Action continued today at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). Competition ran through Men’s Round 2 at both The Box and Main Break and the world’s best battled incredible surf to avoid elimination and a 25th place finish. A day of wipeouts, upsets and outstanding performances unfolded as wildcard Jay Davies (AUS) eliminated Gabriel Medina (BRA), rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) took down Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Owen Wright (AUS) delivered the wave of the day for a Perfect 10.
Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) faced trials winner and dangerous local Jay Davies (AUS). Davies came out firing, posting a 6.67 for a deep barrel to take the lead. Medina was able to come back with a 6.67 of his own and edge the lead but the Australian answered back with an excellent 8.50 for deep pit, coming out with the foamball. Medina was left hunting the lineup but his wave in the final moments wasn’t enough and the World Champion is eliminated while the wildcard moves on to Round 3 where he will face Mick Fanning (AUS).
“I’m feeling super stoked,” Davies said. “It’s a beautiful day in West Oz and I get to surf against some of my idols. I watched Gabriel (Medina) win the World Title last year and I was pumped to get the chance to surf against him at one of the best waves in the world. I get to surf here all the time so hopefully that will help me get through some more rounds. It’s so beautiful out there right now, we had shark cruise through the lineup which was a little sketchy, but it was only a baby one eating some fish. Thanks again to all my friends and family for all their support.”
Rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) secured his first CT heat win today defeating in-form surfer Filipe Toledo (BRA) in challenging conditions. The lead went back and forth between the pair through the 30-minute bout. Christie took the top spot with five minutes remaining thanks to a 13.26 heat total. In the dying seconds Toledo answered back needing a 5.67 but didn’t get the score and is eliminated from competition, leaving the rookie to take the heat win and a place in Round 3.
“I feel like I’ve just won the competition,” said Christie. “It’s been a tough start to the year for me and it’s pretty sick to have an event out here in waves like this. It’s great to beat Filipe (Toledo) there’s been a lot going his way this year and it’s been going the opposite for me. I would have been spewing if they gave him the score on that last one, it was a pretty small wave. I had a bit of trouble yesterday and I got pumped. I didn’t know where to sit but I’ve kind of figured it out a bit more today. I watched John John (Florence) and Josh Kerr this morning taking off and thought that’s what I have to do.”
“I missed one or two waves on the set before,” Toledo said. “The last wave was too small, which is why I don’t think I got the score. I’m really happy though, it’s my birthday today so I’m relaxing and getting ready for the next event at Lower Trestles and then I go to Brazil.”
The performance of the day came from a stacked heat between Owen Wright (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) in Round 2 today. Wright posted the first big score on his backhand, an 8.50, and the Hawaiian came back with an 8.40, putting him back in contention. Wright stamped his authority on the heat with a Perfect 10 for the biggest wave of the day and a huge, deep barrel.
“I’ve never surfed out here before and this was my first time in the lineup,” said Wright. “The set came so I just went. After my ten I remember going, ‘give me more’. I just love it and I love waves like this. When that wave came through I managed to get in the right spot and it let me in perfectly, the wave did the rest from there.”
An all Brazilian match-up between Adriano de Souza (BRA) and wildcard Alejo Muniz (BRA) got off to a slow start. De Souza opening his account by taking a free-fall drop over the ledge, putting everything on the line, and was spat out at the end. His total commitment was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.80. Despite a 7.50 for Muniz he wasn’t able to overcome his opponent and is eliminated from the competition.
“I tried to be as deep as I could on that 9.80,” said De Souza. “I had to be smart the whole time and when that wave popped up I was in the right place at the right time. I’m so happy to make that thing, it was gnarly and the wave was three-times overhead. I put things on the line and I made the barrel. I’m not completely happy because I was competing against a friend and Alejo came so far to compete at this event and do his best and I would have like to see him do well.”
Local favorite and former finalist at Margaret River Taj Burrow (AUS) defeated Brett Simpson (USA) to advance through to Round 3. Despite a broken board Burrow’s 13.67 heat total was enough to secure the win and the American is eliminated in equal 25th place.
“There’s some pretty wild waves out there today,” Burrow said. “I got a medium one, perhaps a wave I wouldn’t normally take in a free surf, I was pumping through it pretty deep and hit bump and my board broke straight away. It’s a pretty good day out here, but in a heat you can’t be as selective and you just have to go.”
The excellent conditions look set to continue and Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are calling for:
Very solid SW groundswell will continue on Thursday, easing through Friday. Another exceptionally strong SSW groundswell is on track for Saturday, and could be even larger than the surf for Wed/Thur. Sunday will see dropping surf, with a further drop in surf on Monday. Morning wind conditions look favorable for the next few days, with some periods of side or onshore flow in the afternoons. Going further out, another strong SW swell looks possible around Wednesday the 22nd.
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.
The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jay Davies (AUS) 15.17 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.67
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.90 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.33
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.33 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.83
Heat 4: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 13.26 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.07
Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.67 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 7.17
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.50 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.90
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA) 11.50 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 2.43
Heat 8: Glenn Hall (IRL) 5.44 vs. Kolohe Andino (USA) 4.90
Heat 9: Adam Melling (AUS) 7.53 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5.47
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.26 vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.66
Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.83 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 7.17
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.83 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.07
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 3 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jay Davies (AUS)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) va. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)