Let’s face it: the 2015 WSL season didn’t exactly get off to the best start. Snapper was small, Bells was boring and Margaret River is nobody’s favorite wave (not even Bede’s). The wave on the other side of that big grey channel at Margies, though? It’s called The Box and it’s many people’s favorite wave (even SURFING Senior photographer Corey Wilson). The Box is a sometimes rolling takeoff into a slab of all slabs. It’s also where the 2015 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro ran today.
Now, The Box can be moody. Not moody in the hey, let me shoot this in black and white sort of way but more like a I might give you a barrel that you’ll remember until you die or I might smash your face into a rock and not apologize for it way — that kind of moody. Both edges of the sword were felt today and it created a bipartisan vibe between the surfers.
Some rubbed their hands together like perverts ogling the Western stars permanently inked on or around the pelvic bones of a naked body on an amateur night stage at the local titty bar — insert Box innuendo here. Others flat-out hated it. Although the pre-contest morning session offered some outlandishly perfect waves, a morning breath of unkind wind changed the machinery of it all. There were still amazing waves to be had, but there were also 4.30 point winning heat totals.
Ace Buchan and Sebastian Zietz got waves that won’t soon be forgotten. And if you want to know who ate shit, just look at the entire heat draw — almost everybody paid a due or three. It was the antithesis to boredom and a good change of the tortoise pace that the WSL had accidentally established this season.
After seven heats at The Box, the contest took a quick breather and started back up again at Margaret River’s Main Break. The waves were big. Like, really big — the kind of waves that set Andy Irons apart from every other surfer who has ever lived. The challenge was to find one that would offer enough of a bowl to actually do something. It was an interesting dance. The day ended not with a bang or a whimper, but with a handful of half turns on oversized, wind-whipped walls.
And tomorrow should be just as grand. —Brendan Buckley