T Minus 4 days until J-Bay starts. Probably less time by the time you actually read this. Yessssss.

How good is the bunched schedule toward the tail half of the year?! It’s hectic on the surfer’s bodies and minds, but incredible for surf fans (assuming you’re not Elo). The forecast is looking pretty tasty at this stage for Jeffreys Bay, so it should be a carve to tube to float on the bricks fest. You’ll want power surfers in your team that can hold a rail, hold their speed and thread the milk flute like an udder in a cow sucker. With all of that in mind, here are your best fantasy surfer picks for J-Bay 2023. 


Tyler Wright –
Ohhhh huge call right out of the gates. This is the first time I haven’t had Carissa as the auto pick in tier A. Truth be told, it’s a hard call. But, Tyler is going to tear through J-Bay like a footy team through their game-day banner. With decent waves likely day one, and a bigger swell midway through the window, she’s in prime position to be at her heavy hacking best. Add into the fact that Tyler won Bells this year at Winki (which is pretty much a stink version of J-Bay) and you have a little window into her form in this type of wave. Get her in, powered. 

Steph x 8 –
Steph Gilmore in good right handers. There’s not much better in the world of surfing to watch than this phenomenon of flow. She
has to be in the conversation for a win at J Bay, especially if the surf lives up to forecast expectations. Steph also desperately needs a good result if she’s going to make the top 5 and defend her title. It’s doubtful she’ll do it on a left  (Chopes), so this is her chance. The mono-turner for #1. Let’s go, Stillmore!


Lakey Peterson –
Here’s some stat magic for you. Lakey Peterson went back-to-back 2nds at J-Bay in 2018 and 2019. If she has a pet wave on tour, this is it. But, looking at the stacked names in Tier B for the women’s (Molly/Steph/Tati), it’s highly likely she’ll be barely owned by anyone this time around. If you’re looking for a chance to take a risk and nab some points to jump up the ladder, Lakey is a great pick. Like a finger up a snotty nose though, pick at your own risk.


Sarah Baum –
You might be tempted to go with the local talent when it comes to any event. Then that temptation turns to reality when you see Sarah Baum has Carissa Moore in Round 1. If she beats Carissa, she’ll have Tyler Wright (or Carissa again) in round 3. I just can’t see her cutting it to the quarters or better at J Bay this time. Perhaps after more experience and full-time on tour, but not this year. Sorry Sarah. 


Ethan Ewing –
Than Wing! The guy who sounds like a power ranger when you dropwallet the E from his names. Ethan is the defending event champ and in fine form this year. J Bay LOVES people going back to back here too, more than any other event on tour. Jake Pato hit the double in 2000/01, Jordy ‘11/’12, Mick ‘14/’16 (shark in the middle), Filipe ‘17’/’18. Ethan is set to repeat the pattern. Get him in your team or you’re not allowed to watch his heats. 

Gabriel Medina –
There’s an old saying in philosophy that if Gabriel Medina is in Tier B, you’re a fucking moron if you don’t pick him. Don’t argue with me, argue with the Greeks. Past event champ at J Bay, currently in terminator mode to make it into the top 5 for Trestles. If you don’t have him in, there’s a chance you’ll even get death threats thrown at you on Instagram too. No one wants that. Do the smart thing and go with philosophy. 


John John –
Surprise! Did you ever think you’d see John John in a dark horse rating, anywhere in the surfing world? Here we are. Let me explain. Ethan is in everyone’s team. Filipe is in every Brazilian’s team and most other people’s too. BUT, with a slight shadow over Fil’s knee health and John John licking his werewolf beard at the swell on the horizon, he could
easily win this event. He finished runner up here once, made quarters another and has been injured every other time. Now that he’s the healthy one, it’s time for a healthy result. #1 Kale Salad on its way. 


Tier C –
I mean, seriously. If you could just avoid picking everyone in Tier C it would be a great day, right? It’s a strange situation when I’m considering picking a 50 year old for my team. Adin Masencamp is the gut-reaction ‘no’ here. He’s not going to play Sean Holmes, or even Shaun Thompson.

But, I’ll go a little deeper and say Rio Waida is someone to avoid at J Bay. He’s probably surfed in a wetsuit five times in his whole life, and the guy ain’t going to be rocking Quik original boardshorts in Africa. Go the GOAT! Second last time you’ll likely be able to pick him for an event, right? May as well run with nostalgia. 

Remember that teams now lock as soon as the event starts! Tomorrow (July 10th) is going to be PUMPING in J-Bay. Get set for wild warm up clips from all surfers just to fuck with your mind (and team picks). Stay steady, get ready. This is going to be one epic event.