The trials are a distant memory, the forecast is depressingly coming into focus and the metrics have been updated; let's wax the top of our feet and wade out over the cobblestones:
The WSL forecast doesn't look good, and Nick Carroll's overview is even worse; there's some remnants of swell possible on the opening day, followed by fairly miserable projections over the contest window. Bear in mind that, unlike the previous event in Tahiti, the Trestles waiting period will also need to cater for both a men's and women's event, i.e. more heats in less surf. On the plus side, the winds look OK on the long-range forecasts...
The WSL did a detailed break breakdown for Trestles last year, which is just as relevant today. For those who detest links, it's a playful-if-somewhat-gentle left/right peak that breaks over a consistent cobblestone point. Barrels aren't a big factor in scores, but well-timed turns close to the pocket, open-face rail work and above-the-lip wizardry are all on the menu. For all of its 'high performance' reputation, Trestles is as much about showing the judges how smooth your rail game can be as performing spins above the lip. If the forecast improves and there's the possibility of 4+' waves, then start cross-referencing some old Bells data and see what patterns emerge. Don't hold your breath though.
Jordy is a bit of an anomaly here in that his average stats for place results, win percentages and WSL fantasy points are killer. He has won the last two Trestles events that he entered (he was injured in 2015), and hasn't finished worse than 5th since 2009. Easy pick, you say? Well, sure. The only thing that is strange with Jordy's stats, is that he doesn't score quite as well in any of the broader conditions data that match this event; areas such as points (7th), left-right breaks (6th), 1-4' waves (11th) and 4-6' waves (11th) all suggest a less-than-stellar pedigree. Even his AHS at this very event is lower than that of Filipe, Mick and Gabe over the past 3 years, despite his two wins.
Jordy historically lifts for the conditions at this particular event, seemingly winning even when he's not racking up consistently excellent rides. This is a rare gift that should be a factor to consider when choosing a team.
Mick has the next-best average placing at this event behind Jordy, and it would have been even more impressive if it wasn't for his uncharacteristic 13th last year. Before that he had managed to get a 9th or better (including two wins and two 3rds) in every Trestles event back to 2007. Unlike Jordy, Mick's success here is well supported by his related conditions stats: He sits 1st in 1-4' waves, 2nd in points (to Frederico, whose data is drawn from a much smaller sample size), 2nd in left/right conditions (to Joan Duru, who is similar to Frederico), and 2nd for event AHS. For a mid-tier surfer, Mick is pretty safe statistically.
Filipe is almost the opposite of Jordy when it comes to Trestles stats; he doesn't have a history of great results, but his conditions stats all point to a high chance of sucess: Filipe ranks 1st in event AHS (well above the next-best surfer), 2nd in 1-4' waves, 3rd in points, 3rd for AET for the WSL fantasy game and, albeit slightly less impressively, 7th for both 4-6' and left/right conditions. With the small forecast, Filipe just looks better and better.
Matt has the 3rd worst AET for the WSL game behind Seabass and Hiroto (only one event). Wilko's best result here has been a 13th (4 times) in his 7 attempts (yes, that means 3 x 25ths). His event AHS is fairly low (6th-lowest) and his left/right conditions average places him in the bottom 1/4 of the draw.
'Bass doesn't look great out here. He's won only a single heat in 4 events here, and holds the lowest event AHS on tour. His averages in left/right and 1-4' waves place him in the bottom 1/4 of the tour as well.
John John Florence
John's 2nd place here in 2014 was sandwiched between two 25ths. He also has two 13ths (2011/2016) and a 5th to round out one of his worst events on tour performance-wise. He ranks 6th in 1-4' waves and points, 5th in left/right conditions and 8th for event AHS. He's hardly struggling, but a win here would prove to be a break-out result for him.
The small forecast doesn't bode well for the Spartan, who has poor stats in left/right breaks and 1-4' conditions. He has never done worse than the 3rd round here though, so that counts for something.
