Massive Margies Takes No Prisoners
Wins, losses and funeral vibes in WA.
Who, what, why, when?
- John’s to lose? Today neither confirms nor denies
- Matt McGillivray lays it all on the line
- Ethan Ewing continues to get better
- Jordy Smith looms large
- Ten men get the chop, book flights to the Gold Coast for the first Challenger Series event
An entertaining if grueling day of surfing plays out in the most macabre of circumstances.
Today dawned wild and wooly in West Oz. The SE wind was more S than E, and things were ragged at Mainbreak as Jessi Miley-Dyer sent the men’s Round of 32 out to battle the rogue 10-foot sets. Talk had been of running the overlapping format — instead, the call was made to surf 35-minute heats with no overlap, turning a potential half-day round into a nine-hour monster, with any hope of moving to the Box on finals day snuffed out along the way. This all set the tone for a somewhat grumbly morning around the event site, and the endless talk of the Mid-Year Cut (MYC) only served to amplify the emotion.
So, what happened?
Peak performance: Ethan Ewing, Round of 32, Heat 12
Hit replay: Men’s Round of 32, Heats 10, 12 and 14
Monster manoeuvre: Matt McGillivray going 110% with his future on the line, pulling it off.
One liner: “I feel like we’re in a reality TV show out here.” – Kolohe Andino
John John Florence won the first heat of the day in a performance that he’d probably consider plum average. While John’s 12-point total was a reflection of the poor conditions more than anything else, Imai Devault never looked like he truly believed he could claim the matchup against his fellow Hawaiian. Taking out the first heat of the day has earnt John plenty of time off before tomorrow’s first heat, and given this year’s winner will have to surf four times on the final day, that could prove very advantageous for the Margaret River GOAT.
Kolohe Andino paddled out in the second heat and made light work of Jackson Baker, who was devastated afterwards thinking he’d been booted from the tour. As the day played out and results fell his way, this proved not to be the case. “Let’s trot!” exclaimed Jacko in a celebratory Instagram post later, and the whole world smiled along with the moustachioed Novocastrian rookie.
“Today is hard,” said Kolohe afterwards. “We’re all friends on tour and I feel for Jacko. The cut sucks. I feel like we’re in a reality TV show out here.”
Obviously sport was reality TV long before there was such a thing, but Kolohe’s inference was more aimed at the fact that this mid-season chop feels like manufactured drama, and with the Make Or Break cameras and booms everywhere around the events these days, maybe the actual competition side of things is being left overlooked a little ATM. It’s worth noting here that the Make Or Break crew themselves are popular among the surfers, probably more so than the usual WSL filmers. This doesn’t make much sense, but speaks volumes for the European professionals who’ve come into a foreign environment, been nothing but courteous from day one, and have made it very clear they’ve fallen in love with our whacky league.
Callum Robson, this year’s Morgan Cibilic, bounced the original Morgan Cibilic out of the event and off the tour in the next heat. Griffin Colapinto did the same to Conner Coffin in the following match-up, in an awkward all-Californian MYC-critical clash. Neither surfer was stoked, though Griff should take comfort in how well he surfed given how bad the waves were.
After four straight heats went the way of the red-jerseyed top seeds, Matt McGillivray snuck one back for the underdogs against Kanoa Igarashi in heat five. With six minutes remaining, Kanoa had things stitched up, then McG smashed out the wave of the heat to make his loss honourable and sign off from the tour in style. Plot twist, however, with a minute to go Kanoa turned his nose up at a closeout. Under priority, Matty swung late, outstretched his blue-painted toenails to cling onto a crazy drop, wobbled momentarily off the bottom and then gave the lip every bit of anger he could muster up. Completely engulfed he again hung on, and the ensuing 6.83 was enough to steal the win. Kanoa looked baffled, he hadn’t really put a foot wrong, but McGillivray showed the raw desperation that the MYC has inspired, and just like that it felt like the day came alive.
Next up, Sam Pupo kept his Elimination Round rhythm going to beat Connor O’Leary, before Italo Ferreira narrowly accounted for luckless rookie João Chianca, who dropped one of the turns of the day but somehow still lost to an overly-claimed wave in the dying minutes by the 2019 world champ.
