Former Aussie tour veteran Nathan Hedge just took out the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Trials. Image: ASP/Kirstin Scholtz
The trials got underway today at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, making the most of a southerly swell that offered 4-6ft+ wind swept conditions to complete the field for new world tour event.
However, with the swell due to decrease all week and not a whole lot on the horizon, it’s unlikely the main event will run before the weekend if not later as forecasters eye a long range SW groundswell due to arrive the 8-10th April.
Other event wildcard has gone to West Oz local ripper Yadin Nicol, who could pose a real Round 1 threat. Yadin will face Kelly and Bede Durbidge while Hedgy will match up against Fanning and Wilko.
In other heat draw news, Portugal’s Tiago Pires has pulled out of the event citing a knee injury he sustained while surfing Avalon after the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. This opens up a spot for Aussie ripper Mitch Coleborn as Glenn Hall is still unable to surf due to his back injury. Coleborn will face Parko and Adam Melling in Round 1.
All eyes will otherwise be on event favourites Taj Burrow, who also hails from the Margaret region, and John John Florence, who’s won the event at Margaret under its previous WQS form – former WA event winner.
“I had a terrible start at the Gold Coast but I’m so happy to be here in Margaret River and surfing in this event. I love it here,” said John John Florence at the press conference.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Nathan Hedge (AUS)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA), John John Florence (HAW), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Drug Aware Margaret River Women’s Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW), Laura Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)