muniz

While Alejo doesn’t take the most traditional approach, the young Brazilian has an incredible ability to powerfully drive off his rail and fins, all the while holding nothing back in heats. It’s actually in a jersey that I’ve witnessed Alejo do his best surfing. Consistently rising to the occasion, Alejo is a solid competitor and will be a serious threat this year in Brazil.

Gabriel Medina

Unless I hear that his ankle hasn’t yet returned to it’s previous elasticity, I will be anticipating—and expecting—Gabriel to push harder than we’ve seen him before to reestablish himself amongst the elite on the WT. His home waters of Brazil should offer up the perfect stage for his return to center stage.

Adriano De Souza

Once again Adriano has beaten the odds, along with everyone else, on his way to winning Bells and has positioned himself for a shot at the world title. A win in Rio is paramount for Adriano if he wants to continue entertaining such a future.

Patrick Gudauskas

After picking my first seven surfers, I was left with 1.5 million and the option of Yadin or Pat. I felt Pat was overdue for a big result and a change of position. In close heats, he’s been the guy left holding the shortest straw for too long now.

  • Anto

    Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy team? More like who he picks for his team. He should go further than his picks and help us! I’m surprised Filipe Toledo is not on the list!

  • Scott

    @Anto. I agree. Shea, I would like to kindly offer you some advice, keeping in mind that I look forward to to this post as it does aid in my decision making. Your professional insight and knowledge is beneficial, being that I don’t know any of these people personally. However*, limiting your advisory picks to the allotted 8 surfers severly hinders what you set out to accomplish, which is help other people who manage fantasy teams. I think if you were to provide your opinion on, lets say 15 surfers out of the allowed 8 that you think will have a good result and then let us decide on who to put on our teams based on how each individual surfer fits in with our budget. My advice and picks below.

    Everyone obviously needs one or two of the fab five on their team( Slater, Parko, Fanning, Taj and Adriano ). Yes, Adriano is in that elite company whether you like it or not and at 10 mil he’s the cheapest out of the group. Personally, if the event moves to Arpoardor I don’t want Parko or Mick on my team, tricky left point/beachbreaks just ain’t there thing. Taj will probably give you a good result but that bores me, which is why Slates and Adriano are going on my team, either one could win it all and at worst should put up a solid result. Next we have the young guns scratching at a chance to assert themselves at the next level.
    Julian has been ripping, he looks focused but there is just something missing. I would like to see him incorporate more of his radical freesurfing into contests before I jump on the bandwagon. Either way if you got the flow, Julian is in store for at least a 9th place finish. As for Kerrzy, not the youngest of lads but explosive none the less. If he fits in to your budget them slap em on there, he destroys waves like this in his sleep, just don’t expect him to be your go to guy for the win. You will notice I have put both Jordy and Medina on my team. Jordy is a sure thing for me, he looks like he’s gotten over whatever has been keeping him from competing at the level he is capable of. If you have seem some of his recent clips, then you know that the beach breaks of Rio are in store for some serious abuse. Medina on the other hand, not so sure about. He’s off to a slow start this year but Snapper and Bells were never his cup of tea. His ankle is healed ( I think?). Basically lots of uncertainty right now for Gabby. One thing is for certain though, the kid rips and will return to form and with the local crowd at his advantage and Fiji next on the list I have a feeling Medina will be on my team for a bit. CJ, J. Flores and Michel have historically done well here and all three are in form right now and should also be heavily considered when choosing your team. If you cant quite afford someone in the 8 mil range one of these guys will get you some solid points. There’s a whole hell of a lot of dudes floating around in the mid range right now, Alejo and Bede are the two that strike me as having the best shot at a solid result. Bede is back in the form that has consistently landed him in the top ten for years and he historically does well here, at 5.25 mil he’s a solid bet. Alejo has been quietly ripping, look for him to provide a few upsets. For my last three spots I had to chose wisely, mainly because i’m running out of money. Felipe Toledo, Dusty and Patrick G. Felipe is the most obvious choice out of everyone in his price range. No one expected Felipe to do well at Bells and he did, everyone expects him to do well here and he will. This kid will be flying around like a monkey on acid and dropping big scores. Dusty is ripping right now, straight up. Look for him to quickly move up the rankings with his new found confidence. Pat G? What the hell, it was a toss up between him or Yadin. Both kill it in beachbreaks, something deep down inside of me wants me to root for Pat though. Honestly, both probably won’t make it past the third round. Sorry this is so damn long, at home sick and bored as shit. Hope this helps someone.

    1.) Slater.
    2.) Adriano
    3.) Medina
    4.) Jordy
    5.) Nat Young
    6) Felipe Toledo
    7.) Dusty
    8.) Pat Gudang

  • Anto

    Thanks Shea and Scott for your preview! Good luck everyone @Scott add me & let’s talk fantasy surfer : antoine_nguyen@hotmail.ca

  • http://www.prosurfingobserver.com Hap

    Completely agree on Jordy and Muniz. I have continually put Pat G on my team thinking the same thing. Left him off in favor of Yadin which means he is a lock for a good result. Like Scott said Medina’s health is uncertain which is causing me to stay away for now.

    I’m feeling that Muniz and Kolohe will have a solid showing. Both have average heat scores over 15 and have heat wins. My picks and reasoning behind them are at the link below:

    http://prosurfingobserver.com/2013/05/06/fantasy-surfer-picks-billabong-rio-pro/

  • http://www.michaelyankaus.com Mik

    Nat Young can solidify his rating position by doing well here. If he can get to the Semi’s, it’s game on when he gets to Tahiti.
    His focussed approach is the outcome of a childhood of non-stop WQS events, and he seems mature beyond his years. Polished. So my biased view is Nat will do well here.

    His air and rail game is as good as any of the new crew, with consistently the best on-rail vertical backhand attack of anyone other than Kelly / Taj / Jordy / Kai Otton — in that order, (though I think Taj’s was better on FireWires). Medina, and Toledo have a great air game, but I think these guys are the best backhand. There’s 6 others whom anyone can argue for, but this is my bias.

    The bigger question is what kind surf will there be? Size doesn’t mean anything if it’s mainly close-out beach breaks. Other than the women, I dont think anyone is thinking, Brazil, yeah. Insane waves!!! Reality is that it’s the South American equivalent of Hunting Beach. There has to be a better place in Brazil for this event.