The event will be held at the KS Wave Ranch, located amongst the rural countryside of Lemoore, California.
The man-made wave is manufactured in a 600m (2000′) long and 150m (500′) wide lake originally built for water skiing. It is created when under-water hydrofoils run down a track at around 30 kilometres per hour (19mph), making artificial waves rise up and push across the pool onto the contour reefs of the pool bottom. Waves at the Surf Ranch can reportedly reach a face height of 6.5 feet, and can also be adjusted to create variations for surfers, but these seem to be fairly subtle.
Giant lateral gutters dampen the bounce-back effect that occurs on the pool walls, however it still takes three minutes for the pool surface to calm down and return to a completely static state. The nature of the wave also means that it is impossible for both the lefts and rights to be offshore at the same time.
You can delve further into the science of the wave here.
It should be noted that there are important differences impacting fantasy selections for this event:
There will be no head-to-head heats, but rather 6-surfer tiers (3 for women, 6 for men) for round 1. All surfers get 4 waves, with their best left and best right going towards their round 1 total. The top 2 scoring surfers from each tier, as well as the best-scoring remaining surfers, will make up the 12 women and 24 men progressing into the next round. Potentially, all 6 surfers from a tier could progress into the 2nd round.
Since places 25-36 for the men, and 13-18 for the women will be decided based on their best two waves after only surfing 4 waves in total, the difference between a progression and a dirty turd (33rd) could come down to hundredths of a point.
There is a little more detail regarding the format, including the finals, in the ‘Heat Draw’ section below.
Last year, Surfline proved that they may have some semblance of a sense of humour by creating a forecast for the (then named) Surf Ranch Pro. Obviously, conditions will be similar this year, with winds (especially on the lefts) being the only real variable.
I’m not sure what else to say. It’s a machine-made wave pool; why are you even reading this section?
Surfers OUT :
John John Florence – arguably the greatest surfer in the world, John’s absence is a big loss. He has undergone surgery for his ACL injury, and is already back in the water (albeit paddling). He will be replaced for the remainder of the season (except maybe Pipe, fingers crossed…) by Caio Ibelli.
Leonardo Fioravanti – still out and recovering from a re-dislocated shoulder. There is no specific return date for Leo at this stage.
Mikey Wright – dealing with an ongoing back issue that has plagued him for around 18 months; we’re not exactly sure what his plan is for 2019.
Frederico Morais – while technically only a replacement surfer in 2019, it seems that Fred has forgone his Freshwater Pro replacement slot to instead surf in the QS6000 event in Azores.
Tyler Wright – I initially forgot to include Tyler in this list as her absence has become a part of the tour. No news on her return.
Adriano de Souza – I don’t have all of the details, but it looks like he has injured his knee again. He’s out for this event at least.
Caio Ibelli – will be replacing John John for the remainder of the season. The 25 year old looks like an elder statesman compared to the greener Freshwater additions.
Barron Mamiya – the first of five ‘yoof’ picks for replamenet/wildcard spots in this event. The young Hawaiian was chosen to replace Mikey Wright because he’s 9th on QS. Apparently the other 8 weren’t interested.
Mateus Herdy – the Brazilian world junior champ will replace Leonardo Fioravanti because… I don’t know why. He’s available?
Kade Matson– the San Clemente native was selected based on his No. 1 ranking in the North America Junior Division and his win at the 2019 Vans US Open of Surfing Pro Junior event.
Cosby Colapinto – Griffin’s little bro was selected for his second-place ranking in the North America Junior division and being the 2019 North America Junior Champion (under-18 division).
Keely Andrew – replacing Tyler indefinitely
Coco Ho – back after recovering from a knee injury
Gabriela Bryan – won a recent invite-only trials (which included guest judges Lisa Andersen and Shane Beschen). The 17yo is Hawaii’s 2018 Regional QS and Regional Junior Champion.
Jett Schilling – the pint-sized San Clemente grasshopper from Stab High will be a last-minute replacement for an injured ADS.
