The United States surfing squad is heading into the WSL Founders' Cup with the heavy burden of high expectation. When you're competing on home turf with a trio of champs who've racked up sixteen World Titles victory is to be expected. So is this high-powered squad ready to answer the call? Individually, the A-listers surfing for the Stars and Stripes have pretty solid backgrounds of doing so. How they play as a team will be the fun thing to watch unfold.
Captain: Kelly Slater
Slater is not only the greatest surfer of all time with his 11 World Titles and 55 Championship Tour wins, he's also a founder, creator, designer and chief lab rat at the Surf Ranch. Nobody knows this wave better. While he's still nursing the bones he broke last summer at Jeffreys Bay, Slater's rehab sessions at the Surf Ranch have been hearty. If there's one event he's looking forward to most this year, it's this one.
John John Florence
The reigning two-time World Champion isn't off to his best start in 2018, but a spirited team vs. team event like this is fertile ground for Florence to catch fire. John John knows this wave well - he's made several trips to the Surf Ranch - and we know all about his wide-ranging swath of creativity. John John is fully aware of the fact that others are counting on him to deliver at this event, and he's not the type of person who likes to let people down.
The three-time women's World Champion is heading back to Lemoore with swagger after she won the test event back in September. Her high powered approach is the perfect match for the punchy pits on tap at the Surf Ranch. - she won the test event here back in September. While Moore, like Florence, has had a slower start to the season, she's also one who doesn't like to let others down. You can bet she'll be ready to deliver for her team captain.
The San Clemente native has recently stepped it up a notch. Andino has been known to go big and not hold back, which tends to hurt him on the CT. Luckily in Lemoore, it will considerably help him. Although Andino has not been able to find a CT win yet, it's only a matter of time before he gets comfortable. Especially with his dad and former professional surfer, Dino, in his corner.
Peterson has been threatening World Title contenders for years, but this year she's one of them. Her impressive win at the Roxy Pro marked a new era for Peterson, as her confidence is now soaring. As we learned at Kirra, speed is her friend, which is why the Surf Ranch should play into her hands. She's also fiercely competitive, and with her extensive background in team sports like basketball, flag football and soccer, she knows how to be a role player.