A serious swell has been predicted for the start of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, and the world’s best are readying themselves for a huge battle not only against their opponents, but with the ocean as well. Zag had a quick word with SA’s two Dream Tour stars, to see if they’re prepared for what the ocean is about to dish up.
Jordy Smith, slotted at the Box during last year’s Margaret River Pro.
ZAG: Hey Jords, how are you feeling about the next event? It looks like there’s some swell on its way.
JORDY: Yeah, it looks solid. I feel great thanks. I just hope the winds stay calm and offshore, but otherwise I think it should be a fun event.
What boards have you packed for the event and the predicted size?
I’ve got everything from a shortboard to a 6’10” and I’m hoping that will be enough. But I think I’ll end up riding my 6’4″ and 6’5″ most of the time.
Jordy is no stranger to matching power with power. Sunset Beach, December 2014.
What is Margaret River like? Anything comparable to it in South Africa?
I’m not too sure, definitely not in Durban. If the waves are under 8 feet there are no lefts but the right is kinda short, allowing for three big turns. If it’s bigger then there are only lefts. It’s a bit like massive Nahoon Reef, but a left (laughs).
ZAG: Howzit Bianca, according to the forecast they’re predicting some serious swell for the Margaret River Pro. Are you ready to ride some mountains?
BIANCA: Having this lifestyle, we are used to surprises. We have to learn to be ready for whatever comes; waking in the dark, hearing the engine’s rumble as you make your way to the event, never ever knowing what the ocean wants to teach you that day. But that is why we love it, right? That is why we do it day after day.
Bianca Buitendag charged in Hawaii last year, earning a third at the Target Maui Pro.
When the surf is huge, how do you get yourself psyched up to paddle out?
We try not to watch for too long because we usually just end up freaking ourselves out and chicken out.
I might be the opposite. I like to really spend time looking, studying, trying to find a ‘safe’ area somewhere. I try to make myself as comfortable as possible, whether it is spending time in those conditions, being confident in equipment, etc. But most importantly, I trust God. It is his breathe in our lungs, surely he is powerful enough to take it into his loving hands.
Have you got some big boards with you, or are you urgently looking around for something that will handle the size?
I actually found myself wondering through some surf shops today, trying to get my hands on something bigger. But it seems like everyone else on tour beat me to it! I have a 6’5” as my biggest board at the moment, and some friends I can borrow a board from if need be.
Bianca, ripping at Margaret River during the 2014 Drug Aware Pro.
What size board do you reckon you’ll need? Have you ridden many boards of that size before?
I have spent a month in Hawaii, which gives one the opportunity to ride all shapes and sizes. I would not say that I am completely comfortable on bigger boards, as my biggest board has not even been waxed-up yet. But we will take it as it comes.
It’s obviously encouraging that there will be a ski in the water and cameras watching your every move?
Margarets is about 200 meters out to sea, so having the comfort of other people in the line-up will definitely help. But in the end it’s you and the ocean, competing not only against your competitors, but adding the unpredictable tendencies of the sea into the mix as well.
It’s sure to be an exciting event. Safe surfing, Bianca, and good luck.
Thank you, I’m going to need it!
Margaret River’s main break can handle any size swell; small or as big as it gets.
Who’ll lead the rankings once the tour finishes its Australian leg? We’ll find out soon.