Swatch Women's Pro

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Who to Watch at Swatch

Rosy Hodge

The Swatch Women's Pro has to be the favorite of event of almost everyone on the women's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. Lowers is a dream landscape of scoring opportunity. With clean walls and ample room to perform, it is a stop that really allows the crowd on the beach to witness the potential of all surfers on Tour.

But never the less, Fantasy choices must be made, no matter how hard.

Start 'Em

Tier A: Carissa Moore (HAW)

Moore Tears into Trestles
At the 2014 contest, Moore opened in Round 1 with a solid display of forehand carves.

I honestly think Carissa is going to arrive at Lowers more fired up than ever. With an early exit from the Vans US Open, I think she will have put her year into perspective and put in a some hard work in the last few weeks. The truth is that all of the ladies have improved so much that it's making Carissa's heats that much harder to get past. But this is the point in the season where she's ready to battle back in a big way.

Tier B: Lakey Peterson (USA)

Peterson's Lowers Progression
Lakey Peterson won the 2014 Women's Maneuver of the Year for throwing an air-reverse during the Swatch Women's Pro.

Yikes -- this tier is stacked! But having seen some freesurfing at Lowers last weekend, here are a few recommendations. Malia Manuel (HAW) is RIPPING and past due for an event win. Coco Ho (HAW) is also looking like a hot knife through butter, and remember how well she surfed Lowers last year? But after watching her surf Lowers this weekend and thinking about her performances at Fiji this year, my pick is Lakey. Plus, there was that incredible heat against Carissa in Round 4 at Lowers in last year's event. I think she has a good mix of power surfing and progression that she can pace throughout the event.

Note: Tier B will also see Australian Stephanie Gilmore back in the competitor's jersey after missing out on almost four events due to injury.

Tier C: Sage Erickson (USA)

Californian Sage Erickson made a clear statement at Punta Roca, heading into Finals day. WSL/Nichols Sage Erickson during her recent win at the Copa El Salvador Impresionante QS 6,000. - WSL

After winning the QS 6,000 in El Salvador on a perfect right point, with most of the ladies on the Championship Tour in the draw, Sage demonstrated her potential. I think she will be looking forward to some good results with maybe a bit of payback for past heats that she narrowly lost this year.

Sit 'Em

Tier A: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Fitzgibbons' Semifinal Fire
Sally Fitzgibbons during the 2014 Semifinal: To sit or not to sit?

I watched Courtney Conlogue (USA) (another Tier A option) surfing Lowers the other day and straight-up, WOW. I'm going to have to sit Sal. I think Court has spent countless hours out in the Lowers lineup, plus she is the current Jeep Leader. Court and Carissa are almost a guarantee for a great result at Lowers. I think Sally will make the final series too, but I have to pick someone to sit and she'll have to face the return of Steph in Round 1, Heat 5.

Tier B: Silvana Lima (BRA)

Silvana Lima throwing spray in Round 4. Silvana Lima may not have made the podium, but she has consistently made it past Round 2 at all but one event. - WSL / Sean Rowland

I'm going to sit Silvana. No doubt she will pull off some of the most progressive moves of the event, but I'm not sure if she will string it together when the pressure is on. I think she has the potential to win this event because the wave suits her surfing, but for some reason Silvana hasn't put it all together in the last couple of events.

Tier C: Bethany Hamilton (HAW)

Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2010 Bethany Hamilton has the talent, but is her competitive edge honed enough to take on the Top 17? - WSL / Kelly Cestari

This year's wildcard is epic, I'm so excited to see Bethany back in the contest jersey and a few of the clips I have seen of her have been mind-blowing. But I think the ladies in this tier are all so hungry for a spot on the 2016 Championship Tour, which will give them the extra edge to advance.

Dark Horse: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)

Buitendag's Backhand Attack at Lowers
The South African scores a nine-pointer in the opening round of the 2014 Swatch Women's Pro.

I love trying to pick a Dark Horse and for this event, and I have to say I'm going to back Bianca Buitendag. Give the tallest lady on Tour a long, roping right or left and she will dismantle the wave. The confidence from earning back-to-back runner-up finishes, followed by a Semifinal in Huntington, makes Bianca even more of threat to the field.

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.

Don't forget to set your Fantasy Surfing lineup ahead of the Swatch Women's Pro. The event will stream LIVE here and on the WSL App starting September 9.