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.
More than almost any other location on tour, the Fiji Pro is where the veterans will take advantage of the kids that are a little wet behind the ears. Gone are the luxuries of air sections and potluck wave catching, Cloudbreak and Restaurants are all about experience and the hunger for getting deep. I'm thinking most of you know whom to avoid here, but it's the sly choices that should help push you ahead of the pack. I agree you should always back up your crafty pick with the obvious ones. Not choosing Kelly here is like not choosing the Lakers to beat the Clippersâ€¦. Wait, bad example. You know what I'm getting at. Kelly basically owns this event, so I don't need to tell you to pick him or C.J. or John John. No, my job is to give you that spooky underground pick, relatively speaking of course, so that you can gain some much needed points on you Fantasy quest.
Currently only seven percent of you have chosen Josh to represent your team. Here's something to chew on that may persuade you to throw him a bone. On his way to making the Quarters last year, Josh had two near 10-point rides in Fiji. He is known for his airs but Josh is also one of the better tube riders on tour. In 2013 he also did well at Teahupo'o and Bali, collecting a fifth and a third respectively, proving his prowess in the hollow stuff. Josh is primed to keep the ball rolling this year with a big result in Fiji. Start 'em.
Freddy may not be as dynamic as a John John or Kelly or even C.J. at Cloudbreak but he's quite possibly more motivated than anyone else on tour today. Big statement, I know, but hear me out. In many people's eyes, including most of his peers, he's been handed a couple of icy results in the last two events. Now I know what you're thinking, Freddy P has a history of being, lets just say, unpleased with his scores, but here's the thing: Freddy is surfing better than he ever has and he knows it. He's made the Semis in Fiji before (2005) and has plenty of tube savvy to get 'er done out there in 2014. I'm looking for an inspired performance from Freddy that makes me want to roll with the fired up Hawaiian on this one. Start 'em.
Surprisingly only 10 percent of you currently have Kai on your team. This dude will bring it in the hollow stuff. Not only is he pretty solid in the heavy stuff, Kai is a feisty and smart competitor making him a likely candidate to grind through a few rounds. Remember, when picking your team in tier C you need to think about guys who might not necessarily win the event but who will get you those valuable points that make the difference in vaulting you to the top of your league. Kai has a lot to make up for with his meager start in 2014. I look for him to bring it in Fiji. Start 'em.
Apparently most of you agree with me on this one as Michel at present time only has four percent of you choosing him. Michel is decent in getting tube time on his backhand but two things concern me. One, his biggest weapon in the form of a forehand hack is of no use in Fiji. Sure, he can throw down on his backhand but it's not quite the same as his brutal attack on the forehand. Two, he just may be wondering what that weird feeling is in his stomach, oh wait, that's the inconvenience of people asking you about winning a world title. I will say, I'm very impressed with the Spartan's performance so far in 2014, but it will be tough for him to take on this new role as a title contender. Let's see. Sit 'em.
Filipe is honestly one of my favorite guys to watch on tour. This kid has so much talent. His ability to garner speed and the way he applies it with huge airs and now carves is something we haven't seen in awhile. I actually think his tube riding skills are quickly improving. The surf at Cloudbreak and Restaurants has a huge emphasis on wave choice and heat strategy, something Filipe really needs to improve on. I hesitate to use the term horses for courses but this arena, currently, is a place to â€œbenchâ€ the kid. Sit 'em.
15.64 This number represents Alejo's total last year in Fiji. That's for two heats! Not exactly what you want when collecting points for your team. I think Alejo is a fine surfer and in places like Lowers and J Bay I can see him doing quite well, but he's been fighting his way back from injury and places like Fiji and Tahiti and Pipeline are going to be real tough for him to bounce back. Alejo is not known for performing in the hollow stuff, and with the field as tight and talented as it is, Alejo will need to adapt soon. Sit 'em.
Owen is such a savvy competitor. Cloudbreak and Restaurants are waves that demand good decision-making. Owen has been on a steady comeback this year but has yet to make a real impact. Fiji will compliment his style and size. The goofy-footer has great placement on the wave, which is key when you need to position yourself just so in the ever-moving sections of Cloud Break. His back looks like a nonissue, making me feel like this is the event where he makes his big splash for 2014. Start 'em.
Select your ASP Fantasy Surfing Team for the Fiji Pro.