After a whirlwind run of events through Australia where a lot of surfers didn’t get the results they were hoping for, or surprised themselves and killed it, we are now moving onto the most predictable (but stressful) wave on tour – SURF RANCH. 

This would have to be the most challenging, mentally, event for the surfers on tour – there’s minimal warm up (6 waves, I think) and you have to be there 3 days before the event. You’re in the middle of bum fuck, sitting in a casino waiting for the call up to catch a couple of waves.

Sure, the wave isn’t super dangerous but after being able to catch waves, surf as much as you want, etc at every other location. The surfers who are able to slow themselves down a gear or two for Surf Ranch are the ones who do well, the ones with a strong mental game. 

There’s a solid chance the majority of bigger scores will be racked up on surfers forehands, so the key is making sure your surfers have an ok enough backhand to back up their forehand points. 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 Guide Surf Ranch.

WOMENSTier A - Keep on keeping on

Tier A could easily just read: “Carissa Moore” 

And that’s it. 

She’s on a tear this year and will win the ‘regular’ season by a record (as will Gabby). Every event she’s catching at least one wave that could be a banger for her next web edit, she’s been that good this year. Not picking Carissa is like not picking Gabby… 

IF you don’t actually want to pick Carissa because every other person has, then have a look at Sally – the recent ISA World Champ and very very excited Olympian. As far as I know she is competing at Surf Ranch, as she’s in San Clemente surfing and dropping #SquadonaMission posts about the event on her IG. 

And then there is Tati, who can tube ride both ways and throw some solid turns both ways. While not my first pick, she’s a solid back up if Sal ain’t around. 

Pick – Carissa (Power)
Back up – Sally
Leave – Tati

MENSTier A - Historical Power

In the two years the event has run (‘18 & ‘19) Gabby has been the only winner and Filipe has been the only runner up. Gabby’s lowest scoring counting wave was a 8.4 and was on the right, on the lefts he averages 9’s. With that said you’re pretty stupid if he’s not in as your power surfer, stats don’t lie. Filipe ain’t far behind Gabby on scores either, his lowest counting score across both events is a 7.23 on a left, whereas on the rights he’s always netting 9+ rides. Not putting these two in would be silly, but then again, everyone is going to put them in. 

If you do want to gamble, you’ve got Griffin who’s having a good year and is ‘due’ for a breakout result. He turned heads the first time he surfed the pool, kinda stunk it up in ‘18 but bounced back in ‘19 with a 3rd with his counting waves being 7.5 or higher… 

Can Italo slow himself down enough? He’s used to catching 15 waves in a heat, let alone what he does generally in a free surf. Throw him 6 or so waves in three days and he’ll be bursting at the seams by the time his first comp wave rolls in. On paper (digital) he should final here, but… 

For me, Gabby as power and Filipe as the second pick is the easy money. Save the gambles for Tier B & C

In – Filipe & Gabby (Power)
Back up – Griffin & Italo
Out – Morgan Cibs

WOMENSTier B - Tubes & Carves

I imagine some might wanna fight me for not putting Caroline in my starting line up, even though she’s hit 3rd place both times the event has run. But I’m really thinking the combo of Gilmore & Defay is going to pay big dividends at Surf Ranch (Hello Sportsbet – gamble responsibly).

Both Johanne (‘19) and Stephanie (‘18) have grabbed a runner up spot at Surf Ranch and consistently post high numbers. Johanne has been having a great run of events through the Aussie leg and is surfing amazing. Stephanie on the other hand hasn’t been having the greatest of years, by her standards, this year and is most likely looking at this event as the break out event to put her back on track for that Top 5 finish. 

If you’re not feeling this double, then drop one and slide in Caroline. She’s great on her backhand, and drops airs/finners on her forehand. Science tells me she’s the better bet, but it’s Tier B and that is the ‘gut vibe’ tier for me. Probably also explains why I’m consistently at the bottom of the leagues I’m in…

In: Gilmore & Defay
Back up: Isabella & Caroline Marks
Out: Keely

MENSTier B - Mixed Bag of Lollies

This tier is a lot harder to pick, but at the same time you can have a little more fun with it and avoid the stats, go with your gut vibes. There’s plenty of options in here that will both make and break your Fantasy Team. 

