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Julian Wilson, getting comfortable at Margaret River. Photo: Nate Smith

Julian Wilson, getting comfortable at Margaret River. Photo: Nate Smith


The Inertia

The Drug Aware Pro has been in action for two decades, and this year it’s being run as a World Championship Tour event for the first time ever. Despite this long history, it is still a bit of an unknown.

The wave breaks left and right and, having watched a few highlight reels from previous events, appears to have many different moods: from big, angry, right-hand barrels to small, playful, mellow lefts. It’s the type of event where what the swell, in large part, dictates the winner.

For a glimpse at what it might take to win here, let’s look back at the last three winners: Josh Kerr, John John Florence, and Dusty Payne. These surfers are all capable of mixing it up with big airs, hacks, and barrels. This is what the pros need to safe proof themselves for this event. A weakness in any area could be exposed at Margret River.

If the waves are small, then surfers like Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson may struggle to display the same dominance they have recently. If it’s run in big surf, the air specialists like Toledo might not be making many heats.

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So far, the wave charts are displaying average-sized surf for the first couple of days. It looks like it will be clean as well, so expect it to get underway on day one. Of course, this could all change if more recent forecasts predict big pumping waves later in the waiting period, but for now align your Fantasy Surfer teams with this in mind.

The women will also be interesting to watch here, especially if the surf gets big. Past winner Carissa Moore has to be the number one pick. She’ll be angry she lost at Snapper, and this wave certainty suits her. Positioning is said to be hard here as it breaks a long way out to sea, is shifty, and has strong rips. Coming from Hawaii, these conditions will be familiar to Moore.

New Zealand’s own Paige Hareb is also used to a bit of this. Large Rocky Lefts conditions would be on her wish list, as it will give her a real advantage over the other girls. Paige hasn’t put in a polished effort in quite some time on the World Tour and is due a big result. Hopefully she can get on a roll here and make a push for the Top Five at the end of year.

My Top 5 Picks for the Drug Aware Pro.

Julian Wilson

Josh Kerr

Jordy Smith

Taj Burrow

JJ Florence.

*Kelly Slater will probably win.

Previously posted on gosurf.co.nz

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