What is your favorite archetype?
The waiting period for the fourth stop on tour opens today and how thrilled are you that Margaret River is still on tour? How over the moon? It is a perfect place for the world’s best surfers to come ply their trade as it has everything from scenic backdrops, hearty locals, multiple waves ranging from scary good to scarier better and terror below.
Margaret River is as close as the World Surf League has to a blockbuster film, like Avengers: Endgame, and it’s difficult to imagine it getting pulled out of multiplexes but it almost was and just last year.
Who could forget the multiple shark sightings and attacks that led to the cancellation of the event, its moving to Uluwatu and possibly never screening in Western Australia again?
Well, magic was made behind the scenes to keep the show going on until 2021 and this year’s cast is the best ever. Reluctant leading man John John Florence is back and sitting atop the Jeep Yellow Jersey Sand Dune Aerial Leaderboard. “Ingénue” Kanoa Igarashi nipping at his heels. “Bad boy with a heart of gold” Jeremy Flores is in the top ten and “hard-luck heartthrob” Julian Wilson needs a result just to keep from being let go.
And two great stars have been recast in wonderful new roles. Gabriel Medina as the “damsel in distress” and Kelly Slater as the “hardboiled cop.” Let’s turn to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to listen as they get into character.
The Margaret River Pro, held in the south-west of Western Australia, was abandoned mid competition last year after two non-fatal shark attacks occurred on the same day.
The two recreational surfers had taken to the waves in Gracetown, 15 kilometres north from where the competition was being held, when they were bitten.
It prompted Brazilian’s Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira to take to social media with claims they did not feel safe surfing in the area.
Despite his safety concerns last year, Medina has returned to Margaret River.
The reigning world champion said the extra safety measures announced for this year’s competition helped to lure him back.
“Last year was a tough one, everywhere we were surfing, we were seeing sharks,” he said.
“This year, they’ve put in place more security — jet skis, drones and planes.
“I feel much more confident.”
Justin Majeks from Surfing WA, which has helped to organise the competition, said this year a drone would take to the skies to protect surfers.
“It’s a dedicated drone that will essentially fly all competition day, pretty much from first light,” he said.
He said there would also be a fleet of jet skis and trained water patrol staff on duty.
Surfing legend Kelly Slater is on his final year of the pro circuit and said he felt comfortable in the Margaret River water.
“I’ve never really had much of a fear of sharks,” he said.
Oh I just love it. I absolutely just love it and will be on the edge of my seat, munching popcorn and cheering on the bad boy. Always my favorite archetype but what’s yours?
Who are you hoping will steal the show?