Ok, who had JJF last event? It's hard to think of any other surfer coming into Bells, but you need a team of 8 so let's get cracking...
Coastalwatch were kind enough to fill the void left by the WSL's forecasting department by dropping this excellent piece detailing all of the various breaks on offer for the Bells event (Bells, Winki, Johanna, 13th Beach, Phillip Island) as well as the upcoming forecast conditions. Click on the link and check it out, I'll wait...
Welcome back! Good wasn't it? Anyway, we're most likely looking for surfers who excel in right-hand point-break conditions in the 3-8' range. On top of that, we are looking for surfers with a proven track history at this exact event. Bearing that in mind, here are our top conditions picks:
Mick and Bells go together like
masturbation and self-loathing beer and a second beer: seamlessly. Mick has won this event roughly 60 times, which is especially impressive given that it first ran in 1961. He is at or near the top of all relevant conditions statistics.
Jordy has been consistent at this event, having finished worse than 5th only once in the past 6 years (with a 9th in 2014). He has good AHS stats at this event, in rights, and also in 4-6' waves. Pretty solid all-round.
Bede leads the event AHS over the past 3 years, and has the second-best AHS in 1-4' surf. Admittedly this hasn't translated into a great number of heat wins at Bells (his best result over this time is a 9th), but he could be a great point of difference. People with quality AHS stats in the event's conditions can't lose forever, can they?
Conner has only been to Bells once, but he averaged 15.04 for a 5th place last year. He doesn't top any of the the conditions averages for Bells, but this new Rip Curl team member suits the place down to the ground. Is that quantitative data? No. But we're calling it anyway.
Kanoa has some very low averages, including worst for rights, points and 1-4' conditions.
Kolohe was ripping in Margies, but he'll need to carry some of that mojo over to Victoria, where he's had results of 13, 25, 13, 25 over the past 4 seasons. He's also 8th-lowest in 1-4' waves.
Miggy has also had a bad run of placings here at Bells, probably due to having the lowest event AHS.
John John Florence
John's form is on everyone's lips after his efforts at Main Break, but his form is quantifiable: his 2017 AHS of 16.72 puts him more than 2 full points above his next-closest rival. He is also winning at a rate of over 90% for the year. Kelly Slater even went so far as to say that tour surfers were questioning themselves after seeing JJF at full-capacity last event. Wow.
Speaking of 2017 AHS data, do you know who is second to JJF? JF is! He does have a way of being the highest-scoring loser in a round though, so be cautious.
Owen is the real deal this year, and with a 5th in big Margarets, we're wondering if he could be challenging for a title in his first year back.
Josh has the lowest AHS for the season, which is in-part due to his donut total in R1 at Margies, but also due to a few other below-par scores. He hasn't won a heat this season.
Speaking of winless seasons, Wiggolly has back-to-back 25ths as well. His 2017 AHS is 9.56.
We warned about Leo's form before the Gold Coast contest, and he's still without a win after two events. He has the lowest 2017 AHS of all the rookies.
While only a minor consideration when compared to conditions and form, the draw should still be a partial influence. Having 3 surfers in a R1 heat, or worse 2 surfers facing off in R2, is bad form. If you want to play around with heat win and R2 possibilities, we recommend wslbracket.com as a fun way of predicting possible result match-ups. Be aware though that a single change from your projections can alter the following round entirely.
Italo is still out, Nat is in. The main draw doesn't show it, but retired ex-pro Glyndyn Ringrose and 16y.o. QS ripper Samuel Pupo will take the wildcard spots:
Our R1 “heat of death” nomination for this contest is H11: Filipe/Conner/Bede
We like to offer a few suggestions that may not be on everyone’s radar. Any success that involves deviating from the popular vote will provide a huge advantage for players willing to take the risk. Since the % owned feature from the WSL and FS games are invisible until lock-out, we are simply predicting who we think will be low in the popularity stakes.
All of the top 8 seeds for Bells are quality surfers, so the idea of a dark horse is pretty tenuous. That said, Adriano de Souza has been doing enough to warrant a second look, while many will pass him up for bigger names
We're going to take a risk here and call Connor O'Leary for a big result here. His ownership will be fairly low given the stacked mid-tier options.
We have backed Ethan Ewing (to no avail) for the first two events. We'll be damned if we're giving up on him just yet; Ethan for a quarters finish at Bells!
John John Florence
Can he maintain this form? He's almost the unbackable favourite for this event. Except that this isn't gambling; it's fantasy. He's un-unbackable. I wonder if he can be the first to go above 95% ownership?
A final, then a 25th. He won here last year though... what to do?
How can someone surf so well, and yet still find a way to lose? His 2017 AHS is higher than both Jordy and Owen, but he can't convert it into big results. Yet.
Glyndyn knows this wave very well. He could be a massive sleeper. Samuel Pupo has tons of energy and nothing to lose.
Here are our “numbers” teams: a selection overview based purely on our projections. If you really want to see/beat our non-numbers team, join the clubhouse (it’s not that hard – in both cases).
This has some seriously talented surfers cobbled together. The perfect team?
'Stacked' was the word used on twitter to describe this team. It could very well be a high-scoring set so long as they all bring their A-game.
Now that you know the team break-downs, it’s time for you to create a team that will hold our selections to account. Sign up to our WSL Surf-Stats group (password - SS) or the Fantasy Surfer Surf-Stats clubhouse and challenge yourself against us and our readers. We will give a shout-out to each winner and analyse their team.
As always, feel free to comment or leave your own team selections below.
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