Surfing history will be created at next week’s Drug Aware Pro Margaret River presented by O’Neill, when, for the first time in Australia, a former ASP World Tour surfer father and his child compete in the same event.
Winner of the Margaret River contest in 1989, former two-time World No. 3, Dave Macaulay, 44, of Gracetown, Western Australia will line up alongside his daughter Laura, 16, in a field of 250 professional surfers taking part in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) event at Surfers Point, Margaret River, from April 7-13.
As a multiple state junior event winner, Laura secured a Wildcard entry in the Women’s division, while her dad Dave will compete in the Men’s Trials on Sunday (April 6).
“I surf with Laura all the time, but it’s an amazing feeling to be going out there at this level and surfing competitively in the same event,” Dave said. “I’ve seen her skills develop so quickly. She is such a talent and I’m sure she’ll put in a strong appearance against some of the girls who have been her idols, and still are.”
Laura, who is widely regarded as one of WA’s best emerging surf talents, said the Wildcard entry was a stepping stone in her quest to become a professional ASP World Tour surfer: “It’s a great opportunity for me to compete against girls I have looked up to. I’m nervous, but really excited at the same time. I feel fairly confident I can do well and hope my local experience at the break will give me an edge over the other girls,” she said.
Other Wildcard entrants in the Women’s division include Leah Wright, 17, of Geraldton (Event Wildcard) and Airini Mason, 18, of New Zealand (ASP Wildcard).
The rookie trio will start in the Round of 48, from a field of 60 women, vying for a share of AUD$37,500 (US$30,000) in prize money.
Their competition includes experienced World Tour campaigner and three-time contest champion, Melanie Redman-Carr (Dunsborough, WA), Claire Bevilacqua (City Beach, WA), ASP World Junior Champion and current WQS No. 1 Sally Fitzgibbons, WQS No. 2 Bethany Hamilton (Hawaii), plus many of the Women’s World Tour Top 17. Among the big names are Samantha Cornish (QLD), Amee Donohoe (NSW), Rebecca Woods (NSW), Megan Abubo (Hawaii), plus 2007 Drug Aware Pro Women’s Champion Jacqueline Silva (Brazil) and Runner-up Jessi Miley-Dyer (NSW).
In the Men’s division, six Wildcard entrants will join a field of 192 surfers competing for prize money of AUD$168,750 (US$135,000).
Men’s Event Wildcards include Dion Atkinson, 21, of Seaford, SA; Michael Spencer, 21, of LakeMunmorah, NSW; and Alex Chacon, 20, of Brazil. ASP Wildcards include Mitchell Coleborn, 21, of Maroochydore, QLD; Julian Wilson, 19, of Coolum Beach, QLD; and Jayke Sharp, 20, of CoffsHarbour, NSW.
They will face the likes of former World Champion Sunny Garcia (Hawaii), current World No. 4 Jeremy Flores (France), crowd favourite and 2004 contest champion Neco Padaratz (Brazil) andDrug Aware Pro reigning champion, former World No. 6 Kieren Perrow (NSW).
Representing WA is 1998 contest champion and local legend Jake Paterson (Yallingup) and his brother Paul Paterson, along with Ry Craike (Kalbarri), Jay Davies (Yallingup) and Margaret Riverlocals Yadin Nicol and Tom Innes.
As well as intense action in the surf, Saturday, April 12 features a massive ‘Party on the Point’. From 2.30pm, there is free entertainment overlooking the ocean at Surfers Point, with The Simon Kelly Band, Operation Beehive and The Remedials performing live on stage, plus vert ramp aerial demos by BMX rider Chris Jones and pro-skaters Darren Pryor and Cliffy.
Entry is free all week and just $5 per person on the Finals weekend (April 12 and 13). Admission is free for children 12 and under. Free bus transfers available to and from Surfers Point.