NewsMargaret River ProYadin Nicol

The Disruptors of West Oz

At each Tour stop, a jersey is tossed to a local ripper to pit their homegrown skill against the World's best. While local wildcards rarely make the podium, many have sent top-ranked seeds packing in early rounds.

Since being reintroduced to the World Championship Tour in 2014, the Margaret River Pro has seen several disruptive performances by Western Australians. Here are some classic moments from West Oz locals that have transpired at the event over the years ...

2014 Nicole vs. Fanning
Nicol's 9.77 air that sent Fanning packing at the Drug Aware Margaret Rive Pro.

In 2014, Cowaramup's Yadin Nicol was given the local wildcard. Nicol smashed Kelly Slater and Bede Durbidge in Round 1, which seeded him against defending World Champion Mick Fanning in Round 3. Drawing on his aerial prowess, Nicol stomped a huge reverse at Main Break for a 9.77, which put Fanning into a combo situation he never found his way out of.

Perhaps the most powerful performance by a local wildcard at the Margaret River Pro was by Yallingup's Jay Davies in 2015. Drawing on his experience at The Box and his blend of power surfing, progressive airs and tube riding, Davies eliminated two World Champions.

2015 Davies vs. Medina
Davies 9.1 goes upagainst reigning World Champion Gabriel Medina at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.

At the infamous slab, Davies put on a late-drop to foam-ball ride clinic and bested reigning World Champion Gabriel Medina in Round 2, 3x World Champion Mick Fanning in Round 3 and Jeremy Flores in Round 5. Davies eventually fell in the Quarters to John Florence.

2015 Davies vs. Fanning
Davies' deep barrel at The Box that earned a 9.5.

After Davies' incredible performance in 2015, he was invited back to the Margaret River Pro in 2016. Unfortunately for Davies, he didn't find the same rhythm as he did the previous year and was eliminated in Round 2 at Main Break by Flores. Fellow local wildcards Jack Robinson and Jacob Willcox also failed to advance in 2016.

Jacob Willcox earned the local wildcard in 2017 and in a battle of backhands, faced Gabriel Medina in Round 2. In marginal Main Break, Willcox was able to out-carve the World Champion for a narrow win despite Medina having the highest scoring wave in the heat. However, Willcox fell victim to an unstoppable Florence in Round 3.

Trials winner, event wildcard and local favourite Jacob Willcox placed second in Heat 6 of Round Three to finish equal 13th at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro at the Main Break, Western Australia. West Oz local Jacob Willcox at Main Break in 2017. WSL / Matt Dunbar

Now fast forward to the 2019 Margaret River Pro. Jack Robinson, who currently sits in the 5th spot on the QS leaderboard has been given the local wildcard.

Between Robinson's previous performances in the CT arena and his jaw-dropping video parts, his surfing is undoubtedly Tour caliber, especially in waves he's familiar with. Robinson is dangerous at The Box. In freesurfs, he's been known to take a whimsical approach to the consequential slab, occasionally going doubles in the tube with a friend.

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Jack Robinson of Australia advances to Round 3 of the 2019 Margaret River Pro after winning Heat 1 of Round 2 at Main Break on May 31, 2019 in Margaret River, Western Australia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Get Could 21-year-old surf prodigy Jack Robinson be the next local wildcard to cause an upset at Margaret River? WSL / Matt Dunbar

In crumbled and sectiony surf at Main Break, Robinson won his Elimination Round heat in the last minute. Robinson will face Filipe Toledo in the Round of 32.

If the remaining rounds run at The Box, seasoned Tour veterans like Toledo and the competing World Champions will definitely have their work cut out for them against Robinson. Will Robo be the next disrupter of West Oz? We'll see in the coming days.

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