Championship Tour number three begins this week as we close out the last of the Australian legs. The tour heads out West for the Margaret River Pro, with the event window open for the 11th of April to the 22nd of April.
Main Break at Margaret River is a reef break that can provide both left and rights, with the left being more crumbling wave that peels slowly, giving surfers a chance to go up and down the face before turning fat when it reaches the channel. The right is more of a fast paced ride providing barrel sections. But can be devastating if you don't kick out on time before the reef goes dry.
Last year's event was epic with almost perfect conditions. John John Florence was really never tested as he won last year's Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, ahead of Fellow American Kolohe Andino. Florence will love to repeat what he produced last year, but will have to show more than what he has so far in the season. Florence hasn't reached the finals in the past two events, bombing out in the second round to Mikey Wright in the Gold Coast then losing to Ezekiel Lau in the third round of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. He is now ranked 26th in the league and needs a huge boost in Margaret River to get his 2018 year underway.
It's been an exciting start to the year, but also also a sad start as we farewelled one of the most iconic surfers in the history of the ASP/WSL history with Mick Fanning calling it quits at the prestigious Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. Fanning reached the final but was taken out by young Brazilian Italo Ferraro who looked good all week, defeating the likes of Ezekiel Lau and Gabriel Medina to win his first WSL Final event. Ferraro is now ranked equal first with Julian Wilson and is a serious contender coming into Margaret River.
Over the first two events we have seen a competitive battle between the young and the old. Griffin Colapinto and Tomas Hermes have been the best for the young, both already ranked inside the top ten. Colapinto had a round three loss to Wilkinson at Bells, but did make the semi final at Snapper Rocks before going down to Julian Wilson. Hermes has also had a similar run making the semi at Snapper then losing in the second round to fellow rookie Wade Carmichael. Can they continue their form in the year ahead?
It's been a disappointing start for a handful of veterans including John John Florence, Jordy Smith and Matt Wilkinson. The three surfers mentioned all finished in the top ten in 2017 and are yet to make the finals in the first two events. Smith has two round three losses in the first two events losing to rookies Hermes and Carmichael. John John has had similar run losing to wildcard Mikey Wright and young gun Ezekiel Lau. They will need to make it past the heats at Margaret River if they are any chance of a comeback in 2018.
Looking into the Margaret River event, Kelly Slater has dropped out of the event once again which has made way for Miguel Pupo. Pupo doesn't have the best record at this event but will get another crack and Mikey Wright will enter his first Margaret River event, he will hoping to repeat the run he had at Snapper Rocks.
Two surfers that look like they are on the up in 2018 is Owen Wright and Michel Bourez. Wright has two quarter final appearances this season and will be hoping to better his 2017 run at Margaret River where he lost in the quarters. Bourez has also had two quarter final appearances in 2018 and has enjoyed his best start on the WSL tour.
This year looks to be one of the most competitive in WSL history and at the moment the Margaret River Pro could end up in anyone's hands. The event looks like to be kicking off on the start date, so enjoy another entertaining Margaret River Pro.
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