The Margaret River Pro is the third stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) attracting the best 34 male (plus 1 WSL and 1 event wild card entry) and 17 female surfers (plus 1 wild card entry) in the world.
As the action on Main Break gets underway on Tuesday (10 April) for the Drug Aware WA Trials, which guarantees a place in the Margaret River Pro for one male and one female WA surfer, to compete alongside the world's best, here’s ten things you need to know about the Margaret River Pro.
- WSL confirms wild cards: Kelly Slater has withdrawn from the Margaret River Pro due to his ongoing foot injury. Bede Durbidge was the first in line as a WSL injury replacement but declined the spot, so the injury wild card will now go to Brazilian Miguel Pupo, by way of his ranking. Pupo fell off Tour at the end of 2017, but is currently ranked No.5 on the Qualifying Series (QS), where he's been pushing hard to requalify, as reported on www.worldsurfleague.com. Mikey Wright is the pre-selected wild card under the provision of his 9th place finish at the Gold Coast and as best placed Australian in the current QS rankings.
- Two will be wearing the yellow jersey, sharing the top spot on the Men’s CT leaderboard - Julian Wilson (AUS) after winning on the Gold Coast and Italo Ferreria (BRA) who won his first CT event at Bells. In the Women’s CT, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will be in the yellow jersey after taking the lead when she won at Bells Beach, her fourth time ringing the winner’s bell.
- Bronte Macaulay is a Gracetown local and the only West Australian in the WSL CT and we're cheering for her all the way. Go BMac!
- Margaret River is known as one of the most consistent big wave destinations in the world and is the only place where there are world class waves, award-winning wineries, ancient caves and tall-timber forests all in close proximity.
- The Margaret River Pro trophy is always made by a local artist, this year it's being made by Gary Bennett from Jahroc Gallery; it’s a beautiful Marri and natural-edged Jarrah wood carving of a stylised wave.
- There is a massive amount of recycling that happens as the event moves towards a zero plastic policy in 2020 – the use of biodegradable products, rashies and clothing are made from recycled plastic, the fencing mesh is recycled and vendors are encouraged not to use plastic straws. Do your bit and bring your own bottle and refill it at one of the water stations on site.
- The world's best surfers love coming to Margaret River to compete at the Pro and are often spotted enjoying the delights of the region before, after and during lay days as well as surfing some of the region's other breaks (last year John John Florence was spotted at Floating Europhia, Kelly Slater often sneaks into Morries for a meal, Stephanie Gilmore has been spotted at the White Elephant Beach Cafe).
- There are about 300 volunteers and dozens of local businesses support the Pro - we love them all and are very grateful for their continued support.
- Last year, the Margaret River Pro attracted 6,200 visitors to the region, who stayed more than 28,000 nights and generated a $5.4 million economic boost for the region – the Pro has generated over $20 million since the event was granted top tier status in 2013.
- The first Margaret River Pro was held in 1985 and the judges’ area was nothing more than a double decker bus parked at Surfers Point. Nowadays the Margaret River Pro is a top-tier competition with three competition breaks – Main Break, The Box and North Point – it attracts about 30,000 spectators to Surfers Point over the event and there’s a new live site at Reuther Park in town, the Drug Aware Chill Out Zone complete with big screen, rugs, table and chairs and loads of activities and prize giveaways.
This year is the 33rd edition of the Margaret River Pro and will be held at Surfers Point between 11 and 22 April with competition taking place at Main Break, The Box and North Point, depending on the conditions of the day.
To find out if the event is ON, OFF or ON HOLD, please follow Surfing WA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.