Michel Bourez Wins Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2014

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posted by Kate McCart

Tahitian Michel Bourez has claimed the win at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, stop number 2 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT). Bourez blitzed his way through all heats, tearing apart the right hand open faces at Margaret River’s Main Break and eliminating some of the sport’s biggest names. This is the Tahitians first WCT event win, and his emotions continue to run high coming into the next stop at Bells Beach, scheduled to start tomorrow.

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Michel Bourez beats Josh Kerr and claims victory at Margaret River – Photo by ASP

The Final Day of competition saw overcast skies and the remaining competitors face off in 3-5 foot conditions at Margaret’s Main Break. The day was scheduled to hold the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals, with a winner crowned by the end of the day. Spectators observed from the beach and online viewers tuned in from all over the world to watch once again, a great day of surfing with many standout performances all across the board.

Quarter Final 1 was first in the water, seeing Aussie Bede Durbidge face off against the in form Jordy Smith. Though Smith has been pleasing audiences with his explosive surfing over the past week, it was Durbidge who managed to overpower the South African and take the win with a 15.30, to Smith’s 14.00. This saw Bede advance and Smith get knocked out. “Jordy and I surf very similar. We both try to use our power and our big frames” said Bede. “I know I can still do it, and it’s good to be winning heats. I just want to keep going now.” Although not overwhelmed by the result, Jordy seemed content after having such a bad result on the Gold Coast a few weeks earlier.

Quarter Final 2 followed and saw danger man Gabriel Medina versus air fanatic Josh Kerr. Kerr has a lot of experience in the South-West corner of Western Australia and Medina is leading the rankings, which when combined create a great heat of surfing. The crowds watched on in anguish as the two went head to head. It was Kerr who would get the result needed to advance, knocking out current world number 1 Gabriel Medina and advancing to the next round.

11 time World Champion Kelly Slater met Joel Parkinson in Quarter Final 3. Both have had a great deal of experience surfing in these cold waters and it was evident in this heat. Slater struck first with a rapid display of manoeuvres on the right hander. Parko answered well with an array of scores, but came 0.10 shy of taking the win, a devastating upset. “I like surfing against Joel,” Kelly said. “It’s fun. I don’t go out there having to wonder what he’s going to do. I always feel like Joel’s going to put in a good heat, and that forces me to just have to surf better.” Quarter 4 saw event winner Michel Bourez face off with American Nat Young. Young struggled with the choice of equipment changing boards twice, leaving the door open for Hurley team mate Bourez to take the win and advance to the Semi Finals.

Semi Final 1 was an all Aussie affair, with Bede Durbidge coming up against Josh Kerr. Both competitors were hungry and traded first and second positions throughout the entire heat. Kerr detonated first with a show of scores, a 5.50 and an 8.83. Bede however, was not intimidated, locking in a 7.07 and a 7.80. These scores were eventually deemed as not good enough, as Josh Kerr managed to scrape into one last final wave and secure his name in the Final of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro for the second year in a row.

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Josh Kerr flying high in Semi Final 1 – Photo by ASP

Semi Final 2 was a match up of the great Kelly Slater and Tahitian power surfer Michel Bourez. Whoever would win this heat would face Josh Kerr in the Final and have a shot at winning the entire event. Bourez almost struggled to find his rhythm as Slater locked in some valuable scores through a display of controlled, powerful turns. It was the dying minutes yet again which then saw retaliation, with Michel smashing the open faces and scoring a 9.37, the highest score of the day. This wave was a key component, and pushed Bourez into the Final of the competition, meeting Josh Kerr and eliminating Slater completely. “I didn’t underestimate Michel before the heat because I know this is a wave that really suits his style.” said Slater. “You’d think he’d be a good tube rider, but his best results have come in turns.”

So there it was, Australian aerial master Josh Kerr battling against Tahitian power surfer Michel Bourez, in an all-in Final with both hoping to be crowned winner and take home their first WCT career win. Though many had great anticipation for the final to be held at the infamous right hand slab ‘The Box’, Margaret’s Main Break would be the wave to present victory, providing much better conditions. Bourez was given the option of postponing the heat for 30 minutes time for a well-deserved rest period, a decision he declined due to worries about the strengthening onshore winds. Kerr is known for his skills in onshore, messy conditions and this was a door Michel Bourez did not want to open. As said, both competitors have never won a WCT event, and this heat would determine and give name to ‘the best guy to have never’ title.

The pair took to the water, with Margaret Rivers Main Break continuing to produce a great 3-5 foot of swell, a perfect playground for competition. After a long, uneventful few minutes, Michel Bourez opened the scoreboard with two consecutive waves scoring a 6.33 and a 7.57, pleasing judges and all spectators. Kerr fired back, attacking the right handers with full force and completing several big turns, also wowing onlookers as the battle continued. Kerr’s scores were evidently not enough, as Bourez continued to build his campaign with an 8.33 through his attacking forehand surfing. The siren sounded and the results were written, Tahitian Michel Bourez had just won the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro and his first ASP WCT career win. “It’s such a good feeling to win, it’s a dream come true. Making the Final here and surfing against such an amazing person was wonderful,” said Michel Bourez.It’s a long year and there are still nine contests to go so I need to focus on the next one and relax. I can’t wait for Bells now, I have always liked that wave.”

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Michel Bourez during the Final of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Photo by ASP

Kerr was undoubtedly upset and disappointed with this result, coming so close to a win at Margaret River two years in a row, particularly with this year being on WCT status. “It was a rough heat but I wanted to put a show on for everyone. It hurt last year getting runner up and it hurts even more this year”, said Kerr. “I made a few errors at the start of the heat by falling on the inside and I definitely didn’t choose the right waves” he continued. “I’m happy we have a WCT event here and it was great to surf at The Box. I’m going to take the year event by event and I’m excited to move on to the next one.”. Though coming runner up at the event two years in a row, Josh Kerr still did not go home completely empty handed, winning the Go Pro Challenge (a sub event) and a sweet $10,000 in cash.

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Josh Kerr congratulating Michel Bourez on the win – photo by ASP

Stop number 3 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour is scheduled to start tomorrow at Bells Beach, Victoria. The forecast is looking promising as the World’s best 34 men and 17 women surfers travel back across country to compete in the last competition in Australian waters for 2014. At this stage, the World Title is still up for grabs for any of the competitors, which in turn will drive all harder, pushing their own limits of performance. The top contenders at this stage include World Number 1 Gabriel Medina, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Kelly Slater, with Michel Bourez also becoming an immediate threat thanks to this great result in Margaret River.

Surfstitch congratulate Michel Bourez on the victory at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, and all the other surfers on their amazing efforts. Stay tuned for all the latest news and results from the ASP World Tour and for all the action from day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach here on the SurfStitch blog or on the ASP official website http://www.aspworldtour.com/