Stab Magazine | The Top 10 Things About The Margaret River Pro

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The Top 10 Things About The Margaret River Pro

Words by Jake Tellkamp The 2014 ASP World Tour is cool and corporate and all that jazz. More events, bigger prize purses and have you seen the scaffolding? The Margaret River Drug Aware Pro is now officially uncorked as a world tour stop. So, here’s 10 blurry memories from the event’s opening party… Choose your […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Words by Jake Tellkamp

The 2014 ASP World Tour is cool and corporate and all that jazz. More events, bigger prize purses and have you seen the scaffolding? The Margaret River Drug Aware Pro is now officially uncorked as a world tour stop. So, here’s 10 blurry memories from the event’s opening party…

Choose your blend. Photo: GettyImages

Choose your blend. Photo: Getty Images

1. Wasn’t it such a good time when Fosters was fronting the World Tour bar tab?
The Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River is unlike other stops on tour in that it isn’t backed by one of the sport’s biggest brands. This event comes with a blatant message (no drugs, kids). As cool as it is to discourage surfing’s Spiccoli stereotype, the majority of advertisements simultaneously sang the praise of this region’s acclaimed wines, the irony of which should be lost on nobody.
Shit’s gotten so serious lately. Bede pulling leashes! Kelly decapitating the head of the mountain! Gabriel at World number one! No wonder the World Tour workaholics need an event in close proximity to some of the world’s best vineyards. Every lad on tour knows there’s no better way to mourn a second round loss than with a glass of local red. Drink up top 34, your preparation for the next event starts tomorrow!


Yades, round three full rote. ASP/Kirstin

2. Yadin Nicol.
How could we not sing the praise of Gracetown’s favourite son? It’s only the second event of the season but we’ve greatly missed Yadin’s presence. Last we saw from the big grinner, he was deciding the World title by the most anorexic of margins. Beaming proudly after his convincing round one heat win, Yades cheekily expressed his sympathy for dispatching the now stickerless Kelly to the second round.
Yades shined even brighter when he repaid Mick for sending him back to the QS grind. The WA semi-local surfed in true wildcard fashion, throwing the move of the event into the wind (a frontside full-roter).
Despite the insistence of many (Stab included) that, prior to his exit, Yades was man of the event, he wasn’t buying it: “I don’t know about that,” he told us. “There were a few heats where it wasn’t that clear a result, where it didn’t go that well for me, so on paper I might have been looking strong but it’s a bit more complicated than that.”

Bede swooped twice on Taj. ASP/Cestari

Mr Durbidge adds a touch of colour to the levels. ASP/Cestari

3. Bede Durbidge and Taj Burrow.
Bede Durbidge ain’t a bad cowboy with savage lasso technique. He’s too vanilla to be a villain. The unintentional use of his legrope against Taj in their round three clash was innocently comical. In atypical ASP fashion, the initial calling was overruled in favour of Taj, who’s local fanbase vented for a re-start, and ASP Commissioner Kieren Perrow flexed his new muscles by implementing it: “The fairest outcome is for both surfers to get back out there and re-contest the heat.”
The webcast flashed to Taj warming up with tennis ball in hand, looking real mean for Bede. The drama intensified when Bede was nowhere to be found. Pete Mel stood next to his empty locker like it was a hollowed tomb. But then we saw Bede running back into focus. Taj looked like he’d been expecting a no-show from Bede. The less-direct route to the contest site should be a new routine for Bede: he beat Taj two for two in his home region.
After proving himself the second time around, Bede vocalised his frustrations in a post-heat interview: “I wasn’t going to lose that heat, I don’t think I did anything wrong this morning.” Bede capitalised on his irritation by surfing into the semis, a return to form after his lacklustre result on the Gold Coast.

Carissa straight up killed it. ASP/Kirstin

Carissa straight up killed it. ASP/Kirstin

4. The girls.
The elite seventeen are stunning examples of sport and beauty and demand your viewership. The comparison between Western Australia and the North Shore played in favour of event winner, Hawaiian Carissa Moore. While tailslides were in vogue on the Goldy, the waltz with Margaret River calls for power, the foundation of Riss’s surfing. While the women have proven they deserve to surf alongside the men, they’re still most entertaining at more user friendly waves.

