Stab’s Picks for the 2015 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro
Margaret River! The wave that definitely shouldn’t be on tour, but is… But f’real, who are we kidding? We’ll all willingly glue ourselves to computer screens watching every heat, replay, and Samsung commercial, burning the time that our jobs pay us for. As of last week, the swell charts were promising the biggest surf the Margs […]
Margaret River! The wave that definitely shouldn’t be on tour, but is… But f’real, who are we kidding? We’ll all willingly glue ourselves to computer screens watching every heat, replay, and Samsung commercial, burning the time that our jobs pay us for. As of last week, the swell charts were promising the biggest surf the Margs comp has ever seen. Now, that report’s died down a touch, but the winds remain a tad variable. All things considered, we’re thrilled. Maxed Margs would have been like watching the Sunset comp in Hawaii as big as it’s ever been… the world’s best surfers squashed to mere directional changes at best, survivalism at worst. Now that it’s died down a touch, there’s opportunity for real turns, airs, and an option to go right. Fear burgery lefts no more! Not to mention, we get a glimmer of hope to see a few heats run at The Box, which would have, by all accounts, been washed out had the swell held steam.
Considering the event may very well kick off within the next day or two… here’s some bias-riddled predictions! As per-usual, we turned to our favourite South African ex-pro surfer, ex-commentator, and charming friend to surfing’s elite, for event insight. Here, we get Damien Fahrenfort’s pre-event speculations and his attempt at a winning team. Don’t bet the mortgage on these picks, but certainly take note.
1. John John Florence
John John Florence finds flight at Margies. Photo courtesy of WSL / Cestari
Because, he’s John John Florence… He’s also been in Margs’ neck of the woods for the past few weeks wrapping up a West Oz section for his new film (which will be the best surf movie you’ve ever seen). That sideshore wind blowing into the rights will be his money-maker for this event. John’s one of the few surfers in the world that can do airs on big waves with heavy sections. Big, heavy, with wind… John shall soar! If, fingers crossed, the event gets moved to The Box, chances are only the bald wizard will be able to compete with him. My pick for the win, John John Florence.
2. Joel Parkinson
Parko adds some vigor to his fine-lines. Photo courtesy of WSL / Cestari
Joel is sitting in an unfamiliar territory. With a relatively terrible start to his year, bagging a ninth and a 13th at the two spots that have given Joel more wins than anywhere else, Joel’s off to his worst start yet. That said, this wave is made for Joel. At the six-eight foot range, the best waves are fat rights with a few random bowls; the type of waves that suit his surfing perfectly. When it’s really big, it’s a mushy left that doesn’t require much of a backhand (Joel’s weakness). And, reports are unanimously positive, claiming that he’s been ripping in the warm-ups. Joel isn’t as hungry for a title as he once was, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win badly… like, really badly. Remember, he’s gotta make up some lost cash from a recent, um, poor investment, shall we call it?
3. Owen Wright
Owen has no trouble finding the pocket at Margs. Photo courtesy of WSL / Kirstin
Fuck, c’mon Owen. It’s time to get a result. you’re too damn good to keep coming up short, falling on scoring waves, and not capitalising on conditions that suit you. Owen, do this for us: Before every heat, visualise that time you beat Kelly in New York and won cool 300k. Take yourself back to greener pastures! It just…might…work. Use that long body to find the pocket, ever-elusive at Mags. Also, don’t go left unless you have to. Please?
4. Dusty Payne
Dusty has won at Margs before. And, he’s been ripping. Big, wobbly waves are something Dusty seems to have a handle on. Margs is wobbly as ever, and Dusty’s built like Chuck Liddell. That helps, like, a lot. One problem is that Dusty snaps a lot of crafts, and if you blow a tail out on the rights, the turn around time for a fresh stick could be lengthy. Hopefully he gets an easier match up, too, because he was real unlucky at Bells. Go far, you ox!
5. Bede Durbridge
Bede in Taj-beating form. Photo courtesy of WSL / Cestari
Haters gonna hate. But, you shouldn’t. The dude surfs so good. He spanked Taj out the Margs twice last year… in the same round. Sounds like one of those Chuck Norris jokes. No joke here, though. He’s also pretty legit in powerful waves, if you hadn’t noticed. While I don’t think Bede will win, I think a quarter or semifinal finish isn’t completely out of reach. He’s got about as much experience as anybody out there, which is key. He’s also a total wave magnet, always on the bombs. Unless guys like John John and Kolohe are launching on the rights, they’ll have a hard time beating him.
6. Julian Wilson
Despite a bump at bells, Jules has got the momentum thing covered. Photo courtesy of WSL / Kirstin
Bar Bells, Julian has been doing some of the best surfing this year. He’s good in every condition, and both his rail and air game are as fresh as anyone’s. After taking a first and second in the previous two World Tour events, Bells had to be a shocker for him. But, his track record is nothing to scoff at out at Margs. He placed second to Dusty out here two years back. His delayed, drawn-out bottom turn will look really smooth on the big walls, and he’s got one of the better backhands on tour. I like his chances for a big result from Jules.
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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