MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Tuesday, April 14, 2015) – The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), begins tomorrow with a competitive window of April 15 – 26, 2015. With a solid forecast and significant swell on the way the the world’s best male and female surfers have arrived in Western Australia to battle the waves and each other for the chance to win the final event on the Australian leg of the CT.
Defending WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) is current world No. 9 following a fifth place at Bells Beach and is looking to better his Quarterfinal finish at last year’s Drug Aware Margaret River Pro to put him in contention for the 2015 world title.
“It’s good to be back in Margaret River,” Medina said. “I’m feeling really good about this event and excited to get it started. 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.”
2014 event winners Michel Bourez (PYF) and Carissa Moore (HAW) are looking to defend their titles this year. Bourez is searching for a strong result at Margaret River after a disappointing start to the year while Moore comes into the event as world No. 1, wearing the Jeep leader jersey after an excellent start to 2015 with back-to-back wins on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach.
“Margaret River is where I won my first ever WSL CT event so it’s a very special place for me,” Bourez said. “I just hope we get to surf The Box, it’s a great wave and I love to get barrelled. I haven’t had the best start this season so I hope to turn that around at this event.”
“I love this place!” Moore said. “I’ve got some great memories of Margaret River and I’m sure I’ll add a few more this week. I’m having a really good year so far and my boyfriend just arrived from Hawaii so I’m excited about this week and the rest of the year ahead.”
Last year’s event, and world title, runner-up Tyler Wright (AUS) is currently ranked joint third in the world after a Quarterfinal and Semifinal result so far this year. Wright will match up against Silvana Lima (BRA) and Laura Enever (AUS) in the opening round of competition.
“I’m so excited to be back down here,” Wright said. “I do this for my career because I want to surf good waves and get our there and do my thing and so it’s always excited to start an event with a great forecast.”
WA surfer Taj Burrow (AUS), who has finished in the Top 10 every year since 2002, is looking to better his 13th place result here last year and will faceBede Durbidge (AUS) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Round 1.
“I’m excited to have a good forecast for this event,” Burrow said. “I’m really proud of the South West coast and I just want everyone to come here, score some great waves and have some fun too. The swell is going to be big with good winds and you can’t ask for much more than that. 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.”
Current No. 2 on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) and former CT surfer Alejo Muniz (BRA) has been selected as the wildcard for the event. Muniz will face Medina and Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) in Round 1.
The trials event happening today will determine which two athletes will join WSL Top 34 and 17 and complete the field for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. The highest placed male and female surfers will each earn a place to complete against the world’s best at Margaret River.
Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are tracking pair of significant SW groundswells for the opening few days of the waiting period.
Very solid, back-to-back SW groundswells prevail on Wednesday and Thursday, easing a bit on Friday. Another very strong SSW groundswell looks possible for Saturday, and could be even larger than the surf for Wed/Thur. Morning wind conditions look favorable for the next few days, with some periods of side or onshore flow in the afternoons.
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.
The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Nat Young (USA), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), TBD
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)