Welcome to the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o Fantasy Preview, an endeavor where our in-house analytics team combines their significant insight with a data-driven approach to create the the gold standard for surf soothsaying.
So, we took an ultra-close look at past Teahupo'o performances, 2018 CT trends, and a whole pile of spreadsheets so you didn't have to.
Tahiti is an epic wave and a unique Fantasy challenge. With Kelly Slater injured (!!!), here's some nuggets that will help you lock in your lineup:
The Safe Bet: Owen Wright (Tier B)
While he has yet to win in Tahiti, Wright has done just about everything else.
He's surfed Tahiti six times and made the Quarters or better every year but one, going all the way to the Final in 2011.
The Australian has two Perfect 10s in Tahiti, and has a better average heat score than everyone on tour except Medina, JJF and Slater.
Could this be the year that Owen Wright checks the last box: Teahupo'o champion?
The Underdog: Joan Duru (Tier C)
The Frenchman excels at left-hand reef breaks. His best 2017 CT results were at Cloudbreak (5th) and Teahupo'o (5th).
On average, Joan Duru finishes 13 places higher at left-hand reef breaks than other tour stops.
Is that a big enough jump to jump into your fantasy lineup?
The Momentum Pick: Gabriel Medina (Tier A)
Medina and Tahiti have a special thing going. His past four finishes: 2014, Winner. 2015, Semifinals. 2016, Runner-up. 2017, Runner-up.
At Tahiti he's netted three Perfect 10s and more 8.00+ waves than everyone on tour except John and Kelly. Now he's third in the world, but has yet to make a 2018 Final or win an event.
Think Tahiti's where he'll do it? History says ... probably.
-- Since 2003, there's been 493 excellent heats (16.0+ total points) in Tahiti, more than any other stop on tour.
-- Five athletes currently on tour have won the Tahiti Pro; Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson, Jeremy Flores, Gabriel Medina and Adrian Buchan. Each surfer has one victory except for Kelly who has five.
-- There have been 3 perfect heats at Teahupo'o: two by Kelly Slater and one by Jeremy Flores. Kelly's first perfect heat came in the 2005 Final...13 years ago!
Get your feet wet with WSL Fantasy Surfing at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o. The contest window opens August 10th.