Pundit Picks for Snapper

Surfer's experts reveal their Fantasy Surfer teams for the Quiksilver Pro

| posted on February 25, 2013

Recent storms offer little reassurance that Snapper sandbar will be in top form, meaning a relocation is highly possible. Choose your team accordingly. Photo: Joli

Our pundits have a lot to say about the 2013 World Tour prospects. Here, they put their money where their mouths are. Pick your own Fantasy Surfer team and see how you stack up against Shea Lopez and Ross Williams. Watch the pundits break down this year’s competitors here.

Shea Lopez’s Picks for the Quiksilver Pro:

There are a few things this event that may ultimately affect your Fantasy Surfer team: The rain! The rain has been coming down on the Goldy without any sign of easing. The resulting runoff and flooding has disrupted the normally groomed banks and translucent waters. The latest run of large storm surf maliciously carved out a massive black hole where Snapper once was, meaning there’s a distinct possibility that alternate venues may become necessary. Time will tell whether Snapper will see a return to form for the event. That being said, it will be difficult for any one surfer to be dialed in with the multiple types of waves we may see surfed. That bodes well for veterans and locals alike. Even the goofyfooters on Tour become more evenly matched up against the predominant and highly favored regularfoot competitors when heats are run at alternate venues. My FS team is a combination of proven talent, local experience, and a couple x-factors that may blow away their competition:

1. Kelly Slater: I’ve purposely left Slater off my FS teams in the past, not buying into the fact that a 40-year-old man can keep pace with a sport widely viewed as best suited for those in their 20s. But it’s plain to see that Kelly is still one of the most complete surfer we’ve ever seen.

2. Taj Burrow: Another year, another chance for Taj to accomplish what has eluded him thus far during his storied career. He really should already have a World Title or two by now…

3. Filipe Toledo: I expect big things from Filipe. Let me clarify, I expect big moves from Felipe. Whether or not he pulls off the big move when he needs it in World Tour competition is yet to be seen, but never count out this young Brazilian with all he has hidden up his wetsuit sleeve.

4. Jordy Smith: Mark my words, Jordy is the most complete surfer since AI. The difference between the two greats of our sport: Once Andy recognized that raw ability will only get you so far in competition, he focused his heart and soul toward observing and learning the art of winning heats. If Jordy can do that, big things will come.

5. Julian Wilson: Julian takes advantage of a very sturdy, squatty, wider-than-normal stance reminiscent of Adriano de Souza–who’s risen near the top of the ratings every year. With such a high level of talent filling the Top 34 in 2013, Julian will be pushing hard to stay right up there at the top where this ultra competitive, ultra focused young man deserves to be. Julian is my pick to win wherever the Quik Pro ultimately will be.

6. Kolohe Andino: Hardships make the man. After a tumultuous rookie year that saw Kolohe suffer crippling defeats and a debilitating injury that almost sent him back to the minor leagues, a late-season run of heat wins planted the seed that will grow into something much more complete this season.

7. Dane Reynolds: Win or lose, Dane is the crowd favorite. Fans can’t get enough of the one they whisper about in hushed tones and call the Messiah behind closed doors. “If you’re not first, you’re last” is a saying that gets thrown around a lot since Talledega Nights, but Dane’s made a powerful statement to the contrary: He’s held down the first position in the public eye and last on a rating’s sheet.

8. Adam Melling: Adam’s Hawaii performances were electrifying and befitting of a surfer that should hold down a much higher position than cellar-dweller and perennial close-call-qualifier. A good start in Oz may be all he needs to see his stock rise to that of the elite.

Ross Williams’ Picks for the Quiksilver Pro:

Let me start by saying I totally sucked at Fantasy Surfer last year. Sometimes I feel like I’m almost cheating when I pick my horses, being that I am lucky enough to have been an experienced Tour surfer and I have inside scoop on who is surfing well, etc. I was shattered when I finished way down the rankings at the end of 2012. I guess I chalked it up to bad luck and the fact that in a lot of these events you really can’t predict Mother Nature and who will be on her good side. That being said, I need to redeem myself. The Gold Coast is a playground for the fast and flexible. Just like Pipe will smoke out those who don’t have the tools to get pitted, Snapper smokes out those who can’t blow tail, hack, and punt. There’s nowhere to hide. Here are my picks:

1. Kelly Slater: Kelly loves the Goldie, which is evident when he’s surfing there. When he’s happy and interested it sends alarms to his peers. This is one of the events on Tour that sparks Kelly’s interest, which usually leads to him having the fire to win.

2. Mick Fanning: A no-brainer pick for Snapper. No one surfs with more flow or power on Tour. Anything less than a semifinal finish will be a shocker.

