Fantasy Surfers Hot Picks for Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Here it is, the start of the 2010 ASP season and we are fast approaching the start of the Gold Coast events.  As the Fantasy Surfer technical team works around-the-clock to bring you the brand new, we offer a quick preview of our hot lists of surfers to watch out for on the Gold Coast.  Take notes – trading will open shortly and you’ll want to be ready to stock your team for this event. 

1 – Mick Fanning ($12.5 million)
First pick of the year goes to the defending world champion who is once again in his own backyard.  He has won this event twice before and made it to the semifinals before he lost to eventual winner Joel Parkinson.  he’s been training his butt off in preparation for a title defense, so don’t underestimate the surfer who ended the second half of 2009 on the hottest of hot streaks.

2 – Joel Parkinson ($12 million)
Sometimes devastating losses can ruin a career.  Some surfers never recover after losing a title in such dramatic fashion as Joel Parkinson has.  Mick Campbell and Danny Wills suffered devastating losses to Slater in 1998 and have never recovered (Campbell is still on tour again after several years away, and Wills has since retired).  Rob Machado finished runner-up once and never even came close before he dropped off the tour in 2001.  With an event in his own backyard and a winning attitude, the odds are in his favor that Parko will put 2009’s devastation behind him.  He may not be able to snap back into world title form right off the bat, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Parkinson make the semifinals at the Quiksilver Pro just going upon local instinct.

3 – Dane Reynolds ($8 million)
Dane is starting the year in the Top 10 for the first time in his short career, and it could be the latest stepping stone in his assection to the throne of ‘Best Surfer in The World’.  Should he catch fire at this event, this could be the one of the last times we see him valued under $10 million.  The test for Dane will be getting through the top seeds once he makes it to the Quarterfinals.  Blowing up and scoring huge heat totals are great, but up until his performance at Trestles last year, it had yet to get him to a final.  If he could take a note from Quiksilver teammate Kelly Slater and peak at the right moment, surfing just well enough to win – he could potentially save his best performances for the later rounds and walk away with multiple event wins this year.  At the same time, we also need to realize that 2010 is ONLY Dane’s 3rd year on tour.  He’s still piecing together the early stages of a career that could reach meteoric porportions.

4 – Tom Whitaker ($7.5 million)
Calm, quiet and relaxed.  Whitaker is that guy you never hear a lot about, but he makes a lot of noise if you know what you’re watching.  He never really seems to have disasterous results – a product of consistency.  We’ve all been waiting for the moment when he actually wins an event, but that might not be what you should be looking for.  Whitaker is a consistent performer.  He will more than likely be valued at the mid-level all year, and consistently nab you some solid scores.

5 – Kekoa Bacalso ($6.5 million)
Bacalso is the reigning rookie of the year, and there’s a great reason he was the highest placing rookie in 2009 – everyone underestimated him.  He’s a solid surfer in any conditions, and his powerful turns could be the difference maker in a tight heat at Snapper Rocks.  He’s valued at twice what he was at the beginning of 2009, but he’s well worth the investment.

6 – Michel Bourez ($6 million)
Athletically, there are few surfers on tour who can match Bourez.  Only a few names come to mind – Mick Fanning, Taylor Knox, Joel Parkinson.  Is Bourez in the same talent level as those three?  Not yet.  But he’s fit enough to compensate for rookie mistakes (2009 was his rookie season).  Look for Bourez to cut down on those mistakes this year and start his climb up the ratings.  He’s fit, focused, and regularfoot.  Those are three things that can only help him on the Gold Coast.

7 – Andy Irons ($4.5 million)
Unless you chose him as a wildcard last year, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve never seen a 3-time world champ valued at such a bargain basement price.  If news about Andy Irons is to be believed, he’s back in fine form and has regained his competitive desire.  I’m not so sure he’s at his best form just yet, but at $4.5 million, he’s pretty hard to pass up.  A great price for such an experienced competitor.  If he makes it past Round 2, you’ve already scored a great bargain.

8 – Owen Wright ($3.5 million)
Owen has no problem taking down the top seeds.  His performances at Bells and Portugal last year were testament to that.  What he could have difficulty accounting for is Snapper’s tight pocket.  No goofy foot has won at the Quiksilver Pro since Mick Lowe did it over six years ago.  But don’t hold that against the kid – he’s an imposing presence that could shake things up considerably if the conditions start to deteriorate.  Any rookie is a gamble, but this one could have better odds than the rest.

9 – Luke Munro ($3.5 million)
A local veteran who is making his return to the WCT tour, Munro is a darkhorse pick at probably one or two venues on tour – and the Gold Coast is one of them.  If you’re going to pick him up at any time this year, this is the place.

10- Dusty Payne ($3 million)
Remember a few years ago when Dane Reynolds burst onto the scene and everyone selected him for their team right off the bat?  It took a little while before most Fantasy Surfer players remembered that he was just a rookie and even with all his tremendous talent, he still had to get used to surfing in such high-pressure heats.  Payne falls into the same boat; tremendous talent, but he’s going to need a little seasoning.  He stays on the hot list based on his potential alone.  In a year or two, he’ll be on this list likely because of his results as well. 
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Surf Guy has WAY too much time on his hands. He would rather watch surf videos, talk story and contribute to than go to work.