The Margaret River Pro inspires local groms

It's good news for the southwest in many ways. An intangible but equally important benefit is that the Pro brings the world's best 34 male (plus two wild cards) and 17 female (plus one wild card) surf athletes who inspire the region's young surfers. Surfing WA chatted to some local groms from the Cowaramup Bay Boardriders Club to find out what the Margaret River Pro means to them. The 2017 Australian Junior Titles Champion Maddie Cawood said Bronte Macaulay was not only her favourite surfer, but also an inspiration. "I love seeing all our role models and people you look up to surfing where we surf locally," the 15-year-old Margaret River Shield Champion said. "We all learn so much from them. We saw Bronte surf before she made the CT, she's such a lovely role model to look up to. She shreds so hard. I want to see the girls surf the Box or a solid North Point - just making the women push themselves to really see how they go in heavy, sucky barrelling waves," Maddie said.

Maddie Cawood, credit: Amped Surf Photography

WA State Champion (Under 14s) Zali Hewson said it was good experience for groms to watch professional surfers compete. "Having the professional surfers compete in Margaret River means we can see how to improve and what to do. It inspires me to push harder and go to the WSL so I can get better and do what they do," the 12-year-old Margaret River local said. "It was just really cool to see them get barrelled and surf at North Point. I love carrying the surfer's boards and getting the rashies. It's really fun."

Zali Hewson, credit: Amped Surf Photography

Three-time winner of Taj Small Fries (Under 12s) Willow Hardy, 11, said the competitors give her inspiration. "It's cool watching them surf and then comparing yourself to them - I screenshot my bottom turn and then I screenshot their bottom turn. Then I see what they are doing and what I'm doing wrong. I think it really helps my surfing," Willow from Margaret River said.

Willow Hardy

The 2016 Small Fries (Under 14s) winner and 2017 Australian Junior Titles fifth place finisher Jed Gradisen said that having a WSL event in Margaret River was good for all young surfers. "It's good experience for all the kids to see what the pros actually do and to get up close to see all the action. You learn heaps more when you actually watch them in person, you see how they prepare and stuff. You don't see that in the live cast," Jed, 14, from Gracetown said. "The Box is probably most exciting. You get to see what the surfers can do because there's not really any slabs on tour. You see which surfers can surf the slabs. But North Point is probably one of the best waves in the world. To see the best surfers in the world surf it was pretty special," Jed said.

Jed Gradisen, credit: Amped Surf Photography

The 2016 Taj Small Fries fourth place finisher Alistair Williams said the Margaret River Pro inspires him to try new manoeuvres. "I love how all the pros come to a small town like Margaret River, it inspires me and I get to meet them. You see them on TV and they are all serious but when you actually meet them, they're hell-mellow just like you and me," Alistair said. "It makes you want to compete a lot better and surf to the best of your ability so one day you get on tour and it inspires your manoeuvres. You don't have to continue to do top turns, you can do an air reverse or you can even do a backflip," Alister from Gracetown said.

Alistair Williams , credit: Amped Surf Photography

Two-time winner of Taj's Small Fries (Under 16s) Finn Cox said the Margaret River Pro provided a stepping stone to a surfing career. "If you can get into the WA Trials, then you have a chance to get in to the big comp," the 15-year-old from Margaret River said. "It's good to get the strategies from the pros and how they do moves and their techniques. I definitely watch what they do and it gives me a different understanding of what turns I can do on those waves and how I can do it."

Finn Cox, credit: Amped Surf Photography

The Drug Aware WA Trials that prelude the Pro on 10 April 2018 provide an unparalleled opportunity for local surfers to compete against the world's best. Local surfer Jacob Willcox has won the WA Trials for the last two years and earned a wildcard entry to compete in the Margaret River Pro. Jacob, a WSL Qualifying Series competitor said it was a fantastic opportunity to compete against John John Florence in a heat last year. "Whenever you surf at the Pro, you learn about competitive surfing and push yourself more because you're against best in the world. It does makes you raise the bar as a competitor and you push yourself more, for sure," said Jacob. The 33rd edition of the Margaret River Pro will be held from 11 to 22 April 2018 at Surfers Point with competition taking place on waves at Main Break, The Box and North Point depending on conditions. The world's best surfers including John John Florence, Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina, Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore and local surfing inspiration Bronte Macaulay will compete for WSL CT points over 12 days. The Margaret River Pro will be streamed live to millions of viewers around the world on The State Government is a proud supporter of the event through Tourism WA's Regional Events Program. Margaret River Pro

  • 11 to 22 April 2018
  • Surfers Point, Prevelly, Margaret River
  • World's top 34 male (plus two wild cards) surf athletes and 17 female (plus one wild card) surf athletes will compete
WA Trials held on 10 April 2018 is only open to West Australian surfers; the winner earns a place to compete in the Margaret River Pro as a wild card entry