After that, Miguel Pupo beat Owen Wright, who struggled to find his rhythm, and much like Bakehouse earlier, we thought that might be the last we’d see of O. At day’s end, though, it turns out Owen is still a chance of surviving the MYC. Filipe Toledo bounced Ryan Callinan in the next heat, a battle between two men whose years are on opposite trajectories, before Nat Young laid the smackdown on Jake Marshall in another all Californian clash.
Caio Ibelli’s love affair with West Oz continued in his Heat 11 victory over Frederico Morais, before Ethan Ewing looked sublime in the dispatching of Leo Fioravanti, who surfed a great heat but couldn’t stay in touch with the young Queenslander who’s finally finding his groove and becoming the threat we always thought he would be.
Jadson Andre led Kelly Slater from start to finish, in a performance best explained thus:
Jordy Smith looked elite in beating Zeke Lau, and announced himself as very much a threat to take out the whole show tomorrow. He earned a 7.17 for one searing carve on an enormous wave that he could have pulled into, if he hadn’t overthought the fact it was Mainbreak, and it’s “never meant to barrel”. Had Jordy ridden out of the end section on that wave, he may well have been threatening the event’s first 10 all the same. Not to be, but still a very exciting showing as the waves continued to clean up and grow as the sun started to slip away.
After that Jack Robinson made Luca Mesinas look silly, before Barron Mamiya caught three fives and a six to combo Deivid Silva, who garnered a mere 0.13 after he forgot to catch any waves and spent most of the heat sitting 200m from the peak, in a bizarre sign off to the day.
At the close of play, the Wozzle sent out a presser confirming the following men have survived the chop:
- Kolohe Andino
- Samuel Pupo
- Jordy Smith
- Nat Young
- Connor O’Leary
- Jake Marshall
- Jackson Baker
- Jadson Andre
They also confirmed these guys are done for the year:
- Morgan Cibilic
- Imaikalani deVault
- Conner Coffin
- Joao Chianca
- Ezekiel Lau
- Leonardo Fioravanti
- Frederico Morais
- Ryan Callinan
- Lucca Mesinas
- Deivid Silva
All eyes tomorrow now turn to Matt McGillivray’s heat with Sam Pupo, and the equation is simple — if Matt wins, he survives and Owen is out. If Matty loses, Owen is packing his bags for the back half of the season. Matty beat Owen by one spot in 2021 yet Owen was granted the 2022 WSL wildcard, so perhaps karma could see Matty get through this time around, though Aussies will naturally be baying for the South African to come unstuck so they get to see O in action at G-Land and Chopes. Exciting times.
In the gutter: João Chianca is this season’s hard-luck story
Blind mice: For a second straight heat, it seemed Italo Ferreira’s final score, like his claim, was a little too large. Enough to change the result? Probably not. Hmmm, maybe.
Say what? “Hey Ethan, can we have your rashie when ya lose this heat?” – cheeky kid leaning over the fence. Not sure if Mr Ewing heard, but he sure turned on the afterburners over the next 35 minutes, and the groms will have to wait a while longer.
The MYC was all anyone could talk about onsite today, and though this is obviously by design, it still felt awful seeing broken men being consoled in every corner. All anyone could do when confronted with another shattered soul was whisper “this is brutal” to their mates, and hope to avoid eye contact with the victim. One thing the WSL could have communicated more strongly about the MYC is that by making it you have guaranteed your place on tour until at least Margaret River next year, so in effect, the usual Hawaiian heartbreak scenarios of years gone by have simply been shifted a few months, there’s not really a huge overall difference.
Also of note is that nobody I spoke to around the event could ever recall such angst and anguish playing out at Pipe, even though that cut was perhaps more brutal as the QS had wrapped up by then too, so you knew full well if you were done or not. At least in this latest iteration if you miss the cut you know you can still surf all of the Challengers and be back in the game by next year, though nobody seemed to be cheering themselves up with such talk today.