3. Taj Burrow: His record speaks for itself on the Gold Coast. He has all the tricks: power, speed, and airs. As long as he gets his share of waves, he’s a favorite to win.

4. Alejo Muniz: His surfing looked sharp in the Breaka Pro, which is a good indication for a solid result at Snapper. Look for his confidence to be soaring.

5. Adam Melling: At 3.5 million, Adam is a bargain. He surfed amazing in the Breaka Pro. I’m looking for him to break into the Top 5 this year.

6. Filipe Toledo: First of all, he has a really fun name. If the contest moves to D-Bah this kid could upset a lot of top seeds. He will be doing airs like it’s a cutback.

7. Nat Young: For such a young kid, Nat has a very powerful and polished attack. He will be known as the new backside king in years to come. His vertical style of surfing will rack up a lot of easy points at Snapper.

8. Dane Reynolds: A would be favorite to win if not for two unknowns: One, will he be interested? And two, he will be surfing against high seeds that know what he is capable of. At any rate, he will be drawing the most attention.

Alternate: Dusty Payne. I look for a healthy Dusty to take his rightful spot in the Top 16 this year.

Log on to now to pick your team for a chance to win a 7-day trip to Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore.

  • http://none Steve Briggs

    Shea, I don’t remember you to be a big stoner but you are beyond “HIGH” with your comment on Jordy. You have to be kidding all of us. Let me quote, “Jordy is the most complete surfer since AI”???!!!
    Let’s see here 1. Jordy is seriously lacking in Tahiti whereas AI set the bar. 2. Jordy is not a favorite at Pipeline/Backdoor for the Pipe Masters whereas AI set the bar going left or right. 3. Jordy lacks the competitive fire that AI had where he wanted to kill his opponent thus winnning 3 World Titles. 4. Jordy has an arrogant attitude versus the aggressive attitude AI had. Aggressive equals World Titles whereas arrogant translates to him thinking he has won before he has done anything. Look to his rookie year for proof. Last but not least one of the most important, STYLE. AI had it in heaps and Jordy simply does not have it. Look at his forehand at a right point break and he is hard to watch at times. Even downright ugly at times. Can he do airs? Yes. Can he do big moves? Yes. But ANDY IRONS he is not and nowhere near.

  • Ben

    I agree with the prior post: Jordy is nowhere near as complete as AI. Only Slater has similar strength forehand and backhand, hollow or playful. Jordy simply does not have it in the lefts, at least not yet. The potential is certainly there, but the mentality is not, at least not yet.

  • Shea

    @steve and who is more complete of a surfer than Jordy since AI I ask you? This was not a direct comparison to AI and his talents, but a reference to the status Jordy holds over the current generation of world title hopefulls. Of course once Double J takes his Hawaii domination skills and applies them to every WT venue, that title and many more will be his. It’s ok to breathe Steve, it’s only Fantasy Surfer…

  • Indy

    Espero k Dane “neck” les joda el kulo a toda la tropa de la ASP

  • Mike

    Okay, HUGE dilemma (and I know Shea already told Steve to relax b/c it’s only Fantasy Surfer, buuuuutttt…..), I have 3 incredibly strong team lineups to possibly go with for this 1st contest of the season and honestly have NO IDEA which to go with. At the risk of giving away my possible lineup, giving away a winning lineup to someone else, or worse yet giving away a winning lineup while I choose one of the other two options, I am seeking help from everyone who reads this… including Shea and Ross… Which team do you honestly feel has the best chance of winning?

    Team 1
    John John @ 10.5
    Kerrzy @ 8.5
    Julian @ 8.5
    Jordy @ 7.5
    Alejo @ 6
    Wilko @ 4.5
    Nat @ 3
    Dane @ 1.5
    ALT: Dusty @ 3

    Team 2
    John John @ 10.5
    Gabriel @ 9
    Kerrzy @ 8.5
    Julian @ 8.5
    Jordy @ 7.5
    Dusty @ 3
    Nat @ 3
    Dane @ 1.5
    ALT: Tiago

    Team 3
    John John @ 10.5
    Taj @ 9.5
    Julian @ 8.5
    Jordy @ 7.5
    Alejo @ 6
    Melling @ 3.5
    Nat @ 3
    Dane @ 1.5
    ALT: Dusty @ 3

  • http://none Steve Briggs

    Did I strike a nerve Shea? My oxygen intake is fine. It is yours that worries me. Remember you are the so-called “expert” here and your quote has so many holes in it. Say what again Shea, “the status Jordy holds over the current generation of world title hopefulls”? Really? Did you forget that while Jordy was on Tour Parko won a World Title and so did Fanning. What does Jordy have over them? Nothing. What about Slater? He owns Jordy. Jordy should have the nickname of “sliced bread” because he was deemed the best thing since “sliced bread”. He has not lived up to the hype. That is why I am pointing this out Shea. John John has HUGE talent but what about his head space on a full Title run. He has yet to prove that he can overcome his weaknesses. This is only a discussion Shea so don’t take it personal. Do YOU, Shea, really think Jordy is the most complete surfer since AI? Hope not if you want to hold any credibility.

