Big swell descending on Margaret River.
It’s always great when a massive swell lands on a CT event. It might not be epic conditions, and it might be a tedious effort for the safety crew and for the surfers, but it is a big change-up for the spectators. There was nothing more exciting than watching Italo getting washed around the corner at Bells while the safety crew, despite doing a stellar job, lost him to the elements for agonizingly long moments. It was enough for him to cry on live webcast. It was awesomeness. It was added value. There were people getting bounced on the shorebreak, paddling for their lives against the looming lump of rock called The Button, boards breaking left right and center. It was enthralling to watch, it was adrenalizing. ‘Strewth, it was good to be alive!
It’s coming back. While Keramas was a lovely contest, and Steph’s wave was the all-time of all-time waves, there wasn't too much peril in the water. The only dangers the surfers ever really faced was either landing on their fins after a failed air attempt, or coming up against Jeremy in a heat. Otherwise the set-up was peachy and smiley and high fives and Coronas while lolling in the urine-gold water of the Komune pool.
There is chance of a little bit of peril coming back, as Margarets prepares itself for a little mother of a swell. Whether the contest stays at massive Main Break lefts or trundles across to North Point, there is going to be some carnage mixed in with some hard liquor over the next two or three days’ worth of competition.
When shit gets heavy, there are always a few surfers who you can count on to impress, to charge, and to throw themselves over the edge.
Kelly Slater is obviously one of the guys who will find the big surf much to his liking. Kelly’s biggest competitive asset is his experience, and when it comes to riding big waves in a competition format, his experience level widens the gap – dramatically – between himself and so many other competitors. Providing he rides the right boards that is. His choice of equipment is so baffling. He should be forced to ride a 6’8 or something, so we can all enjoy watching him surfing again.
Jeremy Flores also knows the separation that the big stuff does to so many on the tour, and when it gets chunky, overhead and scary as hell, then he comes into his own. That first wave at massive Teahupo’o in 2015, with his helmet on, was the moment that so many people realized that he is so incredibly driven as a surfer that he will do whatever it takes. When the heaviest situation arrives, Jeremy goes.
Jack Robinson has won the Volcom Pipe Pro, as well as the Pipeline Invitational, and is head and shoulders above his peers when it gets big and tough. Right now he needs to capitalize on every opportunity he gets when the surf gets ugly, as his game is more CT than QS groveling. He is upskilled when it comes to unruly West Oz waves, and along with his newfound desire to qualify, will be one to watch.
Gabriel Medina is not a crazy charger, but when it gets big he always does well. He is in possession of a way more calculated approach, but he knows what sort of big waves score highly, and is always on them when it gets 2 to 3 times overhead and more. He might never fall off in bigger surf, but he always gets three good ones and the required scores.
Jordy Smith has always had a penchant for bigger surf, and living in Hawaii has brought it even more to the fore. The fact that he has been riding longer equipment and dealing with the bumps and chops with pure brawn is a good sign that he is ready for some big drops and some serious rail work. He looked the part – more so than anyone else - at maxing Bells with that striking 6’5 underfoot, and he’ll be at an advantage already after surfing his 6’3 at small Margies in the seeding round. Jordy also has his eye on the prize and with so much hunger in his eyes he will do whatever it takes to win.
There are 12 – 15 foot faces on the way. Forecast here: https://www.surfline.com/surf-news/2019-margaret-river-pro-forecast/52700