The Vans US Open of Surfing is a tricky event to pick your Fantasy Surfing team because it can be the most unpredictable of all the ladies' events. On the one hand, if you can use the hype there, you can write your own story. The flip side is getting sucked into too many sponsor commitments and after-event activities that take your focus somewhere other then advancing through heats. Still, here are my picks.
Tier A: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Every lady in Tier A is a former winner of this event, including Sally. So really you can't go wrong on your choice here. Courtney Conlogue (USA) is a local at Huntington Beach and Hawaiian Carissa Moore has America's support for this one too. But Sally is high from a win at the Fiji Pro and from what I've seen on social media, has not let the burst eardrum sideline her. Plus, her beachbreak game is impeccable.
Tier B: Lakey Peterson (USA)
Lakey, another former winner of the US Open, not only has home-country support, but has also been quite consistent this year. She's due for a Championship Tour event win and this may be the event for her. I'm excited to see if Lakey uses her air game and keeps things progressive in high-pressure heats.
Tier C: Sage Erickson (USA)
It's really easy to pick Americans for your teams with such a large crowd on the beach. The experience of surfing endless junior events at this location will really play into the favor of the Californians. They will be used to the crowds and the added bonus of no jet lag will come in handy. I think Sage is on the cusp of a big result and the US Open is an event where she could easily crack the Final.
Tier A: Carissa Moore (HAW)
Carissa. First of all, all three girls in Tier A are going to make the final rounds, but I'm sitting Carissa because Courtney, the other Tier A surfer, is a Huntington local. Courtney tests her quiver at this break, knows the tides and how the waves change on any swell. That being said, I think Carissa had a disappointing result in Fiji and is going to finish strong in the US Open.
Tier B: Silvana Lima (BRA)
Wow, big call! Silvana is a wizard in small, beachbreak conditions, but I feel like the last few events have seen Silvana become her own worst enemy. I think the other girls in this tier have figured themselves out and will be more confident competing, whereas I Silvana will be feeling the pressure of others' expectations for her to perform. Still, I hope we see more 10-point rides from her.
Tier C: Laura Enever (AUS)
This is the toughest tier for me to figure out who to sit. I think all of these girls are due a result. And yet, I'm going to sit Laura. All of the girls are strong options to do well, but Laura may struggle if it gets small. On the plus side, she surfs the Northern beachbreak waves in Sydney all day long when she's home. Plus, she did win the Hurley Australian Open in Sydney this year. I may regret this, but I have to sit someone!
Dark Horse: Tyler Wright (AUS)
Last year's winner Tyler Wright. How could I not? Her surfing last year was seamless. Managing to make the inside section every wave and bank the inside section when it counted. Her boards look fluid in the small waves, which is often half the battle when there's no power behind them. I'm excited to see her compete in this event and if you recall last year, Tyler really kicked things into gear in the second half of the season.
Rosy Hodge (ZAF) competed on the World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) from 2007-2010, before joining the WSL broadcast team. She weighs in on who she thinks should round out your Women's Fantasy Surfing lineup ahead of each CT event.