  • Ben

    To answer Shea’s question regarding surfers more complete than Jordy, I give you:
    1. Slater
    2. JJF
    3. Owen (dangerous in lefts and rights)
    4. Parko and Mick (again, they’ve shown ability to win in lefts, though they lack the air game)
    5. Taj

  • Tillishmy bazooka

    …is Parko injured or something? Not on any Team?…?

  • dgcova

    @shea where is Parko at those lists? how can somebody forget a world champ??? even more if he is a local !!!!!

    Strange list!!!

  • Bushy

    AI comparisons aside, Jordy a relative steal at that price.
    Wilko also worth a flutter, has a good backhand that’s for sure.

  • Mike

    So, after seeing Parko win the Burton Toyota Pro… and reading a few comments here… I have decided on the following team…
    Parko 12.5 (until he proves otherwise, he’s the champ and surfing as such in the Burton Pro)
    JohnJohn 10.5 (flat out heir apparent to the title of Best Surfer In The World)
    Kerrzy 8.5 (had to go with a cagey vet over the best stinkbug – Julian)
    Jordy 7.5 (true bargain at 7.5)
    Melling 3.5 (finally hitting a stride… hopefully)
    Nat 3.0 (unrelenting backside goofy footed genius)
    Dusty 3.0 (healthy… enough said)
    Dane 1.5 (how can you not pick the most electric surfer in the world? even when he could have first and second round heat totals of 5 and 6 earning a bow out?)
    ALT: Cardoso 1.5 (if someone from my team pulls out last second, he’s a pretty freaking strong replacement… been killing it!)

  • Bruce Sanchi

    Parko can surf but let’s face it he only won the title last year because slater sat out an event. Aussie journeymen at best he’s the next Shane Powell and doesnt surf with much power. Jon Jon all the way for this years title.

  • Curtis Knopp

    This sh!t is hilarious to read. Who really cares that much about one person’s opinion of surfer? Here’s the deal, every single guy on tour right now shreds and really could take out an entire event if things went their way that particular week. Thought Wilko was going to win going into the final at Steamer lane last year. Saw Simpo surfing a beach break a couple months back and it looked like he could win a CT event. You just never know. Hey, just fyi, if someone sane could ever call Jordy’s surfing ugly… ever, I want to start a fund for their lasik surgery.

  • GBD

    What the h, Bruce? Did you seriously just call Parko – one of the most fluid and talented surfers ever – “a journeyman at best”??…Ha! Speaking of someone needing lasik surgery…

  • Johnny Moonbeam

    I think Shea may have left Slater out in the past, and sells him short because of Floridian jealousy. Slater dominates for two DECADES, Shea never made a big mark. Maybe a skid mark….

  • Johnny Moonbeam

    comparing Jordy to AI is insane at best. Jordy does not have the pure intuition Andy had in the ocean, in ALL conditions, and will never have the competetive drive and savvy Andy had.

  • BejucoBob

    Shea…Jordys time has come and gone. Come because of talent and hype & Gone because he just couldn’t close out heats.
    Hes a great surfer but thats not enough to win in the ASP circus. You and your Bro know this as well as any one.
    take care,

  • shorepound

    lol @ all you kooks hating on Shea. He’s got it made in the shade and he’s a fine ambassador of Florida surfing, fishing, and family. Keep on hating, kooks!!!

  • Pj

    Shea, your the man but how dare you compare Julian Wilson to that stink butt braznut!!

  • Bruce Sancho

    Hey GBD and everyone else working Parkos shaft. Let me get the phone book out so you clowns can ask him out on a date. Heck I bet Floridiot Shea Lopez could give a run for his money.

  • sean

    @Steve. One mistake you made, Jordy is not arrogant. While filming on Reunion, he and Craig Anderson went out of their way to stoke the island’s groms out by voluntarily handing out awards for a local grom contest. They were very down to earth and genuine. They graciously stayed and signed autographs and took pics with the local kids after the ceremony. (It wasn’t even their sponsors contest.) Both times he has been on the island, he has been very respectful and a great person to everyone (locals to tourist).

