The second stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) got underway today with the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Trials and press conference in advance of the first day of competition.
Trial winners Nathan Hedge (Sydney/AUS) and Laura Macaulay (WA/AUS) as well as Yadin Nicol (WA/AUS) take the event wildcards and join the ASP Top 34 and Top 17 to complete the field for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Nicol will face 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 5 and Hedge will match up against reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 6. Women's trials winner Laura Macaulay will face reigning two-time ASP Women's World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) in Round 1 Heat 3.
â€œEveryone seems really refreshed and fired up for this event. The level really stepped up at the Gold Coast,â€ said Mick Fanning. â€œBoth the men and women took it through the roof even though there were tricky conditions that caught a few people out. I'm really excited about this year.â€
â€œI've been here before a couple of years ago and it was good. My win at the Gold Coast has given me confidence for this year but I know it's just the beginning; there are lots of events still to come. It feels weird to be up there on top,â€ said Gabriel Medina.
Taj Burrow said â€œit's great to be here with my friends and family, to be sleeping in my own bed and competing in a home event. I'm really excited about this year, I've had a great start and I'm looking forward to it.â€
â€œI had a terrible start at the Gold Coast but I'm so happy to be here in Margaret River and surfing in this event. I love it here,â€ said John John Florence.
â€œMargaret River is a great addition to the Tour. It's a tricky wave and you have to place your maneuvers in just the right part of the wave. The event really adds variety and I'm really excited to be back here,â€ said Carissa Moore.
â€œI need to find my groove again after a win at the Gold Coast. I've put in a lot of hard work and will do the best I can here. It's important to stay consistent; you can win the first event but quickly lose that advantage,â€ said Stephanie Gilmore.
â€œWith six foot waves and good wind it's perfect here at Margaret River. It's good fun and there's lots of options,â€ said Tyler Wright.