So, is WA about to get huge for the Margaret River Pro?
Words by Jake Howard If ever the WSL needed an injection of drama it is now. After some seriously slow goings at Snapper and Bells, Margaret River, the wave that every tour surfer loves to loath — while many just wonder why it’s even on the WSL schedule — gets underway next week. And thankfully, good Lord, […]
Words by Jake Howard
If ever the WSL needed an injection of drama it is now. After some seriously slow goings at Snapper and Bells, Margaret River, the wave that every tour surfer loves to loath — while many just wonder why it’s even on the WSL schedule — gets underway next week. And thankfully, good Lord, sweet mercy, praise be to little baby Jesus, that forecast looks nasty.
Officially event prognosticators are calling for surf to rumble into Margaret’s proper somewhere in the three to five-times overhead range by Wednesday, April 15, the opening day of the waiting period.
“It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen for a Margaret River event,” says Taj Burrow, who’s spent his entire career competing there.
And this don’t look like no one-and-done swell either. A series of southwest pulses are stacked, looking like they will keep the surf in the 12 to 15-foot zone well into the weekend.
“I don’t know what people are going to ride,” says former tour stalwart Jake ‘Snake’ Patterson. “The biggest board I have at my house is a 7’0” and that’s not nearly big enough for what this swell could produce. It could be like that Cloudbreak day a couple years ago where it’s massive and everyone’s totally outgunned.”
To be sure, long-range forecasts aren’t much more than an educated guess and down in W.A. we’re dealing with an unruly stretch of coast. And while the swell appears to be on its way and competitors are doing everything they can to add some bigger lumber to their quivers, West Oz ain’t Fiji and the energy could easy arrive with hell winds.
“It could be all time or we could be looking at 40-knot onshore winds, it just depends on how the system behaves when the swell arrives,” adds Snake.
And to curb your enthusiasm a hair more, Margaret’s doesn’t have the flawless reef setup that somewhere like Cloudbreak does, so it’s anybody’s guess what will happen. It could turn out to be one of those rare instances where an alternate event site has to be scouted out.
“The Box will be washing through, it’s too big for that, so that’s not really going to be an option” says Snake. “And Margs, if conditions hold up, that’s a huge playing field and a hard call to make.”
There are options in the surrounding area, and should that cool sea breeze cooperate somewhere like North Point might be magic.
“At least then the guys and girls would only need to step-up to a 6’6” for that,” says Snake. “And it could be perfect there.”
But, local slab-hunting photog Russell Ord reminds us to keep our dark fantasies of watching WSL surfers get obliterated by the ocean in check: “Down here the excitement starts two days out, not seven,” he says.
At the very least there’s hope, and that’s a lot more than could be said for the first two stops of the Aussie leg.
Last year’s winner, Michel Bourez, could have a good chance again this year if the swell gets burly. Photo: WSL
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Nat Young (USA), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), TBD
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
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