Another stop on the 2014 ASP World Tour kicked off April 2 in Western Australia. Gathered from their post-heat interviews, we look at five key quotes from the big winners on Day 1 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
"Well, the guy doesn't have a sponsor, so I felt a bit bad beating him."—Yadin Nicol
Western Australian Yadin Nicol disposed of Kelly Slater and Bede Durbidge and still managed to have a laugh at the expense of the 11-time world champion, who had announced his split from his longtime sponsor, Quiksilver, the day before. Event wildcard Nicol is a previous ASP World Tour competitor and with his local knowledge, huge crowd backing, and immense talent, he has to be considered one of the event's real dark horses. His heat total of 15.23, one of the highest of the day, means no competitor will want to draw the affable Australian.
"Already I've bettered my result from Snapper. It's a long year; plenty of the top guys will hopefully have one early exit, and let's just hope Snapper was mine."—Jordy Smith
South African Jordy Smith erased his shock Round 2 loss at the Quik Pro Gold Coast with a dominant display in his Round 1 heat at Margaret River. An opening 8.33 wave set the tone, and his opponents, Sebastian Zietz and Raoni Monteiro, were never really in the running. Smith's powerful style is ideally suited to the raw strength of Margaret River, and his opening heat, which ended as the highest points total of the day, set down a marker for the rest of the field as well as consigned his Snapper result to ancient history.
"It's crazy what you do for an extra 0.5 [points]. I was just saying hi to the reef, meeting and greeting, you know."—Courtney Conlogue
Conlogue was referring to a last-ditch maneuver over a dry stretch of reef known as the "Surgeon's Table." This time, Conlogue didn't need a trip to the hospital, but she did lose some skin in winning her heat. It does, however, show the fierce commitment of the Californian; being one of the fittest athletes on Tour and a two-time winner at Margaret River, her impressive display furthers her credentials as one of the event favorites.
"It's a long year, and there is going to be ups and downs, but you just have to take the positives and be patient."—Julian Wilson
Like Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson bounced back from a poor result at the Quik Pro Gold Coast with a display that oozed confidence and featured the patience he mentioned above. He caught only three waves in the 30-minute heat, but top scores of 8.5 and 7.5 meant his opponents, Jeremy Flores and Dion Atkinson, had no answers to Wilson's dangerous mix of composure and ferocious forehand turns.
"It's such a huge playing field, especially with the wind and shifting tides and only three women out. It's almost like you are fending for yourself out there."—Malia Manuel
With the wind picking up in the afternoon for the six heats of Round 1 of the women's event, conditions proved testing at Margaret River's Main Break. Manuel, though, a Hawaiian used to powerful seas and waves, showed incredible technique and great positioning to convincingly outpoint her rivals Sally Fitzgibbons and Nikki Van Dijk. Now in her third year on Tour, Manuel's experience is making her a very dangerous competitor.
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