|ESPN.com: Surfing||[Print without images]|
|Ever notice that epic surf seems to follow this guy around the world?|
At a lot of contests around the planet you often see the competitors sneak off for a warm up surf before their heat. Usually it's a quick wave or two to get the blood running, feel out a board, and get the wax between their toes before they pull on their jerseys.
During the running of Wednesday's mid-rounds of the Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River in Western Australia was a pretty special pre heat 'warm up'.
"There were some fun waves and I stayed out for three hours, came in about an hour before my heat, had a little rest and then won my heat," joked Kieren Perrow about his warm up session at The Box, a dredging right hand slab just a hundred yards or so away from the main contest break at Margaret River.
Before surfers made a living finding spots where the ocean heaved up from deep water to a shallow offshore reef, there was The Box, situated at the right hand end of the bay they call Surfers Point. When pro surfers roll into town for the contest, surfing The Box is a bonus most of the crew look forward to and with today's conditions of 6 to 8-foot southerly swell and offshore winds, it was a temptation hard to pass up.
John John Florence and Josh Kerr had a quick sesh but to the surprise of many competitors, Kelly Slater paddled out for a two hour warm up.
"That was fun," said Slater summing up the session. "More guys than I'd like to surf with but you can't really help that and every half an hour or so there'd be a really nice one."
Slater, who spent two hours at The Box, was sharing the line up the likes of Cory Lopez, Timmy Reyes, Mason Ho, Brazilians, Jesse Mendes and Charlie Brown, as well as South African Shaun Joubert and local hot rat, fourteen year old Jack Robinson.
Pint sized Robinson dominated the session, making the most of his waves, back-dooring the pack on a couple and paying the price on others -- copping a beating, but still emerging with a grin on his face.
|Robinson backdoored the pack and surprised everyone. He also ate it on a few, but it was well worth it.|
"Jack was charging," said Slater about the grommet, "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 surprised about Robinson's efforts.
"He was doing well actually, I was stoked to see him out there with us," he said, "I wouldn't have paddled out there when I was 14. No way. It's a hectic wave," he added with a laugh.
Cory Lopez, who has been knocked out of the event, reckons Friday is looking good but he wants a re-run of The Box session and figures he might have to grab rail to slow himself down.
Kelly Slater and Kieren Perrow are still in the competition.It will be interesting if they both get to spend as much time warming up for their heats again.