No Contest Treks West To Margaret River And Beyond

Thanks For Tuning Into Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy!

11 Views
Photo by Bosko

No Contest Treks West To Margaret River And Beyond

Our platoon comes face to face with the power of the Indian Ocean.

cinema // Jul 18, 2021
Words by Chris Binns
Reading Time: 5 minutes

While the Brazilian Storm sizzled on Australia’s East Coast, suspicions ran high that the field would be leveled a little when the world’s best surfers flew to Western Australia and dived into the untapped energy of the infamous south-west region.

Beyond the Mainbreak, home of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro, there are literally hundreds of waves along the 90km stretch from Yallingup to Augusta. If you can’t find waves in this part of the world, you can’t find them anywhere, so in and out of the jersey, we were always going to be guaranteed a solid slice of the action. The crew at Stab enlisted yours truly to host this episode of No Contest.

Photo by Bosko

When I wasn’t filling my regular beach commentator role at the event, it was a pleasure to show the camera crew around my special part of the world and catch up with the characters that make the tour tribe such a special one to be a part of.

The Margaret River event kicked off in the biggest competition waves seen outside of Hawaii in years, with sets at the Mainbreak stacking up out to sea before 12-foot bombs bulldozed the lineup. Boards and egos were left in pieces, reputations were forged, and some insane wipeouts went down that will be talked about for years to come.

When the wild waves needed to be tamed naturally, John John Florence, Margaret River’s biggest savant, stepped up to the plate. His opening round perfect wave was a modern wonder of the surfing world and was rightfully awarded the first 10 of the 2021 season.

Photo by Bosko

While all of this was going down, the devilishly dangerous Box was going off on the other side of the bay, and Jacob Wooden was more than happy to swim out and capture the best of the action for us.

Sadly for Florence, his luck ran out in the round of 16 when an innocuous turn saw him limp up the beach afterward. He still won the heat but sadly had to withdraw from the competition before the quarter-finals got underway. Two months later, at the time of writing, he’s still locked in a race against time to be ready for Tokyo.

Photo by Bosko

Away from the event, we caught up with exciting young American star Caroline Marks and her Australian coach, the legendary Luke Egan, for a lush long lunch prepared by famed local chef Aaron Carr at his restaurant Yarri. We surveyed the surfers on their favorite West Australian movie sections and, when competition wrapped up, we even snuck in a stealthy session at a rare local gem.

Back at the Main break, Filipe Toledo tasted the champagne in the men’s event, accounting for Jordy Smith in the final and giving the Brazilians a hat-trick for the leg. For the women, Tatiana Weston-Webb fed off the energy of her compatriots to claim another trophy for Brazil, beating Stephanie Gilmore in the final.

Photo by Bosko

With Rip Curl throwing the full weight of their support behind this year’s Aussie leg, they decided to bring back the coolest trophy in surfing and take us all on the legendary Search again. This time it was Rottnest Island – known in the traditional Noongar language as Wadjemup – that would play host to the world’s best for the one-off traveling event that earns the winner a beautiful globe.

Just 20km off the coast, Rottnest has long been Western Australia’s favorite holiday island. Although it’s most famed for its native quokkas and their love of the camera, this stunningly beautiful island is home to several great waves as well. Strickland Bay hosted the Search event, though the WSL surfers and staff found fun waves all over the place, including one terrifying session that went down at an infamous west-end slab on final’s day.

Photo by Chad Wood

When Mikey Wright wasn’t wrangling below-sea level drainers or fishing, he was keen to be educated about the Wadjemup’s past, so we introduced him to Simon Zuvich, a proud Yindjibarndi man who’s been permitted to speak on behalf of elders from all over Western Australia about the island’s history as an indigenous penal colony.

The two surfers struck up a keen friendship and Zuvich’s wish that people “ask, listen and learn” about Australia’s past resonated strongly with Wright, who left the island promising to do just that. Back at Strickland Bay, the waves served up everything from silky smooth walls to deceptively powerful pits, and once again, it was Gabriel Medina who landed atop the podium. The strength of his aerial attack was matched only by the power of his rail game.

Photo by Bosko

Rookie Morgan Cibilic finished second, and in more good news for the home team, Sally Fitzgibbons claimed Australia’s first trophy for the season with a valiant finals day campaign in double overhead conditions. It was an exhausted crew who left Australia at the end of a two-month, four-event marathon, but it’s fair to say the leg will live on in the memory banks for a long time to come.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going and for the WSL to pull off the unlikely and delightful run of events they did isn’t far from a modern-day miracle. Get comfortable and savor the fruits of all that labor in the video above and we’ll see you for more episodes of No Contest later in the summer as we round the bend and the final stretch of the 2021 season comes into sight.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Dissecting The Masochistic Psychology Of The World’s Heaviest Rock-Offs

Between a rock and a bunch of dry people laughing.

Jun 24, 2024

The Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy Hangover Report

Photographic evidence of neon-drenched karaoke bars and false rain forecasts.

Jun 24, 2024

Iconic Pipeline Surfer Tamayo Perry Killed By Shark In Hawaii

RIP to one of the greats.

Jun 24, 2024

Dignity Before Dollars, Stale Fish No Wasabi

Concluding Finals Day at Stab High Japan pres by Monster Energy.

Jun 23, 2024

Meet The Kids Who Sent Stab High Into The Future

Snowboarders, test-tube wavepool spawn, and curators of the culture.

Jun 23, 2024

Full Replay: Finals Day At Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

The freshwater feud for Pro, Ladybird, and Bottle Rocket champion starts now.

Jun 22, 2024

Albee Layer Reluctantly Escapes Sudden-Death Round On Final Wave Of The Day, Advances to Day 2 of Stab High Japan 

“I just want to do my fucking wave, and then go home”

Jun 22, 2024

“Relax, It’s A Surf Contest In A Swimming Pool”

Our attempt at an unbiased comp wrap from afar, on Day One of Stab High…

Jun 22, 2024

Rasta Robb Gutter Stomps Backside Full-Rote, Scores a 3/50

Why wasn’t the reigning champ rewarded in heat 1 of Stab High Japan?

Jun 22, 2024

Full Replay: Day 1 of Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

Click to watch (or rewatch) today's Qualifier and Sudden Death rounds.

Jun 21, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About The Most ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ Wave in the Mentawais

Tips from longtime HTs devotee, Liam Turner.

Jun 21, 2024

“You’re An Elite Freesurfer, I’m Just A Vlogger, Surely You Can Take Me Out”

King of Waco calls out Aussie freesurfers on Stab High live stream.

Jun 21, 2024

Please Don’t Do A Superman At Stab High Japan, Presented By Monster Energy 

Breaking down the best and worst airs, according to the stats. 

Jun 20, 2024

355 Days Later, We Still Don’t Know What Elo Did In Brazil

But here's your 2024 Rio Pro preview.

Jun 20, 2024

JJF + Medina To Continue Rampages In Brazil?

12x CT event winner and previous SITD pilot Taj Burrow says 'yes'.

Jun 19, 2024

Allow Us To Introduce The YETI Ladybirds And Bottle Rockets Of Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

Here's our schoolyard pick for teams; who will win the most cred at the lunch…

Jun 17, 2024

Prediction: Moving The WSL Finals To Fiji Will Kill Off Two More Surfing Superstars

Is this JJF's time to collect his titles? We checked the stats.

Jun 17, 2024

Confirmed: Fiji To Host 2025 WSL Finals

Cloudbreak will remain on tour until 2026.

Jun 17, 2024
Advertisement