ASP Surfing World Tour 2014: The Drug Aware Pro, Margaret River, Day 4
West Oz is home to so much world class surf, so it has been a mystery as to why the Margies Pro is held at one of the worst waves in the region. It's like getting your footy team to Wembley, then having to play the match in the car park and not the stadium.
So when the first heats of round four got going at Main Break with the heaving slab known as The Box going off just across the channel there was a certain amount of disquiet in the ranks. For once those ranks were not just confined to Twitter geeks and trolls, but actual competitors.
When surf commissioner Kieran Perrow finally called it, and took a WCT event to a slab for the first time, Kelly Slater spoke for the entire surfing world "what took us so long, it's about time", well all except maybe goofy footer Miguel Pupo.
The Box is a nightmare on your backhand no matter what your talent level, swinging in from behind the peak and then dealing with ledges from hell is tricky enough, but when it's the first time you've surfed the place it's even harder. Pupo ate it on his first four waves, but as you'd expect from a pro, even though it was his first time out there, he got a couple of sick pits. It wasn't enough though and he was edged out by another Box virgin Jordy Smith, but being a regular footer he nailed the swing in behind the peak quickly.
Next up was two Box stalwarts, Josh Kerr and Yadin Nicol, The grins across both of their faces could be seen from Main Break as this was a wave they could excel on. Kerr was fast out of the blocks and really got into the heaving righthander and he progressed to the quarters, halting the wildcards run.
Joel Parkinson versus Filipe Toledo was all set up to be a breeze for Parko, no one thought the Brazilian grom was going to even come close to Parko out here. How wrong we were, Toledo dropped an 8.23 on his first wave to out point Parko's 8.17 and it was game on. Parko though proved just a little more savvy and notched up the score of the round to tee up a Quarter final against Slater.
The wind was getting a little tricky by the final heat, barrels had some serious chandelier action going on, and Michel Bourez and Adriano De Souza were finding big scores hard to come by. In the end the Tahitian's Jedi like tube riding skills won through and a third Brazilian fell foul to the ASP's first foray out on a slab.
The quarter finals were then called on, then put on hold. There was a little disquiet in the ranks by looks of it, Gabe Medina (a goofy), a definite title contender and No.1 on the rankings looked a little less than keen, as did Jordy Smith. To be fair the wind was a problem and even though the internet surf crowd wanted more the decision to call of for the day was the correct one.
So what now? The forecast looks like the last day of the waiting period, Sunday, is going to pump. There are only seven heats to run, so surely if The Box is on we could end up with one of the most epic 'CTs ever. If it ends up at Main Break it will be a bit of a let down now. Tune in live at about midnight on Saturday, perfect for some beers and a big screen of slab carnage (hopefully) www.aspworldtour.com