The excitement of this year's Hurley Pro went beyond fantastic waves: Mick Fanning (AUS) was unstoppable on his way to the top of the heap -- and the top of the Jeep Leaderboard. Similarly, Courtney Conlogue (USA) dominated the Cascais Women's Pro, conquering the shifty beachbreak as she took back the World No. 1 ranking from Carissa Moore (HAW).
With only a few more stops left on this year's Championship Tour (CT), Fantasy Surfing points are hitting critical levels of importance. The biggest lessons learned from the most recent events? Veteran experience rules.
Hurley Pro at Trestles
If you read Ross Williams' Start 'Em, Sit 'Em prior to the Hurley Pro, you probably had a good event, as every one of his picks finished in the Top 10. Filipe Toledo (BRA) made it all the way to the Semifinals, finding momentum in consistent double-digit heat scores and a 20-point bonus following his win in Round 4.
Fanning came out firing as well, scoring a heat total of 17.30 in a Round 1 victory that gave way to a 20-point Fantasy bonus for skipping Round 2. With a 39 percent start, the three-time World Champion was a popular pick amongst managers.
Seventy-four percent of Fantasy teams believed last year's World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) would be in form for Trestles. And in form he was, making it all the way to the Semis.
John John Florence (HAW) was one of the bigger disappointments for Fantasy players at this year's Hurley Pro. The high-flying Hawaiian was chosen by more than 48 percent of Fantasy owners, the second highest percentage of any athlete. However, Florence would only make it as far as Round 2, where he would be eliminated by Glenn Hall (IRL).
On the other hand, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) (started by 15 percent) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) (started by 24 percent) were the biggest surprises among Fantasy lineups. The two Brazilian rookies advanced as far as Round 5, where they met in a head-to-head matchup that saw Dantas take down Ferreira and advance on to the Quarterfinals. Both surfers have been on a consistent tear this year and could be smart dark-horse picks for future lineups.
Cascais Women's Pro
Only 18 percent of Fantasy teams bet along with Rosy Hodge that Conlogue would take it all in Portugal. But the California ripper proved doubters wrong in dominating fashion, earning the highest Fantasy score on her road to reclaiming the Tour leader's yellow Jersey and winning it all at the Cascais Women's Pro.
Hodge made the right call on Tier B surfer Lakey Peterson (USA) as well. Started by 38 percent, the three-year CT veteran surfed in every single round of competition on her path to a Final showdown against Conlogue. However, due to a lack of 20-point bonuses (awarded to surfers who win a heat that allows them to skip a round), Peterson finished fourth in Fantasy standings, finishing behind Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), who were both eliminated in the Semifinals.
Moore, a perennial powerhouse on Tour, was one of the biggest disappointments for Fantasy players at Cascais. Despite being started by 54 percent of Fantasy teams, the Tier A surfer fell to Peterson in Round 4.
Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) shocked Fantasy managers as well, but for different reasons. The current World No. 10 was started by just one percent of owners, but made it through each preliminary round, racking up points through the Quarterfinals.
Don't miss as the world's top men and women surfers in Hossegor, France for the upcoming Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France starting Oct. 6 local time. Both events will air live here and on the WSL app.