More than any other time of the year, you will need to overhaul your Fantasy surfing team from the last event. Teahupo'o and Lowers are polar opposites. One requires you to put your life on the line the other requires you to get squirrelly. Lowers is the hot rod track of the season so you'll need to get your roster stacked with men who are hip to the task. Power moves are welcome, but really it's about airs and fin-free maneuvers.
With the judges looking for inspired surfing and clean rails, the fans will be waiting for their fix of surfing fireworks. Trestles provides the perfect platform to receive this smorgasbord of froth. It's time to feed the beast. With only four events left, it's really important to earn big.
Tier A: Filipe Toledo (BRA)
At Trestles, Brahadah Fil gets to unleash the inner beast mode we all know and cherish. He absolutely smoked the field in all the small-wave events this year, but especially the Oakley Lowers Pro QS 10,000. There weren't many heats where Filipe had the best waves, yet he comboed surfer after surfer with his relentless approach. He can be a little too keen to go to his air reverse, but the zip and projection he gets out of those maneuvers effectively force the judges to throw him excellent scores on mediocre waves. Filly is bringing an atom bomb to a knife fight.
Filipe is by far the favorite to win this event, so you'd be silly to leave him off your roster. Not far behind him is Julian Wilson (AUS), another must in my opinion. Start 'em.
Tier B: Gabriel Medina (BRA)
In the first half of 2015 Gabby looked lousy. He looked like he was just going through the motions in his heats and, as a result, he got slapped around by surfers that he would normally eat for breakfast. But in Fiji he found that spark and seemed back to his former self. A couple solid results later, including a runner-up finish in Tahiti, it's safe to say Medina has officially returned. Make no mistake about it.
His surfing looks confident, relentless, and creative. With the glimmer back in his eyes, I'd look for Gabby to be very inspired at Lowers. He's not only a super high-percentage success rate air guy, he's a beast with his rail game. He's also tactically nervy which allows him to get under his competitors' skin. Another motivation for Medina is that he wants to be the eye of the Brazilian Storm. He will be looking to steal some thunder from his compadre Filipe and we will be the benefactors of the ensuing freak show. Can't wait to pull up a seat. Start 'em.
Tier C: Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Miggy will be a smooth warrior for you. Underrated, Pupo is only temporarily visiting the lower end of the Jeep Leaderboard, at No. 26. Don't miss out on this start (currently only 9 percent of you are starting him) as this is a sneaky pick that will deliver easy points. He's a polished, well-rounded surfer who has one of the best styles on Tour. I like his buttery flow, but at the same time he will produce exciting moves with perfect timing and sky-high spray. The kid's not afraid to boost on the lefts which is always nice to have when push comes to shove.
Wow, I just realized I have a full Brazilian platter for my starts! Don't hate the playas! Start 'em.
Tier A: Josh Kerr (AUS)
Tier A is where you really cover your investments: These are the picks that need to produce a win. Filipe, Julian, Mick Fanning (AUS) and Kelly Slater (USA) should be at the forefront of your thought process here. Guys like Josh and Jeremy Flores (FRA) are a higher risk for the return. Josh is good in the air and makes great wave choices, but his ability to grab a victory at Trestles is far less certain when compared to the aforementioned contenders.
He is such a well-rounded surfer it's hard to find any real flaws in his surfing. But if there's one place he could improve, it would be his power. He's not a weak surfer by any means, but he tends to ride buoyant equipment, hindering him from cutting a deep edge on the open face. Chippier boards and hours upon hours of squats could make the difference. Maybe this tiny tweak would push him into the victory lane. But for now, sit 'em.
Tier B: Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Ace is one of those surfers who can easily upset top seeds or surfers who may enjoy a busier fan base. Steady, smooth and a crispy rail game make him a solid Tour mainstay. But -- there's always a but -- Tier B is stacked with guys who can win Lowers. Trestles is where you load up on surfers who love to showboat a little. Ace is not that guy.
Can he carve out a good result? Yes. But you'd be smart to grab guys like John John Florence (HAW), Gabriel and even Italo Ferreira (BRA), who are frothing to huck, spin and fly over their opponents. Looking ahead to Europe, where tactical precautions and ocean awareness are in full demand, I like Ace as a steady choice. But Lowers is a racetrack, so load up on the whippersnappers. Sit 'em.
Tier C: Glenn Hall (IRL)
Damn it! Sorry Glenn, I got to do it. I was going to get a little creative and tell you to sit Kolohe Andino (USA), but with Hall sitting in a heat against Filipe I just couldn't get past it. I'm not even going to go into the details as to why. Micro is a good surfer, a likable guy and a great coach. Let's just stick to the nice things -- Filly will be brutal in their first round bout, he doesn't need me to pile it on. Or did I just do that? Shoot. Sit 'em.
Dark Horse: Adam Melling (AUS)
Adam is a true Dark Horse. I'm not saying he's going to win the event, but I think he will stir the pot in the early rounds. He's always had a great approach at righthand pointbreaks, but the Adam Melling of late has stepped it up a notch. I've been saying I like how he's "dirtied up" his surfing in 2015.
Boosting airs and grunting through his carves, you can see a lot of new energy and spark in Mello. He's improved his barrel game and smoothed out the wiggles in between turns. I can see Adam zipping his way into the Quarters in this event, turning a lot of heads in the process. Additionally, he recently lost his main sponsor and is sitting in questionable zones on both the Championship Tour and the Qualifying Series, giving him more than enough motivation to grab a big result and some handy cash.
Ross Williams spent 10 years as a CT competitor. Currently, he's a WSL analyst and contributes a Fantasy surfing column before each event on the elite Tour, as well as provides up-to-date Fantasy intel each morning at 7:30 a.m. local time on the Dawn Patrol Morning Show. Follow Ross Williams on Twitter (@rosswilliamshi) and Instagram (@rosswilliamshawaii).