The second round of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia got more interesting with huge wins and casualties all day long. The day started with Gabriel Medina losing by a very slim margin to local wild card Jacob Willcox in the first heat of the second round.
This was followed by a huge loss for Matt Wilkinson against Nat Young. Wilkinson, who currently sits at world No. 2, had his world title campaign hampered by this loss. Eliminated in round 5 of the same event last year, he did not seem to have improved his chances in this Championship Tour stop.
On the other hand, Owen Wright continued to show that he has no plans of giving up the yellow jersey just yet and won against Ezekiel Lau by a 1.40 margin. Wright scored one of the few 8.0 plus waves of the round and it helped him secure the round 3 ticket. Wright’s comfort in big surf and in a Championship Tour heat helped him endure the pressure.
Owen Wright’s 8.50 in Round 2:
Former World Champion Joel Parkinson won against the Italian rookie Leonardo Fioravanti in Heat 4, earning the second highest heat total for round 2. Another former World Champion, Adriano de Souza, defeated fellow Brazilian Jadson Andre, while another Brazilian, Filipe Toledo, took down French rookie Joan Duru.
Bede Durbidge, who spent the last year recovering from injury, was able to show that he still had some tricks up his sleeve when he defeated fellow Australian Josh Kerr in Heat 7.
Meanwhile, sophomore Connor Coffin took down World Junior Champion Ethan Ewing in a well contested Heat 8 battle. Despite Coffin winning the heat, Ewing proved he would not go down without a fight. Ewing scored an excellent 8.60 ride for his second wave, which was almost enough to snatch the lead from Coffin but just a little short. Ethan was unable to find any good backup score to get past Coffin after his excellent wave and time ran out.
Ewing putting up a fight:
Another CT rookie who went down fighting was Frederico Morais of Portugal. The Portuguese lethal weapon who took down giants as a wildcard in the past CT events is now a regular CT surfer, and he is proving that he deserves the spot. Morais lost to Adrian Buchan by just a slim 1.0 margin. He even scored an 8.57 and finished with a heat total of 15.50, one of the few heat totals higher than 15.00 for the round.
Meanwhile in heat 10, Connor O’Leary managed to win against Wiggolly Dantas with his excellent 8.00 ride. This win makes him one of the only two rookies who survived past round 2.
And before the day ended, the biggest upset happened in Heat 11 when Kanoa Igarashi took down the three-time World Champion, Mick Fanning, with a micro margin of 0.01. It was a 12.77 vs. a 12.76. Fanning, who needed a 5.35 with less than a minute left in the heat, paddled into a wave and nailed a couple of great turns but only earned a 4.93 which was not enough to replace his 5.33 backup score. This is a huge loss for Fanning who had his eyes set on winning another World Title. Fanning needs to bounce back soon in the next CT events to help him get back on track to World Title contention.
Kanoa Igarashi defeats Mick Fanning:
In heat 12, Miguel Pupo managed to eliminate Stuart Kennedy by a slim 1.70 margin. Pupo scored a 5.70 with under 6 minutes left in the heat, further increasing his lead ahead of Kennedy. Stuart tried to answer back and took off on a wave with under a minute left in the heat and completed a ride with which he earned a 3.93, but it was not enough to snatch the lead as time ran out.
With all the upsets and surprises, the event gets more exciting as surfers head into the third round. Who will survive? Who will get eliminated? Stay tuned for the answers!
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