It's been five years since the WSL Championship Tour (CT) came through Bali. Only 16 of the surfers currently on Tour were around during that event, and only four for them made it past Round 4, which means the sample size for this venue is small, and the amount of data directly linked to this event is even smaller. To that end, Fantasy players will be relying more on feel than numbers, which might not be a bad idea considering what just happened in Brasil, where less than 3 percent of players had rookie Wade Carmichael on their team. Needless to say, the power-hungry Aussie turned more than a few fantasy squads into nightmares. So who will do the big damage this time? Well, we'll take a stab at it here...
Tier A (pick two)
Options: Julian Wilson, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Gabriel Medina, Wade Carmichael, Ezekiel Lau, Owen Wright, Michel Bourez
Conventional Wisdom: Keramas is a perfect barrel with a massive air section to boot. It welcomes a wide variety of creativity, as well as the essentials of speed, power and flow. While everyone on Tour checks those boxes, the current Tour frontrunners Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo have the edge in two categories: aerial amplitude and frontside antics. Wilson made the Quarters here in 2013. Filipe, meanwhile, seems to be on a hot streak.
Rolling the Dice: Michel Bourez is one of the most powerful surfers on Tour and an astounding tube rider to boot. By now, most people have forgotten that the last time this event ran he finished runner-up to Joel Parkinson, and the fact that he turned in four excellent scoring heats along the way. Something tells us that, for the Spartan, Keramas could be like jumping back on a bike.
The Contrarian: The previous CT event held here wasn't kind to goofyfooters, so Owen Wright, Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina may slip under the selection radar, as a result. That said, every one of them is arguably stronger on their backhand, so don't be surprised to see the short trend change.
Tier B (pick four)
Options: Michael Rodrigues, Adrian Buchan, Griffin Colapinto, Kolohe Andino, Tomas Hermes, Frederico Morais, Kanoa Igarashi, Adriano de Souza, Sebastian Zietz, John John Florence, Jeremy Flores, Patrick Gudauskas, Conner Coffin, Yago Dora, Jordy Smith, Willian Cardoso
Conventional Wisdom: John John Florence pulled one of the biggest aerials ever during one of his 2013 heats in Bali. Of course, aerial surfing has come a long way since then, and something tells us that he's going to want to show us just how much. Jordy Smith's ability to showcase big power and huge punts can't be overlooked, either.
Rolling the Dice: There's little doubt that high flying will be a differentiator at this venue, so it's really about finding the acrobat who's going to stick their landings: Kolohe Andino, Patrick Gudauskas, Michael Rodrigues, Tomas Hermes and Griffin Colapinto are going to take their chances, and the risk-to-reward factor will be huge. Bet accordingly.
The Contrarian: While powerful ground games will be on full display on Bali's beautiful green walls, its tough to say that they'll win the day, which means hard-carvers like Ace Buchan, Conner Coffin and Willian Cardoso could be at a disadvantage.
Tier C (pick two)
Options: Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson, Ian Gouveia, Jesse Mendes, Michael February, Keanu Asing, Connor O'Leary, Joan Duru, Miguel Pupo, Kelly Slater
Conventional Wisdom: Joel Parkinson is a huge fan of this wave, and a regular visitor. He also won this event the last time it ran here, and did it in dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Matt Wilkinson has reinvented himself in the time since, and his backhand is more deadly than ever.
Rolling the Dice: Michael February and Keanu Asing aren't exactly the heavyweights on Tour, but they can both punch well above their weight when the waves get good, and you can bet they'll be flying under the selection radar.
The Contrarian: Kelly isn't going for World Titles anymore, but what he's always up for are a few perfect waves, and the forecast looks pretty good for the kickoff. With his hype-level high, the old man may want to make a run at this thing. Can his body hold up? That's the question.