Photo: Tom Carey

Commissioner Perrow clocked plenty of time at The Box before approving for heats. Photo: Tom Carey

5. The new Commish.
Aren’t we so fortunate to have head honcho Kieren Perrow calling the shots? As a World tour vet and former Pipe Master, his decision to run at The Box was no great surprise, but a real welcome choice. Parko and Kieren had their eyes glued on the mutant right all week. The Commissioner was happy to grant Joel a killer birthday present in round five at The Box.

This is what the competitors see. ASP/Cestari

Here’s what the competitors and sharks see. ASP/Cestari

6. Western Australia, a welcome addition to the World Tour calendar. 
Margaret’s may not cater to ultra high performance like other tour stops, but it does have other options in the peripherals for rad freesurfing. Plus, while we didn’t really see it put into practise this year, the Drug Aware Pro’s ability to relocate to wherever conditions dictate is vital for the event’s future longevity. Who doesn’t wanna see John John and Jordy boosting on the grotesque ramps of North Point, or any of the big dogs knifing The Box? With the option to change venues at 15 minute’s notice, it’s a shame that the majority of the heats ran on the fat tracks of Margaret’s.

“Sorry about the funny day,” said Kelly today. “My contract was signed April 1, five years ago, and that’s why it ran out on that day. I wasn’t trying to mess with anybody. And I was gonna surf this contest without logos, so that’s why we had to talk about it.” Photo: Trevor Moran

7. Kelly Slater showing up with naked nose.
Some things in surfing are certain; Parko is smooth, Mick is fast, and Kelly is Quik. For the first time in 23 years, Kelly surfed without the iconic red logo on his Channel Islands. April 1st marked the death of Surfing’s longest relationship, and Kelly would emerge from the clouds of April Fool doubt as a privateer. In his first public interview since the split, the ageing king looked like Tiger after his fall from grace. Slater sounded super-humanely calm without coming off as well rehearsed as usual: “That’s just how life goes sometimes. Things change, but your feelings and your relationships don’t change,” he said.

Michel was in the zone yesterday. ASP/Cestari

Michel carved chunks outta Margies like it was a fresh tuna in prep for poisson cru. ASP/Cestari

8. Michel Bourez muscling his way to a maiden victory on the World Tour.
The Tahitian surfed with animalistic raw power, scalping Josh, Kelly, Adriano, Nat, and Trav en route to his best career finish. Michel snuck under the radar in the early rounds, squeaking by with mild heat totals. Momentum would swing in Michel’s favor as conditions dictated the final be surfed at the main break of Margaret’s.
Josh proved the well-versed adversary, having stood atop the podium here back in 2010. Michel used his powerful frame to convincingly rob Kerr of his first maiden victory on WCT.
If Michel can wash off the festivities that follow such an achievement, he’ll be a definite threat in the similarly chubby conditions at Bells.

Gabriel, gone with the wind. ASP/Cestari

Gabriel, gone with the wind. ASP/Cestari

9. Gabriel Medina, currently still World number one. 
The young Brazilian is thriving where he hasn’t been expected too. Margaret River’s powerful open walls don’t especially favour the backhand approach, but Medina overcame his goofy disposition to settle a respectable fifth. “I haven’t done that good here in the past, so it was a surprise for me,” he said. It’ll be interesting if Gabs pulls an Adriano and peaks after Bells with a gradual slide down the ratings.

That flash of white and grey? Rubber and foam. Photo: Kelly Slater

That flash of white and grey? Rubber and foam. Image: Kelly Slater

10. No Shark Attacks!
The reporting of Kelly Slater’s barrel intruder had the surf world in a frenzy. It’s common knowledge however, that Kelly is too worthy of a specimen to be some shark’s supper. Anyhow, the figure visible in the wave is easily spotted down the line preparing to duckdive prior to Kelly pulling in. “The clearest thing about this debacle to me is that you can’t trust what you read and what you think you see a lot of the time,” Kelly posted on Instagram.


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