The Margaret River Pro, the fifth stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), resumed in solid eight-to-twelve foot surf today with men’s Opening Round. The Margaret River Pro is the final event before the Mid-season Cut, and the upcoming Elimination Rounds will be critical for the competitors’ futures on the 2022 CT season. With the competitors’ careers on the line in these next elimination heats, the WSL Tours and Competition team will be eyeing more favourable winds tomorrow morning to resume the Elimination Round. The next call will be tomorrow, Saturday, April 30, at 7:15 a.m. for a possible start at 7:35 a.m. AWST.
John John Florence Leads Standout Performers at Main Break
As expected, the standout performance of the opening day went to two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) who posted the highest two-wave combination of the Opening Round in his heat against WSL wildcard Jacob Willcox (AUS) and Lucca Mesinas (PER). The 2021 Margaret River Pro saw Florence putting down some of the most incredible performances in modern surfing memory before injuring his knee in the Quarterfinal and sitting out the rest of the season. This year, Florence is back, and let it be known with an epic heat win in challenging conditions, to progress into the Round of 32.
“It’s super challenging out there this morning as there is so much energy out in the ocean,” Florence said. “The swell is massive and there has been a lot of wind over the last few days but it’s cleaning up now and there are some great waves out there. I’m stoked that the waves are big today – it’s fun going fast. I love it here, you take off and have so much speed and just have these massive walls in front of you, it’s a lot like some waves we have in Hawaii. My injury here last year was unfortunate but that’s just what happens in sport, especially when surfing waves like this. I’m just happy to be back surfing, and surfing here in West Aus.”
Other standouts in the Opening Round were Ezekiel Lau (HAW above), Connor O’Leary (AUS), and Jackson Baker (AUS), who all earned excellent single-wave scores in their matchups to claim heat wins and progress into the Round of 32. It was essential for both Lau and Baker to grab results as they both sit on the Cut-line here at Margaret River.
Surfers Dig Deep in Opening Round to Avoid Mid-season Cut
A number of surfers who are sitting just above or just below the Mid-season Cut were desperate to avoid the Elimination Round and were able to do so successfully with second-place finishes in their Opening Round Heats. 2022 CT rookie Lucca Mesinas (PER) along with veterans Owen Wright (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA above), and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) all snuck through to the Round of 32 as they look to save their spots on tour, heading into the Quiksilver Pro G-Land.
Another rookie in need of a big result at Margaret River Joao Chianca (BRA), who has been turning heads all season with some of the best performances to not win heats. Today, Chianca took a step in the right direction, claiming victory over Kolohe Andino (USA) and countryman Miguel Pupo (BRA) in Heat 10 of the Opening Round.
“The main goal here is to go all the way to Finals Day,” Chianca said. “I’m going to need a lot to turn things around. I have been trying not to think too much about the cut line here and have just been cruising. WA is such a beautiful and special place. I have got good friends here so it’s been good to help settle my nerves. The tour is tough but I’m going to try and focus my energy on the positive things and see where that takes me.”
WA’s Local Wildcard and Injury Replacements Face Elimination Round, Robinson Through to Round of 32
The Western Australia fans anxiously awaited Jack Robinson’s (above) debut in the 2022 Margaret River Pro as their local hero looked to back up his equal third-place finish at Bells Beach with another big result here on home soil. Robinson was able to sneak into the Round of 32 with a narrow second-place finish over Frederico Morais (PRT).
WSL Wildcard and Margaret River local Jacob Willcox (AUS) has found himself in the Elimination Round after he was unable to overcome Lucca Mesinas (PER) and John John Florence (HAW) in their Opening Round match-up.
Local Trials winner and runner-up Ben Spence (AUS) and Jack Thomas (AUS) were dispatched to Elimination Round 2 after losing their opening round heats at Main Break. The pair will get one more chance when competition resumes as they move into the dreaded Elimination Round.
Margaret River Pro Men’s Opening Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Callum Robson (AUS) 12.17 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 10.00, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 9.83
HEAT 2: Jackson Baker (AUS) 12.03 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 10.77, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 10.17
HEAT 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.00 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.37, Kelly Slater (USA) 9.20
HEAT 4: John John Florence (HAW) 15.60 DEF. Lucca Mesinas (PER) 8.93, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 8.44
HEAT 5: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.10 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 8.50, Ben Spence (AUS) 7.70
HEAT 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 9.63, Jack Thomas (AUS) 6.90
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.17 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 13.26, Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.17
HEAT 8: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.70 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 10.90, Deivid Silva (BRA) 7.63
HEAT 9: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.80 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 12.90, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.24
HEAT 10: Joao Chianca (BRA) 12.43 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.87, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.27
HEAT 11: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.33 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.17, Seth Moniz (HAW) 6.50
HEAT 12: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.07 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.47, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.43
Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Jack Thomas (AUS)
HEAT 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Ben Spence (AUS)
HEAT 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
HEAT 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
Margaret River Pro Women’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Luana Silva (HAW) vs. Mia McCarthy (AUS)
HEAT 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
The WSL Acknowledges the Wadandi people as the Traditional Owners of the Margaret River region and thank them for welcoming us to their Boodja (Country). We pay our respects to the Wadandi community and their Elders past and present. The WSL is committed to ongoing learning about local history, culture, and language of Wadandi Boodjar (Saltwater People’s Country). They have asked all of us to walk together softly on county and respect the ocean and waterways. We wish to also extend this Acknowledgement and respect to other First Nations Peoples who join us in person and online.
Watch LIVEThe event window for the Margaret River Pro is now open and holds a competition window through May 4. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition’s Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.