With the 2019 format of seeding/elimination rounds, R1 heat draws have become less and less important for fantasy this season. At the Freshwater Pro, however, heat draws reach peak irrelevance, with all surfers getting 4 waves (2 left, 2 right) to decide the surfers who will progress. Technically you could get 6th out of 6 surfers, and still make round 2. Here’s the WSL’s contest overview:
Round 1 is all 36 men and 18 women;
- Normal seeding – 4 waves each
- Best left and right will form a competitors total heat score
- Brackets are 6-man heats, top 2 advance straight through to Round 2
- Leaderboard decides remaining 12 men and 6 women into Round 2
Round 2 is down to 24 men and 12 women;
- Each surfer receives an additional 2 waves to improve on their best left and right from Round 1
- Leaderboard determines surfer order
- Top 8 men and 4 women from Leaderboard advance to Final
Final of 8 men and 4 women;
- Each surfer rides 4 waves
- Only the top 4 men and 2 women from the Leaderboard receive an extra 2 waves
- Best left and right form the surfers total score and decide the Champions
1. Soli Bailey, Griffin Colapinto, Michael Rodrigues, Jeremy Flores, Owen Wright, Kanoa Igarashi.
2. Mateus Herdy, Yago Dora, Joan Duru, Conner Coffin, Seth Moniz, Italo Ferreira.
3. Barron Mamiya, Jesse Mendes, Peterson Crisanto, Deivid Silva, Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina.
4. Crosby Colapinto, Jadson Andre, Adrian Buchan, Wade Carmichael, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino.
5. Jett Schilling, Ezekiel Lau, Jack Freestone, Caio Ibelli, Ryan Callinan, Jordy Smith.
6. Kade Matson, Ricardo Christie, Sebastian Zietz, Willian Cardoso, Michel Bourez, Filipe Toledo.
1. Paige Hareb, Silvana Lima, Johanne Defay, Malia Manuel, Lakey Peterson, Stephanie Gilmore.
2. Macey Callaghan, Keeley Andrew, Bronte Macaulay, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Caroline Marks, Sally Fitzgibbons.
3. Gabriela Bryan, Coco Ho, Nikki Van Dijk, Brisa Hennessy, Courtney Conlogue, Carissa Moore.
This was a tricky one to do, as nearly half the surfers don’t have relevant data for this event or venue. I decided to run a detailed set of data only for those who surfed the pool event last year, including an average of ALL WAVES rather than just the best two scoring waves, and leave those without pool data as unknown quantities.
All other surfers still have career and season AHS / win % data available on their profiles at fantasysurfsessions.com
[table id=296 /]
Gabriel – while the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro last year leaves a fairly slim data set from which to draw trends, it is also possible to look at Founders Cup and Future Classic data from the pool as well. In short; Gabe rules them all. He’s undefeated at this venue.
Carissa – she’s the women’s tour equivalent of Gabe; winning all of the pool silverware thus far.
Kelly – I probably don’t need to explain this in too much detail, but Kelly surfs his own pool well. His performance last year while injured was solid, and his impressive form in junk waves at the ISA Miyazaki event convince me that Kelly deserves your selection. the only real question is: Will he ride a twinny?
Filipe – the yellow jersey leader has left the harrowing reefs of Tahiti behind him and can focus on his bread and butter; small wave performance surfing. Filipe’s surfing on the lefts let him down slightly last year, but he dominated the rights. It will be interesting to see if he pulls something massive out of the bag going backside this year.
Yago – the Brazilian cat was the Yang to Filipe’s Yin; killing it in the lefts, but let down by his scores on the rights. He narrowly missed the finals last year, but is worthy of consideration, especially if videos emerge of him practising hard on the pool rights.
Ace – with retirement looming large for the Australian journeyman, it’s been a particularly yo-yoing affair for Ace in 2019. He has the dubious honour of having two 33rds this season (Jesse, Jaddy and Jacob are the others), and he only managed a 25th in this event last year. I’m also pissed at him for his poor showing at Tahiti.
Zeke – speaking of form, Ezekiel hasn’t had much of a season thus far. He finished 25th at this event last year, and has only broken past the R3 dead zone once all season. Look elsewhere.
Ricardo – chances are, if you’re looking for a 17th, Ricky’s your man. The problem is, nobody wants a 17th. Christie lacks the progression to stand out here, and I can’t see him being worth the risk.
Jesse Mendes – ranks the worst from all surfers with pool experience based on our metrics.
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:
Kanoa’s been on such a tear these past few months, I don’t dare question him at the pool.
I’m not sure how much of a Sleeper Rhino Callinan will be, but I’ve been hanging for him to unleash his forehand arsenal on the tour for a while now, and this could be the perfect place to let fly.
Mateus, Barron, Crosby, Kade – You know it, I know it: one of these kids is going to pull something elastic and school the old guys this week. Good luck picking which one.
Fantasy Surf Sessions is only days away from being ready to drop it’s Phase 3 gameplay upgrades, which include player clubhouses, clubhouse chat, and the ability to view other players’ teams. It’s probably the most exciting set of changes we’ve made since our initial launch, but we’ll hold out until after the Freshwater Pro to release things just to make sure it’s fully ready.
Until then, make sure you log in and set your team so that you’re in the running for our event prizes (yep; every single event).