Stab Magazine | Not Being On Tour Is The Key To Winning Heats

Not Being On Tour Is The Key To Winning Heats

The wildcards prosper, the wind ruins everything and it turns out Main Break is a little bit like Tinder. 

news // Apr 15, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

North Point may have been slow and unexciting viewing yesterday, but that was nothing in contrast to today’s Round 2 delivery direct to Main Break. 

Who wouldn’t take inconsistent, yet barrelling walls at North Point over gusty, burgery and overall a lull plagued Main Break. 

Today was originally predicted as one of the better days of the early forecast period, and whilst no one was imagining that North Point was a prospect this morning, many were hoping we’d see a streaming of oceanic beatings at The Box.

Kieren Perrow, a Box fiend himself, assessed the outer bombie situation early in the morning and it was deemed too inconsistent to run the contest. There were a few heavy and very contestable waves coming through over the day which the Round 2 dodging likes of John John, Parko, Seabass, Jack Robinson and Nathan Florence were all over. At mid-morning though, everyone who surfed at the Box was adamant that Kieren had made the correct call. 

“There was only a couple good waves and it was crap by 10am” – Joel Parkinson solidifying the commissioner’s decision not to run at Box today.

So despite how much myself and everyone else hoped we would see The Box on display, it wasn’t to be.

We were therefore left with a day brimming with safety surfing the occasional backhand snap and the occasional close call with the cheesegrater. It doesn’t make for awe-inspiring competitive surfing, nor does it outweigh Jesse Mendes and Mikey Wright’s carpark tiff, but it’s viewing nonetheless and someone’s gotta watch it!

So, here’s my subjective re-cap of the three-quarter day viewing that was Day 3 at the Margaret River Pro:

Do you think mullets are aerodynamic? Photo. WSL/Dunbar

Being a wildcard could be the key to winning

Jack Robinson snuck straight through his Round 1 heat on Day 1 and made his own case for a fulltime tour position, but the other Australian wildcards such as Dave Delroy-Carr, Mikey Wright and Kael Walsh had a blustery Main Break to deal with instead of genuinely excitable North Point. 

It never really clicked for Davey up against an in form Owen, but both Mikey and Kael had different plans of attack for their highly seeded opponents.

First off, Kael made short work of Wilko’s backhand approach. Wilko made a few uncharacteristic errors out there and Kael, who claimed he wasn’t scared of the tour’s chief backhand snapper, capitalised with a couple of mid-ranged scores to place himself in Round 3. 

Mikey didn’t make the same mistakes that he did in his Round 4 heat back at Snapper either. He laid down the bogan law, scratched into a couple right handers, and even coaxed a seasoned Ace into a true inside burger.

Ace tried a last minute comeback, but was never in the heat and as a result we’ll now get to see Mikey Wright go up against the 2x World Champ, John John, for the fourth time in three events. It’s almost as if you can scrip it.

When you consider John’s performance last year at Main Break though, it’s difficult to imagine him falling to the likes of Mikey at Main Break – or anyone else in the entire draw. 

Mixing colours is fun in kindergarten but it’s not as pleasing when it’s plastered on your wetsuit. Photo. WSL/Dunbar

Italo’s wetsuit is heinous, but his surfing isn’t

It looked as if the wildcard’s Main Break takeover was going to continue when the injury replacement Pupo let rip on a early right to earn the only excellent ride of the day. Miguel then backed it up with a 4.83 and left Italo and his yellow jersey chasing a nine-point ride. A score which even Main Break’s master, John John, would be hard pressed to pick amongst today’s offerings.   

Considering this is the first time we’ve seen Italo glinting in the leader’s jersey it was starting to seem like he might crumple under the pressure; that was until the fortune telling Joe Turpel envisioned the Brazillian bandit crawling his way back.

And what Turpel predicted came true.

Italo first snatched a 6.17, then chased down a better wave for his 7.50. Pupo still held the highest score of the heat, but was unable to find himseld a backup score. Pupo will now need to continue hoping that Kelly Slater is more concerned with his foot and backyard pool than competing in the next couple of events if he wants so keep wearing a non-QS jersey. 

Italo also surfed his final wave in switch and rallied off two cutback’s which would instil a sense of jealousy into any less than average surfer. If there’s one thing I hate more than people who surf better than me, it’s those who can still surf better switch.

No one would swipe left to this. Photo. WSL/Dunbar

Main Break is like Tinder

What you see on their profile is them at their best – I’m talking, John’s horizontal laybacks and Kelly’s 10-point ride. But in reality, once you commit, what you’re presented with is far from what you were promised – Jesse Mendes and Tomas Hermes struggling to garner a score that would even count as a pass.

It’s not the most boring venue on tour and I’m thankful that the waves are at least consistently overhead, but in contrast to the past two days, it’s tough to push through a complete day of quickly deteriorating turdburgers.  

One too many times I even caught myself hoping that the end section would stick up and rip the fins right out of someone’s board.

I’m not a sadist or anything, I’m just a man who likes a little bit of excitement in his surfing and is considerably averse to being let down by the catfishes of the surfing and dating world.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t Zeke paddling like a madman around Conner Coffin – that would’ve spiced things up a little.

The waves became so dire Wade thought going left was a good idea, it wasn’t. Photo. WSL/Cestari

And it’s even worse when the wind turns up

I honestly feel for those competitors relegated to the back half of the draw. It’s not as if they’re missing all-time conditions by copping the afternoon, but they are subject to devil-wind-ridden chop, compared to the somewhat groomed sections from the morning’s heats.

I’ll be honest, I missed a fair few chunks of those afternoon match-ups, but when I dialled myself in to watch my Cenny Coast companion Wade Carmichael stick it to the French, I was bitterly disappointed to see it go down it something my stoked out brain would struggle to conjure up the energy to paddle out at.

To be brutally honest, it was borderline unwatchable.  

Originally, the women were scheduled to tackle Main Break after their historic dawning on North Point yesterday arvo, but in the end, the south westerlies were a little too strong to warrant sending the girls out there.

Looking towards tomorrow, there’s little chance of The Box and no chance of North Point, so prepare yourself for another feast of average turns and end-section avoidance tomorrow morning – that is, unless John John’s in the water.


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