Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

Men's ASP Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Margaret River

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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FS

Okay, okay…. lets try to get this right. My “tips” last go around were mediocre at best. This is where you can go back and check on my list if you wish. As I’ve said in the past, sometimes you need to combine your stats with a little passion. Some good ol’ gut feelings just might be the ticket for a successful fantasy event. With that said, here are my three picks for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, one from each group, to start and sit. May the force be with you.

START 'EM

Taj Burrow surfing at home. Williams predicts big things from Burrow at home. Taj Burrow
I really like Taj’s position going in to West Oz. Coming off of a fine performance on the Goldie (third), it’s more than momentum and local knowledge that benefits Taj at Margaret River. Like a baller shooting a hoop on his home court, he will have a lot of pride and home crowd energy to carry him to the top of the podium. Noted as being jealous of his peers having the luxury of sleeping in their own beds for an event, Taj no doubt has a cozy feeling going into the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. With the main break lending to his vicious backhand attack and the Box supporting his ability to handle righthand slabs, Taj is not alone in feeling cozy about his chances in stop No. 2 on the ASP Tour. I’ll even go a step further and say this will be his year for a title! Have I gone too far? Start 'em…

Nat Young $100 richer after winning his Round 1 heat, compliments of Bob Hurley.  ASP/ Kirstin Ross thinks Young will continue to steamroll the competition at Margaret's. Nat Young
If you are looking to get some secure points in the bank, Nat is your boy. Consistency is only part of the equation for this athlete. Nat conjures up a crazy cocktail of power and flare that seems to detonate anyone in his path in a repeatable fashion. Due to the rare lip to rebound off of, goofy footers have a small advantage at Margret’s. More often the wave delivers a fat wall more conducive for an Occy type of slash. Nat will hack, slice and hook his way to a solid result, making him a smart choice. Averaging 13.49 points per heat, you’d be silly not to jump on the gravy train. Start 'em.

 ASP/Robertson Florence won at Margaret River in 2012. Williams picks JJ to rebound following his Gold Coast stumble. John John Florence
Why would you want to pick someone that has an 8.62 average heat score and pretty much flopped in his last start, finishing equal 25th? Because sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole truth and let’s not kid ourselves, you already have this kid on your roster don’t you? The 2012 Margret’s champ will be right at home in the familiar surroundings of West Oz. Let’s take a look at the landscape and whether it lends to his surfing. Hollow slab? Obviously. Wind against air section rights? just Youtube 2012 highlights from Margret’s. Powerful punchy lefts? Yup. With all the similarities of Hawaii, JJ will be the man to beat. Making most of us cringe with his result in the last event, John John owes all of us a big result at Margret’s. Start 'em.

SIT 'EM

 ASP/Robertson Williams will look elsewhere for Bracket A. C.J. Hobgood
Let me just say that CJ is more than a worthy competitor at Margret’s, BUT, when you look at the choices within group A, it presents a minor conundrum of who to play and who to bench. Another possible choice to sit is Miguel Pupo, but I gave him a slight edge over C.J. being that he’s a bit more spry and energetic. Take a look at your choices in this group and you will see that there are really no bad options to play. I can see many surfers having a slight edge over CJ with the big Air sections provided on the windy rights. I might regret this decision based on CJ’s capability to do quite well in the powerful West Oz line up but I had to sit someone in group A! Going with my gut on this one. Sit 'em.

Tiago Pires (POR) back to business.  ASP/ Kirstin Will Pires bring his momentum from a strong Snapper performance to the west? Williams says look elsewhere. Tiago Pires
Again, in the powerful lefts at Margret’s, I can see Tiago doing pretty well on his backhand. With a heat win against Jordy Smith in Round 2 on the Gold Coast, Tiago may have gained some confidence, which could put a little pep in his step walking down the staircase to the Main Break. But, if you look closely at his draw in Round 1 at Margret’s, I don’t like his odds up against Taj Burrow and Fred Patacchia. A Round 1 loss could throw him into the lion pit of Round 2 where he will again face the likes of a high seed much like Jordy. Again, tough draw where I can’t see it being a smart play to bank on. Life on tour is very difficult when you have a low seed. Don’t be caught going along for the ride. Sit 'em.

Brett Simpson getting into the Zone. With a stack of Hawaiians in group C, Williams says sit Simpo. Brett Simpson
It can be challenging to decide on who to sit in Groups A and B but it gets slightly easier with group C. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Brett is a fine surfer who’s got loads of talent, but as we all know, talent doesn’t win heats alone. You need competitive savvy, clutch decision-making and a knack for showing off. All of these qualities have not been a strong point for the Californian. When you see the likes of John John and Sebastian Zietz as choices sitting next to him in group C, it becomes clear on where and how to align your troops. Can I see Brett improving his game and becoming a steady competitor? Yes, but to this point he’s got some proving to do. Sit 'em.

DARKHORSE

Jeremy Flores (FRA) narrowly lost to Californian Brett Simpson in Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro today, he will face Raoni Monteiro (BRA) when competition resumes. ASP/Will H-S Williams likes Flores' fire and picks the Frenchman as one to watch at Margaret River. Jeremy Flores
Due to the star-studded field on the CT and his lack of big results in the recent past, Jeremy has fallen slightly off the map. One thing this former Pipe Master does not lack is fire. With a very candid post heat interview after a controversial interference on the Gold Coast with ADS, some people were shocked at his reaction. Say what you want about the whole thing, but I really enjoyed the passion in which Jeremy displayed. If you look back on the heat, the snap that Jeremy did just prior to the interference was phenomenal, showing me that his surfing is on point. The waves at Margret’s will lend to his skill set, but it’s the passion that could get him an unforeseen championship win.

Log on to ASP Fantasy Surfing to set your team for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.