Stab Magazine | The WSL Has A New Fantasy League That You Might Actually Enjoy

The WSL Has A New Fantasy League That You Might Actually Enjoy

Is it perfect? No. But it’s a hell of a lot better. 

news // Mar 13, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let’s be honest for one brief moment. 

Since its inception, the WSL’s fantasy surfer system has been utterly atrocious. Horrendous. An affront to all things one might hope to waste their time doing on the internet.

Admittedly, my experience with the platform is limited to a consistent pattern of loss and resignation.

Every year before Snapper, I pick my team, get frustrated with the limitations of the WSL’s selection process, and proceed to place horribly in the event. By Bells, I’m completely over it.

So I stick with the Surfer Mag version of fantasy, partly because the game’s logic allows for more creativity and partly because I’m not totally awful at it (best end of season ranking: 87th in the world).  

But just last week, the WSL sent an email that piqued my interest.

Something something “new fantasy league” something something “sponsored by Jeep”, and like that I was hooked. 

After a bit of back-and-forth I found myself video-chatting with the WSL’s Director of Analytics, Jamie Schallek, and their Senior Communications Manager, whose role seemed to be making sure Jamie didn’t spill any unnecessary beans (as I have a tendency to ask incriminating questions). 

Below is a brief rundown of the WSL’s new fantasy system (sponsored by Jeep!), which if nothing else, is a brave re-imagination of a classic time-wasting scheme.

Screen Shot 2020 03 09 at 4.06.06 PM 1 

There are three major changes to the WSL’s new fantasy platform. 

1. Your “team” will now be comprised of both men and women, rather than running two separate, gender-specific squads (as has always been the case). Like previous years, your “team” will consist of eight men and four women, but all 12 surfers will count toward the same cumulative score. Meaning, in order to win, you’ve gotta pay attention to both sides of the event.

Which brings us to the WSL’s most radical fantasy change…

2.  You will now be able to alter your team up until the end of Round 2.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can now wait to set your entire team—or make changes to your pre-existing team—until just before the Round of 32. 

This truly changes the game, for a couple of reasons.

First, it will enable players to avoid friendly-fire in early rounds. As anyone who has ever played fantasy surfer (on any platform) knows, there’s nothing worse than your two prized ponies meeting up in Round 3 or 4. If you utilize this new rule correctly, that should no longer be an issue. 

Second, it will allow viewers to pick the surfers who look hot in the early rounds rather than making blind guesses about who’s ripping based on pre-event IG clips. 

While this rule sounded fantastic when Jamie initially explained it, I’ve become critical that it will lead to most fantasy users picking the same surfers—which would, of course, defeat the purpose of the game. 

However, the WSL has put something of a safety net in place with their last major change…

3. At each event, you will be able to pick your very own “Big Dick Power Surfer” (or “Power Surfer”, as the WSL has unfortunately abbreviated it) on both then Men’s and Women’s sides. Both of your BDPSs will receive double points at the comps where you run them, so the idea is to pick the event winners for your BDPSs.

If we’re to assume that the WSL’s second rule change (above) will lead to similar-looking teams, the third rule might help to separate the wheat from the chaff.



Screen Shot 2020 03 11 at 11.10.36 PM

This guy’s getting my vote every time.


It was also revealed that the WSL will continue to utilize its A/B/C tier system to select surfers rather than a salary cap or equivalent.

I personally loathe this method, as it strips users of the flexibility to create the team that they actually want and handcuffs them to a few select surfers in the upper and lower tiers, leading to similar-looking squads across the entire fantasy universe (which will only be exacerbated by the new change-your-team-up-until-round-three rule). 

When I presented this criticism, Jamie explained that the Tier system is a more efficient (read: idiot-proof) method for users to pick to their teams, which leads to increased gameplay. 

That may be true, but it also forced me—a person who lives, eats, and breathes professional surfing—out the door, which is not for nothing.   

I also asked if the WSL had considered including a betting aspect to the game.  

“No comment.”

Will top users win anything at season’s end?

“No comment.” 

Maybe a new Jeep?

[Giggles] “No comment.”

Other new additions to the WSL’s fantasy output include a regular web show (hosted by Brett Simpson) and a live chat feature within private fantasy groups. 

The fantasy gates open on March 16th.

I’ll be there giving it the old college try until at least Margaret River.

And you? Will you be the new Big Dick Power Surfer?


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