World Surf League -  2017 Drug Aware Margret River Pro Preview

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Sebastian Zeitz, your 2016 Drug Aware Pro Champ - Knifing his way to victory. Photo: WSL/Kelly Cestari

Introduction
Perfectly manicured vineyards, mouth watering eateries, The Box, North Point and Main Break. Welcome to Western Australia, Home to all these wonderful places along with stop number 2 of World Surf League Championship Tour, The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.

Margaret River Mechanics


Main Break
Wave Type: Left, right reef break.
Best Swell Direction: WSW
Best Swell Size: 4-12ft
Best Wind Direction: ESE
Best Tide: Mid tide

The Box
Wave Type: Hollow right reef break
Best Swell Direction: West - WSW
Best Swell Size: 4-10ft
Best Wind Direction: ENE
Best Tide: Mid - high tide

North Point
Wave Type: Hollow right reef/point Best Swell Direction: Large SW- WSW swells
Best Swell Size: 6-10ft
Best Wind Direction: SE-ESE
Best Tide: Mid tide

Quiksilver Pro Recap
Who in the bloody hell would of predicted one of the greatest surfing (sporting) comebacks of all time. Owen Wright take a bow son. One of the most inspirational wins in competitive surfing. Not to mention Matty Wikinson for his back to back finals at Snapper.

Before the event kicked off there was huge talk of Snapper Rocks not coming to the party, however much to the amazement of competitors and spectators alike, we got to see some solid waves through out the event. Two of the most talked about heats were Gabs vs Kelly quarter final heat and Zek Lau vs Jordy heat in round 5. Zek scoring a perfect 10 and one of the best barrels all event,  however Jordy never said die and got the jump on the Hawaiian. Medina also got the jump on the king. Kelly will be looking for pay back in West Oz.


Jordy Smith vs Zek Lau

The rookie class didn’t quite live up to the hype, but one stand out was Conner O’leary who took down big names like Julian Wilson in round 3 and then winning his round 4 heat against Jordy and Owen. Expect big things from this kid.

Some not so hot shots took a dive in round 2, Filipe Toledo, Josh Kerr, Ace Buchan and Wiggoly Dantes. Expect these guys to fire at the next event.

Ins and Outs
Out: Italo Ferreria (injured)
In: Nat Young (injury wildcard)

Offical Surfline Forecast

Brief Overview: A very large SSW swell will build in Wednesday, fading for the end of the week. A much smaller, but still solid, SSW swell is looking more and more likely for Friday afternoon and Saturday before fading into early next week. Favourable wind also looks likely, especially in the mornings, for the first several days of the waiting period. Beyond that, another run of medium to potentially strong surf is possible over the last 3-4 days of the waiting period, although local wind may deteriorate.

 
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Once again we find ourselves scratching our melons as who to pick for Margies. I think i aged 5 years trying to pick my Snapper team, now i have the cumbersome job of picking an even trickier event! However i think I’ve got a pretty solid handle on it. Lets take a peep at my fantasy surfer forecast.

Tier A
In general, and as is with any sport, momentum is a crucial key to winning and Owen Wright is carrying a hell of a lot it, coming off his Quiksilver Pro win. Another bloke that’s not carrying any sign of a world title hangover is of course John Florence. If the forecast is correct, we’re in for some solid swell. These 2 gents will go bananas in the big power stuff. Lock em.

Other Tier A Picks: Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina

Tier B
Julian Wilson. Now hear me out. Jules may have bombed out of Snapper in round 3 to Connor O’Leary, but this won’t stop os his world title campaign. Also last years runner up, he’s out for blood. Kolohe Andino is another in form guy. I like what he did he here last year as well. Remember that ally-oop? Of course you do. Well, expect more of that. Michel Bourez, aka The Sparten. Michel is a past winner here and has a front side hack that a lot of guys on tour don’t. Watch your points sky rocket.

Tier C
This one is a doozy. I’ve had some technical issues finding 2 surfers i like here. After a lot of back and forth switching, Bede Durbo. A CT veteran, we all know he’s capable in any situation and Ethan Ewing, he put on a strong case at the Gold Coast. Also i suspect quite a few teams will leave the rookie out, a solid sleeper pick.

Dark Horse Picks
Joel Parkinson, Adriano De Souza

World Title Predictions
After one event, it’s still anyone’s race. Owen Wright will have the Jeep leaders jersey going to WA. He’ll also have a target on his back. The big boys on tour are all wanting the title this year. After this event we will have a better indication about who stands where. Watch this space.

Past Drug Aware Pro Champions
2016: Sebastian Zeitz
2015: Adriano De Souza
2014: Michel Bourez


Summery
If the predicted forecast comes to the party, there’s been whispers of the event going mobile to North Point. Wouldn’t that just be dandy? Good Snapper AND good WA? Lets hope so.

Can Owen hold onto his momentum? Will Kelly regain his composure and step up? Or will Gabriel and John John rain on everyone’s parade? Pour a glass of vino (beer), kick back in your favourite chair and watch it all unfold live on March 29th on worldsurfleague.com

Mens Round 1 Heat Draw
Heat 1: Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Leonardo Fiorivanti
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino, Stu Kennedy, Zek Lau
Heat 3:Matt Wilkinson, Miguel Pupo, Jack Freestone
Heat 4: Jordy Smith, Kanoa Igarashi, Nat Young
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina, Wiggolly Dantes, Jesse Mendes
Heat 6: John Florence, Fredrico Morias, TBD
Heat 7: Owen Wright, Connor O’leary, Ian Gouviea
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson, Ciao Ibelli, Jadson Andre
Heat 9: Adriano De Souza, Adrian Buchan, Jeremy Flores
Heat 10: Michel Bourez, Connor Coffin, Joan Duru
Heat 11: Julian Wilson, Josh Kerr, Bede Durbidge
Heat 12: Sebastian Zeitz, Filipe Toledo, Ethan Ewing