Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Schedule: Round 1 (Heats 1-12) of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro
Conditions: Three-to-Five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at Main Break. Offshore wind.
Opening day of the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro would see offshore three-to-five foot conditions at Main Break, prompting an immediate start to Men's Round 1 competition.
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.23, Nat Young (USA) 8.77, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.23
ASP Rookie of the Year Nat Young, Brazilian flyboy Filipe Toledo and veteran Aritz Aranburu would take to the water first, with Toledo drawing first blood. The regular-footer combined a series of powerful carves to open his campaign, notching a 7.00 to take an early lead.
While Young and Aranburu would log moderate scores throughout the 30 minute affair, Toledo would lead the heat from start to finish, advancing directly to Round 3.
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.70, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.26
Heat 2 would see South African Jordy Smith, Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz and dangerous Brazilian Raoni Monteiro take to the water and the trio would be forced to restart the heat following a wave-starved first 10 minutes.
Despite the inconsistent conditions, Smith would log the first excellent score of the event for a series of ferocious forehand carves for an 8.33, marking a solid return to form following an uncharacteristic Round 2 stumble on the Gold Coast.
The South African would continue his Round 1 dominance, locking in to an additional righthander for a 7.00, punctuating a dominant opening campaign at Margaret River.
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.77, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.50, Fred Patacchia (HAW) 7.60
Local hero Taj Burrow, Hawaiian Fred Patacchia and Californian Brett Simpson would exchange a series of low scores throughout the majority of their quiet Round 1 affair, leaving the door open for any competitor to steal a coveted Round 1 win.
While the heat would remain absent of any big scores, Burrow would find a rhythm in the final minutes, logging two mid-range rides on Margaret River's righthanders for the win.
Heat 4: Adam Melling (AUS) 13.17, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 9.30
Clean-but-inconsistent surf rolled through at Main Break for Heat 4 as 2012 ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson took on compatriots Adam Melling and Mitch Coleborn.
Parkinson stayed busy on the righthanders, collecting small-to-mid-range scores and build an early lead.
Melling and Coleborn answered back on both sides of the peak with Melling lighting up a righthander of his own to the tune of a 7.67 and taking the lead.
Despite nursing a knee injury, Melling comes away with the Round 1 win, relegating Parkinson and Coleborn to the elimination Round 2.
Heat 5: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 15.23, Kelly Slater (USA) 11.87, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.37
Trials winner and past ASP WCT competitor Yadin Nicol would put together a dominant performance to open his campaign, lighting up the rights of Main Break to secure a commanding Round 1 win over 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater and Bed Durbidge.
The local hero would lead the bout from start to finish, sealing a spot directly in to Round 3 compliments of an 8.23 and 7.00, leaving both Slater and Durbidge in need of excellent scores throughout the heat.
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.17, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 9.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.57
Following an explosive performance from Yadin Nicol, reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning, former tour veteran Nathan Hedge and Matt Wilkinson would battle for a Round 3 berth.
Fanning looked in synch on the Margaret River rights from start to finish, locking in two solid midrange scores to take an opening heat win.
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.00, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.53, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.17
While the previous heat was plagued by inconsistent waves, Julian Wilson put together one of the heats of the day, detonating an 8.50 and 7.50 with an impressive forehand display on the Margaret River rights.
Wilson managed to log the highest heat total of the morning, but was incredibly patient, riding only three waves throughout his 30 minute affair.
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.57, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.06, Travis Logie (ZAF) 8.90
Heat 8 proved to be an inter-continental battle of the goofy-footers with Brazilian Miguel Pupo taking on American C.J. Hobgood and South African Travis Logie.
With the offshore conditions dissipating and the cleanliness of the main break peak somewhat compromised, wave selection became key.
Pupo, drawing off the momentum of a Semifinals berth on the Gold Coast, continued his form run in Round 1 today besting his elder competitors and advancing through to Round 3.
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.50, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 4.83, Alejo Muniz (BRA)
With Alejo Muniz absent from Round 1 due to a last-second ankle injury, Josh Kerr would take on Ace Buchan in a rare man-on-man battle for direct advancement to Round 3.
Kerr, a former winner at Margaret River as a Prime rated event, looked at home on the rights of Margaret River, picking off two midrange scores. Buchan would hunt both the lefts and rights on offer during his heat, but failed to build substantial scores. Kerr would advance directly to Round 3.
While Muniz failed to surf, he is allowed to surf again in Round 2.
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.50, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.26, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.86
One of the most highly-anticipated match-ups of Round 1 was on display during Heat 10 with form Brazilians Adriano de Souza and Jadson Andre taking on a returning-to-form Owen Wright.
The afternoon onshore crumble made wave selection and adaptability paramount for the bout and Andre's speed, flow and explosiveness were apparent in his opening round approach with the young Brazilian took the heat win advancing through to Round 3.
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.40, Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.83, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.10
With onshore winds creeping in, Tahitian Michel Bourez would take on Australians Kai Otton and rookie Mitch Crews.
With a unique approach to surfing from each athlete, Otton would lead the affair with impressive power on his backhand, attacking the Main Break rights with furious combinations. Bourez would unload his powerful attack while Crews would display his progressive approach, but Otton's backhand combinations would earn the victory.
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.40, John John Florence (HAW) 14.67, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.96
The final heat of the round turned out to be a barn-burner with the aerial vanguard of surfing's next generation doing battle.
Current ASP WCT No. 1 Gabriel Medina, former event winner John John Florence and Californian wunderkind Kolohe Andino all took to the Margaret River righthanders with power, punch and bite.
Florence opened up the affair with a monster forehand rotation to take an early lead.
However, Medina answered back with a huge helicopter backhand aerial transitioning into a series of powerful turns.
A late assault from Florence and Andino proved not enough to overtake the Brazilian and they'll battle it out in their respective Round 2 heats.