Well this is awkward isn’t it? Just this morning the WSL announced that Sunset is in the dunny, cancelled, not running. It’s a shame, but if you’re still in the mood to pick your team for an event that isn’t going to happen, who are we to stop you… right?

The sun has risen on a new year and we’re about to hit Sunset already. See what I did there? Aside from my mastery with words, the Pipe Masters was the greatest show on Earth recently. How. Good. Is. Surfing?! Even better was seeing Double John finally claim what is rightfully his, the Pipe crown and World Title lead.

We’re now heading into a wave that everyone knows yet hasn’t seen a WT event in recent memory. There will be big carves, tube prowess, and uncanny ocean sense for the ultimate winner. Sunset is such a big playing field that surfer-on-surfer heats will be wild to navigate, even with the double up format. West Peaks, North Peaks, Inside Bowl. It’s going to be fucking sick. There’s also the adjusted WSL Fantasy Surfer rules which everyone seems to be getting a grip on, but it will be extra cool to see both Men and Women side by side at the comp this time, as well as in your team stable. 

So, without further ado, here’s the best picks for this event. Your Fantasy Surfer Guide for Sunset Beach 2021.



Tyler is off to a flying start showed some insane surfing at both locations for the women’s kick off event, especially at Honolua Bay. Honolua actually has a lot of similarities to Sunset in terms of what kind of surfing does well. Carves and heaving pits are what throw up big scores, and Tyler has those on speed dial.

Sunset is a lot more rugged, harder to read and a bigger playing field, so you can’t fully compare the two. However, the last time there was a women’s WT event at Sunset, way back in 2010, Tyler actually won too. That puts her in current form with a stat back up to be the top pick for the top women’s tier.

Saying that, it’s still damn hard to go past Carissa Moore. She throws more hammers than Thor at a blacksmith bar fight. Her power game and polish are hard to beat anywhere and, at home in front of a Hawaiian crowd, she has to be my pick and power surfer. A coin toss, but I’m taking that gamble. You can probably pass on Sally without too much angst. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll be solid here. But, up against the two top female heavy-footed hitters, she’s hard to give the Sunset shaka to.

Picks – Carissa
Back Ups – Tyler


Pipe and Sunset are such different waves, it’s hard to look at the last event’s form to tease out who might do well at this rodeo. Still, I’m going to have a crack. Double John. If you don’t have him on your team for this event, you’re on crack. His forehand carves are on another planet (think this at Haleiwa just the other day), he’s won Sunset as a QS before, and, he’s John John. Double the name. Double the points. He’s my power surfer.

The other guy who I thought looked extra sharp at Pipe and has won the World Cup here before is the Jordan Michael of surfing – aka Jordy Smith. Fun fact, his middle name is actually Michael. This guy has more of a  rail game than your local coke cartel. He’s also handy in the cave. Get him in. Back ups for me are Medina and Kelly.

The only reason I don’t have Medina in the top two is that a goofy footer hasn’t won sunset in the last decade. The only person who game close with a 2nd in 2012 was… Gabby. Then, there’s the GOAT. He hates Sunset generally, because why would you surf there when Backdoor is pumping, but his ocean sense is like Aqua Man’s. You might also consider Kanoa, since he made semis here in 2019, but are you really going to choose him to power past Jordy and Double John? That’s a いいえ from me.  

Picks – Double John & Jordy
Back Ups – Gabby & GOAT



Tier B in our Fantasy Surfer Guide for Sunset is the hardest group to pick this time round, and when things get hard, you need rocks. Solid surfing, solid scores, people who know how to make finals and win events. The winningest surfer in this tier for the women’s is easily Steph Gilmore. While you could argue she’s up and down at times, in good right handers she’s insanely hard to beat.

On that front, there’s also Courtney Conlogue. She’s won three Bells and a Margaret River title surfing solid rights. The only other obvious option here that could edge her out is Lakey Peterson. Lakey is for sure a title contender, is laser sharp on her forehand, and has the Parsnip coaching her, who is a weapon at this wave.

That leaves a few sneaky picks. Caroline Marks could do some major damage here with her Occy-esque attack and beat the goofy juju. Malia Manuel has to be a consideration, as does Tatianna who always charges. Still, for me, it’s the rocks on The Rock – Steph and CCs.

Picks – Steph and Corn Chips
Back Up – Lakey


This tier is so packed full of naturals it’s like my wife’s organic shampoo. For extra bounce and volume I’m going with crew who have proven the goods here on the Quey.

Jack Robbo is technically defending champ here, having won the World Cup in spectacular form to qualify in 2019, so he’s in. Michel Bourez won in 2014. There’s also the flying Pinto Bean, Griffin. He made finals in both 2018 and 2017, winning a Triple Crown in the process. That leaves Kolohe who got 2nd in 2017 and been a final series face many year’s past. If you expect Brother to melt like an Acai bowl in the Hawaiian sun, then fellow soft serve Julian Wilson could be another option, as could Heavy-Foot Jesus Wade Carmichael.

The skinny elephant in the room here is Filipe Toledo. Despite his rep for being a ‘small wave’ guy, his forehand carves are incredible, so don’t count him out until the chubby hooter blows. Jack Freestone looked extra sharp at Pipe too, so is a maybe, as is R-Cal as goofy diehard’s Bruce Willis. For me though, it’s the naturals.

Picks – Jack Robbo, Bourez, Pinto, Kolohe
Back Ups – Filipe, Freestone 



The bottom tier in the women’s this time doesn’t have a whole lot of gold on offer. All of the usual contenders did well enough in the first event to avoid stanky ranks coming into Sunset. That doesn’t fare too well when you consider Honolua Bay is reasonably similar to this wave in terms of skills needed to shine.

If you’re going the solid natural footer idea, then Keely Andrew could be a reasonable bet, as could Brisa Hennessy who is really sharp in good right handers. The other maybe is Bronte Macaulay, who’s solid in tricky conditions and could be a goofy dark horse. If Coco Ho gets the Hawaiian wildcard, get her on board. A great option in a not-so stellar field.

Pick – Keely Andrew (or Coco Ho)
Back up – Brisa Hennessy


Unlike in the Women’s tier C line up, the mens is packed full of surfers who could easily make the final series. Zeke Lau is two-times QS winner here, Conner Coffin is a past champ, and Ethan Ewing’s AI-style carvings are hitting peak sssssahhhh right now. Any two of those three guys would be a solid pick.

Throw in the backhand attacks of Owen Wright and Ace Buchan and you’ve got a handful of proper contenders to go from basement to best in show. Frederico Morais is another one who you’d possibly even consider if he was a tier B pick. Heady days. Remember this in a few months, when tier C is full of people you’re just hoping get you more than 6 points total during their rnd 3 blitzing by one of the top seeds. 

Picks – Zeke Lau and Conner Coffin
Back ups – Ethan or Fingers Morais

That’s the form with our Fantasy Surfer Guide for Sunset 2021, officially the Shiseido Pro. Apparently that’s a skincare company from Japan? Use it to lube it up and slide your picks in. Good for your team. Good for your skin. #alivewithbeauty 


Fantasy Surfer Guide for Sunset

Photography Credits with our Fantasy Surfer Guide for Sunset ::
*Ryan Miller / Red Bull Content Pool
*Trevor Moran / Red Bull Content Pool
*Kelly Cestari / WSL Content Pool