It was a busy week at the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona and around the surf world. The pilgrimage to Western Australia has paid off huge with some seriously pumping surf and epic performances to match. And while the event has gone on hold for a hot minute to wait out some howling onshore winds, the Finals day match-ups are locked in and there's heaps to be excited about once the action resumes. Until then, there's what you need to know from the last Week In Waves:
John John Florence Injury Withdraw
After a dominating run through the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona, two-time World Champion John John Florence has withdrawn from the event, as well as the remainder of the Australian leg of the Championship Tour, due to an injury to his left knee sustained during his Round of 16 heat against Brazilian Peterson Crisanto.
"It's not the same knee I dealt with last year, so that's good, but with the Olympics coming up this summer I'm going to focus on healing up and getting strong," Florence told the WSL.
Before the injury, Florence's surfing had positioned him as the clear front-runner to win at Margaret River. In the Seeding Round, he posted the first and only 10-point ride of the Men's 2021 CT season. And while he stumbled against rookie Morgan Cibilic in the two Australian events in New South Wales, he came into Western Australia third on the WSL Leaderboard and was happy to return the venue in which he's enjoyed so much competitive success.
Down Goes Gabe Medina
The man of steel, Gabriel Medina went down in a bit of a shocker against Hawaiian Seth Moniz. Medina kicked off the Round of 16 by paddling under Moniz to try and block him from a wave and establish priority. A cutthroat tactic, Medina paid the price when he was sucked over the falls and suffered a brutal beating. Perhaps rattled, the rest of the heat saw Medina uncharacteristically digging rails, sliding out and getting clipped in backhand barrels. After making the Finals of every event this season, for the first time he'll be watching Finals day from the cliff. Or he'll be wine tasting with his wife. Either way, his yellow leader jersey may be on the line if Italo Ferreira takes the win.
Clash Of the Champions
Both have surfed in eight events at Margaret River, and interestingly, both have surfed in 33 heats, but Moore has been far more successful over the years. With 27 heat wins, she holds an 82-percent winning average compared to Gilmore's 55-percent winning average, who has 18 heat wins. Moore's also been able to earn 13 more excellent scoring rides than Gilmore, who's never made the Finals at Margaret River.
Sage Erickson Faces Her Fears ... And Overcomes Them
When the surf started really pumping during the women's Elimination Round heats, Sage Erickson wasn't exactly what you'd call stoked. She was more like, well, nervous.
"I came down last night just to really get a grasp of how big it was and it was huge and the whole bay was closing out," said Erickson. "But today I was nervous again when I saw that we were on. I had a chat with Jessi and Renato about what the forecast was looking like and what to expect, and they really want to elevate and push the women in bigger surf. Being a part of that generation, I can do my part. So today I was like I am going to have fun and Tom was like, ‘Just smile, you're so happy and you'll have a great time,' so it's good."
For the effort, Erickson found a way to overcome favorite Courtney Conlogue, who has a well-earned reputation in big surf, and advance into the Round of 16.
Bronte Macaulay Gives Margaret River Much To Cheer About
Margaret River regular Bronte Macaulay has put together a dream run in front of her hometown crowd. When last we saw her she was enjoying a win over World No. 2 Caroline Marks. And with her dad, a Margs legend himself, watching on from the bluff above, she took out hard-to-handle French power surfer Johanne Defay in the Quarters. Applying her well-honed backhand attack, she's into the Semis and on pace for one of the best results of her young career. She'll now face Weston-Webb when competition resumes.
"That was a hectic heat, especially at the end. The rain was making it hard to see my lineups and it was even hard to see where Johanne was after she got that last wave and if it was good," Macaulay said. "I didn't know what was going on, so it was super stressful. I'm so stoked to make it, it's really special, especially at home. All of my family have been coming down each day and cheering me on, so it feels good to keep making heats."
Waves Coming For Finals Day
While the event is off for a couple days to wait out some howling West Oz winds, there is plenty of south swell on the way. Kevin Wallis at Surfline reports the following for the upcoming weekend:
"Larger SW swell remains on track to build late Friday but strongest on Saturday. While we still don't expect this swell to be as strong as what we saw to open the event, it will be larger than Thu-Fri with solid surf in the double overhead range and largerst sets pushing toward 3x overhead (~15' faces). Wind is again mainly onshore, although a light window is possible early Saturday."
"By Sunday the long period SW swell will be trending down, but we may also see a new, mid period SW to WSW swell fill in during the afternoon/evening hours from a nearby fetch that is expected to develop over the weekend. This wind and seas within the fetch don't look especially strong - topping out around 30-35kts and 20-25', respectively - but the close proximity of the storm should help to enhance size. At this point model guidance indicates surf will continue in the well overhead to double overhead range (roughly 8-12' faces) later Sunday through Monday morning but we'll want to see this storm pull together later this week to refine the details."
Ultimate Surfer Premiere Dates Announced
Announced this week, the two-night premiere of ABC's new summer series "The Ultimate Surfer" will air on Monday, August 23, and Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at 10pm ET and PT.
Held at the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater is in as the lead consultant and also serves as a special correspondent. The WSL's Joe Turpel will be calling the action, while Former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer and sports anchor Erin Coscarelli stand in as the show's hosts.