AFTER back-to-back lay days, the opening of the Margaret River Pro did not disappoint on Friday, as the world’s best surfers took on heavy six-to-eight foot (1.8 - 2.7 metre) conditions at North Point.
(min cost $8)
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North Point, the backup event site known for some of the longest and most intense barrels in the world, challenged the surfers in the first seven heats of men’s round one at stop number three on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour.
Reigning, two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (Hawaii) found redemption in his opening heat, overcoming wildcard Mikey Wright (Culburra Beach), who famously eliminated him in last place at stop number one on the Gold Coast earlier this year.
It was bound to be a monumental heat as the reigning Margaret River Pro event winner needed to regain his footing against Wright and 2018 CT Rookie Wade Carmichael (AUS).
All three competitors found incredible waves, but it was Florence whose finesse and timing in the tube saw him take the win with a 14.60 heat total (out of a possible 20) – ahead of Mikey Wright (11.87) and Wade Carmichael (8.50).
Jack Robinson (Australia), the replacement surfer for an injured Caio Ibelli (Brazil), earned a big win in the opening round against current world number four Owen Wright (Culburra Beach) and Miguel Pupo (Brzazil), the injury replacement for Kelly Slater (United States).
Heat three saw the local wildcard weave his way out of a number of epic North Point barrels, even posting an excellent 8.27 to comfortably take down his more experienced counterparts.
Both the Wright brothers will return to the water in round two.
Margaret River Men’s Pro round one results:
Heat one: Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.70, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.33, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 4.64
Heat two: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.17, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.67, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 2.54
Heat three: Jack Robinson (AUS) 13.94, Owen Wright (AUS) 4.03, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.40
Heat four: John John Florence (HAW) 14.60, Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.87, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.50
Heat five: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.16, Kael Walsh (AUS) 8.96, Joan Duru (FRA) 1.97
Heat six: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.56, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.00, Dave Delroy-Carr (AUS) 3.40
Heat seven: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.14, Conner Coffin (USA) 5.87, Michael February (ZAF) 2.57
Margaret River Men’s Pro remaining round one matchups:
Heat eight: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat nine: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Margaret River Women’s Pro round one matchups:
Heat one: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat two: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat three: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS), Mikaela Greene (AUS)
Heat four: Lakey Peterson (USA), Caroline Marks (USA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat five: Tyler Wright (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat six: Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW)
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