Today, at the Margaret River Pro, the women paddled out at North Point for the first time in event history. The heavy right-hand reef break, near Gracetown, helps give the wild west its raw and unpredictable reputation. Unlike Main Break, North Point mutates over a shallow reef, creating ledges and double up sections. In addition to its already-complicated lineup, the wind kicked in this afternoon adding yet another element.
Deputy Commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer made the decision to run women's Round 1 at the new location once conditions had calmed down. "This is a good opportunity for the women to try and figure this spot out," she said. "Surfing new, heavy waves is how we will grow as a Tour and as a sport."
If the women were rattled by the decision, they didn't show it. Carrissa Moore had a standout Round 1 performance. Being in the first heat, she demonstrated what is possible at North Point given the conditions on offer. The Honolulu native earned a 5.83 on her first scoring wave and backed it up with a 7.50 -- winning the round by a landslide and taking one of the higher heat totals of the day.
"I have to admit, I was pretty nervous when they told us we would be surfing North Point this morning," said Moore. "I don't really know this break that well and the past few sessions I've had, the guys really dominate the peak. But there are a lot of stops on Tour that allow the women to showcase their talent as a whole. Having us try out new locations really pushes us and the sport."
Tatiana Weston-Webb also paddled into the lineup with an undeniable determination. The Hawaii local paddled out in Heat 5 against Tyler Wright and Macy Callaghan in heavy, 4-6-foot conditions. Wright was on the hunt for the perfect barrel. Unfortunately with the winds and tricky lineup, finding the right wave in 30 minutes became almost impossible. The Australian landed a 7.67 on her last scoring wave but it wasn't enough to overtake Weston-Webb. The Kauaian scored a 9.00 for a solid two-turn combo, earning the highest single-wave score of the day.
"It's so tough to read the lineup," said Weston-Webb. "I didn't even know that was a 9.00. I was just hoping for a 7.5 to match Tyler. It's really confusing out there. I had a game-plan but you just have to adapt with what you are given. It's nice because the ones on the ledge aren't as effected by the wind."
Weston-Webb is coming off of an impressive runner-up finish at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach. And although she had a rough start to the season, her confidence is back in place after her performance last week.
"It feels really special to have surfed a heat at North Point today," said Weston-Webb. "The conversations we were having before the call were really exciting. It was a good call to have us run. Win or lose we made history today."
Check back tomorrow for the Margaret River Pro call and Round 2 action at 7am AWST and watch live daily on WSL and Facebook.