Mick Fanning going through the analytics and picking his team for Bells.

Is The Most Popular WSL Fantasy Surfing Team Better Than Yours?

This is who the world is picking in their Fantasy Surfing teams for Bells.

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WSL Fantasy Surfing is brilliant. It brings all the fun and banter of gambling with your mates to surfing, but with none of that horrible ruining of hopes and dreams and lives experienced by countless families all over Australia.

Right now, there are 81,00o mens teams and 15,700 women’s teams registered for WSL Fantasy Surfing. And for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, we can see which surfers were picked the most, and thus, find the most popular picked team. Which is: Toledo, Wilson, Florence, Fanning, Smith, Medina, Wilkinson and Zietz.

Let’s go through the picks, compare them to our own teams, and work out whether the majority is right or democracy is completely off its head:

Tier A
Filipe Toledo – 62%
Julian Wilson – 56%

The skinny: It’s not a super loaded Tier A this time around, and these two are the best picks despite neither of them having gone close to winning before (other than Julian’s semi-final finish 2014), but they’re both looking very strong for Bells right now, particularly when put next to those that finished high at Snapper.

Who could be picked instead: Owen Wright and Griffin Colapinto were selected by 33% and 32% of players respectively. The tier is rookie heavy, but one would think given past records and experience more people would have picked Michel Bourez, who has been selected by just 7% of players.

Tier B
John John Florence – 80%
Mick Fanning – 74%
Jordy Smith – 73%
Gabriel Medina – 44%

The skinny: Tier B is absolutely stacked for Bells and has the most popular pick of the whole event in four time event winner and soon to be retiree, Mick Fanning. It also contains the World Champ and the defending Bells Champ. Stacked. It’s strange to see that Medina has been picked by 44% of people considering his last six results at Bells go as follows: 13th, 13th, 5th, 9th, 13th, 13th. That is not a good record at what is generally considered a pretty hard wave to work out. One could say similar things about Julian Wilson in tier A, but Julian has the benefit of form on his side. Medina is an especially strange choice when you see what’s left on the board. Makes you think that a lot of players must be excited to see such a good surfer and World Champ hanging around and available in Tier B and picked him blind.

Who could be picked instead: Easy. Adriano DeSouza. He’s a past winner and two time finalist. He was picked by 35%. Then there’s also Joel Parkinson (24%), who’s won the thing three times, and is one of the all time greats of the wave. Though he hasn’t gone as far as the quarter-finals since 2014, he’s still not bad for a fourth pick in Tier B.

Tier C
Matt Wilkinson – 66%
Sebastien Zietz – 37%

The skinny: Hey, fair call. You have the 2016 champ and a guy who could finish anywhere from on top of the dais to bottom of the heap, a worthy Tier C long shot.

Who could be picked instead: Last year’s runner-up and perennial John John killer, Ciao Ibelli was picked by just 30% of people, while Zeke Lau – who, in his rookie year, was beaten in the semis by eventual winner Jordy Smith – was picked by just 26% of people.

On the ladies side of the event the most popular picks look like this:

Tier A
Lakey Peterson – 50%

The skinny: Well, yep, it’s either her, Keely Andrew, or Sally Fitzgibbons. And Lakey Peterson is on a tear right now. Sally isn’t a bad choice either considering she’s won Bells twice and rarely finishes worse than the semis. 46% of players have recognised that.

Tier B
Tyler Wright – 65%
Carissa Moore – 51%

The skinny: The World Champ and the three time Bells Champ. With no Conlogue in the running due to injury, Carissa should move to Bells favourite. The tough choice is whether or not you swap either of these two surfers out for Queen Stephanie Gilmore. 45% of players have.

Tier C
Sage Erickson – 36%

The skinny: There isn’t a lot to work with in Tier C, and Sage Erickson, who improved wildly in 2017, isn’t the worst pick you could use here. Tatiana Weston Webb took 32% of players’ last spot and is not unknown to take down bigger names. Out of left field could be injury replacement Macy Callaghan who might surprise a few people and go far in this event too.

P.S.

I did the maths on the team made up of the most popular picks for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and they would have finished with 308.49 points. That’s 27,771st on the overall leaderboard. So maybe don’t worry what anyone else is picking.

Mike Jennings