Bru! We’re back. It feels so lakka that Jordy Smith must be tweaking his twisted nipples. To slide back in mid-year like Kelly Slater with a broken (but not really) foot makes it extra special. The GOAT pouncing in like a wild impala with the Full Rote Mountain Goat – Italo Ferreira – hanging out at the top of the ratings. Shit is getting saucy. Throw in an expected 849 grab-rail cut downs from Mikey Wright, shark fear running rampant since Margies and Martin Potter claiming local even though he only ever officially surfed for Great Britain (ya know), and you have one freaking gangbusters Fantasy Surfer event.

Here’s our WSL Fantasy Surfer form guide for J Bay 2018.

Tier A - More Gold Than Lil Wayne's Grill

Seriously. Tier A has more gold in it that Lil Wayne’s 24-carat encrusted mouth hole. It’s wild. Last year’s winner and stand out performer, Filipe is in there. Local lord and 2-time-winner Jordy Smith is in there. Gabby ‘I-always-make-the-quarters-or-better’ Medina is in there. Julian ‘sharks-like-yellow-jerseys’ Wilson is in there. As is powerhouse Bourez, an in-form Mountain Goat and the flying skullet Owen Wright. The only surfer I’d ditch is Panda, who won the last event and still could nail it.

It’s a bloody hard pick, but I’m going with Filipe and Jordy as my two frontrunners. Why? Filipe was simply amazing here last year, throwing full-tilt man hacks and mixing it up. He redefined how you surf J-Bay and I’d put it up there with John John’s manhandling of Margies as one of the most mindbending event performances I’ve seen ever. Jordy? Well, his nipples intrigue me. Plus, this.

I feel like those two guys are probably going to be most owned, so if you’re after a darkhorse then Bourez or Gabby could be amazing. They’re both ultra consistent at J Bay and both surfing really well right now. The popular Fantasy Surfer pick I’ve decided to sideline? Italo. He’s never made it past round 3 here. Saying that, he’d never won an event before this year and now he’s won two. You have to cut someone out though. Right?

Tier B - A Big Pool With Deep Talent

This tier is a bit like Russian Roulette – you’re snapping only a fraction of options into the chamber to see which is going to keep you safe and which one will blast your fantasy brains into the dark abyss. I’m going with 4 surfers who I think will score consistently, yet still have a chance at winning as well. These guys are – Kolohe, Adriano, Conner Coffin and Wade Carmichael.

Granted, Wade is unproven here at the CT level, but his style suits J-Bay crazy well and he went mad in Brazil to show what kind of destruction he can reap when on a roll. He’s almost like Conner Coffin, if Conner had a beard and rode for a brand only found in thrift stores the world over.

Conner – are you kidding? The guy is made for right-hand points like this. He lost in a re-surf against Jordy in round 5 last year, but was throwing 9s like they were confetti in earlier rounds. He’ll be keen to go further this year and cement J Bay as one of his pet events on tour.

Adriano. This little nugget hasn’t been having the best year to date, but he’s like the Terminator – even if he’s shot to pieces he just keeps coming at you. De Souza won J Bay the year it was a QS a few years back and has a good run of results in the past here too. I’m looking forward to see the working man’s workhorse get back on top.

Kolohe. He’s yet to crack a win on tour, but my gut tells me it’s going to come really, really soon. He doesn’t have a solid history contest history at J Bay, but his freesurfing out there is on par with some of the best, so I’m hoping he comes alive and lives up to his potential here. One I’d maybe swap out if the jitters got the better of me.

The potential darkhorse I’d also consider is Frederico Morais. He got second last year at J Bay on his first ever attempt, so could be a great inclusion. The judges don’t seem to be loving his approach as much this year though, so it will be interesting to see where they place his solid, yet often predictable, attack this time around. The popular pick I’m ditching? Jeremy Flores. The guy should be a walk up start at J Bay, but a look into his history at this place shows a terrible series of very early exits. Not in my team for that reason alone.

Tier C - Where Veterans and Rookies Go To Die

This is such a hard tier. Given history, you’d have to be looking really closely at Kelly, Parko and Wilko. Kelly has won a record 4 times here (equal to Mick), but he hasn’t raised the trophy for a decade, plus he’s fresh off a rest in the good paddock. Still, he is the GOAT.

Parko is in a similar category, with 2 wins and a runner-up as recently as 2014. But, his last few years have been shite to say the least at J-Bay, plus his recent form hasn’t been amazing either. If the swells on he’s gotta be a contender. If the surf looks small, I’d start looking around for a snappy upstart to lock in place.

Wilko. Well. The guys proper shreds this place. Yet, 2018 has seen him go back to the early-losing Wilko of yesteryear and I’m simply not sure he has the head to turn that bad run around. I hope he proves me wrong.

With all of that hesitancy, I’m still rotating those three guys, along with the human grab rail Mikey Right as my picks. Right now, it’s Kelly and Parko because they don’t double up against my other picks. Still, Mikey is a wild human to have in tier C and his ranking means he’s not bunting up against the super top tier guys in round 1 or 3. He has to be a possible inclusion.

A Fantasy Surfer darkhorse you might want to consider is Keanu Asing. He has done well at J Bay before and is always fired up with never-give-up attitude. Like a pocket rocket that’s high on life.

The guy I think is an easy no is Yago Dora. The kid just hasn’t had the zap in real surf this year and on his backhand is simply outclassed at this level. Did I mention a goofy footer hasn’t won here in over 20 years? Bye Dooku, Gouveia, Wiggoly, Miggy and O’Leary if you’re a moneyball kind of chooser.

Lots of heart, lots of head – pick ’em like you would your dream first date. With that, we’re out.

If you’re still needing more Fantasy Surfer talk, and we’d say you do, give the Lipped podcast (below) a listen. They’ve also got a Fantasy Surfer Clubhouse happening, hit it up.


Images via::
JBay Surf View and WSL