What an event Margaret River was, a huge start day, lots of drama, whispers of The Box that never eventuated, and the first dual Brazil podium finish in history. Who would have predicted the Filipe/Tatiana double to take out what was basically a big wave showcase? Wild times.

Speaking of unpredictability, next up is an event that’s NEVER been on tour. That means historical stats are out the window and the best thing we have are guesses of who will suit the wave. The main venue itself is Stickland Bay. Think of it like a compressed version of Main Break. The right is shorter with the chance of 2 or mayyybe 3 big moves. The left is a touch longer than the right but, unlike Margies, it has a good end section.

There’s a solid chance the majority of bigger scores will be racked up going that way. Knowing that, and seeing there’s a fun forecast to kick things off on Day 1 of the waiting period, here’s your WSL Fantasy Surfer Form Guide Rottnest Island.

WOMENSTier A - Hold Your Nerve

It was epic to see Tatiana take her first WT win at Margaret River. However, I don’t think even she would say she was the best surfer for the event. That mantle easily went to Carissa Moore. Aside from her tuna melt in the semis, Riss was the miss with all the hits. Her pure power surfing was unmatched heat after heat, so I’m labeling her as my female power surfer again this event. Hold your nerve with the best and you’ll eventually be rewarded.

If you want to mix things up, Tati is in fine form, so there’s an argument for her. Steph is a harder pick. Much like Derek Zoolander, she’s not an ambiturner. You can be sure she’ll be hunting the rights like she did at Narrabeen and mostly ignoring the better-shaped lefts. Remember how well that worked for her? Certainly not with a win.

Pick – Carrissa (Power)
Back up – Tati
Leave – Steph

MENSTier A - Frequent Flyers

There’s a good chance you’ll see the Guinness World Record set for the longest forehand alley oop this event. Whether it’s Gabby or Italo that does it, I don’t know. What is certain, is that Brazil airlines will be taking off frequently at Rotto with its two star captains in the cockpit.

Filipe is another that can’t be ignored and could easily go back-to-back trophy tantrums. That trio is hard to go up against right now and I can’t really see anyone in Tier A taking the crumpets away from them.

Kanoa could be a little sneaker option. His power orgasm claim was one of the best I’ve seen during his ridiculous drop-in loss against Matthew McGillivray. Jordy is another who will be fired up after his 2nd place at Margies. If there’s an Aussie on tour that has at least a half decent chance at taking out a win, it has to be R-Cal. Griff’s on the rip too.

Still, it’s the Brazzos with the power right now, so power surfer they’ll get. Italo for me this time. Gabby is co-wingman. The rest can go and sit in economy with the regular folk. 

In – Italo (Power) & Gabby
Back up – Griffin & Kanoa
Out – John John

WOMENSTier B - The Drop Down Menu

There are some new faces in Tier B this time around. Some are easy picks. Others are worth thinking twice about. The easiest of all is Caroline Marks. She’s in red-hot form, has proven at Narrabeen she can win in lefts, and we all know how she goes if the right right slides her way- pew, pew pew. Given Caroline’s just dropped down from Tier A, she feels like an easy pick from the menu. Get her in. Pew!

That leaves us with a few backhand weapons. Johanne Defay has constantly impressed, serving up 8s like pints at the pub. Sally Fitz blasted her way to her best scores in Margies on the left-hander too. A definite option as someone who’s very comfortable in WA. Tyler and Courtney have to be in this discussion too. Tyler has consistently disappointed since her win at Pipe last year, so is probably someone I’d leave off for now. Courtney had a shocker last event, but that could regroup for redemption here. I’m thinking more solid bets, but can see the argument to keep her in.

The other dark horse I’m thinking about is Malia Manuel. She’s just come off a bad beat in her heat against Sally down south. If she can recover her confidence and surf the way she was before that, I’m thinking we could see another debut winner here at Rotto. An outside chance for very high scores.

