Stab Magazine | Is The Drug Aware Pro Endangered?
545 Views

Is The Drug Aware Pro Endangered?

Perhaps to make room for a permanent wave pool event.

news // Mar 30, 2017
Words by James Royce
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here’s a familiar canard brought back to light. Margaret River’s place on the world tour may be in jeopardy as the governing body of the WSL is considering axing it off future tour schedules, a byproduct of the WSL considering downsizing the Oz leg of the tour in general. A rumour that’s been touched on multiple times, especially as the WSL’s event licenses are up for renewal this year.

The loss of an event from the Oz leg would likely pit the Drug Aware Pro against the Rip Curl Pro, Bells, Australia’s oldest surfing contest. Beginning in 1973 with a Michael Peterson win, Bells has struggled for wave quality in recent years with the event window falling just outside the ideal swell and wind season. And while event organisers have toyed with the idea of moving the contest to nearby Winkipop, they are concerned the move would negatively affect audience experience. As Winkipop is located in front of a sheer cliff.

And Marg’s, despite offering three different breaks — The Box, North Point, and Main Break — has always been viewed as futile and somewhat transient on the WSL’s radar. A result of erratic conditions and organisational difficulties on account of its comparatively remote location.

Screen Shot 2017 03 30 at 2.40.31 PM

What’s at stake.

Also, prior to the formation of the WSL, the ASP maintained that no country should have more than two world tour events. So while the West Oz stop is relatively fresh, and has been largely welcomed by both viewers and competitors alike; with Bells and Snapper being traditional staples, its presence is anomalous.

Many surfers, such as John John Florence and Stephanie Gilmore, are speaking out about the stop’s potential removal. Voicing their support contrary to speculations.

“It’s definitely one of the events with the most variety of waves that allows us to surf in all conditions,” John, who was runner-up in the 2015 installation of the event, told ABC. “It’s one of my favourite places to come to on the world tour.”

Screen Shot 2017 03 30 at 2.39.56 PM

Easy to understand why Mr. Florence is so fond of Australia’s more rugged, western region.

“This is a dream destination for surfers who love adventure,” Steph added in. “To me, this area really represents authentic Australia. To see the WSL and local government commit to making the event as mobile as it is (remember yesterday’s action at North Point?), I think that that’s a really big point for everyone to stop and think, ‘OK, this event should stay.’”

Locals aren’t too happy with the thought of Marg’s being abolished, either. As it provides a welcome boost to the region’s economy, which is largely seasonal and tourism-dependent.

WA shaper John Dutton says the event ushers in the sharpest rise in business for him annually. “It’s all systems go, and you’ve got to be on hand 24 hours a day because you never know who will rock up wanting a board fixed,” he told ABC.

Screen Shot 2017 03 30 at 2.39.34 PM

Beneficial for both viewers and the community, apparently.

“One day it’ll be Kelly Slater and next it’s John John Florence. It’s good to see them because you see them on television and they seem like pretty nice guys, and when they come in here you find out who they actually are.” 

WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow said that, while discussions are currently underway with local governments, communities and Surfing WA, a timetable for the 2018 season is yet to be finalised. More than likely nothing will be officially released until November, when the WSL normally publishes its schedule for the following year.

Aforementioned, this discussion has occurred numerous times previously. However, what makes this round of debate particularly interesting is the fact that it’s resurfacing after rumours of a possible WSL-sanctioned specialty wave pool event at Kelly Slater’s surf ranch in Lemoore, California have been echoing. With eyes set on the event being held this upcoming August.

Screen Shot 2017 03 30 at 2.40.06 PM

Would you rather watch an event here? Or at a wave pool?

Should the wave pool event be a running success (if it ends up even being held), then it’d be interesting to see the dynamic between Margaret River, Bells, and Lemoore. While disappointing to some, it wouldn’t be surprising for an Australian spot to be substituted for the latter location in the future.

But, then again, even when you think you have something on lock the expected and, depending on your level of pessimism, inevitable can always happen. So with that, here’s to having a concrete idea when the 2018 schedule is released in November.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

An Early Pipeline Exit For Stephanie Gilmore Amidst GenZ Glory

Day Two of the 2023 CT season was a clear notice that the kids are…

Feb 3, 2023

Hand-Shaping, Glassing, And Finishing ’70s-Inspired Displacement Hulls Will Not Make You Rich

Profile: Tristan Mausse of Fantastic Acid is in it for all the right reasons.

Feb 3, 2023

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023

20:37

“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023

38:24

The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023
Advertisement