Lowers Preview

Shea Lopez on who to pick for you Fantasy Surfer team

| posted on September 15, 2011

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.

  • Ben

    Two best contests in years? No, please don’t describe NY in the same sentence as Teahupoo! Chopes was dream tour worthy, NY was not. Also funny Shea, is how your coming around to the fact that Slater is still the best surfer on the planet… Eventually the truth is clear to everyone:)

  • Larry

    Spot on, although the bullshit said about Josh kerr, if you expect non-turn-surf, you should only stick to Primes and leave WT aside. Good surf should never die!

    But yeah, nice team indeed


  • http://surfermag shawn quien

    how was Ny not worthy…excellent surf for a beachbreak! Most surfers will never surf chopes or for that matter, anything like it. beachbreaks are the staple of most and NY was completely contestable. In fact, I would argue that NY was more entertaining in that every heat had multiple rides in excess of eight rides per surfer. whereas, Tahiti had long waits in between rides as the waves of choice were far and few between. Tahiti is a dream tour event for sure, but NY was extremely entertaining and I thinks it’s fun to see surfers doing their thing in waves that most of us mortals can relate to.

  • gaetan

    Quite a good team there mister Shea !!!
    I might just get the same surfers in my team haha
    I think the brazilians are gonna be good in this contest…
    Kelly ? he´ll be in the final for sure….but who else ? a remake kelly-Owen?
    enjoy the contest

  • natural light

    damnit shea! i got then same damn team. copy cat!

  • sam

    Good picks but if Dane’s back he’s a hard one to leave oot.

  • cocker spaniel

    Good picks Shea-Lo. I love Joel, but it could be smallish yeah ? Throw Florence and the machine in there instead.

  • duh

    Exactly that is why NY was not worthy of a Dream Tour even because it is “contestable beach break” at best. Since the last day was pretty good in NY everyone has to claim it as an all time contest. The days leading up to the finals were gutless junk! One good day of surf during an event doesn’t mean it is a success. Chopes was insane…Shawn Quien you are a bozo for thinking 8 rides per heat in beach break is better than maxing Chopes. Chopes was the most exciting contest I have witnessed in a LOONG TIME. Full edge of your seat drama watching the guys risk their lives. There is a place on tour for small rippable waves like Trestles but as much as I love watching the guys rip lowers and snapper it will still never compare to Chopes.

  • http://surfermag Shawn

    Sorry to have upset you Mr. Duh, but I didn’t say NY was better, rather it was fun to watch. But I guess you are the big balled charger that , when not too busy pulling in to some maxing reef, is insulting people from the safety of your computer console. Read the comment, most people surf waves like we saw in NY and even less than that on a day to day basis. I love Tahiti and Fiji and wish I could go back there and surf…one visit was nowhere near enough. With that said, I loved watching both contests and was only pointing out that NY was a good show despite the dud-risk that so many thought NY was going to be.

  • Mik

    You’re on this one, one hundred percent Shea… And i will also add that it has been cool watching Corey surf again. The Lopezian legends flag is still flying high, for sure. And Kelly? Watching him bust Taj’s road to the final was painful, as I am such a Taj fan. But it awakened a deeper than ever appreciation of who, or what Kelly Slater is: the greatest athlete in the world. Flat out. He is beyond any other hero I have ever had, or anyone else has had, as far as I am concerned. Kelly’s preparation and delivery over the past 25 years clearly eclipses every other athlete in every other sport… And now, after the charge he laid down at Teachupo’o, in death defying barrels —following his radical charging at the last Eddy contest at Waimea — no one in the NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC(?), MLS, or even boxing, is in his league, as a man. Grace under extreme pressure is the measuring stick in all sports, and Kelly has lifted the bar again as a professional WTC surfer. (Yes, on the non-contest day there were heavier waves ridden, but that’s unrelated to the World Title, and its genre). Kelly is the best competitive athlete in the history of sport. When Kelly walks into the picture, I am honored to watch his every move. The King is alive, LONG LIVE THE KING. And what an honorable, humble King he is. Amazing.


    one thing NYC did is shut up all these guys who think they could surf agaist the CT surfers in small waves. As good as some of these guys are, they got smoked in comparison to wave surfed in the first round vs. the trails. CT guys are faster stronger and flat out better. if guys think they can hang, shut up and surf, but you can’t, so you don’t, guys like Cory put in alot of couch time at cali and more important in HAWAII, to get on the tour, not some win on a small tour no one ever heard of before.
    KS well is i am not mistaking he has surfed 12 of this 36 yrs of surfing in Coco Bch. that is why he dominates places like Brazil and Slowers because the GOAT is king of one ft slop (& pipe). (slater one ups OW this time)
    Dane know that the ASP needs him, he got the Injury Wild Card for 2012 even if not injuried, so Dane will play the BM card but with a silent protest with his boyz Viras and the crew at venture parking lot enjoying some beers laughing at ” is dane going to surf” and the ASP listen to me talk guys.Hell as Bobby said why surf the tour if there is no shot at the title. so what the point he is already PAID!!! haha dane=2012

    fanning, parko, out early,Taj, kerr,,MADia , Pupo, wilson, Jadson favorites The GOAT, well he will what he wants, he may want to give these half way guys a GOOD OLD FASHION SWRILLY like it was the ESA championships.

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