Cascais, Portugal – we’re down to the pointy end of one of the few QS 10,000 awards, and these guys are a few that we have pin-pointed as our personal favourites. Let's be honest about it – they all could really do with a win, except maybe Jesse Mendes who is sitting pretty atop the QS rankings.

Stuart Kennedy, currently 32nd on the Championship Tour and nowhere on the QS, has been looking good throughout this event. He is still surfing fast and dynamic in the smaller stuff with his highly tuned equipment, and we rate him highly for a big finish in Portugal and a blinder of a last-minute season.

Italo Ferreira is currently 23rd on the CT but he has that killer instinct and hunger that could see him start killing it on both tours as desperation kicks in. He has clearly established that he belongs on the CT, and will do what needs to be done to requalify. Ferreira is one of those people who always manage a huge air when needed, mostly sticking them.

It's been a somewhat quiet year for Italo, can he make some noise in Cascais? WSL/Masurel

Wade Carmichael is sitting at 12th on the QS and this is going to be the year the big unit finally gets to where he rightfully belongs. He will do well on the Championship Tour, and will revel in the ‘World’s Best Waves’ dream scenario. With the two big Hawaiian 10,000 QS’s coming up, and been a past winner at one of them, we have no doubt that he will climb into the top 10 and possibly finish in the top five. We have faith in this dude.   

Leo Fioravanti is currently 30th on the Championship Tour, and despite showing brilliant form throughout the year, has not cemented the big result he needed on either tour.  His performance at this event will be the breakthrough  he needs, and he is a popular and friendly surfer on the championship tour.

Leo is banking on a few big QS results at the pointy end of the year. WSL/Poullenot

Jesse Mendes – As the highest ranked surfer on the QS, he is actually in the enviable position of having no pressure at this event. That very fact, of being able to surf freely without desperation for qualification, will hold him in good stead and will see him achieve what he needs to achieve. He has been razor sharp on his backhand throughout this event, and he will be determined to win back-to-back events.

Jesse Mendes has been busy cementing his QS ratings lead. WSL/Poullenot

Zeke Lau from Hawaii, at 25th on CT, is one of our favourite surfers on the tour this year. He has the power and the style similar to many surfers before him from Hawaii, with traces of Sunny and Andy in the mix. He knows when to throw the hammer and when to surf for heat wins, and is a surfer who will excel in Hawaii at the end of the year in all events. He is a dead cert for a huge result at this event.

It’s all happening here