Margo, more effortless every day. Photos: WSL
What If Margo Competed After All?
Introducing the Straddie legends champion and man whose face birthed the finest white beard this side of Santa, Brendan Margieson.
"I haven't won a comp since like...1997," Brendan Margieson said in his victory speech at yesterday's South Straddie legends heat. "So this is pretty wild."
Brendan Margieson is widely recognized as the first well-paid freesurfer. According to Rabbit Bartholemew, who once coached a young Margo, "He hated contests."
And so, Margo stopped doing them. He focused instead on compiling film parts and earning photo features in magazines. Because his surfing was so incredibly stylish and exciting, he succeeded greatly in this endeavor.
Brendan Margieson is now 48. Yes, the same age as Kelly Slater. In fact, he's five months younger than his philosophical foil. And while the white beard he's donning gives Margo a visual decade over slates, his performance today proves that given the right wave, he can still mix it up with the comp kids.
For instance, Margo's "legends" heat consisted of Bede Durbidge, Kieren Perrow, Dingo Morrison, and Mark Occhilupo. Two of those guys were on tour within the past decade, one was previously considered the most barreled human on earth, and the last is a World Champion. So a pretty damn good pedigree. And Margo smoked them all with one emerald geyser.
This makes you think: what would have happened if Margo didn't hate competitions? How many World Titles would Kelly have today? And more importantly, how gorgeous is Margo's natural face mask?
While the legends heat was perhaps the highlight of finals day, we also saw two champs crowned in the men's and women's divisions.
Quarterfinal three featured a heavyweight bout between Wade Carmichael and Cabarita champ Ethan Ewing. The boys struggled to find waves of note, each turning in non-premium tubes for eight-point totals. The turning point of the heat came when Ethan took a surprise tumble on a clean wedge, scoring a 0.3 on what could have been a six and a semifinal berth. Mikey Wright delivered some technical tube/turn combos to earn the final semifinal slot over Connor O'Leary. That boy's layback is downright fearsome.
The women's semis were fairly non-descript, with young local gals Sophie McCulloch and Isabella Nichols getting the jump over CT regulars Macy Callaghan and Nikki Van Dijk. If you were to look at the women's heat draw pre-event, this is likely not the pairing you saw making up the final. But that's competitive surfing, ain't it, Ace?
Jack Robbo and Liam O'Brien was the best heat on paper. Local favorite vs. global superstar. The heat totals underwhelmed but not for lack of effort. Both Liam and Jack dug deep in this match, but with Jack unable to pull down an air nor find one of his trademarked super-tubes, Liam's railwork was enough to get him through.
Mikey Wright found the tube Jack was looking for in the next heat and used it to eclipse Wade Carmichael in semi two. Not for lack of effort from the big man, who dropped an eight on two turns.
The women's final went the way of fate, with Isabella Nichols taking her rightful place atop the throne (thanks to a ferocious forehand snap on an unwelcoming section). If I'm not mistaken, she now leads the Australian Grand Slam heading into West Oz.
The men's final was over in the first five minutes. Mikey Wright scooped under a chieftain's teepee for a near-10 and backed it up with one-turn banger. Liam O'Brien couldn't recover. Who could, in such a position?
And Stace G is the WSL's best new commentator.
That is all.