Julian has gone 9th, 5th, 3rd, 1st in his past 4 events, providing the wax to Wilko's wane (3, 1, 5, 9). Also, he hasn't had a 25th this season. His AHS for 2017 is second only to John's and he has been looking very polished lately. Julian's backside prowess is sometimes overlooked, but it could prove an asset at a break like this.
Gabs was the man to beat at Tahiti, and it looked like he had Julian all stitched up in the final at one stage. Medina has shaken off his poor start to 2017 with a 3rd and a 2nd in the past 2 events. He will be a big threat here, especially if the wind is perfect for launching crowd-pleasers on the lefts.
John John Florence
Even when he's not winning, John is scoring well. His AHS for the season is still well out in front, and his 'poor run' for the past two events has consisted of two 5ths. John is still in the driver's seat for a back-to-back title, but he'll have to convert those big scores into another result soon.
You may be wondering if Ethan's inclusion in this section is meant to be funny, and, at a win/loss ratio of 1:14, that would be fair enough. The thing is, there was a certain rookie named Alex Ribeiro who was also winless all of last season until he scored a tight, breakthrough win at Tahiti. Like Ethan. After that, he backed his newfound success up with an impressive 5th at Trestles. Now, we're not suggesting that Ethan is a sure thing to make the quarters, but he's coming off the back of his first tour heat win and he'll be feeling so much lighter as a result.
Adriano de Souza
After a strong start and a win in Rio, ADS had people taking notice. Since then he's only managed 13ths for 3 straight events. Admittedly, two of them were south Pacific reef-break lefts, but even so it's hard to ignore his recent slump.
Jack's 3rd at Margs hinted at his as-yet unfulfilled potential; would it finally be realised this season? Since that result, he's only won a single heat in 5 events. It's make-or-break time for Jack and 2018 requalification chances.
Josh's lone heat win for the season was in Rio. At least Ewing's was more recent. Maybe the fact that Trestles will resemble a boat-wake for this event will play into his hands?
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 wins and R2 possibilities, we recommend wslbracket.com as a fun way of predicting result match-ups. Be aware though that a single change from your projections can alter the following round entirely.
Slater is out, Nat is in, and trialists Evan and Hiroto have been added.
Our R1 “heat of death” nomination for this contest is H8: Joel/ Conner/ Stu - any one of them could win.
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.
Dark horses are hard to come by in this tier, as six of the top 8 have won an event this year. Joel won't jump out at many as a must-pick, and he's admittedly more risky than the others, but he could prove a handy point of difference if he can sneak another 2nd place finish like last year.
If you want to go truly sleeper amongst this group, surfers like Ian Gouveia, Bede Durbidge and Joan Duru could all come up roses here. We're considering Ian for a bit of small-day magic.
Wildcards caused quite a few upsets lasts year, and they could well be worth considering again if the waves are small. Watch the forecast.
As mentioned above, they wreaked havoc last year. They are both suited to smaller conditions, and will look to strike if one of the top seeds is napping in an early heat.
Gabe / Mick / Joel
This is hardly statistical, but we're looking at the fact that we've had 7 different winners from 7 events for the season and letting our imagination run wild. If this trend continues, who would you be backing for #8? Odds are that it would be one of these three world champs.
Kolohe knows this break better than just about anyone, and while his stats don't grab you by the collar (nor his results), he may just know the secret to milking the most from a small day at Lowers.
We're talking US Open winners Hiroto and Kanoa, or QS-dribble veteran Joan. Maybe semi-hobbits Caio and Gouveia or Floridian Evan G tickle your fancy? Either way, if it's small these guys will have an advantage.
Here are our “numbers” teams: a selection overview based purely on our projections. They rarely suck, but they don't predict the dark-horses either. Join our leagues and see if you can wax them:
Jordy's conditions stats couldn't overcome his result data, so he's out. World champs Mick, John and Gabe join stats fly-boy Filipe, rookies Joan, Freddy and Zeke. Hiroto somehow makes the cut too.
This team is a little too dependent on surfers with limited data, but we'll roll the dice and see what happens.
Much the same as above, except Zeke gets relegated to the bench for Italo.
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 leader.
As always, feel free to comment or leave your own team selections below.
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