After another uninspiring morning at the Margaret River main break, ASP commissioner Kieren Perrow popped up with a twinkle in his eye and made the call to run round 5 at The Box. The following four heats reinvigorated a vanilla event, showing the world what WA can offer the tour, and Australia as a whole for that matter.
A deluge of pain: The opening 25 minutes of Jordy Smith vs Miguel Pupo was like watching a wipeout reel, and we loved it. In contrast to the main break, this warping slab presents a genuine challenge to the 'CT boys, and a spectacular one at that. Neither surfer had experience at The Box and watching them throw their bodies over unfamiliar ledges was a rare treat. After six drubbings were dealt without a single triumph, Jordy finally found two good tubes in short succession, ousting Pupo, who looked to be struggling on his backhand.
“I’ve had zero experience out there and I didn’t really have a great heat but I got it done," said Jordy. "My energy is feeling really good and I can’t wait to keep going. It was amazing and I’m glad I got the first win (at The Box). I’ve got Bede (Durbidge) in the Quarterfinals, he’s a great surfer and you can guarantee he’s going to wait for the best waves. I’m going to go out there and do my thing and hopefully I’ll get a win over him.”
"The Box is actually a pretty easy wave": So says Josh Kerr, who certainly made it look that way in his heat against Yadin Nicol. By this point the waves were pumping and Kerr was backdooring the peak on his 5'5" from the first minute, making drops with time to spare. He faced a formidable opponent, but the wildcard never quite found his spot in the lineup. Yadin's return to 'CT surfing has been exciting for all. Lets hope he has a few more opportunities flung his way.
Happy birthday dear Parko: Joel—who was celebrating his 33rd birthday—couldn't believe his luck when by losing his round four heat, he was granted access to an empty lineup at the Box. His opponent, Felipe Toledo, put on a solid show, proving that his talent extends below the lip as well as above it, however, the birthday boy was pumped full of slab love and posted two of the day's highest scores.
That's an A-grade wave and, I'm not taking much away from Margs, but Margs is a B-grade wave.Joel Parkinson
“The Box is a fun wave to ride,” said Joel Parkinson. “It’s such a cool wave to surf a Heat on. I love that wave, everybody loves it. After surfing Main Break earlier today and then The Box it’s totally different. That's an A-grade wave and, I'm not taking much away from Margs, but Margs is a B-grade wave. Kelly (Slater) and I have had enough match-ups in the past. The Quarterfinals will just be another one.”
Good things don't last: The Box is a ferocious, but highly sensitive foe. The light offshores and short period west swell of Thursday made for two beautiful hours, but as Michel Bourez and Adriano de Souza paddled out, an infuriating breath of onshore dampened the stoke of all. The pair—who perhaps better fancied their chances across the channel—managed to find some solid tubes, with Bourez coming out on top, but it soon became apparent that no champion would be crowned by sunset.
What now? Probably not The Box, unfortunately. As has been forecast since the start, the last day of the waiting period (Sunday) will see a long period swell fill in, accompanied by strong winds from the SE. This will probably result in a return to the main break with head-overhead lines.
Video courtesy of the ASP.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
QF 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)