  • Brian

    Hang on a second here… did someone say that Parko doesn’t surf with any power? Did I just read that? Let me go back and see if I really did just read that…… Yup, I definitely did read that. Bruce, you are an assclown. Anyone who knows anything about good, stylish, powerful rail to rail surfing knows that Parko is one of the very best in the game. If you would have said that his technical air game isn’t top 5, I’d have agreed. But saying that he has no power in his turns is just laughable. Pretty sure no one here wants a phone book to call him up to go on a date, but dude, you need to put down the Haterade. You’ve had enough Bruce, if you have any more you’re going to start saying things like John John can’t get barreled, Medina can’t punt, and Slater doesn’t know how to get close out a heat. PUT DOWN THE HATERADE.

  • shea

    Looks as if everyone is having fun preparing their teams and dissing others leading up to Snapper….A few notes of mine:
    Some will mistake grunt and flailing for power. Parko does neither and carves a very powerful tract through every wave he rides. The world title hangover doesn’t seem to be affecting him either making him a solid pick, just not for my team right now…come Bells he’s a sure thing where aerials are few and far btw.
    Has anyone seen Bending Colors? And how long did it take Sunny, Derek, Occy, Parko to get their World Title…. AI himself had to learn his winning formula after some trying early years getting handed defeat after defeat to lesser surfers but better competitors.
    ADS is one of my favorite competitors to follow. He has the heart of a champion and the balls to stand up to one. He will also do things to waves when you watch him in person that is beyond description. Julian also boggles the mind with what he can do to a wave when you watch and compare to others in a line up. Julian has a lot more refinement to his overall approach though due to the many cultural and environmental upbringing differences btw where the two gifted surfers were raised.

  • Victor

    How did Shea do last year in fantasy surfer rankings ?

  • Victor

    not to diss or bash, I just suck at fantasy surfer and hesitating to go in either Shea’s or Ross’ direction !

  • Jeffe

    Seems like Shea and I agree on the starting lineup. Good going Shea!

    Yur ole judge, back a few years…

  • by the way

    So “btw” means “between”? I guess I missed that memo…

  • shea

    @Victor you are wise to not follow Ross and my lead when picking your team as we were both far off the lead pack last year. One bit of advice that does work extremely well: Look at a surfers previous results from the tour stop in question and pick the guys that consistently perform well there as they obviously have something that agrees with them at that location. Jordy Smith has faired no worse than quarters the last three years at Snapper. And for the same price as just Parko you can have Jordy and Sebastian…or Taj and Dusty…
    Sebastain is actually a great pick and one I only left out because of how burned I got picking Dusty his rookie year. I’d make sure to watch them closely this year as they both have the talent to contend once they find their comfort zone on tour.

  • rafael

    here we go.
    #1 Mick
    #2 Dave
    #3 JJF.

  • Rich

    funny how you guys have all these X pro surfers doing these fantasy picks, honestly tell everyone what Shea’s record last year was. I would be shocked if he was even in the top 1,000. Fu*k Shea and FU*k Ross’s opinion, pick the exact opposite and your team will do fine.

  • mike

    Your making AI scream right now…..what a joke of a comment

  • zee-la

    what about the backflipper gabriel medina?!

  • Phocas surf

    Lots of angry nerds hiding behind the internet. Thanks to Ross and Shea for the piece, agree with most but not all.

    To the upset bitter kids hiding behind the internet, its probably time to go surf and step away from your keyboard.

  • Matariki Mitchell


    Thanks Shea and Ross, I like seeing what you guys come up with,it adds another pov closer to the scene. I’ve got Parko over Kelly this year, I also picked Jordy until I saw him free surf, the younger brazos are way faster and vibrant. I like Jordys style but if its small hell be left behind. I have an Oz top four. Parks, Taj, Kerrzy and Wright. The rest you’ll have to guess

  • Jimmy the Saint

    I can’t believe that Ross tips Adam Melling to be top five this year, based on last year I wouldn’t buy him if he was half that price. Good luck to him though, seems like a nice guy. As Parko is the most expensive, many won’t choose him, I didn’t though he’ll kick ass. I have Kelly, Taj, Jordy, Kerr, Bebe and a few others, can’t believe that I could get all those with money to spare. I’m sure everyone has Dane on their team, at that price he is a total steal.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    I take it all back, I should have bought Melling, it would be great to see Bourez win tonight, though he isn’t on my team…

  • http://punditpicksforsnapper/surfermagazine Michael Nolan

    sand bar or no sand bar this break still looks like a bitchin right, which undoubtly will be a plus for any non-goofyfoot surfer!