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Beach Grit

Trestles: “It’s Filipe and Mick all day!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

How to Moneyball the Hurley Pro at Lowers.

Statistics are cold. There ain’t no heart beating. No soul.

But their impersonal rationale often trumps the emotional decisions we make, particularly when it comes to sport. Balyn Macdonald is a thirty-something primary school teacher whose website reveals the effectiveness of statistics and how it applies to professional surfing.

Just before the first school bell rang to signal the imprisonment of children for the day, Balyn delivered a compelling raft of stats and how he sees the game playing out next week when a little swell will creak into Trestles and kickstart event number eight.

Here’s how he sees it playing out.

First, “It’s Filipe and Mick all day,” he says. Mick has the best average heat scores in one-to-four-foot waves and the second best in point breaks (which is what Lowers is considered to be). Filipe’s average heat score at Lowers is a full point above anyone else and he’s second, to Mick, in one-to-four-foot waves.

Jordy has won it the last two times he competed. He missed 2015 ’cause of injury but won in 2014 and 2016. “Jordy is killing it. He’s light years above everyone else in win percentages and average placings.” Interestingly, his heat scores ain’t the greatest and in one-to-four-foot waves he comes in eleventh. How big’s the surf going to be? Two foot? Yeah.

Bal’s Fantasy Surfer team for Trestles based solely on the numbers: Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina, John John, Filipe Toledo, Joan Duru (crazy stats in left and right peaks), Fred Morais, Italo Ferreira, Hiroto Ohhara and Zeke Lau as the alternate.

This’ll be the first WCT Trestles event Kelly Slater has missed.

John John? He ranks sixth in small waves. Fifth in peaks. And eighth at this event. Still, Bal likes his form. “Even when he’s not winning, John is scoring well. His average heat score¬†for the season is still well out in front, and his ‘poor run’ for the past two events has consisted of two fifths. John is still in the driver’s seat for a back-to-back title, but he’ll have to convert those big scores into another big result soon.”

Don’t jump on Seb Zietz. He’s won only one heat in four years.

Wilko ain’t so hot here either.

He’s never made it out of round three. “They’re fighting history,” says Bal.