Although heats haven't run yet at Margaret River, facing a lack of swell the first few days of the waiting period, a few of the world's best athletes took advantage and set out on a marsupial mission.
Stephanie Gilmore, Nikki Van Dijk, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Coco Ho ventured over to Rottnest Island -- which sits just offshore from Perth in Western Australia. In addition to its white sand beaches and isolated coves, the island is known for its inhabitants: The quokka. The popular marsupial has been dubbed the happiest animal on Earth and for good reason...it will smile for your selfie.
"This is my first time to Rottnest Island," said Stephanie Gilmore, the current Jeep Leader. "I didn't know the quokka selfie was a thing until Jessi Miley-Dyer [WSL Deputy Commissioner] went last year. They're actually pretty cute but Coco was terrified. She was looking at it like it was a giant killing machine. Typical Coco," said Gilmore.
Quokkas live on a few smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, and there are over 10,000 of them living on Rottnest. Because there is a large amount of food and water in the area, quokkas can be found roaming the island year round.
"I'm no animal whisperer," said Ho. "So just feeding it alone was kind of scary. But it was a pretty special lay day. This isn't something we normally do."
The women took a bike rides around the island (which is about 24km), visiting white sand beaches along the way. A protected nature reserve, the island also offers stunning snorkeling opportunities. Strickland Bay is located on the west side, and is one of the more popular breaks.
"There are new experiences everywhere we go and that's what is so great about what we do," said Fitzgibbons. "Being on bikes and cruising around the whole island was my highlight."
"Being Australian, I've heard so much about Rottnest Island," said Van Dijk. "Being able to come here on a lay day and share this experience with the girls has been really great. Now we're all ready for the contest tomorrow."
The Margaret River Pro and Margaret River Pro - Women's may kick off Friday local time at North Point (just up the street from Main Break). Check back for the call at 7am AWST and watch live daily on WSL and Facebook from April 11 - 22.