Professional surfers have been scrambling to find bigger boards as they prepare to take on the huge swells about to unleash on Margaret River’s coast for tomorrow’s competition.
The surf for the Margaret River Pro is predicted to be more like the large, powerful waves which steam in from the Pacific Ocean and hit Hawaii’s famed North Shore.
Yallingup’s Taj Burrow, who has finished in the world’s top 10 ranked surfers since 2002, cannot wait.
I’ve never seen a forecast like it for a surf contest. It looks absolutely amazing.Jake Patterson
“The swell is going to be big with good winds and you can’t ask for much more than that,” Burrow said.
“I don’t feel like I have an advantage here other than the fact I have a garage full of surfboards at home and I heard that some of the guys are scrambling to get some bigger boards.”
The forecast is for very solid, back-to-back groundswells arriving from tomorrow through the rest of the week, with wave faces of up to six metres.
“I’ve never seen a forecast like it for a surf contest. It looks absolutely amazing,” local professional surfer and big wave rider Jake Patterson said.
“It’s not just the swell, the conditions. It’s going to be beautiful offshore and just pristine.
“It’s like Hawaii. It’ll be like Sunset Beach, out in the middle of the ocean and a lot of raw power. When it gets clean, it’s going to be spectacular.”
Patterson, who is also the Quiksilver team manager, has taken calls from various pros asking if he has spare big wave “gun” boards.
Size of waves throws competition wide open
It is not going to be a usual competition.
“Margaret River when it’s huge — you’re not even competing against your competitor,” Patterson said.
“It’s against the ocean, because if you get caught inside on a 15-foot set in Margaret River, your heat’s pretty much done.
“So you’ve got to be smart about dodging the big sets and coming in and getting the nice, clean, wally ones. There’s a full art to it. It’ll be interesting to see how these guys handle it.”
The size of the waves will throw the competition wide open, and favour traditional power surfing over aerials and skateboard-style tricks.
And if the competition moves across the bay to the shallow, slabbing wave called The Box, it will be all about late drops and deep tubes.
That is what last year’s winner, Tahiti’s Michel Bourez, wants.
“I just hope we get to surf The Box, it’s a great wave and I love to get barrelled,” he said.
“I haven’t had the best start this season so I hope to turn that around at this event.”
Hawaiian Carissa Moore, last year’s Margaret River women’s champion and current number one after wins on the Gold Coast and at Victoria’s Bells Beach, will be hard to beat.
“I’ve got some great memories of Margaret River and I’m sure I’ll add a few more this week,” she said.
The defending men’s world champion, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, is looking to improve on his results so far this year.
“The swell is looking really good for the next few days. I just hope I can get some good waves and get the result I want,” Medina said.
The Margaret River Pro will be the third and final event on the Australian leg of the world championship tour and can run until April 26.