Day 5 of Margaret River Pro 2006

The Margaret River Pro presented by O’Neill provided the sort of waves that the world’s best World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfers dream about, with clean two-to-three-metre (eight-foot) waves allowing surfers to unleash their biggest moves in absolute perfect conditions.

Hawaiian and Australian surfers were the standouts today. The Hawaiians, as expected, relishing one of the few locations that dish up surf similar to their home islands.

Nine Hawaiians surfed their Round Four heats today and seven of them progressed, with standout performances from Marcus Hickman, Ola Eleogram, Makua Rothman and Dustin Cuizon.

Others to excel today included Lennox Head surfer Jock Barnes who posted the event’s highest-scoring heat win to date, with a 17.33 out of a possible 20. Barnes was an elite Australian junior surfer a few years ago, but has recently struggled on the rigorous WQS circuit. With a new training program and a fresh mental approach, Barnes looked like a serious contender as he carved and powered his way to a massive Round Four heat win.

Relaxed after his win, Barnes said, “I’ve had a tough couple of years and on reflection, having had a great junior career, I probably expected things to just happen for me in the open pro ranks. They didn’t and for the past six months I’ve trained really hard and changed my whole approach. I think in the past I was probably trying too hard during my heats and I’ve changed that. Now I just try to relax and simply surf really well. I complement that with a lot of hard work in training, then try and let it all happen during the heat. It worked today and the waves are sensational!”

New Zealand’s Bobby Hansen continued his amazing run with yet another high-scoring heat win. After his win, he said: “Four great heats in a row, but I can’t rest on those performances because it’s all high-quality rounds from here on in. I’m certainly familiar with the waves out there and I’m enjoying the event.”

The event’s biggest spectator drawcard is undoubtedly surfing legend Mark Occhilupo, who was called up to surf his opening Round Five heat in outstanding conditions this afternoon. The ‘raging bull’ did not let his fans down, opening his heat with an excellent 8.67 ride. Occy then showed great patience waiting for a good second ride, and was in third place for much of the heat before nailing a strong and thrilling ride to take out the heat.

The Margaret River Pro will be Occy’s last competitive appearance at Surfers Point – the location and event ranked as one of his most favourite, having won the contest in its first year back in 1985.

The big upset of the day was the elimination of former event champion Mick Campbell (Port Macquarie, NSW), who suffered an interference call and was eliminated from the event.

Drew Courtney: Proved he is a force to be rekoned with.

The final shock was the elimination of 2004 contest champion, Brazilian Neco Padaratz, who finished fourth in his heat behind New Zealander Maz Quinn.

The surf looks set to deliver another amazing day tomorrow, with perfect weather and excellent waves expected for Round Five through to the Final, which will run around midday on Sunday. Number one seed and WA’s favourite son Jake Paterson, along with current event champion Queenslander Troy Brooks will surf their Round Five heats tomorrow morning.

As well as spectacular competition between the world’s top surfers, the event showcases the unique virtues of the State’s beautiful South West, including Margaret River’s stunning beaches, breathtaking natural settings and premium Western Australian food and wine.

Major sponsors include Tourism Western Australia and new presenting sponsor O’Neill Australia, the world’s leading wetsuit supplier and a committed supporter of Australian surfing and ASP events worldwide. Other sponsors include {{{Nova}}} 93.7, Department of Sport & Recreation, SunSmart, Brownes Chill, Tooheys Extra Dry, {{{Odyssey}}} 2020, Surftech, Coca-Cola, Leeuwin Estate, Chooks Fresh & Tasty, The Sunday Times, Margarets Beach Resort, Margaret River Law, FCS Fin Control Systems, Tracks, Surfersvillage, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Association of Surfing Professionals and Surfing WA.

To be held in conjunction with the Margaret River Pro will be the ninth annual ‘Mainbreak’ concert, this Saturday, April 1 at Margaret River Oval. Mainbreak features a kaleidoscope of live sounds, including the multi-platinum king of pop n roll, Ben Lee in his only WA show, alongside international drum and bass superstars Pendulum, plus Bodyjar, Butterfingers, Cowtown, Raggabeats, Fdel, Armee, Cooker and Adema. For tickets and full details, visit