Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2016

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2016

Shea’s detailed write-up

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the 2016 contest in West Oz.

Much like Bells, Margaret River is exposed to the brunt of open-ocean swells and the unruly weather associated with them. The waves at Main Break are a challenging mix of slabbing lefts and rights, wrought with constantly morphing sections and sloping walls that shift with the tides. In the past, surfers who’ve shined at Margarets were able to have the foresight and good sense to switch out their equipment based on the ever-changing lineup. When it came to picking my Fantasy Team, I opted for surfers who could adjust well and roll with the myriad conditions on offer in WA.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $6,500,000
Joel Parkinson $7,000,000
Conner Coffin $4,000,000
Matt Wilkinson $7,500,000
Caio Ibelli $5,000,000
Josh Kerr $6,000,000
Jordy Smith $7,000,000
John John Florence $7,000,000

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Billabong Pipe Masters: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Billabong Pipe Masters: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Billabong Pipe Masters: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

Billabong Pipe Masters: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his fantasy team for the 11th and final stop on the 2015 WSL Championship Tour.

As the 2015 season comes to a close and the collective focus of the surfing world shifts toward Pipeline, we’re left with a bevy of World Title scenarios and a solid near-term forecast. The early rounds of the event are sure to pack fireworks as competitors gunning for requalification stare down World Title contenders. As a venue, Pipe is our coliseum, and the World Tour surfers are our gladiators. To do well here, you’ll have to be ferocious, calculating, and ready to push yourself over the ledge. It’s this mindset that has set the tone for my Fantasy team.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $10,000,000
Owen Wright $9,250,000
Italo Ferreira $7,750,000
Josh Kerr $7,500,000
John John Florence $6,250,000
Wiggolly Dantas $4,750,000
Dusty Payne $3,000,000
Bruce Irons $1,500,000

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Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the 10th stop on the WSL Championship Tour.

With the world title now a two-horse race between Mick and Adriano (with Mick my likely pick to become world champion come season’s end), my focus will be on the surfers looking to make a statement for 2016. As a venue, Supertubos can be as challenging as any lineup in the world, breaking mere feet from the most enthusiastic crowd of surf fans found outside of Brazil. Current forecasts show some impressive swell tracking towards Supertubes, so pick your team accordingly.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Gabriel Medina $12,500,000
Josh Kerr $7,500,000
Joel Parkinson $7,500,000
Tiago Pires $1,500,000
Nat Young $7,250,000
Adrian Buchan $5,750,000
Mason Ho $1,500,000
John John Florence $6,750,000

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Quiksilver Pro France: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Quiksilver Pro France: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Quiksilver Pro France: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

Quiksilver Pro France: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the 9th stop on the WSL Championship Tour.

Thanks to Hurricane Joaquin meandering through the Atlantic, the small conditions currently on tap in France should be replaced by pumping swell and the chance to see some huge and epic conditions. For the uninitiated, that means being prepared for conditions every bit as big and challenging as Hawaii. Couple that with the notorious tides and shifting peaks—which will often transform dramatically in the scope of a single heat—and you’re left with one of the most difficult-yet-rewarding venues on tour. For my FS team I went with surfers that can produce in the playful 4-foot peaks we are accustomed to in France, as well as the potential to excel in massive surf at La Nord.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Owen Wright $9,750,000
Michel Bourez $5,500,000
John John Florence $6,250,000
Jeremy Flores $5,000,000
Joel Parkinson $8,250,000
Wiggolly Dantas $6,250,000
Dane Reynolds $1,500,000

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Hurley Pro Trestles: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Hurley Pro Trestles: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Hurley Pro Trestles: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

Hurley Pro Trestles: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the eighth stop on the WSL Championship Tour at the skate park wave in SoCal.

San Clemente, California is to the United States as Coolangatta, Queensland is to Australia. With Lowers serving as the foundation for this bustling surf community, this incredibly playful and uniform wave drew me and my brother, Cory, to set up a residence there during our time competing on the World Tour. Drawing in top talents (and, well, some vagabonds alike), surfers migrate to San Clemente to find their place in this ultra-competitive and continually growing community. Current world title contenders Adriano de Souza and Filipe Toledo are now regular faces in the lineup. And it makes sense. With two major WSL events here, careers can be made and lost on the cobbles. As we stare down a wide-open title race, expect to see some serious battles when the horn blows.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $11,000,000
Kolohe Andino $4,500,000
Owen Wright $9,500,000
Dusty Payne $3,250,000
Julian Wilson $9,000,000
Filipe Toledo $7,500,000
Italo Ferrera $6,00,000
Ian Crane $1,500,000

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Billabong Pro Tahiti: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

Billabong Pro Tahiti: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the seventh stop on the WSL Championship Tour at the mutant reef break at Teahupo’o.

