Owen Wright

Margaret River is one of few locations on the ASP World Qualifying Series capable of really challenging professional surfers by delivering powerful large surf and when the surfers arrived today they knew they would be calling up the best of their ocean skills with a solid swell pounding the outer reef at Surfers Point.

The message became clearer even before the opening heat began when veteran Brazilian surfer Paulo Moura signalled to the judging tower by waiving his broken board to hold off on starting the heat and get a new board out to him after his was snapped when paddling to the line up.

The frantic start failed to rattle Moura who went on to impressively win the heat defeating up and coming Hawaiian Mason Ho comfortably on a score line of each surfers top two scoring rides of 13.50 to Ho’s 11.23.

“ That was a tough start to the heat and luckily I was able to get the attention of the tower and get a new board out quickly” said Moura.

“Waves like this test us all and you feel good about your surfing when you win in these conditions.”

Australia’s fastest emerging young surfer Owen Wright, who grew up on NSW’s south coast but has recently relocated to Lennox Head is rapidly establishing himself on the open ASP circuit and this morning toyed with the conditions to notch up another impressive heat win.

With excellent large surf forecast all week,  Wright is optimistic about his chances here.

“It’s big open ocean surf and I definitely like the wave as you have plenty of scope to really put together large power driven moves” said Wright after his heat.

“If it gets bigger as they are predicting I’m fine with that, I’d prefer it bigger than smaller.”

Wright defeated South Africa’s Ricky Basnett who advanced in second place while local favourite Tom Innes was eliminated in third place.

Jay Davies (AUS/Yallingup/WA) kept the local hopes alive when he advanced to round two by placing second in his heat behind Brazil’s Thiago Camarao.

Davies has a reputation built around surfing bigger waves and the powerfully built surfer’s best chances at this event will be based around the bigger it is , the better his chances.

“I went well in that heat and managed one good score even though I had a rough end;  My equipment is feeling good and I feel healthy enough going into the next round” said Davies.

“ The waves are great at the moment and it looks like getting even better as the week goes on, so I’m feeling pretty confident.”

The highest scoring heat winner of the morning went to Hawaiian Ola Elogram who found two strong mid seven point rides while Australia’s Paul Fischer (Gold Coast/Qld) and USA surf Brad Ettinger won their heats with the equal top single wave scores of the day posting excellent 8.17 rides.

Contest Director Mike McAuliffe remains very optimistic about the outlook for surf with offshore winds and excellent swells expected right through the events waiting period with finals of Women’s at this stage scheduled for Saturday and Men’s on the Sunday.

Drug Aware Pro Margaret River is the biggest ASP World Qualifying Series Six Star Prime Rated event in the world. Prize money totalling $US145 000 and essential prime rated points on the ASP World Qualifying Series ensures an outstanding field of the world’s best surfers. A field of more than 250 surfers representing countries such as New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, USA, Peru, Brazil, South Africa, France, Spain, England, Portugal, Reunion Island, Canary Islands, Japan and Israel will be competing with some of Australia’s best surfers across the week long event.


SOURCE: Surfing Australia