Margaret River Picks

Shea Lopez on who to put on your Fantasy Surfer team for the Margaret River Pro

| posted on March 28, 2014
With long, windblown faces, Margaret River caters to more powerful surfers. Photo: Joli

With long, windblown faces, Margaret River caters to more powerful surfers. Photo: Joli

Experience is worth its weight in gold at Margaret River, and experience will determine who does well and who spends their heat getting caught inside, bouncing off the reef en route to a 36th-place finish. In this open-ocean locale, power surfing will seize the day. Think Occy and Luke Egan. If either of them were competing today, they would be the favorites. The Top 34 should be counting their lucky stars that these two are no longer in the draw for this comp. When it comes to picking your team for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, you’d be wise to check the forecast, keeping in mind that conditions could very easily range anywhere between 2 to 20 feet. Historically, Australian surfers occupy the majority of the top slots here. Training will come into play as well, and conditioning could very well decide more than a few heats.

Just removed from Margaret’s is The Box. Like Backdoor, it’s easier to ride frontside than backside, giving the advantage to regular footers if event organizers decide to move the event there for a few rounds. I’m personally praying the event sees multiple rounds ran over there. Without further adieu, here’s my Fantasy Surfer squad for Margaret’s.

Kelly Slater:
Market Price: $11,750,000
Snapper proved to be a mental meltdown of Fukushima proportions for Kelly when he fell victim to Adriano. Time and time again, De Souza has shown that he has what it takes to win against Kelly. Kelly doesn’t take defeat well, especially when it’s consistent and resounding. Adriano may not feel the wrath of Slater this event, but everyone he draws certainly will.

John Florence:
Market Price: $7,000,000
Losing for John is often the result of two things: Either he falls—and that’s understandable when you consider his approach—or he doesn’t find an opportunity to make his big move. At the WCT level, we’ve yet to truly see him turn on for an event. When that happens, it may not turn off and we’ll be left with a display of surfing that’s unparalleled by anyone else on Tour.

Jordy Smith:
Market Price: $9,500,000
Jordy should not lose to Tiago Pires at Snapper in any version of reality. Yet it happened. What happens from here determines whether the new Mrs. Smith has herself a real man or not. Winning Margaret’s, Bells, and J-Bay this year would be a the best way to wash the taste of his Snapper loss out of his mouth.

Michel Bourez:
Market Price: $7,250,000
Michel doesn’t care. The Box is what he puts his lunch in. And Margaret River is just asking for him to belt the crap out of it over and over again. Of anyone outside the hyperbole-diluted world title favorites, Michel has phenomenal odds of winning this event.

Owen Wright:
Market Price: $3,250,000
Owen has returned to his former self. Now we’ll see if he can catch up with his peers he left a year ago. Owen is a top-five surfer if he has a good year—a potential world champion if everything goes his way. Margaret’s is an event that allows for separation of talent amongst the elite with the cream rising to the top, making Owen a must watch.

Bede Durbidge:
Market Price: $5,000,000
Bede is under appreciated by the surf world. Watching Snapper, he looked sharper and more on rail than ever as he displaced mega volumes of water with every turn. If he applies the same degree of power surfing to Margaret’s that he did at Snapper, the judges will be scoring him much better than they did at the first event.

Dion Atkinson:
Market Price: $3,250,000
Dion went berserk at Snapper. His approach was completely original. From his stance and hand placement to the lines he drew, everything was his own. That happens when you surf a lot of large, open waves by yourself. Put Dion up against anyone in a healthy WA ocean and this waterman is sure to be holding his own.

Raoni Montero:
Market Price: $3,000,000
In the past, Raoni has performed exceptionally well at Margaret’s, yet even with that going for him, there are no guarantees when picking Raoni. When he’s on, it becomes extremely difficult to out-surf him. If this happens, don’t be surprised to see more than a few of his competitors resort to tactics over talent to try and slip past Raoni.

Click here to prep your Fantasy Surfer team for Margaret River. The waiting period starts on Tuesday.

  • northbyeast

    Are ye high? Talk of Margaret’s without mentioning Taj? It’s his backyard and he’s more fit than ever. and hungry. and has probably surfed it more than the rest of the bunch combined.

  • Mik

    very smart picks Shae.

    i’ll only add that Taj Burrow is underestimated as a power surfer. he throws massive spray because he surfs with so much speed, and has the ability to do fullboretightradius turns wherever he wants. i expect him to be in the Final — but this year is so wide open I look forward to whatever happens…

    And (predictable choice for me I admit): Kai Otton could be the happenee.

