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Event Preview – Margaret River

Bali Wash-Up

With such a tight turn-around, this was always going to be a squeeze. We’ll drop some Bali knowledge once our Margies stuff is set. Watch this space.

Margaret River

Conditions

The WSL have plenty of venue guides, such as here, or the Ben Mondy overview of the place here. There’s also a detailed surfline break breakdown, as well as Slater’s ‘Vision’ series providing his insights into Main Break, the Box and North Point.

Honestly, this event is harder to pin down in regards to conditions than most as there are four different waves to consider, namely: the three-blasts-to-the-surgeon’s-table of Main Break rights; the big, left-hand mushburgers of Main Break; the heaving deep-water ledge of The Box, and;  the possibly-mindblowing-but-unlikely-to-run promise of North Point.

Even the stats are a little dodgy, given that a small part of the event data draws from the tropical left-handers of Indonesia (due to the 2018 event cancellation and subsequent reprisal at the famed Uluwatu reef).

So what do you do with your fantasy team when it’s likely to run at different venues? Well, forecasts will play a role. You may also want to try and pick surfers that are suited to all four breaks; all are rock or reef-bottom, all can handle formidable swell sizes, and most favour right-hand barrel riders / power surfers. Check out the historical data on the fantasy surf sessions site too, although you’ll need to take the 2018 results with a grain of salt.

 

Forecast

The WSL are getting on the front foot (and raising hopes) with their new content known as “The Call”, where Pat O promises 4-6′, almost perfect conditions for day 1, with a chance of seeing some action at the Box. I hope he’s right.

The official surfline overview calls for the following start to the contest period:

Wed 29th: Medium size swell eases, offshore wind. Likely run day.
Thu 30th: Smaller, fading swell, strong sideshore wind. Likely off day.
Fri 31st: Building, medium-size swell with light to moderate onshore wind. Possible run day.
Sat 1st: Solid W swell, likely offshore wind. Likely run day.
Sun 2nd: Dropping swell, uncertainty on wind at this point. Possible run day.

Our friends (and sponsors) Swellnet have predicted a couple of pulses through the following week, but the winds don’t look great until Thursday, June 6th. If you want your own detailed, long-range forecasts and access to live cams, check them out here.

 

Injuries/Wildcards

Surfers OUT :

Adriano de Souza – Adriano’s knee injury continues to see him miss events. There has still been no official ETA on his return.

Mikey Wright – He’s out of the draw with an undisclosed injury, most likely his ongoing back issue.

Tyler Wright – Tyler Wright has officially withdrawn from the first half of the tour, with the hope of returning for the J-Bay event. She is still suffering from post-viral syndrome and chronic fatigue. We wish her a thorough and speedy recovery.

 

Surfers IN:

Caio Ibelli – he will be replacing ADS again.

Frederico Morais – takes his replacement spot for Mikey based on 2018 CT places.

Keeley Andrew – continues to replace Tyler.

Jacob Willcox – the WA prodigy and semi-regular CT guy ripped through the local trials to earn his 3rd-straight CT appearance this year.

Jack Robinson – speaking of WA prodigies, is there a non-CT surfer you’d rather see in a contest jersey than JRob? In potentially heaving barrels? No. The correct answer is no.

Mia McCarthy – won the local trails. She’s ranked 102nd on the 2019 QS, but that could mean very little if she knows the Margies area well enough to win the trials.

 

Heat Draws

This is where they stand before wildcard announcements:

 

Also, If you don’t want to wade through the confusion of seeding, brackets and tiers, but want to play around with possible match-ups in future rounds, then check out fantasy surf bracket.

 

[table id=292 /]

 

Selection Notes

Pick

John John – are you kidding me? John’s incendiary performance at Main Break rights two years ago set the new standard for modern professional surfing. And it’s not just subjective hyperbole; the stats place him as the #1 option at this event.

Julian – has a formidable win % at this event, and in rights and reefs. His form is down, but so is his price; do you dare take a chance on his bouncing back at Margies?

Michel – doesn’t top the stats, but has a good record that this event, and is solid across the board (top 10 in most relevant stats).

 

Drop

Kanoa – looked great at Bali, but his metrics are poor for this event. Overpriced.

Jadson – did you see his R1 heat? Besides that, he also has some pretty poor data, with <30% success in rights, reefs and at this event.

Mikey – in case you missed it; he’s out.

Sleepers

Here’s the thing about data-driven fantasy selections: they almost always guarantee you a safe, bankable score. What they don’t earn you is a winning score, a score that takes risks with an against-the odds darkhorse-come-good. For that, you need to back yourself with a solid sleeper pick. Here are my non-data-based suggestions:

Top

Jeremy Flores – while he doesn’t scream ‘pick me’ amongst other top Margaret River seeds such as John, Jordy, et al, but that’s the nature of a sleeper. Besides, her can ride a damn barrel.

Mid

Owen Wright – he’s easy to miss among the big names who have dropped down the seeding ranks – like Julian – or who are just below the top ranks – Kelly, Michel, Flores – but he’s reliable, he charges, and he could be missed by many others due to surfing with his right foot forward.

Low

A wildcard – man, don’t ask me who; maybe both of them. Their stats aren’t amazing, but there’s a trifecta of other elements that bode well for them: the conditions look good for those who know the waves well, they were announced as available late, the event is due to start on day 1 of the period. If they blow up, few will have them…