Stab Magazine | Is Next Year's Margaret River Pro Headed To Gnarloo?
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Is Next Year’s Margaret River Pro Headed To Gnarloo?

There could be a new gnarliest wave on Tour. 

Words by stab

The 2017 Margaret River Pro was cut short when two menacing visitors struck fear within WSL management. 

And even beyond the insurance-policy-shakeup caused by Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira’s Instagram posts, there were a couple of nearby shark attacks during the event period, too.

According to local professional surfer Jay Davies, the WSL has chosen an odd time to run this event in Margaret River, as it coincides with the annual salmon run, which draws dozens of hungry great whites to the region each year. Also this year there was a mass whale beaching in a nearby town, which according to experts was likely the cause of increased shark activity in the region.

All of these factors forced the WSL to first cancel, then later postpone the event, only to finish it a later date in an entirely different country: Indonesia. 

With shark fears still circulating around Margarets and after a wonderful response to the makeup event at Uluwatu, it was starting to appear that, despite the three-year contract they have with the West Australian Tourism Board, the WSL might choose to permanently avoid WA as one of its Championship Tour venues. That was until yesterday, when the West Australian revealed plans to migrate the event to Australia’s less sharky northwest, either to Jake’s Point in Kalbarri (Ry’s rippable left!) or Tombstones in Gnarloo (a wave that has taken human lives). 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/GrciZl9hLuM

Tombstones giveth, and Tombstones taketh away.

From the West Australian:

Margaret River’s iconic surfing competition could be moved to Kalbarri, with discussions under way about the future of the event. 

The Weekend West understands Margaret River Pro organisers met Shire of Northampton chief executive Garry Keefe and representatives from the Kalbarri board riders club to discuss moving the competition north. Kalbarri’s Jake’s Point (500km north of Perth) and Gnaraloo station (1000km north of Perth) are believed to be possible locations. 

A State Government spokeswoman said Tourism WA had an agreement with Surfing WA to hold the Margaret River Pro next year. 

“We are in early talks with Surfing WA and WSL about future years,” she said.

Last year, the Government secured a contract extension for the Pro event. It will stay on the world championship tour for another two years, despite concerns it had an uncertain future.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/223559753

Skip to 6:12 for the wrath of Gnarloo. Video: Jay Davies/Native

This news comes as a welcome surprise to surf fans around the world. Both Jake’s and Tombstones would offer great entertainment value to viewers, and as noted by pretty much everyone who watches competitive surfing, the Tour could certainly use a few more lefts. 

The only problems that these locations pose are 1. their remoteness (they’re waaaay out there, Tombies especially) and 2. they require significantly more swell to work than does Main Break in Margaret River (Tombstones needs an especially massive pulse to break properly). In other words, there’s no guarantee they’d get five or six days of competition out of a two-week window. But if they did, it would be fucking stellar. 

We’ll keep you informed as this case develops. 

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