At a wave like Teahupoo, it pays to be tenacious. This is no place for the timid, the sitting ducks, the uninitiated. When the horizon darkens and the channel erupts in a fit of rabid spectators calling you into a wave that could very well kill you, there’s no room for hesitation. To win heats here, you need to stand your ground. You need to prolong the takeoff until you’re skirting the line between taking the wave of your dreams and the beating of your nightmares. You need to tame a wave that most of us would happily deem unrideable, and best of all, you need to make it look easy. It’s with this mantra in mind that I’ve drafted up my Fantasy Surfer team for Tahiti.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Sebastian Zietz $4,500,000
Owen Wright $8,750,000
Kelly Slater $10,500,000
Dusty Payne $3,000,000
Michel Bourez $6,750,000
John Florence $7,500,000
Julian Wilson $9,250,000
Jeremy Flores $3,750,000

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J-Bay Open: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

J-Bay Open: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

J-Bay Open: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s picks

J-Bay Open: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the sixth stop on the WSL Championship Tour at the famous right point break in South Africa.

J-Bay is one of those few locales that can take an unruly open-ocean swell and transform it into corduroy perfection. Serving up everything from an easy entry and racing wall to ruler-edged tube sections that appear to stretch on forever, J-Bay truly has it all. Watching the tour’s upper echelon— Slater, Smith, Parko, Fanning— maximize every opportunity with minimum excess can be a mesmerizing show. However, watching a lesser surfer struggle to find their line or flow as they butcher a beautiful canvas can leave you questioning the future of our sport. Of the young crew, not many look prepared to match the veterans at a wave like Jeffrey’s. My Fantasy Surfer team is composed of a mix of surfers that have either proven themselves here before or have impressed me this year at other spots.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $10,000,000
Jordy Smith $7,250,000
Joel Parkinson $8,500,000
Dane Reynolds $1,500,000
Julian Wilson $8,250,000
Dusty Payne $3,000,000
Owen Wright $9,250,000

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Fiji Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Fiji Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Fiji Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s detailed write-up

Fiji Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the fifth stop on the WSL Championship Tour.

Once you’ve experienced it in person, the mesmerizing allure of Cloudbreak burns an indelible impression upon you. A kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, the waves there remind us that we are living in a world that must be seen to be believed. The waves can be so perfect that unseasoned competitors will often take on a deer-in-headlights look as they stare off into this heavenly setup. (If you haven’t guessed it by now, I enjoyed my time competing at the Fiji Pro more than any other stop on Tour.) For Kelly Slater, Owen Wright, and a few others, the options that span the vast expanse of Cloudbreak are easy to read and exploit to their liking. For others, drawing the right lines amid this pristine canvas can be more difficult than it appears.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $9,750,000
Gabriel Medina $10,500,000
CJ Hobgood $3,000,000
Fred Patacchia $4,500,000
Owen Wright $8,250,000
Julian Wilson $7,250,000
Wiggolly Dantas $4,500,000
Dusty Payne $3,250,000

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Oi Rio Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Oi Rio Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Oi Rio Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s detailed write-up

Oi Rio Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the 2015 contest in Brazil.

The current world champion, Gabriel Medina, is Brazilian; the current world number one, Adriano De Souza, is Brazilian; the winner of the last WSL event at Lowers, Filipe Toledo, is Brazilian. What in the world is in the water down in Brazil? The turbo-charged atmosphere that surrounds their surf scene is producing some of the best competitors in the world. As the event gets underway, you can expect a continued onslaught from the Brazilian contingency as they attack the beachbreak wedges of Rio. With that in mind, I’ve built my Fantasy Surfer team to reflect a mix of surfers that can get it done in a wide range of beachbreak conditions.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $10,500,000
Filipe Toledo $7,000,000
Jordy Smith $9,2500,000
Owen Wright $7,750,000
Kolohe Andino $6,000,000
Matt Banting $4,500,000
Dusty Payne $3,000,000
CJ Hobgood $3,000,000

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Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks 2015

Shea’s detailed write-up

Margaret River Pro: Shea Lopez Pundit Picks his team for the 2015 contest in West Oz.

While the past few events haven’t offered up much in the way of decent surf, Margaret River is staring down a massive swell-spawning purple blob which should finally give us an opportunity to take in some real action from the world’s best. And man, do the 34 need to let off the steam that has been building due to a lack of surf this season. When Margaret’s is over 6 foot, it becomes an open-ocean venue, requiring an entirely new skill set to dominate. It’s always interesting see who has the meat to throw around a big board on a large workable wall. For this event, my FS team is composed of surfers with the experience and skill to successfully navigate the fiery, open-ocean conditions we’re hoping to see for this comp.

– Shea Lopez -more-

Kelly Slater $10,000,000
Fred Patacchia $5,000,000
Jordy Smith $9,7500,000
Owen Wright $7,500,000
CJ Hobgood $3,000,000
Michel Bourez $8,000,000
Bede Durbidge $6,000,000
Alejo Muniz $1,500,000

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