Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Quiksilver Pro

Ross Williams

Ross Williams starred in Taylor Steele’s Momentum Series and became a professional surfer in 1990. He spent 10 years on the WCT, four ranked in the Top 16.

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With the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour season about to kick off, it’s time to get your Men's ASP Fantasy Surfing picks in order. Having a difficult time assembling the right men for the battle though? Then let me provide some insight into who I think has an advantage in the tricky Snapper lineup and who to put on ice for the time being.

START 'EM

He's into the Quarterfinals again!  ASP/CAREY Defending event champ, Kelly Slater. Ross says 'Start 'Em' Kelly Slater
Kelly has a great relationship with the Gold coast. As you may already know, Kelly does well at destinations he has a deeper relationship. With all the history and lore that come from Kirra, Burleigh Heads and Snapper Rocks, Kelly shows up with extra pep in his step. Being the leader of the equipment evolution in recent times, Kelly fits his board perfectly in those tight little transitions that the Gold Coast is known for. Also, at 42, Kelly will be feeling looser in the much-appreciated warm water.

Mick Fanning (AUS) advanced into the semfinals.  ASP/ Kirstin Will Fanning maintain his World Title form at the season opener? Ross Williams thinks so. Mick Fanning
"White Lightning" always surfs Snapper with “speed, power and flow.” Mick knows this spot as well as anyone, which can be crucial given the tricky task of picking the wave that provides a good wall from start to finish. Look for the reigning 3x World Champ to start his year where he left off, collecting a solid result, if not a win, in his hometown. Don’t buy into the “he’s not motivated after winning his third title” nonsense. The surf and the home crowd will keep Mick sharp.

John John Florence (HAW) on a little runner in Round 2 of the Quik Pro France.   ASP / Cestari Will Florence come out of the gates hungry? John John Florence
No one surfed more this offseason than JJ. The kid is in the water all day. Injury free and ready to rumble, my guess is that JJ wants to collect a WCT win ASAP. Fun waves and warm water will keep his head in the game. As mellow as the kid is on land, JJ shows much determination and motivation to start his quest collecting tour scalps. We all know his potential. The time is now. His ability to hunt and deliver on tube and air sections at Snapper will keep the judges very happy.

SIT 'EM

 ASP/Robertson Williams thinks Wright may need to dust off the cobwebs at Snapper. Owen Wright
Although Owen is a proven competitor, he’s too much of a question mark for my liking. He spent 2013 recovering from injury. Word is out that Owen is feeling good and ready to go, but I’d rather see with my own eyes first. The tallest man on tour is also on his backhand, which can cause difficulties. I like a wave with an open face for Owen, so that he can stretch his limbs. Bells may be a good place to “start” Owen, but until then let’s put him on ice.

CJ Hobgood - Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2010 Williams wants to keep Hobgood on ice for this one. C.J. Hobgood
Being that "Ceej" is a smooth operator on his back hand, with an Occy-type approach (which is awesome), it actually may work against him in the head-high trickery at Snapper. I'm not one to buy into the whole goofy-footers against regular-footers thing, but at Snapper, it really does matter. I feel being a light frontsider really gives you a leg up. There are many events where CJ should be on your team (Fiji, Tahiti and Pipe), but for this event, you might want to "Sit ‘Em".

Dion Atkinson on the final day of the ABB.  ASP/Will H-S Williams will wait awhile to start the rookie. Dion Atkinson
I hate to pick on the rookies, but it’s pretty obvious that they will have their work cut out for them. Dion surfs solid but I’m not sure he has the firepower to keep up with Taj Burrow and Migel Pupo, who he drew in his first heat. If he doesn’t win that heat, he will be up against a top seed in Round 2. I can see Dion having a fighting chance if the waves are on fire and he manages to get the best ones, but even then, he will be up against it. Guys like Dion made it on the WCT because they rip, but for now let's wait to see him prove himself against the big boys.

Tiago Pires won the final round one heat of the Quiksilver Pro Pires is another on injury rebound who Ross is cautious about. Tiago Pires
Much like Owen, Tiago spent most of 2013 on the injured list. Now happily married and well rested, I don’t doubt that he will try to make the most of being on tour in 2014. That said, he really is one of the most vulnerable surfers on tour. Although he surfs solid, he’s not really powerful and quite possibly the least versatile. With most surfers on the WCT possessing a massive arsenal of airs, finners, and power hacks, Tiago will be a cat cornered by pit-bulls. He’s a feisty competitor, so we’ll see if he can “claw” his way through a few rounds.

DARKHORSE

Filipe Toledo (BRA), the high flying young Brazilian posted an impressive 9.60 out of a possible 10 with this massive alley-oop and a series of gouging turns. He was however unable to back it up and lost the heat to Michel Bourez (PYF) ASP/Will H-S Ross thinks this high-flying Brazilian will do damage at Snapper. Filipe Toledo
The forecast looks favorable for the 18-year-old. Easily the quickest, lightest, springiest guy on tour, Filipe will be boosting over dudes. Don't underestimate his power either. Filipe's game is rounding into a complete package. Now that he's gotten his freshman year out of the way, I look for the Brazilian to feel more at home, which could translate into big results. The only thing that concerns me is his lack of wave knowledge compared to all the veterans on tour. To me, he's worth a shot. "Start em!”

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The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast holds a waiting period from March 1 - 12, 2014.

Ross Williams Bio
Ross Williams starred in Taylor Steele’s Momentum Series and became a professional surfer in 1990. He spent 10 years on the WCT, four ranked in the top 16. After a broken foot in 2001, Williams retired from the WCT, becoming a free surfer and an ambassador for Reef. He has been married for 10 years and has three daughters. Williams joins ASP team as an analyst. “My goal is to shed light, through passion and effort, on the beautiful intricacies of competitive surfing."