Ross Williams starred in Taylor Steele’s Momentum Series and became a professional surfer in 1990. He spent 10 years on the WCT, four ranked in the Top 16.
When picking your surfers for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach you want to make sure they understand the wave. Or should I say waves? Bells Beach has numerous personalities and to be honest many of them can be a little prickly. Sure when a big swell arrives and a perfect offshore blows, it can look like down-the-line perfection. But when the winds are wrong and the swell direction is less than perfect, surfers who haven't put in their time can find Bells Beach a bit the riddle. Be confident your picks have the answer.
The trick to this game is to pick that guy some people might overlook. Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking 'Nat Young is getting overlooked?' Well, as of the time this was published, just two percent of you had picked Young in Tier A, compared to Kelly Slater, who was on 72 percent of teams! When a pick like Young, who advances deep into the event, is therefore much more impactful against other fantasy teams. I needn’t remind you of the wake Nat left behind him last year at Bells, where he exposed his real potential on tour. The only thing to be a little concerned about is that Young's quiver was a bit tattered, but you have to think Channel Islands is on it and we’ll see him sending his signature backhand smoke signals once the horn blows. Start 'em.
Wow, What a group! Come on guys, what are you doing in Tier B? Mick Fanning, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, John John Florence and Taj Burrow: Are you kidding me? Again, if you really want to leap past your friends in points, you’ll need to pick the sleeper in each tier. The guy that has a lower start percentage, but will likely advance deep into the draw. Durbidge has been selected by just ten percent of fantasy players. Jordy, on the other hand, is on 56 percent of teams. Durbidge showed a sense of urgency at Margaret River, enhancing the silky power that he so easily produces. Coming out on top in the re-surf against Taj and dodging that bitter blow, I think gave hi the confidence to take the bull by the horns! You’d be smart to draft in his wake, as he is sure to hack his way to a solid finish. Start 'em.
Sticking to the theme here, Atkinson's six percent start percentage means you will be getting a huge return on your investment if he does well. I know it’s hard to pass on some of the bigger names but don’t be fooled. Atkinson is poised to get a solid result at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Will he win the event? That's beside the point. In Tier C you want someone who will power through a few rounds and produce some points. Atkinson's smooth carves didn’t go unnoticed by the judges in Margaret River, showing me that he can sneak past a few big names and rack up points for you in the process. Start 'em.
In Tier A you want to pick guys who have a really good chance to win the event. These are the crème de la crème, your top dogs who you should expect to make the quarterfinals or better! Now, can Pupo do well at Bells? Of course, but weighed against options like Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson, it feels like a very risky pick. Now I realize that I said be a little creative in your starts, so that you capitalize when the masses falter. Still, at Bells Beach and in Tier A, it is a tough choice. Sit 'em
I don’t know what’s going on with Buchan. He usually surfs with tons of confidence and makes few mistakes when he paddles out. He could be still in recovery mode from past injuries or just struggling to get back the confidence and injury can strip away. Either way, I would steer clear of until he can can regain his juju. Again, there are excellent options in tier B so be creative, but also be cautious. Sit 'em.
Alejo Muniz is a huge risk on your roster. Pulling out of the Margaret’s event with a nagging knee injury, he will be fighting through pain and the confidence issues that come with injury, if he even puts on a jersey. Yes, there is always the possibility that he heals quickly and collects a result, but is that a chance you want to take? There are other healthy surfers in Tier C who are sure to notch some fantasy points. Sit em.
Wilkinson has had an absolute shocker so far. With two bad results, he must be seriously chaffed. He seemed to say as much at Margaret River, where surfed well and in a post-heat interview said he is confident he can post the scores on his backhand needed to go the distance. I agree and have a hunch that Bells is where he collects the first solid result of his 2014 campaign, injecting some positive mojo into his fun-guy train that has been chugging up hill so far.