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.
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.
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.
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.
Will top users win anything at season’s end?
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?
Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex
Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.
While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay
...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.
Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?
Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.
Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers
An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.
PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua
Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.
Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine
Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.
The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo
Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.
The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast
Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.
Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”
"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…
How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months
Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.
Sweeter Than Stolen Honey
A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.
15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event
And Clay Marzo takes the dub.
Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way?
The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.