Straight up honesty? Sure thing. 

My Tier B is all gut vibe, no stats, ready to die on the hill picks. Yago has been fucking ripping all year, loves himself a left at Surf Ranch and can back up it up on his backhand. I’m calling it early – Yago will final here, maybe even win it. 

Jack Robbo might be one of the fittest guys on tour right now, and that strength will play a huge part in him taking my fantasy team to new scoring heights. The Surf Ranch is a long ass wave and your quads are probably cooked by the time that last section rolls in, I’m thinking Robbo is fine with that and will take to the sky after sitting in a tub. 


R-Cal, you can’t not put Ryan in your team. It’s that simple, for me. He is my new Julian, but back when Julian was doing Julian stuff, not today stuff Julian. Fortunately Julian isn’t competing at Surf Ranch, otherwise he’d be my Power Surfer, again. 

Kanoa is my safe bet, I guess. We know what he’s going to do, how he’ll approach the wave, etc. He’s my boring bet, which is kinda wild when I think about it as his approach out here is far from boring – more reliable, I think. 

If you don’t like my gut check Tier B, I’d suggest looking at Fingers or Matty McGill as back ups. Fingers is very reliable and will probably net you pocket 6’s or so. Matty could be netting nines, or two’s. I don’t really know. 

Side note from Tim: “Surprised you didn’t mention Miggy. Dude rips in the pool and is in good form. Potential addition.”

In – Yago, Kanoa, Jack Robbo, R-Cal
Back ups – Fingers, Matty McGil
Out – Flores, Deivid

WOMENSTier C - Form Over Results

Tier C for the women’s isn’t the most promising run of picks. There is only one surfer in here that’s made it to the 5th place round in this group and that’s Coco – who ironically isn’t on tour right now, but copped a wildcard for the event. So based off that alone, she’s in. 

And I’m hoping by picking her she’ll ride a twin fin or similar in her heats. Going off the way she’s approaching the wave and how she surfs on it out there, I’m thinking she could do pretty well out there on some alternative craft. 

Brisa as a back up, or even Sage/NVD if you’re feeling it. Neither have really made an impact out at Surf Ranch, but all three are capable of high’ish scores. 

In: Coco (on a twin)
Back up: Brisa
Out: Newcomers

MENSTier C - Pool Experience Counts

The pool feels like an event where if you don’t have a good amount of time (waves) up your sleeve, it’s a very hard event to do well at. The more waves you get, the more familiar you are with the set up, the better you’ll do. So with that in mind, I’m picking surfers who have experience AND some level of rhythm happening. The easy cut here is any surfers who haven’t had time, or have had minimal time at the pool – LOB, Hannerman (he has surfed it a little tho), etc.

Surfers we are picking though – Owen is the first cab off the rank, he was surfing good during the Aussie leg and did his best surfing at Rotti (hi, Chris!). Even though he didn’t get the results he was probably looking for, he’s still surfing well, and has done well at Surf Ranch previously. Random fact? Owen was the last Aussie to win a CT event, back in 2019. 

Second cab off the rank is O’Leary. He was surfing good all Aussie leg, but kept getting skunked – scores, dead ocean, etc. In the pool you know your wave is coming, so we can cancel a weird ocean out for him here. Couple that with the new boards under his feet and I reckon he’s a damn good chance at the final 8. 

Slater, as we’ve known all along, is competing here. Should you put him in? Maybe. Who’s got more experience at this spot than him? No one. But I’m taking O’Leary over the GOAT purely because of rhythm – heats, surfing, etc. Kelly hasn’t been surfing much, so he says, and that could hamper him out there. 

In – Owen and O’Leary
Back ups – Slater & Freestone
Out – Any newcomers (LOB, Hannerman, etc)

So that’s the WSL Fantasy Surfer Form Guide for Surf Ranch. As per last time, it’s worth noting that the early rounds change everything but I’d throw a spanner in saying it might not this time around based on how the Surf Ranch format works. Leaderboard is the way, although I’ve heard some info that it might be different this year. Once we hear more we’ll update… 

Good luck. Happy picking.