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.Kelly Slater Sequence From Free Surf Session at The Box @ Margaret River
Whilst the men have taken a break from competitive surfing today (Thursday) the women have enjoyed the small but high quality conditions. Whilst not at the size of Wednesday or the big forecast for Friday, the women have excelled in nice 1.5m waves.
But all the talk around the contest site today has been around the free surf session enjoyed by a number of competitors at The Box between heats yesterday morning.
The Box is easily viewed from the Telstra Drug Aware pro contest site, across the bay to the north, and is renown as the original slab wave and one of the heaviest waves in the world. The Box got its name for the square barrel shape formed as the big Margaret River swells hit the shallow reef slab to the north of Main Break at Surfer's Point. It is likely responsible for the now global search for slab waves, and the challenge for many of the top surfers to ride the heaviest of waves.
Some of the top names to take to the lineup yesterday included Cory Lopez, Mason Ho, Jesse Mendes, Charlie Brown and South African Shaun Joubert. Eleven times world champion Kelly Slater saw the conditions line up and raced out for a quick session prior to his late morning heat. He was joined by Aussie charger Kieren Perrow who was ready for some more barrel action after his season ending win at Pipeline late last year.
Slater found an early wave to get a feel for The Box and charged half a dozen solid rights in his two hour session. The spot was filled with local water rat snappers as word got out that the world's best was taking on The Box. They were joined by a number of event media, and a random crew in a helicopter, who were all on hand to film Slater as he charged into the square pits that The Box is famous for.
As the attached sequence shows, the iconic Slater found his rhythm in no time at all, making a number of late take offs and going deep on multiple barrels before being spat out into the channel that was littered with more than half a dozen support jet skis and a media boat that captured all the action.
In an unexpected twist, it was local super-grommet Jack Robinson who tried to steal the show. Regarded by many as the best young surfer on the planet, the 14 year old Margaret River prodigy charged throughout the session, making a number of late back-door drops and getting spat out of multiple pits. To cap it off he took a couple of hidings, but emerged each time with a big grin on his face.
"Jack was charging," said Slater, "I wouldn't have been out there at 14. I might have been out watching, but I wouldn't have been interacting too much especially with the top pros in the world. If I was that age and there was a bunch of touring pros in town, I would have been just wanting to sit on the boat and watch but he was right there amongst it; pretty rad."
Kieren Perrow was also amazed by Robinson's efforts. "He was doing well actually, I was stoked to see him out there with us. I wouldn't have paddled out there when I was 14. No way. It's a hectic wave," added Perrow with a laugh. The Margaret River region is renowned for its classic and powerful surf breaks, and is one of the State's extraordinary tourism experiences. It's the undisputed surf capital of Western Australia with over 40 scenic kilometres of coastline. Margaret River is a three-and-a-half hour drive south of Perth.