While the huge push in women's performances was spearheaded recently by a handful of stars, one look at the women's roster proves that's no longer the case; it's stacked with talent from top to bottom. Those leaders are being victimized by their own success as a fresh wave of talent is flooding their gates. That's the backdrop heading into this year's Roxy Pro Gold Coast which, more than any other event, is a harbinger of what's ahead. Seven out of the last nine years the winner of the event has gone on to win the World Title. But the event has also been shining a light on who else is on the rise, so let's dive into some details so you can make some smart Fantasy Picks (make your picks here).
Tier A: The Players (pick one)
Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons
The Stats Say
Stephanie Gilmore's dominance at her home break is more solid than ever after last year's win, which was her sixth at Snapper. Her heat win rate is approaching 80 percent, which is 11 points higher than reigning World Champ Tyler Wright's and 29 points higher than that of Sally Fitzgibbons, who finished 2017 ranked World No. 3. And given that Gilmore has been at home for the past few months, you'd be pretty crazy for betting against her. But then again, when you're playing this game you have to take make some crazy moves to win. Are you brave enough to bet against her? If you do, and you're right, chances are you'll be beating 80 percent of the pack with that pick alone.
After two straight World Title wins, Tyler Wright is still just finding her groove, believe it or not. She'll be looking to redeem herself, too, after last year's relatively poor start of a fifth- place finish. And it certainly seems like the whole family is feeding off each other's success right now (her brother Mikey is winning the Qualifying Series, and will be a wildcard again at the Quik Pro Gold Coast). But Steph's innate knowledge and versatility at Snapper is second to none, and she seems to find even more fuel when there's a good-looking forecast. No matter how you slice it, if Steph doesn't win, it's an upset.
Tier B: The Players (pick two)
Carissa Moore, Lakey Peterson, Nikki Van Dijk, Sage Erickson, Johanne Defay, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Silvana Lima, Bronte Macaulay
The Stats Say
Carissa Moore is the easy choice of this bunch, given her stellar Snapper track record. The three-time World Champ is a two-time winner, and she's got a trio of third-place finishes here, as well. What's more, her 75 percent win rate at Snapper is a solid 30 points higher than the rest of your options. The second choice is where it gets tricky. On the one hand, Tatiana Weston-Webb has a slight edge against Lakey Peterson in the win rate category, and it's always nice to have a goofyfoot hedge at a place like Snapper Rocks, but Peterson has gone farther here, and she's put in some big numbers along the way. She's collected seven excellent-scoring heats of 16 points or higher (out of 20), while Tati has none. She's also bagged a perfect 10.
While it'll be hard to resist Riss, and Tati and Lakey will likely be splitting the deck for the second pick at this tier, there are some solid sleepers here. One of the best is Silvana Lima, who's been to the Quarterfinals four times at the Roxy Pro, and she's got five excellent-scoring heats to her name, which means she can turn up the heat. Being that Lima is never short on inspiration and she's versatile in any condition, this is as good a time as any to put a chip on her number.
Tier C: The Players (pick one)
Malia Manuel, Coco Ho, Caroline Marks, Keely Andrew, Paige Hareb, Macy Callaghan
The Stats Say
From a pure experience standpoint, Malia Manuel and Coco Ho have numbers to support being strong favorites in this category. Both have made multiple trips to the Quarterfinals and turned in some solid performances along the way, and both are coming in off hot off the QS, where they've turned in some solid results this year, but the scary thing for Coco is that she's struggled hard over the past four years at Snapper. All her best results at Snapper came early in her career. Malia, meanwhile, keeps knocking on the door of the Semis, and her win rate is a good 8 percent higher than the rest of the pack.
This pick is probably the toughest of all three tiers, and for players like you it's likely the most significant since it'll be the difference between winning and losing. That said, it's the best place to take some risk. Rookie Caroline Marks is a good gamble for multiple reasons: She has a strong backhand attack, she's coming in with some momentum, and her home break is a right point. Keely Andrew has proven a worthy foe in her two appearances here, and Macy Callaghan (who's filling in for the injured Courtney Conlogue) is certainly worth a look, given that she's a former Junior World Champion.
Watch the women live daily on the WSL starting March 11 local time. Make your Fantasy Surf picks here.