Thursday March 18, Surfers' Point Margaret River, Western Australia: Taj Burrow has edged into the Round of 24 of the Association of Surfing Professionals 6-star prime rated Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, narrowly avoiding elimination with a high scoring wave in the last minute of his heat. Needing a score of 6.78 to progress, Burrow found a nice righthander that allowed him to get in three big maneuvers, ending the wave on dry reef. The judges rated the wave a score of 7.93, shooting Taj to first in his heat and through to the next round.
With such a quality field surfing at the Drug Aware Pro this year, Burrow expected a tough heat.
"I knew it would be a tough heat. I was up against three other elite ASP World Tour surfers and Rossy and Thompson know the Margs break really well. They are also used to surfing the four man heat format. They were smashing me out there, they just kept getting the waves."
Fresh out of the water, Burrow was buzzing.
"We knew out in the water that it was a really close heat. The commentators kept calling out the scores so I was definitely looking for a late scoring wave. When that wave came I knew I had to let loose. I made the first two snaps and I worked the wave right through and ended up close in on the reef and got a bit cut up. I knew I had an 8 scoring wave so it was definitely worth it."
Burrow moves through to the Round of 24 which will begin at 7am local time tomorrow. The forecast is for a very large swell with offshore winds and the expectations are rising amongst the quality field.
"Tomorrow is going to be big," said Burrow. "When the waves get to that size at Margs the right is pretty much out of bounds. There will be some really big drops tomorrow – It's going to be fun."
But the big news from the morning heats was the elimination of ASP World Number 2 Joel Parkinson. Surfing in the final heat of the Round of 96, Parkinson was chasing a late wave to proceed through to the next round. Needing only a 4.47 ride, Parkinson found the set wave only seconds too late and stayed in third place in his heat with a total of 9.90 points, only 0.23 points behind second placed Chris Ward. Another Australian Dayyan Neve won the heat with a score of 11.40.
Parkinson was philosophical about his early elimination after the heat saying, "I don't surf WQS events with four surfers in a heat very often and I was really lost and out of sync out there today – My preparation and mindset is all about the ASP world tour and that's basically man-on-man two man heats and you surf those heats completely different – four surfers in a heat is a different world – getting the waves is a huge fight and these guys are like animals out there fighting for survival and I couldn't adjust today."
Other stand-outs today included interntional surfers C J Hobgood (USA), Raoni Monterio (Brazil) and Sunny Garcia (Hawaii).
Expectations are for the Men’s competition to continue into tomorrow with very large surf and perfect conditions forecast. The Women are now scheduled to continue on Saturday around the Men’s Finals.