Local standout Yadin Nicol posted the day’s highest single-wave score of 9.77 to defeat reigning three-time world champ Fanning. Photo: ASP/Kelly Cestari
Day 3 of the men’s event at Margaret River yesterday witnessed some major upsets, namely the elimination of local favourite Taj Burrow as well as defending title champ Mick Fanning.
Following Hawaii’s Carissa Moore taking out Tyler Wright to win the women’s event, the men paddled out and big upsets immediately ensued. An unfortunate incident where Taj Burrow became entangled in Bede Durbidge’s leash saw the first heat of the day re-surfed. Unfortunately for Taj an early lead with two mid-range 7s wouldn’t prove enough when Bede unleashed a last-minute excellent 8.60 to take out the re-run with a series of powerful forehand gouges.
“It was definitely not the way I saw today going,” said Bede Durbidge. “It was really hard on me and hard on Taj (Burrow). It was a very unfortunate thing that happened. I just had to dig deep because I didn’t want to surf or go back out there. I put my head down, dusted myself off and got back to surfing. It was pretty draining and I’m going to sleep well tonight. I wasn’t going to lose that heat, I felt that I deserved to get through and I didn’t do anything wrong this morning. I wanted to be in Round 4 and I’m glad I’m there.”
For other local favourite Yadin Nicol yesterday was a completely different story. The West Oz on-form aerialist delivered a mind-blowing performance in his Round 3 heat up against defending world champ Mick Fanning. The event wildcard posted the day’s highest score by launching a huge, full roter on his first hit followed by a series of frontside bashes for a near-perfect 9.77. That score in itself left Fanning in search of a combination of scores which he was just unable to find.
“I was scared the whole heat and I’m really happy to win,” said Yadin. “Mick and I had a good battle at Pipe and and he’s such a good competitor. I feel less pressure now and I can surf a little freer. I grew up here and I feel so comfortable at Margaret River. I know which waves to go for and that helps.”
On his early loss, Mick commented, “I surf here at Margaret River a lot and I’ve been here many times. I know it’s a tricky wave and I just got beaten here on the day. It will be good to go home for a while before Bells Beach. The next stop is always a good event for me and it’s like a second home so I’m looking forward to it.”
Another Round 3 highlight heat saw Gabriel Medina and John John Florence rematch on the rights at Main Break. But as with their Round 1 match-up, the Brazilian phenom Medina once again proved too much for the Hawaiian despite his best efforts. A series of turns and big forehand air saw Florence chalk an excellent 8.50 but Medina quickly retorted with an excellent backhand snap to air-reverse combo to cement the win.
“I was nervous when I found out I was going to surf against John John,” said Gabes. “It’s always hard to face him because he’s an amazing surfer. We’ve had a lot of matchups against each other and we’re really competitive. I just try and focus on my own game and do the best I can. It’s great to surf against someone like John John because we push each other and it’s always exciting”.
Other top seeds Parko, Kelly and Jordy also all progressed through to Round 4. To watch highlights from the ASP’s heats on demand head over to their Heat Analyzer section here.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1 Re-Surf: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.20 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.90
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.23 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.23
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.67
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.34 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.67
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.44 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.00
Heat 6 : Yadin Nicol (AUS) 16.94 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.83
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.56 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.47
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.87 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.70
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.57 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.00
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA) 12.26 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.03
Heat 11: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.50 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.40
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.23
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Round 4 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS)