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WSL Margaret River Pro preview: Top surfers battle for supremacy

Western Australia Margaret River Pro
MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA: Who will lift the 2024 Margaret trophies at the end of the World Surf League stop number 5? (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

In Margaret River, Western Australia surfers from around the globe have gathered for the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) Stop No. 5, known as the Western Australia Margaret River Pro.

Starting on Thursday, April 11, and running until April 21, this event is set to deliver thrilling performances and intense competition.

The challenging waves at Main Break will be where surfers showcase their skills to secure positions in the race for a spot in the WSL Final 5.

For those hanging on the edge of the rankings, this competition is their chance to achieve an outcome and avoid dropping to the Challenger Series.

Leading the pack are Griffin Colapinto ($6.25) and Caitlin Simmers ($4.00), who have been dominating the 2024 season with wins on the CT tour.

Simmers, proudly donning the Leader jersey, and Colapinto, with a first-place finish and a second-place standing, are both eager to keep their winning streak alive at Main Break.

Simmers looks forward to facing challenges despite lacking modern comforts, while Colapinto draws confidence from his past triumphs, at this location trusting his skills to conquer the unpredictable sea and emerge victorious.

“The ocean is so unpredictable, and you need to be able to read it right to be on the right waves,” Colapinto said.

“I feel like if I’m on the right waves, my surfing is good enough to win this contest. I have a really good bond with this wave and all of the open ocean waves on Tour, like Bells, Sunset, and here.”

“This is a place where you need to feel in touch with nature, and I feel like I have that connection when here. I’m feeling good on Tour this year. I feel like my surfing is evolving and getting stronger, and I’m personally growing every year. The only thing that hasn’t changed is my determination. That’s always been strong.”

French surfer Johanne Defay ($13) has been having a standout season, impressing with her performances, in Hawaii, Portugal, and Bells.

She is focused on reaching the WSL Final 5 and aiming for the top prize, showcasing her skills that make her a strong competitor.

“We’ve been surfing Main Break pretty much every day, and it’s not been too big, not too crazy, so it’s been nice and kind of relaxing, and good weather too,” said Defay.

“I don’t really have pressure just being good in the rankings, but right before the Cut, we do one throw away, so if I want that to count for anything, I need to make at least the Semifinals.”

“I’ll just focus on my surfing and try to push it a little bit and not play it too safe, which I feel like I’ve done in the last couple of events. Maybe with less stress on a result, it’ll give me that confidence to stay out the back and just wait for that beautiful wave. Or even perform on the medium size waves, I did that layback at Bells, so maybe try to push that harder and also hold my rail longer like Molly did to get that high score on the big carve, and really just focus on those big maneuvers.”

Her ability to adapt and determination set her apart as she got ready to handle the challenges at Main Break.

Local surfers Jack Robinson ($5.00) and Jacob Willcox ($101) are carrying the hopes of their community as they hit the waves on territory.

Robinson, reflecting on his victory in 2022, is excited to compete in front of fans once again.

“I missed last year, and there’s just nothing like it, is there?” said Robinson, the $5 second favourite to win stop number 5 with the leading surfing bookmakers.

“I wasn’t in the event last year, and Gabriel was in the event, but he didn’t go against the defending champion, so I still am [laughs]. It was a special moment winning this two years ago, especially with watching this event growing up. Jacob and I have been watching this event since we were into surfing, so to have that moment and to look back and see everyone supporting, it was just a real full-circle moment. I am looking forward to a great event, and I am happy to be home.”

Alongside him is local talent Bronte Macaulay, eager to demonstrate her skills on home turf.

“I know I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m excited to get into the event,” said Macaulay, the $23 Margaret River chance.

“The last few months have been really nice to enjoy beautiful Margaret River. I’ve been doing a bit of uni online, which has been a chance, but I’ve just been trying to surf as much as I can. This event means so much. Coming here as a little kid, I’ve always been so inspired. I used to caddy for Sally Fitzgibbons back in the day, and that was a really cool experience for me. I am obviously a big fan of Jack and Jacob and have been watching all their heats. It’s great to have the Tour back here in WA.”

As the competition progresses, surfers teetering on the edge face a moment in their careers with the looming possibility of being cut mid-season.

Among them are established champions and up-and-coming talents, all striving for a performance to secure their spots on the CT circuit.

With anticipation building for thrilling action and memorable moments, the Western Australia Margaret River Pro is poised to deliver high octane excitement as surfers battle it out for supremacy.

2024 WA Margaret River Pro Betting Odds

Men’s WA Margaret River Pro Outright Betting

  • John John Florence – $4.25
  • Jack Robinson – $5.00
  • Griffin Colapinto – $6.25
  • Ethan Ewing – $7.50
  • Gabriel Medina – $10.00
  • Jordy Smith – $14.00
  • Italo Ferreira – $17.00
  • Matthew McGillivary – $21.00
  • Barron Mamiya – $26.00
  • Kanoa Igarashi – $26.00
  • Odds as of April 11, 2024 – Courtesy of Neds

    Women’s WA Margaret River Pro Outright Betting

  • Caitlin Simmers – $4.40
  • Molly Picklum – $5.40
  • Tyler Wright – $5.40
  • Caroline Marks – $6.75
  • Johanne Defay – $13.00
  • Bettylou Sakura Johnson – $15.00
  • Lakey Peterson – $15.00
  • Tatiana Weston-Webb – $18.00
  • Brisa Hennessy – $23.00
  • Bronte Macaulay – $23.00
  • Odds as of April 11, 2024 – Courtesy of Neds

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