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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Fri, 13 April 2018

Cranking 6-8' barrels presided as Jordy Smith moved directly into Round 3 of the Margaret River Pro today, while Mikey February must fight it out in the Round 2 elimination.

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SAND CRUNCH: Julian Wilson pulls into a deep North Point barrel. Photo WSL / Dunbar

Surfing at 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 1 at Stop No. 3 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour.

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 2017 World Title contender, continues his opening heat-winning streak with a third-straight Round 1 win in 2018. Smith overtook Brazilian chargers Ian Gouveia and Tomas Hermes in Heat 2 with a big barrel exit for a 7.67 and a 4.50. The South African skips to Round 3, while the Brazilians prepare for an elimination Round 2 showdown.

“The waves are pumping out there right now,” Smith said. “It’s just turned on in the last hour, so it was such a good call to wait. Taking a Round 1 heat win is super important as I hate to lose and skipping Round 2 is a massive bonus. It was great to get barrels in a heat and to feel like I was on top of my strategy.”

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CURTAIN CALL: John John Florence is no stranger to thick deep tubes. Photo WSL / Dunbar

The final heat of the day, Heat 7, witnessed a tough go for the competitors as they each experienced massive wipeouts. California’s Conner Coffin (USA), in particular, faced his fair share of epic falls throughout the heat and ended just 0.27 points short of the heat win over Filipe Toledo (BRA). Coffin and Mikey Feb (ZAF) will now need to battle out of elimination Round 2 when competition resumes.

Reigning two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) found redemption in his opening heat, overcoming wildcard Mikey Wright (AUS), who famously eliminated him in last place at Stop No. 1 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).

2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) had the unenviable task of taking on local trials runner-up Kael Walsh (AUS) and CT sophomore Joan Duru (FRA) in his opening round matchup. Walsh, who is renowned for his hard-charging approach, hunted for sets early but struggled to complete his waves. Medina, on the other hand, made backhand barrel riding look easy with one long tube for the heat win.

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ROUND 1 RUN: Jordy keeps his early streak going. Now he needs a result. Photo WSL / Cestari

Jack Robinson (AUS), the replacement surfer for an injured Caio Ibelli (BRA), earned a big win in the opening round against current World No. 4 Owen Wright (AUS) and Miguel Pupo (BRA), the injury replacement for Kelly Slater (USA). Heat 3 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. Earlier today, Robinson defeated Jerome Forrest (AUS) in a surf off to win Ibelli’s replacement position.

Current World No. 1 Julian Wilson (AUS) continued his solid form in 2018 with an opening heat win over 2018 CT Rookie Jesse Mendes (BRA) and Drug Aware WA Trials winner Dave Delroy-Carr (AUS). Keanu Asing (HAW) earned his first CT heat win in 2018.

Event officials will regroup tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. AEWT (1am ZA time) to assess conditions. Surfline forecast says a strong SW swell that filled in through the afternoon will ease through the day on Saturday (strongest in the morning). Fading, but still fairly solid, surf and favorable morning wind looks likely for Sun-Mon. Mid size W swell looks possible Wed-Thu, although wind may trend back onshore. Another solid SW to WSW swell remains possible for the end of the event window around the 20th-22nd.

Margaret River Men’s Pro Round 1 Results
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.70, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.33, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 4.64
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.17, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.67, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 2.54
Heat 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 13.94, Owen Wright (AUS) 4.03, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.40
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 14.60, Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.87, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.50
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.16, Kael Walsh (AUS) 8.96, Joan Duru (FRA) 1.97
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.56, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.00, Dave Delroy-Carr (AUS) 3.40
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.14, Conner Coffin (USA) 5.87, Michael February (ZAF) 2.57

Margaret River Men’s Pro Remaining Round 1 Matchups
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 9: 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)

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