    There won’t be any interferences by Kai here. he doesn’t repeat mistakes, and he is a top 7 power surfer with a razorfastverticalattack.


    One of the few pundits to not have Taj at the top of the list. The “wrath of Slater”…so good!

  • Jimbo

    Taj is surely a lock for Fantasy Surfer. That’s like not picking John John for Pipe.

  • Facebook User

    But I think surfers and the wider surfing community esp within australia are a bunch of self-satisfied, quite dumb and complacent, upper-middle class coastal snobs who need to think a bit more about the rest of the world and not just themselves once in a while.

    “POPE FRANCIS and THE VATICAN [Protestantism/Anglicans and the ‘American Evangelists’ both black and white included]

    portrait of the myth, the man the dogma?” -article by greg hoey

    The obssesssion these old men of the Vatican like Pope Francis have with the crucified figure of an overtly muscular, very healthy, white anglo-saxon male, naked and bloody on a cross speaks volumes for a Church and a Religion that at its heart is disturbing and ultimately very negative.
    A beautiful image it maybe, but it is also hideous too at the same time, an image that appeals to the two worst aspects of the human psyche both narcissism and cruelty in order to assuage some ancient guilty appeasement to the gods by sacrificing someone or something.

    [afterall the whole jesus thing is little more than the Prometheus myth retold. And even before the Greek god Prometheus there was the Egyptian god Pheonix, again similar mythology. its obvious the early jesus cults were well researched and pretty enterprising too for that matter.

    And who gets to play this sacrificed Jesus character one has to ask?

    -No doubt some poor bastard who’s either been unwittingly, ceremoniously slung into an anachronistic cauldron run by spiritual fakes, or more likely some poor unbeknown sod who has rather been shanghaied against his/her own free-will into playing the modern returned ‘jesus figure’ for the 20th and 21st centuries…because if such a person had have been asked up front no doubt there would have been a case of outright refusal to obey the instigators of all of this self-serving nonsense and great and higher purposes/commands.

    Guaranteed the sort of righteous folk who like this kind of thing are on an intellectual level very shallow people indeed. Mindless and shallow and pretentiously ‘non-materialist-non-narcissistic’.
    The same sort of people who think someone like Gwyneth Paltrow is really deep and meaningful and a basic, kind hearted soul who is not an inbred preppy psychopath either, who can actually act.

    Again the type of folk inured to this sort of thing are usually from pretty well-off backgrounds which explains the rosey-eyed world view and idealistic nature they tend towards others esp those from lower class backgrounds.

    They’re most definitely not from low socio-economic backgrounds or of the working classes that can be guaranteed!

    And rarely is the sacrificial victim a nice, well educated, upper-middle class rich kid, it would have to of course be generally and stereotypically someone of low economic means with little familial backup who is seen to be and considered disposable enough to suit the evil minds behind such religious/spiritual machinations engineered to facilitate and expunge some unconscious corrupt guilt the wider body politic senses of itself.

    If these church/religious leaders like the new media saavy and enlightened newly elected Pope Francis and his kind ever had their ‘Jesus’ actually arrive back on earth one day in order to seek his ownership of ‘their’ control and stewardship of the Christian church’s [both the catholic and protestant churches including all of the little jesus based cult’s] and all of its accoutrement and lucre guarded over by these Holy-men and women, Priests and Popes and Bishops etc., all for his own personal useage-

    [ie possibly to use for acquiring land in the best parts of the world with which to fashion a majestic home or two upon in which he might also choose to partake of various high-class whores and other fleshly pursuits- like a nice large collection of art and trinkets, perhaps some nice expensive wines/spirits/cocaine, maybe a little yacht or three-none of which happened to be under 60 foot in length and perhaps a little gambol here n there at various casino],

    – I feel damnably sure that the slitherer’s who now watch over the various Christian church would very quickly have their ‘lord jesus’ quietly hung, drawn and re-crucified before the deadly hour of dawn preferably before the sun was set.
    All to make damn sure that all the excessive power, glitter, gold and other largesse like the vast holdings of real estate that these church’s/religion’s own was never lost from their controlling, greedy, insidious, tenacious grasping hands basically. -greg hoey

  • gary

    taj dont surf margarets you geese