Local favourite Taj Burrow has found his mojo at Margaret River this afternoon to progress into the next round of the Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River.
After sneaking through his opening heat yesterday in tricky conditions, Burrow today wasted no time finding scoring waves with a solid 7.53 early, then backing that up with a 7.93 in the second half of the heat. Burrow caught a total of eleven waves to easily moved through to the next round with Kieren Perrow.
Burrow was a lot happier after his heat today. ”I got quite a lot more waves than yesterday. It was a lined up clean swell and much easier to pick your take off spot,” he said. “Yesterday was quite big and shifty, they were tricky to catch.”
Having now advanced to the non-elimination Round of 24 which is likely to be surfed on Friday, Burrow was more relaxed about his prospects. ”Hopefully I can gain some momentum now. I’m just getting used to Margaret River, even though I’ve surfed it so many times, my first heat yesterday was a complete warm up session,” said Burrow. “I was lucky to get through. I’m feeling much better about the event for sure.”
Earlier in the day, eleven times world champion Kelly Slater put on a show in his second round heat. Slater made the most of the solid swell and offshore breezes earlier in the morning with a “warm up” session at the famed Box location to the north of Surfer’s Point mainbreak.
He went from scoring multiple barrels at The Box to finding a great right hand barrel to start his Round of 48 heat, impressing the judges to score an 8.83 straight up. Slater’s strategy to stick to the right hander continued to pay off as he found multiple scoring waves before again pulling off a carving 360 degree re-entry late in the heat to score an even better 8.93 points.
It was an amazing display from the iconic Slater who seems very relaxed this year at Margaret River. “I got off to a quick start with that barrel and then scored a couple of more good waves so I kind of knew I was going to get through,” said Slater following his heat. “The waves were perfect today, a bit more than double over head and the winds were really good. It is going to turn into a big wave competition later in the week when that swell hits Friday.”
Event organisers moved straight into the non-elimination Round of 24 late this afternoon. Joining Slater and Burrow in the next round were top seeds Owen Wright, Adrian Buchan, Josh Kerr, John John Florence, Mick Fanning, Kolohe Andino, Bede Durbidge and Taj Burrow. Defending champion Damien Hobgood was eliminated earlier this morning by Aussie surf legend Mark Occhilupo, who continues to enjoy the large surf and his wildcard into the event, also progressing through to the next round.
Event organisers are planning to move ahead with the women’s event tomorrow. All of the top men are not expected to surf again until Friday, when a massive swell and perfect winds are forecast for Margaret River. Whilst the competition has enjoyed fantastic waves to start the week, many are predicting that Friday might offer up some of the best waves ever seen at Margaret River for a professional surfing event.