Opening Day At The Drug Aware Pro

All Photos: Corey Wilson
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Don’t be such a square
As the sun rose, a cold offshore wind swept through the vineyards of Margaret River and out into the Indian Ocean blue. How quaint. While the main peak looked fun, the wave just across the sharky channel — The Box — looked insane. Luckily enough, the event has the capability to run heats out at the slab. Oh? This morning, however, event organizers made the call not to. As a result, something of a super session went down at The Box during the first few heats of the day and it featured plenty of fake-10s.

So three guys walk into a heat…
Everybody wins when nobody loses — actually, that’s not true at all. On the men’s side of the draw, we saw 12 winners out of 36 surfers today as they tore straight through Round 1. One of the perks of our new and improved ASP is the inclusion of priority in three man heats. The beach announcers couldn’t stop talking about how great it is. It takes tactics out of the equation! Alleviates stress! The best surfer always wins! Well, yeah…

Jordy Smith shook his shaky start at Quik Pro Gold Coast with a commanding win against Rainoi Monteiro and Sebastian Zeitz. It was a statement heat from the lowest-ranked title contender.
Taj Burrow should kiss the timekeeper. A wave broke 2 seconds after his heat with Brett Simpson and Freddy P. Brett went right. Fred went left. Both guys got the score they needed to steal the win from Taj, except neither guy got the score they needed to steal the heat from Taj because the buzzer had just sounded. Pucker up.
Yadin Nicol’s heart dethroned a logo-less Kelly Slater. Yadin may live in California now, but his heart still resides in Margaret River and it put together an impressive performance today. Cardiologists applaud.
Julian Wilson looked awesome and not just on land. Hunk-boy carved his way to a win against Jeremy Flores and Dion Atkinson, earning 16.00 points in the process — the highest total of the round.
Jadson Andre landed an air. Yay.
Gabriel Medina, John John Florence and Kolohe Andino had a heat together and it lived up to expectations. Even though they’re the collective pride of the same generation, there is a huge contrast in the way each of them surf. For example, today, Kolohe used his rail. John John used the air. And Gabriel used his backhand (and the air), then waltzed off with the win. A huck into the wind earned him the highest score of the day, an 8.90, as well as a first class ticket to Round 3.

Ladies Second?
Chivalry is dead and it probably has been for a while. After the men finished Round 1, the women were sent out in wind-tarnished bowls. Thew waves weren’t exactly world class (OK, it sucked), but the gals made the most of it. Courtney Conlogue has won this event in the past and made it clear that she’d like to do it again sometime. Dare we call her underrated? The usual suspects of Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright all won heats as well, but not in a very stunning fashion. Somebody give these girls a good wave! Or at least hold the door open for them.

They say that tomorrow…
Juxtaposition! Round 2 might run in conditions that will be slightly smaller, but with stakes that are much higher. —Brendan Buckley