In: Caroline and Johanne
Back up: Sally and Malia
Out: Tyler

MENSTier B - Not Julian

Julian Wilson has been drinking too much Bonsoy and not enough Red Bull. There, I said it. He’s walking around events smiling and saying things like ‘I’m just happy to be here’. What? What?! Where’d the entitled prince of Aussie surfing go? That guy who knew he’d don a world crown one day? That guy that won more the sulkier he got? Let’s bring that Julian back. I hope he reads this and it makes him furious. It’s like you don’t even care about my imaginary point scores in heats that I surf from my couch yelling at the livestream to use your priority. You cut me deep, Julian. You cut us all real deep. In the words of everyone’s favourite imaginary baseball player Kenny Powers – You’re. Fucking. Out! Now that I’ve used 80% of my Tier B world count on that, let’s go onto more important things.

Who’s in? Yago Dora. Yes! He’s a little superman with a super smile to boot. Morgan Cibilic? Yes! Bring back those Dane blow tails from Narrabeen please. Fingers! Oh, god. Finger me. Morais! You’re in. Those backhand zaps are like music for my eyeballs. YESSSS!

Whoa, settle down, Peterson Crisanto, things aren’t getting that weird just yet. While Adriano is on tour, I refuse to pick his doppleganger.

That leaves a toss up between Jack Robbo, Ethan Ewing and Seth Moniz. Going with momentum, I’ll give the nod to Seth, but who knows for sure until the draw for round 3 drops. The only for sure thing is NO Julian. Maybe. 

In – Yago, Fingers, Morgan, Seth
Back ups – Jack Robbo and Ewing
Out (until he’s in again) – Julian

WOMENSTier C - Form Over Results

Sometimes good form isn’t rewarded by good results. If there was a poster child for that statement right now, it would be Macy Callaghan in Tier C. She’s been doing the best surfing of her career the last two events and has seen that spat in her face like a steaming spout of whale water. Round 3 blowholes both times. What a kick in the tits. If Macy can manage to wipe that slate clean and keep her form true, big things will happen soon. The lefts will suit Macy to a tee with her backhand attack too. That makes her the best option this time around.

Again, Brisa could be an option. Sage another maybe maybe. But, as long as Macy doesn’t draw Carissa or Caroline right away, I’m keeping her in and keeping the faith. Let’s go Callaghan.

In: Macy
Back up: Brisa
Out: Amuro

MENSTier C - The Wildest of Cards

Taj is in a WCT again? I could hear the happy gasps of WA surfers all across the state whistling through the trees when that news was announced. Great for ratings. Great for your team though? Hmmmm. There’s no doubt that Taj is still ripping and that his backhand sangs are still better than most guys on tour. But, are they good enough to beat Italo? That’s who he has in round 1 and it’s who he’ll likely match up against in round 3 again. A bloody hard bet unless you’re a major diehard.

Meanwhile there could be wilder cards in the deck. With the amount of injuries happening right now, there are plenty of jokers on display. Stuey Kennedy has made a return. Liam O’Brian is saying fiddle dee dee. Kael Walsh is in on the action. For me, it’s Jacob Wilcox that is the wildest of the bunch though. He proved at Margies he belongs on tour. Not many know how solid his forehand attack is too. He’ll have it in fine form this event.

All that said, it could be more familiar faces that tickle the scorecard this time around. Jack Freestone has dropped down a tier and could easily whip up some excellence. Michel Bourez has already started winding his springs to unleash that backhand torque on some unsuspecting Stricko runners. Owen Wright just dropped a forehand bonanza on his Insta showing how good his free surfing is right now. If only he could translate that into a heat. Can he? Will he? We all know brother Mullet won’t. 

In – Freestone and Wilcox
Back ups – Bourez and Owen
Out – Kael Walsh

So that’s the WSL Fantasy Surfer Form Guide Rottnest Island. As per last time, it’s worth noting that the early rounds change everything. If surfers stumble early, throw them out for those in form. Look to spread your team out across the draw to avoid double-ups in later heats too. A good rule to think about is having one team member in every two-heat block for round 3. As the draw reduces down, that gives you the best chance of having 8 left come quarters time. You have to shoot for the stars. Look to see who those stars are and you’ll be good to go.

Good luck. Happy picking.