The guy who seemed to take his axing hardest was the one who least deserved it, João. After two of the best heats of the year against John John at Pipe and Bells, and losing to Italo here, it seems the guy can’t take a trick. He’s clearly ripping and obviously belongs at this level, but while his best mate Sammy Pupo has quietly stolen into the Top 22, João just can’t get a break. Here’s hoping he smashes the Challengers because he deserves to be on tour, and the fans deserve him here as well.
Conner Coffin was another whose downfall seemed a surprise, Ryan Callinan a bit the same. Zeke and Leo feel like they’ve got plenty to bring to the Challengers, and who knows what’s to come for Frederico and Deivid. Morgs, Imai and João are all young, will all be back. What about injured surfers who never got a chance, like Carlos Munoz and Liam O’Brien? Who knows.
There was a little lunchtime concern that the much-talked-of swell might have been heading past Mainbreak, and we could be in a spot of bother tomorrow. Safe to say the afternoon’s massive pulse allayed many of those thoughts.
Kelly Slater rode one of his old Channel Islands’ signature models, with a badly applied splash of white paint over the logo and some Slater Designs stickers on the rail. It didn’t seem to help much as his Margaret River drought lives on, though the random air-rev he did en route to the jetski was a wild surprise.
Kolohe Andino, after spending a family day on the beach with Taj Burrow on the weekend decided he needed more weight on his favourite 6’4”. With Taj’s advice, after New Hyman once weighed down a Firewire he would later win Bells on, Kolohe went to a local hardware store, bought two lead plates that weighed about 100 grams each, glued them to his deck, and covered the corners in wax to save his piggies in case his foot slipped. It clearly worked as Brother sliced through the chatter with aplomb, and smashed end sections where many came undone. Good job.
We have 18 heats to run tomorrow and they’ll all take place at Mainbreak. There’s a chance the Box could be incredible, but you’ll be seeing that in freesurf clips rather than competition. It’s a bummer, but if the forecast holds up then Mainbreak should be a treat, if not a barrely one.
John Florence should be the favourite here for as long as he can find the keyhole, but if he somehow stumbles, expect one of Jordy, Ethan, Filipe, Jack or Griffin to hoist the mini wine barrel trophy.
On the ladies side, it comes down to Gabriela Bryan versus Courtney Conlogue, and Bronte Macaulay versus Isabella Nicholls. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest a Bronte win as a wildcard would be even more popular than a Robbo victory, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Mikey C likes to gamble. Just not today. Here are his official earnings from Betonline.ag.
Round of 32:
– $10 on Callum Robson at -130 to win $8 WIN
– $5 on Jadson Andre at +240 to win $12 WIN
– $10 on Leo Fioravanti at +275 to win $28 LOSS
– $5 on Ryan Callinan at +375 to win $19 LOSS
– $20 on Jackson Baker at +135 to win $27 LOSS
– $10 on Zeke Lau at +175 to win $18 LOSS
– $10 on Zeke Lau to win the event LOSS
Day 3 earnings: -$25
Event earnings: +$142
Mikey also has the following bets outstanding for potential comp winners:
– $100 on Filipe Toledo at +350 to win $350
– $200 on JJF at +350 to win $700
– $25 to Jack Robbo at +1000 to win $250
Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
HEAT 2: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 12.16 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 9.00
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.57 DEF. Jackson Baker (AUS) 9.00
HEAT 3: Callum Robson (AUS) 12.00 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 10.70
HEAT 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.60 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.66
HEAT 5: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 14.43 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.17
HEAT 6: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 11.73 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.84
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.53 DEF. Joao Chianca (BRA) 12.84
HEAT 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.50 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 8.93
HEAT 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.40 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 9.83
HEAT 10: Nat Young (USA) 16.10 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 10.17
HEAT 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.00 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.50
HEAT 12: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 17.93 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 14.77
HEAT 13: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.60 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.24
HEAT 14: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.17 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.67
HEAT 15: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.83 DEF. Lucca Mesinas (PER) 5.70
HEAT 16: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 11.87 vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) 0.13
Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:
HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
HEAT 2: Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 3: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Nat Young (USA)
HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Ethan Ewing (AUS)
HEAT 7: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
HEAT 8: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW)
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