Let Experience Be Your Guide
If you're wondering what guideline we'll be following for the Swatch Pro at Lower Trestles, try this one on for size: Don't overthink it. Go with proven quality over the trendy choices. With a less-than-stellar short-term surf forecast looming for Southern California, tactics and experience will become even more crucial to maximizing results. Smaller waves will mean fewer chances for massive, unexpected scores and upsets will be less common. Under pressure, veterans make smart choices, upstarts make rookie mistakes.
In Tier A, it's a fact that Sally Fitzgibbons has been the model of consistency and Courtney Conlogue might be the most in-form surfer on Tour, but our inclination it to go with the woman in the yellow jersey, Tyler Wright. As both the reigning World Champion and Swatch Pro champ, Wright is so strong and confident on her forehand it's tough to pick against the Jeep Leader on the shreddable rights at Lowers. She's averaged nearly a 3rd-place result in the first six events of the 2017 season. And while that doesn't match the level of her five event victories from 2016, Wright's been nearly a lock to reach the Semis. In the Fantasy game, those odds are too good to pass up.
How often do you get the opportunity to pick a six-time world champ and a three-time world champ in Tier B? We'll buck the downward trend of Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore in 2017 and predict both will have bounce-back results at Trestles. Putting aside their impressive stats for the moment, the wave at Lowers falls right into their mutual wheelhouse -- Gilmore's stylishly sultry lines and Moore's radical progression make them relatively straightforward picks. So far, it's a no-brainer, right? Wright, Gilmore and Moore, that's three future Hall-of-Famers in your first three selections.
In Tier C, the sentimental pick would be Malia Manuel, who's making her return to the CT after injuring her knee at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Manuel, whose 2017 stats are across-the-board better than the other women in this Tier, was having a breakout season before the injury bug bit her. But to return to Trestles not quite match-fit, without her competitive edge and expect an outstanding result is probably too big of an ask of the Hawaiian at this stage. While Silvana Lima and Laura Enever have the experience at Lowers and could use a solid result, our pick will be Pauline Ado. Ado's shown improvement as the season's progressed, and her 5th at the US Open should provide the confidence boost and momentum necessary to continue her climb toward requalification through her CT rank.