Heaving barrels and horror wipe-outs on shallow reef were the highlights of day one in the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River yesterday, and there’s even better news … the surf is much bigger today.
Forecasts are showing swell of up to 8m (25 feet) this afternoon, with clean offshore winds. This could be one of the biggest swells in the history of the event.
Current world number one Mick Fanning, who won at Victoria’s Bells Beach last week, described the conditions as “big and ugly” after convincingly winning his heat on the first day of competition.
“From when I surfed this morning, till then, it’s totally different,” he said.
“It’s big and ugly. There’s so many boils, and that. It was radical. But it was fun.”
With perfect offshore winds and a powerful groundswell, the competition kicked off at the dangerous, tubing right hand ‘slab’ wave called The Box.
Hawaiian John John Florence, arguably the best barrel rider in the world, looked comfortable, even deliberately slowing down in the tube.
Australia’s Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan won his heat surfing on his backhand with the highest score of the morning, an incredible 9.53 point ride for a deep tube on a fast, chunky wave.
In the same heat, Josh Kerr, one of the favourites for the event, was pitched head first off his board towards the reef in one of nastiest wipe-outs, but somehow emerged unscathed.
“I just poked the nose, went over and got a couple of little cuts on the heel,” Kerr said.
“My head’s pretty full of water right now.”
Hawaiian Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz came from behind in his heat to edge out Brazil’s Adrian de Souza with a long 9.23 point barrel.
“I was surprised. Adriano got a super good start,” he said.
“I saw his first wave, it was mental. I just kept catching waves. You can never tell out there. You definitely want to try and catch the deep ones.”
Watch the telecast live at the World Surf League.