Adriano de Souza aka Mr Tenacious can never be overlooked. One of the hardest working pro surfers out there today, the former world champion puts in the hours at every location weeks before contest time, knows how to do what is required over and over again, and works on the subtle things like finishing his waves off well, and making sure that there is enough risk in his moves to score highly but to not fall off. ADS also has slowed right down on the claiming, which has made him way more accessible to so many fans and spectators. A 2nd place in 2015 at Trestles to Mick Fanning shows he knows the wave well enough.

Joel Parkinson has quietly turned into a dark horse through an unusual set of circumstances including low media coverage, low spectator interest, and very little interaction between the man and well, anyone. It’s totally cool though. You’ll find that a competitor as fierce as Parko is busy recharging, recalibrating, and getting his shit together. Let’s not for one moment forget that he placed second last year to Jordy. It was close as well – 15.80 to 15.36. Let’s not forget about Joel, please

Joel looked in good nick during J-Bay. WSL/Tostee

Mick Fanning won the whole thing in 2015, beating Adriano, Gabriel and Ace in the process. He is currently ranked 12th on the Jeep leaderboard and is always a danger in any event, at any time, at any location. The fact that he has won the event, and that he is fairly low-placed at this stage of the tour must rankle him a little, and Mick could easily be the danger man. That the forecast is somewhat dire is irrelevant, as Mick has won events on micro-tiny waves before, being the second fastest surfer in the world right now (next to Filipe), and he could do it again.

Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan knows how to win heats, enough to get a quarterfinals berth in 2015 where he was beaten by Fanning, and a semi-finals berth in 2014 where he was beaten by Jordy. Ace is the dude who needs to get his two solid waves every heat, and if he gets them he rarely falls off, knows what he needs to do to get scores and can easily outpoint his competitors if he has his game face on. Ace is definitely in his twilight years on the tour so he is going to have that game face on more often than not.

Can Ace's heat smarts make him a threat at Lowers? WSL/Poullenot

Kerrzy is another one who could flourish in the smaller surf. He is, after all, the former world aerial world champion, and currently placed at 35th on the Jeep Leaderboard, he desperately needs a big result in the back end of the 2017 season. Small surf at Trestles just might be his ticket. It is going to be an air show, and Kerrzy is going to need to bring his A-Game to the show to do well against the young Turks. We think he will…