Stab Magazine | Gabs turns up at Margies on opening day; Taj flexes local data

Gabs turns up at Margies on opening day; Taj flexes local data

Four goofies and five regulars skip round two (Kelly and John John are yet to surf!).

news // Apr 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Today, the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro lit green and burned through nine heats of the first round at kinda rippable, groomed main break. TBH, nothing overly remarkable happened; there were moments, and you should certainly replay the scoring rides from the highest point-total heats, but Margies is a challenging wave to surf well and unless you’re glued to the webcast, it’s hard to grasp the context of what’s truly impressive by watching a snapshot. Anyhow, below are some overall impressions from the pointiest heats of the day…

TB West 1 Best Sloane

Juvenile energy? The best! WSL/Ed Sloane

Taj Burrow looks the best he’s looked all year. Some juvenile-looking electricity is back. His puffed-chest claim on the left, right on the buzzer, was all-time. And, he narrowly beat an in-form Jeremy Flores. TB looked Still Filthy-sharp.

Gabs West 1 Sloane Main

Gabs was rejuvenated today. WSL/Ed Sloane

Interestingly, the favourite for the world title this year (with bookies and with commentator Ronnie Blakey), Gabriel Medina, looked solid in his round one heat. The drift of the tail at the end of his backside stabs is effortless. His shocking start will likely be his worst two events of the year and some of the best observers of the world tour reckon this will be his turning point in 2016.

Michel West 1 Cestari

The Spartan was rather silky today. WSL/Kelly Cestari

Michel Bourez looks more comfortable in wetsuits than in boardies.

Hules West 1 Cestari

Jules driving off the bottom today was a thing of beauty. He clocked the day’s highest heat total. WSL/Kelly Cestari

Julian Wilson’s bottom turn is perfectly suited to Margies main break. He looked solid and his seamless transition of motion from turn into the bottom turn and next turn is so lovely to watch.

Ads West 1 Sloane

The only problem with mechanical consistency is how difficult it is to progress. WSL/Ed Sloane

Adriano De Souza‘s surfing hasn’t improved since winning the world title. He’s still surfing well, but he’s also still claiming 6.8 rides in the first five minutes of the heat.

Wilko West 1 Cestari

Wilko’s backside stings will keep winning him heats – the judges adore! WSL/Kelly Cestari

Our Jeep yellow jersey leader, Wilko, showcased his forehand for the first time this year and, uh, it wasn’t that pretty… The Wilko backhand confidence looked to disappear at Margs. However, he played to his strengths with that raw backside and he continues to rule three-to-five foot rights.
 Luckily for Wilko, the judges have started scoring backside snaps this year. Last year Gabs should have won a few heats on his backhand but scored low. This year they’re scoring backhand snaps and out of everyone, Wilko can make them look the most different.
 Wilko’s loose tone and playing his personality is the most refreshing from a heat leader. He doesn’t take it one heat at a time. He doesn’t talk of the long road ahead. Instead, we get: Can Wilko be beaten? “It shouldn’t be too hard. It never was in the past.”

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow 16.34, Jeremy Flores 16.10, Alex Ribeiro 5.43
Heat 2: Julian Wilson 17.10, Adam Melling 15.47, Kai Otton 12.06
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson 12.67, Stuart Kennedy 9.17, Dusty Payne 7.60
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira 15.67, Kanoa Igarashi 14.54, Jack Robinson 9.70
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina 16.70, Leo Fioravanti 12.27, Davey Cathels 10.16
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza 13.10, Jacob Wilcox 12.40, Keanu Asing 10.64
Heat 7: Michel Bourez 14.14, Jordy Smith 14.04, Alejo Muniz 13.13
Heat 8: Nat Young 15.93, Matt Banting 15.53, Caio Ibelli 14.60
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson 12.84, Conner Coffin 11.26, Ryan Callinan 10.50

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Remaining Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 10: Kelly Slater, Kolohe Andino, Miguel Pupo
Heat 11: John John Florence, Adrian Buchan, Sebastian Zietz
Heat 12: Wiggolly Dantas, Josh Kerr, Jadson Andre


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