The waiting period for the 2018 Rip Curl Pro officially commences on March 28th, which means you don’t have much time to get your Fantasy Surfer team squared away before the first heat hits the water.
To get some on-the-ground insights on who’s performing well at the moment, we recently phoned ‘CTer Nikki van Dijk, a perennial standout at Bells and asked her to pick out her pick’s for the men’s event. Van Dijk’s been competing at Bells Beach for over a decade, so she’s got a solid grasp on what it takes to perform well at this oft-lumpy, sometimes-oversized pointbreak. “Let’s just say I haven’t had an Easter at home on Phillip Island for a long time,” she tells us.
“I think it takes good wave selection to get a good rhythm with Bells,” van Dijk explained over the phone yesterday. “I love getting out my rounded pins and drawing really long lines out here. It’s a slower wave and lumpier kind of wave. I think a power surfer might do better out here than an aerial or a small-wave surfer. I’ve definitely seen John do big airs out here, but I’ve also seen Mick do crazy hacks- really old-school surfing that performs well. How you surf Bells depends on what the surf is doing. Rincon and the Bells Bowl are two entirely different waves that require different strategies and styles.”
Without further ado, here’s van Dijk’s (hopefully) winning Fantasy Surfer team, alongside an explanation for each pick:
Owen Wright ($10,000)
“Owen basically dances when he’s on a wave and always puts together really lovely waves out at Bells. He’s one of the surfers with the strongest backhand out here as well, so he’s definitely going on my team.”
Jordy Smith ($9,750)
“Jordy’s just a beast. I love the way he surfs at Bells. He obviously has so much power and flow. He’s a big person as well so that suits the bigger waves down here.”
Mick Fanning ($7,750)
“This is going to be such a special contest for Mick as it’s his last event. How can he not win? Let’s be real. The way he surfs that wave is just on another level compared to the majority of humans on this planet.”
Frederico Morais ($6,250)
“Frederico grew up in Portugal and surfed Riveria, which is a popular wave in Portugal and very similar to Bells. I think he’s on fire right now and looks good in these types of waves.”
Conner Coffin ($5,000)
“I’ve been watching Conner warm up here over the past couple of days and I think he has one of the best hacks ever. I think if he gets to put that on a wave during a heat, he’s definitely going to do well.”
Griffin Colapinto ($5,250)
“Griffin’s on a roll after his performance at Snapper. It’s his first year on tour, so he’s got nothing to lose at this point-which makes him a really exciting surfer to watch.”
Yago Dora ($3,000)
“Yago’s another exciting one to watch-you never really know what you’re going to get with him. I watched him a lot in Brazil and he’s surfing really well here. It’s his first year on tour and I think he’s got a lot to show.”
Keanu Asing ($3,000)
Keanu loves this area and I’ve seen him surfing heaps over the past week, hanging with some of the local boys. I think getting that local knowledge will help him out here and obviously he’s been surfing super strong. His powerful turns will do well at the Bells Bowl or Rincon or Winkipop.
Pat Gudauskas (Alternate)
He’s been on tour before and I’ve seen him rip out here many times, so I think he could be a standout as well.
Click here to pick your Fantasy Surfer team before it’s too late.