Day 1 Recap. Video: ASP
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Wednesday, April 2, 2014): The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 2 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, was called ON today for the Men's and Women's Round 1 in four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) waves. In an action packed first day of competition there were standout performances from Julian Wilson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Courtney Conlogue (USA). With Round 1 complete for both the men and women winners will advance directly to Round 3 while the rest will battle again in elimination Round 2.
“I’d like to better my result at Snapper (Rocks),” said Jordy Smith. “It’s a long year ahead and I’m sure that many of the tops guys will have bad results at some point. Hopefully my result at the Gold Coast was my bad one out of the way and I can look forward to a good year ahead.”
Local hero Taj Burrow, Hawaiian Fred Patacchia and Californian Brett Simpson exchanged a series of low scores throughout the majority of their quiet Heat, leaving the door open for any competitor to steal a coveted Round 1 win. While big scores remained elusive, Burrow found a rhythm in the final minutes, logging two mid-range rides on Margaret River's righthanders for the win.
“I had a really bad Heat to be honest,” said Taj Burrow. “I’m going to take that as a warm up. I feel very lucky winning that one. I missed a really good wave and Brett (Simpson) got it. I was really angry after that so I tried to compose myself. I’ll take the win but I have to do a lot better than that in the next Round.”
Taj Burrow's Round 1 Heat. Video: ASP
Event Wildcard and past ASP WCT competitor Yadin Nicol (AUS) put together a dominant performance to open his campaign, lighting up the rights of Main Break to secure a commanding Round 1 win over 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS). The local hero, Nicol, led the bout from start to finish, sealing a spot directly in to Round 3 compliments of an 8.23 and 7.00, leaving both Slater and Durbidge in need of excellent scores. Slater will face trials winner Nathan Hedge in the first Heat of Round 2 and Durbidge take on Fredrick Patacchia in the last.
“It felt great to beat Kelly Slater,” said Yadin Nicol. “I wish I could have done that last year or the year before. I felt comfortable out there. I usually don’t start out that well so I’m happy to have one under my belt. There wasn’t much going on in that Heat so Slater and Durbidge didn’t have much of a chance to fight back, so I was lucky in that sense.”
While the previous Heats were plagued by inconsistent waves, Julian Wilson(AUS) put together one of the Heats of the day, detonating an 8.50 and 7.50 with an impressive forehand display on the Margaret River rights. Wilson managed to log the highest heat total of the day, but was incredibly patient, riding only three waves throughout his 30-minute affair. Wilson will move straight through to Round 3 while Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Dion Atkinson (AUS) will have to compete again in Round 2. Flores will matchup against Kolohe Andino and Atkinson will face John John Florence.
“It was a fun Heat,” said Julian Wilson. “It’s really clean out there which makes it a lot easier to pick the good waves. I was in a rhythm with the priority, which I think helped too. I’m happy to be back in Margaret River, I love coming over here. Snapper (Rocks) was frustrating but I’m feeling focused. It’s a long year and there’s going to be ups and downs. I just have to keep pushing forward and focus on the positives.”
Julian Wilson's Day 1 Heat. Video: ASP
The final men's Heat of the day saw the aerial vanguards of surfing's next generation doing battle. Current ASP WCT No. 1 Gabriel Medina, former event winner John John Florence and Californian wunderkind Kolohe Andino all took to the Margaret River righthanders with power, punch and bite. Florence opened up the affair with a monster forehand rotation to take an early lead. However, Medina answered back with a huge helicopter backhand aerial transitioning into a series of powerful turns. A late assault from Florence and Andino proved not enough to overtake the Brazilian and they'll battle it out in their respective Round 2 heats while Medina heads straight to Round 3.
“That was a hard Heat against John John (Florence) and Kolohe (Andino). It felt good to win and it’s given me more confidence for the rest of the competition,” said Gabriel Medina. “I started doing airs because I saw John John (Florence) going for it. That’s how competition works, we are all pushing each other to raise the level. It feels good to be the Rankings leader, there is pressure but I’m feeling great.”
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Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.23, Nat Young (USA) 8.77, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.23
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.70, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.26
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.77, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.50, Fred Patacchia (HAW) 7.60
Heat 4: Adam Melling (AUS) 13.17, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 9.30
Heat 5: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 15.23, Kelly Slater (USA) 11.87, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.37
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.17, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 9.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.57
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.00, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.53, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.17
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.57, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.06, Travis Logie (ZAF) 8.90
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.50, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 4.83, Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.50, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.26, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.86
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.40, Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.83, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.10
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.40, John John Florence (HAW) 14.67, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.96