Shea’s Fantasy Surfer Picks

Shea Lopez on who to watch at the World Tour event in Rio de Janeiro

| posted on May 10, 2011

All eyes will be on Adriano de Souza and his fellow up-and-coming Brazilian rippers during the Rio event. Photo: Grambeau

With barely a moment to catch their breath, most of the World Tour Top 34 rolled into Rio after the Prime event at Lowers with 10-foot surf to greet them (it won’t be that big the entire comp, but should be solid at times and fun throughout).

For the first time this year I worked Kelly Slater into my Fantasy Surfer team. He’s always a great option at any event, but sometimes just doesn’t justify the hefty $12.25 million price tag. Putting my brother on at only $1.5 million freed up the extra space to make it happen. Overall, I’m pretty excited about my mix of old and young talent who excel in the variety of conditions we are likely to see in Rio.

My Fantasy Surfer Team for Rio:

Kelly Slater: Before and after Bells he has been surfing more than ever—and in mostly perfect surf. All this surfing and his incredible fitness level only spells trouble for the rest of the field in Rio. I expect a win or close to it from him down there.

Joel Parkinson: What he did at Bells was as memorable as any performance ever laid down in the 50 years of Bells contests. Parko could just ride that high back into being a title favorite again if Rio goes well.

Mick Fanning: See Parko, the same goes for Mick.

Adriano de Souza: Coming home to Brazil while surfing the best so far in his young career should see him continue comboing his competition—like he did to Kelly in perfect conditions at Bells Bowl. The young Brazilians are making a charge like nothing we’ve ever seen, and Adriano is heading that charge on his way to becoming a world-title contender.

Michel Bourez: Young and raw at times, but the best surfer in the world at others. Even in the freesurfs at small Lowers, Michel surfed a few waves without equals.

Julian Wilson: Focused, determined, and dead serious with his goals—Julian isn’t just a pretty cardboard cutout used to hock goods. A threat at any competition to break through and go all the way to an event win.

Alejo Muniz: In a neck-and-neck race with Julian for Rookie of the Year, Alejo will be surfing at home, in surf very likely similar to what he won the first Prime event of the year in at Fernando. These young Brazilians are a force to be reckoned with—as we all saw during Lowers. Alejo surfed the second most complete wave of the event in my opinion.

Cory Lopez: He admittedly started sluggish at Snapper when he didn’t have his boards or his mind ready to jump back into WT competition. At Margaret River and Bells he got better, losing in two very closely scored heats (one a tie and one by .13). Lowers saw glimpses of what he is capable of during his heats, before he eventually lost after a tiebreaker didn’t go his way. For Rio, chunky beachbreaks suit Cory’s surfing extremely well, and his surfboards are dialed in now after a stop in California with Mayhem and some fine-tuning. The stars may be aligning for him to blow the lid off the place and put a smile back on his face.

  • el burro caliente

    I have a feeling that taj is going to wreak havoc with your team.

    • Sheapez

      Taj does have a great record in Brazil (in ’02 he destroyed me in the final at the same beach). When choosing my FS team I had to choose btw Taj, Jordy, and Kelly. Against previous reservations my gut told me to go with the champ this time.

      • Sheapez

        check out the alley-oop Slater made practicing at the comp site yesterday –

  • liz

    I don’t think Alejo and Julian are in a neck to neck race for rookie of the year. 9 & 22 respectively. Don’t they base rookie of the year just on World Title point rankings not the one world ranking??

    • Sheapez

      Liz, you have a good point there, as they probably do use World Title point rankings. And Alejo’s 5th at Snapper sees him have a nice lead on Julian right now.

  • Aquaba

    Shea, you are an egg for including your brother on this list. At solid Chopes he may still be a contender but pretty much everywhere else he is just making up the numbers.

  • http://surfer kimbo

    fo rall your support of your brothers beach break performance I would have him as a better smokey at J BAY .

    • Sheapez

      J-Bay has always been better to me than Cory. I have seen him get some great waves in the freesurfs when it is big and hollow though.

  • shorepound


  • Brazil Charge

    Im very proud to see the brazilians charging the competition……i think we’re reaching the highest level of style and surf like our american and australian friends….we re happy to read in surfermag issues about them…..thaks SHEA

  • boomba

    Adriano should win here … I think the race will come down to parko and adriano this year if all goes well. Not sure what is up with Bede?
    if kelly bows out early, who knows if he will return.
    Cory does well in beach break, so a quarter final for him would be possible.
    it may come down to the judging… how much weight the air reverse is given.
    Maybe it could be Alejo or Dane’s first win? who knows…. anything is possible.

  • Seaside Tony

    style? ehh, not so much yet.

  • jojo

    jadson is gonna kill in this event. his backhand was looking pretty sharp at trestles. watch out for owen too. wouldn’t be surprised to see jordy do well here. he seems due…

  • Dickson Cider

    Adriano a World Titla Contender…………….BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!. You knwo what? He destryed Kelly atr Bell’s, but what;ls so funny is the cockiness and naive pride of the Brazzo. Kelly has been taken down like that before and then he has come back to absolutely smoke the person who did that to him to smithereens. You Brazzo’s who think that a Kelly/Adriano Rivaly is a reality is just more par for the couse. Adriano is a great surfer, however he has spazzed out one too many times breaking his own arm to pat himself on the back. Kelly had been wave starved more in that event than most of us have ever seen and still made the Qrts. Do you realize against Kelly ADS has a 2/9 winning to losses ratio over Kelly?