Margaret River Main Break Re-asserts itself as a Valid CT Stop - Stab Mag
At least local wildcard Cyrus Cox has a beautiful image to remember his 33rd. Photo: WSL

Margaret River Main Break Re-asserts itself as a Valid CT Stop

“These are the kinds of days we live for.” – Jeremy Flores

Words by Tim Hawken

The drama just kept escalating during the second day of competition at the Margaret River Pro, even if the swell did drop from yesterday’s peak.

John John escaped a nail biter against Leo. Jeremy showed razor form to just edge out local-favourite Jack Robinson. Caio threw caution (and his magic board) to the wind, to top score in easily some of the trickiest conditions of the day. 

Competitors were greeted by groomed 6-8ft peaks in the morning with the occasional rogue set still sweeping through the lineup. Officials wasted no time in polishing off the last few men’s heats of round 1, before driving straight into the Eliminators. Early highlights included Conner Coffin’s smooth rail game, Jack Robbo’s seamless laybacks, and Morgan Cibilic’s continued good form. Interestingly not one of those guys would be left standing at the end of the day though, meeting ultra-tough opponents in round 3. 

The women charged the solid conditions in their Elimination Round too. The big story of the day there was Sage Erickson who was second-guessing whether she’d even paddle out in that size. Sage swallowed her fears and ended up taking the heat win over one of the event favourites, Courtney Conlogue. The Sea Tiger couldn’t connect on her second ride, getting completely mowed down on the end section and sent tumbling right out of the competition. 

“The WSL really wants to promote women in bigger surf. As part of that generation, I need to do my part.” – Sage Erickson. Photo: WSL

That infamous end section would be the deciding factor in a lot of heats during the day. Judges threw big scores to those who committed their bodies onto the ‘surgeon’s table’. The slab of rock right at the finish goes dry on some, or holds out in just a few inches of water. 6-8ft bombs were unloading all of their energy right on that concentrated point. It was obvious that the rewards were there, so everyone was attacking it with reckless abandon (with varied success). Two guys who majorly impressed there were Gabby, using his tree-trunk thighs as shock absorbers after one particularly menacing air drop, and Ryan Callinan, who continued his scoring spree looking like some kind of cross between Luke Egan and Occy. Do yourself a favour and check out the final turn on his 8.17. There was some debate in the booth on whether or not he made it. Unlike the Italo fiasco at Narrabeen though, the judges unanimously gave R-Cal the nod.

Another unanimous decision was John John beating Leo Fioravanti. It was never a sure thing, however. Leo opened up with the highest scoring wave of the heat, then promptly headed back out and dropped anchor for another big set. He sat there with priority for a leg-cramping 37 minutes. Meanwhile, John turned 6s into 7s and 7s into 8s, oversurfing them for bigger scores than the waves had any business offering. An opportunity finally popped up for Leo at the end, leaving John biting his nails, but the peak held up for too long, only letting the Italian in late for just a 2.33. It was an escape for John and a lesson for the rest of the field. If the Hawaiian is allowed to catch the good sets in his later rounds, he’ll be close to unstoppable. 

Jeremy in his absolute element. Photo: WSL

Speaking of unstoppable, Jack Robinson looked fired up to impress in front of his hometown crowd at Main Break. On a day where there was barely a barrel in sight, the West Ozzie found gaping pits on two different rides. He threaded both perfectly and polished things off with end hammers for twin mid 8s. Jack’s competitor Jeremy Flores wasn’t letting the grom get away with anything though. He found his own gloryhole for a 7.6, then took one of the biggest waves of the day to throw two of the biggest single turns of the event, both comboed together. The entire time, Jeremy’s rail was a whisper away from skipping out, but he held the line, riding out at the end for a 9.4 and the heat win. It was extra cool to see the French veteran smiling in his post heat interview, saying that those are the kind of heats that keep him on tour. Given he’s one of the more colourful characters in surfing, hopefully Flores will pack in a few more heats like that again very soon.

While that action was going down at Main Break, The Box started showing signs of life across the channel. It never got consistent enough to move the event there, but fans looking over were treated to a full tilt Crosby Show. The younger Colapinto swooped under countless heaving lips for the freesurfing performance of the day. Keep an eye on his Insta feed to see if he drops any action from the session. Big bro Griffin impressed in his heat too, making the end section look easy for a convincing win against Deivid Silva.

“My number on life purpose.. competing in surf contests.” – Griffin Colapinto. Photo: WSL

A much closer heat was the encounter between Jordy Smith and Alex Ribeiro. On paper, you’d think Jordy would dust off his power hacks for an easy W. However, Alex got a wave at the end to slide into the lead. He was celebrating on the beach, thinking he’d won, but the Brazlian hadn’t heard that Jordy still had a score left to drop. The buzzer beater was a 7.0, edging Jordy back in front by a measly .03. You have to feel sorry for Alex. He went from giant killer to heat-draw dropout in the space of just a few fist pumps. 

The action, like the sets, kept rolling through. The overlapping heats format meant double the fun for the same price of admission. Such a great addition to the sport when conditions are right. There were even a few heats where the non-priority surfers started out-scoring the guys who were allowed to catch anything they wanted. Seth used his experience in powerful surf to put down a rampaging Morgan Cibilic. Kanoa was too good for wildcard Jacob Wilcox (just). Matthew McGiilivray kept his confidence from yesterday to make short work of Connor Coffin, who fell victim to the troubled water over the surgeon’s table. 

Give Caio a double-overhead, semi-wonky wall, and he’ll give you surfing’s greatest heads on a stick. Photo: WSL

The performance of the day went to Caio Ibelli though. With the southerly wind coming up, it looked like the best surfing was over. Caio begged to differ, taking things to another level. He wafted a gigantic airdrop on the end section to stomp an 8.17, then hucked his fins over the lip again and again on another 8.87. Apparently, Caio has found the board he surfed on for his 3rd place here in 2019 and is riding it again. The only person who could stop him back then was John John Florence who went on to win. They’re on opposite sides of the draw this time, so could complete a fairytale rematch in the final. Now that would be a showstopper.

The show should go on tomorrow though, with the offshore windows still blowing and swell still hanging on. Stay tuned for another big day in the Wild West, with the world’s best on display. 

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Women’s Elimination Round 2 Results:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.57 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.77, Willow Hardy (AUS) 5.74
HEAT 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.50 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.97, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.44

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Women’s Round of 16 Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)  
HEAT 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 
HEAT 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)  
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)  
HEAT 6: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS) 
HEAT 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)  
HEAT 8: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Remaining Men’s Seeding Round 1 (H11-12) Results:
HEAT 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.77, Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.00
HEAT 12: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.30 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.63, Yago Dora (BRA) 11.50

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round 2 Results: 
HEAT 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.00 DEF. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.94, Cyrus Cox (AUS) 6.87
HEAT 2: Deivid Silva (BRA) 13.03 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.43, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 10.77
HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.17 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 13.00, Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.06
HEAT 4: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 14.74 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.43, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.16

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 16.04 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.00
HEAT 2: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.76 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60
HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.67 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.40
HEAT 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.00 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 16.50
HEAT 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.67 DEF. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.64
HEAT 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.46
HEAT 7: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 8.80
HEAT 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.50 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.30
HEAT 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.97 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.57
HEAT 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.03 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 14.84
HEAT 11: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 14.06 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.83
HEAT 12: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.76 DEF. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 14.33
HEAT 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.57 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.50
HEAT 14: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.04 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 13.24
HEAT 15: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.90 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.64
HEAT 16: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.50 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.33

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:
HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 6: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

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