The stock market's volatility index (VIX) is a very revealing gauge. The VIX measures market fear; it spikes when investors get concerned with which way the market's headed and flatlines during more predictable, quiet periods. In 2008, during the height of the global crash, the VIX was at 80. Last September it spiked again, but to just 30. Today it's hovering around 15.
The CT rankings have their own volatility index. It's hovered under 10 for nearly a decade. Not anymore.
The index has been flashing red since the first event of the season. It came off its highs recently as Fantasy Surfing players settled into what they assumed was a new normal. They were wrong.
Today the CT/VIX (a privately held measurement allegedly owned by famed fantasy hedge funds) spiked to its all-time high as a result of the entire Top 10 being wiped out of the Oi Rio Pro. Main Street fantasy squads around the world are bleeding red.
While panic has undoubtedly taken hold, these are teachable moments. It's best, if possible, to step away from your fears and remain calm. This, after all, is a natural unwinding of the carnage we saw earlier this year. In fact, today's results show there's a very reasonable rebalancing occurring.
Let's start with Gabriel Medina. The 2014 World Champion had faded into the background up until Saturday, when he pulled the first-ever backflip in competition. Until that point he'd been dramatically underperforming analysts' expectations on a year-to-date basis.
On Wednesday Medina was back in high-flyer mode, sticking one of the most impressive backside aerial reverses in recent memory in his Round Four heat and earning another perfect 10 for the effort. The win vaulted him straight into the quarterfinals which, frankly, is where he belongs. He was way undervalued heading into Rio, ranked No. 18.
Reigning World Champion Adriano de Souza was similarly undervalued after his rough go in Australia, but on Wednesday he was back in championship form, feeding off the fan frenzy and enjoying his moment on home soil as a world-conquering king.
John John Florence has always been a risky trade and 2016 hasn't been any different. But Florence's stated goal of winning a World Title will eventually lead to some stability. He seems genuinely concerned about those emotionally invested in him this year, and is looking to net them a return. After being edged out of a direct trip to the quarterfinals by Dusty Payne, Florence escaped the wrath of his nemesis Caio Ibelli in Round Five on the strength of his fundamentals.
Payne, to his credit, is responding to recent market trends, selling himself as the undervalued Seabass stock. He is also a replacement surfer riding with nothing to lose; not even the huge smile on his face. It's working too, and he's being priced fairly by the judges.
Wednesday's big surprise, however, came by way of some rookies, the Tour's IPOs. Of the freshly available-for-purchase options this year, Davey Cathels has enjoyed very little institutional love. Year to date, his only blip on the screen has been a ninth at Bells, which was in line with market predictions. But today Cathels pulled the biggest upset of the event so far by taking out Oi Rio Pro defending champion Filipe Toledo. At last check he was up in after-hours trading.
It's worth noting that Toledo was surfing in his first event since being injured on the Gold Coast. Despite only a few days of surfing before the event, he looked incredibly sharp. But he was undone by a couple hard landings that sent him overboard. The crowd fell silent when Cathels pounced in the closing moments. But they needn't worry. Their Toledo stock is back on the right track.
You'll recall rookie Jack Freestone had a shocker at home on the Gold Coast, losing early and then injuring himself the very next day. He arrived in Rio as a platinum blonde and has been turning heads ever since. But he fell a little out of favor with local fans after he ended the impressive run of Italo Ferreira on Wednesday afternoon.
Ferreira, in just his second year on Tour, entered Rio ranked No. 3, and this is the first time this season that he's fallen short of the semifinals. While the micro result is certainly an emotional stunner for some, a logical look at Italo's chart indicates he was due for a pull-back. Savvy investors are doubling down.
Regardless of who does what on Thursday when the winner is crowned, the ratings spread is certain to narrow. The leaderboard will tighten significantly as the tour heads to Fiji, and the race for the World Title is wide open. As for the volatility thing, well, just hang on. We're still in search of the new normal.