11 August, 2017 11 August, 2017

Zag’s Fantasy Surfer Picks – Tahiti

During the 2014 Fifa World Cup, I happened to find myself in Portugal working at a Surf Camp. Now Europeans froth on soccer, and they pretty much watched every game in the evenings after we’d spent a whole damn day trying to get their asses to stand up on foamies. The surf camp consisted mostly of German tourists and the owners were obviously Portuguese. The Portuguese team got knocked out early and all the Portuguese homies subsequently placed their hope in the Brazilians, due to colonial reasons of course. So on one balmy summer evening in Portugal, we watched the Germans take on the Brazilians. The Portuguese were frothing, perhaps the Brazilians could exact revenge on their earlier loss to the Merkel governed country. But it was not to be. After every five minutes, the German holiday makers would erupt in a roar, smashing their glasses together in celebration! Another goal had been scored! On goal number 4, I thought the German’s would spare the Brazilians some dignity, half of them were already crying on the field. But it wasn’t to be, the Germans continued pushing forward, and the German surf kook’s celebrations became increasingly elaborate the more intoxicated they became by the caipirinhas and inevitable Brazilian slaughtering. The surf camp was tinkering on a tremendous brawl, an internal war, as the Portuguese’ patience wore thin by the celebrating Germans and defeated Brazilians.

The point is, the Germans were cold in their triumph. It’s a game after all, and they were the better team. They understood this, and so did the Portuguese, cause soon after, we all laughed and sang into the night. And that’s how you gotta be with your Fantasy Surfer team. You gots to be ICE COLD. Throw your emotions aside. We all love Jordy, but perhaps he ain’t the best pick for Cloudbreak and Tahiti (although we really want him to do well). So without further ado, here’s Zigzag’s Fantasy Surfer picks for the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Tier A

John John Florence

JJF didn’t do as well as we’d hoped in J-Bay, he was knocked out by eventual runner-up Frederico Morais. But Frederico literally had to throw the full kitchen sink, bathroom cabinet and toilet bowl to get past JJF, and he did. We saw Richard Dog Marsh, at the contest site, and his eyes were like saucers, probably cause he’d never seen the man surf that well before. Anyhoo, JJF is kinda a no brainer at Chopes. Given that Ross Williams probably gave him a stern talking to about wave selection after J-Bay and Fiji, we should see him do well.

JJF, probably one of the best backhand barrel riders to ever walk the planet. Image: WSL/Cestari

Owen Wright

It seems Mr. Wright has recovered to full strength after his traumatic head injury at Pipeline. Owen is a fantastic forehand barrel rider, his long limbs allow him to slow down easily, and height allows him to get maximum projection out of his pumps. We’re pretty frothing to see how far Owen can go at this year’s Billabong Pro Tahiti.


Tier B

Gabriel Medina

Sometimes, or actually fairly often, it seems Gabriel will get caught up in all sorts of strange heat strategies. Starting off heats at Boneyards, paddling people wildly deep at Chopes, it’s strange cause he’s such a talent, it seems silly that he wouldn’t just rely on his surfing to win heats. Like an antagonist, looking for any excuse to stir up some trouble. Gabriel Medina is in the process of getting his year back on track, and Tahiti an event he’s won at, would be the perfect place to get him right back in the mix.

Hopefully Gabby doesn’t get mixed up in all sorts of strange heat strategies. Image: WSL/Poullenot

Jeremy Flores

Isn’t it just great, that at event like Chopes, you have surfers like Jeremy, that are in Tier B and not Tier A? It makes your decision so easy.

Jeremy Flores, always a good bet when it comes to Chopes. Image: WSL/Cestari

Mick Fanning

We thought to take a risk on Connor O’Leary. We saw his face on the Fantasy Surfer list, so jovial so happy. But then we thought, nah, we’re not taking no risks today. The Germans didn’t take any risks when they beat Brazil 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup. They probably got to 5 goals and were like, “Let’s get out of the danger zone here! We better get another two more goals just to be sure!” Mick Fanning knows the wave, is a superb backhand barrel rider and has done well at Chopes before. Easy.

Italo Ferreira

I once knew this guy, a nugget of a man, we called him the Bar Fridge, cause he was built like a bar fridge with arms and legs. He surfed Kalk Bay damn well, and he’d slide into barrels with the greatest of ease. Never getting too disconnected from his board on take-off and always able to sneak out the end when the wave pinched. He had a solid stance, he could stick his whole upper body in the wave to slow down, and his centre of gravity was so low, that he’d never fall off. The Italian Ferrari is kinda like the Brazilian version of the Bar Fridge. Small and nuggety, he can land a late drop, stick his whole body in the wave to slow down, and turn into a little hedgehog when he needs to sneak out the other end.


Tier C

Jadson Andre

Is there any man on the CT roster that froths harder on left barrels than Jadson Andre? He’s come a long way in waves of consequence in the last couple of years, and looks comfortable at waves like Chopes, Fiji and Pipe. We watched a recent Insta clip of him getting pitted at Green Bush in Indo. And damn he was pumping his way through those barrels like the Fast and the Furious starring Vin Diesel. We’re putting our chips behind Jadson, let’s see how he goes.

You can see Jaddy baby frothing from here. Image WSL/Cestari

Nat Young

It was between Josh Kerr and Nat Young. But Chopes for the first half of the waiting period isn’t exactly going to be maxing. Smaller Chopes probably suits goofy footers slightly more than regular footers, and Josh Kerr only seems to do real well when it’s maxing.


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