The world’s best surfers have arrived in Margaret River ahead of World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) Stop No. 5, the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, which will open tomorrow and hold a competition window through April 21, 2024.

The powerful peak of Main Break will offer top seeds a chance to move further ahead in their quest for the WSL Final 5, whilst for those sitting low on the rankings, this event is the last chance to bank a big result to avoid the Mid-Season Cut and relegation to the Challenger Series.

Rankings’ Leaders Colapinto and Simmers Aim to Add Margs to Win List in 2024

California duo Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Caitlin Simmers (USA) have taken 2024 by storm with Simmers already earning two CT victories from four events and Colapinto a first and a second-place finish, which has given both competitors the yellow Leader jerseys leading into Margaret River. If they’re to keep the momentum going, they’ll need to break through at Main Break.

“I’m here in Western Aus with my filmer, my manager, and my brother,” said Simmers. “We don’t have wifi at our spot and my mom’s been pissed that my brother hasn’t been doing his school work. But, he loves it that he can’t do the work, so we’ve been having a great time. Bells was crazy. It was kind of a crazy way to win. It’s one of those things where you don’t really believe it happened because I would just trip on how crazy our sport is where stuff like that can happen in the last 20 minutes. You’re so dependent on something so undependable. It’s been nice getting some good waves here.”

Colapinto is proven at this location with the 25-year-old finishing runner-up here to Gabriel Medina (BRA) in 2023 as well as Equal 5th place in 2022 and 3rd in 2021. With another year of experience under his belt, Colapinto believes if he’s on the right waves, the Western Australia Margaret River Pro is an event he can win.

“The ocean is so unpredictable and you need to be able to read it right to be on the right waves,” Colapinto said. “I feel like if I’m on the right waves, my surfing is good enough to win this contest. I have a really good bond with this wave and all of the open ocean waves on Tour like Bells, Sunset, and here. This is a place where you need to feel in touch with nature and I feel like I have that connection when here. I’m feeling good on Tour this year. I feel like my surfing is evolving and getting stronger, and I’m personally growing every year, the only thing that hasn’t changed is my determination. That’s always been strong.”

World No. 2 Johanne Defay Eager to Continue Stellar Run on the 2024 CT

Johanne Defay (FRA), the 30-year-old from Reunion Island, is on a roll with her career-best start to the CT season. Defay kicked off her 2024 CT campaign with two 5th-place finishes on the Hawaii leg, followed by a win in Portugal, and a runner-up finish at Bells. Defay has been a longstanding contender amongst the world’s best surfers for the last ten years, but her momentum this season makes her one to watch for the WSL Final 5 and the World Title. Excelling in waves of consequence, Defay has taken the week to settle into Main Break on its smaller days but is ready should the conditions ramp up during the event window.

“We’ve been surfing Main Break pretty much every day and it’s not been too big, not too crazy, so it’s been nice and kind of relaxing and good weather too,” said Defay. “I don’t really have pressure just being good in the rankings but right before the Cut, we do one throw away so if I want that to count for anything I need to make at least the Semifinals. I’ll just focus on my surfing and try to push it a little bit and not play it too safe, which I feel like I’ve done in the last couple of events. Maybe with less stress on a result, it’ll give me that confidence to stay out the back and just wait for that beautiful wave. Or even perform on the medium size waves, I did that layback at Bells so maybe try to push that harder and also hold my rail longer like Molly did to get that high score on the big carve and really just focus on those big maneuvers.”

Robinson, Willcox, and Macaulay Lean Into Local Support on Home Soil

In 2022, Jack Robinson (AUS) became the first local to win the Western Australia Margaret River Pro in almost three decades, much to the delight of the hometown crowds who lined the cliffs above Main Break. This year, Robinson is joined on the CT by fellow Margaret River local Jacob Willcox (AUS), who will look to join Robinson on the winner’s list as he works to move up the rankings to avoid the Mid-season Cut in his Rookie season.

“I missed last year and there’s just nothing like it, is there?” said Robinson. “I wasn’t in the event last year, and Gabriel was in the event, but he didn’t go against the defending champion, so I still am [laughs]. It was a special moment winning this two years ago, especially with watching this event growing up. Jacob and I have been watching this event since we were into surfing, so to have that moment and to look back and see everyone supporting, it was just a real full-circle moment. I am looking forward to a great event and I am happy to be home.”

There will be two more West Aussie representatives at this year’s event with former CT competitor Bronte Macaulay (AUS) from Gracetown winning the Think Mental Health WA Trials along with Yallingup youngster Otis North (AUS). For North, it will be his first CT appearance whilst Macualy, a former Semifinalist at Main Break, this will be her seventh time competing on the CT in front of a home crowd at Margaret River.

“I know I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m excited to get into the event,” said Macaulay. “The last few months have been really nice to enjoy beautiful Margaret River. I’ve been doing a bit of uni online, which has been a chance, but I’ve just been trying to surf as much as I can. This event means so much. Coming here as a little kid, I’ve always been so inspired. I used to caddy for Sally Fitzgibbons back in the day, and that was a really cool experience for me. I am obviously a big fan of Jack and Jacob and have been watching all their heats. It’s great to have the Tour back here in WA.”

Last Opportunity for Surfers on the Bubble Before the Mid-Season Cut

The competition in Western Australia will see a number of surfers battling for their spot on the CT with the Mid-Season Cut in play. The lowest-ranked surfers (five women and ten men) will lose their spot for the second half of the season and will need to requalify through the Challenger Series. As well as up-starts and CT Rookies, some of surfing’s biggest names are desperate for their best result of the season in Margaret River, including World Champions Gabriel Medina (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Tyler Wright (AUS) and Kelly Slater (USA), as well veterans Lakey Peterson (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS).

Check out the WSL CT rankings, which will be updated live through the event, to stay updated on the Mid-Season Cut qualifications and scenarios.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Molly Picklum (AUS), Luana Silva (BRA), Alyssa Spencer (USA)
Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Sophie McCulloch (AUS)
Heat 3: Caitlin Simmers (USA), Sawyer Lindblad (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), India Robinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), Tyler Wright (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Heat 6: Brisa Hennessy (CRC), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Isabella Nichols (AUS)

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Barron Mamaiya (HAW), Imaikalani DeVault (HAW), Eli Haneman (HAW)
Heat 2: Jack Robinson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 3: Jake Marshall (USA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW), Ian Gentil (HAW), George Pittar (AUS)
Heat 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS), Kade Matson (USA), Reef Heazlewood (AUS)
Heat 6: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Seth Moniz (HAW), Otis North (AUS)
Heat 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Callum Robson (AUS)
Heat 8: Cole Houshmand (USA), Ryan Callinan (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 9: Crosby Colapinto (USA), Yago Dora (BRA), Frederico Morais (POR)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (RSA), Matthew McGillivray (RSA), Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 11: Rio Waida (IDN), Connor O’Leary (JPN), Samuel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Liam O’Brien (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.


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