Perth 24 March 2013. A drama filled week of action at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro was wrapped up by a Hawaiian double at Surfers Point today when Dusty Payne won the Men’s Final, after countrywoman Carissa Moore won the Women’s WCT event earlier this afternoon.
In wild conditions at Mainbreak, Payne won the final dual against Australian Josh Kerr, with the 2010 Margaret River champion unable to repeat his magic acts from earlier in the event.
The final was an even contest to begin with as both surfers struggled to find a decent score from the building eight foot plus sets.
Kerr then established an advantage when he combined an early 7 point ride with a medium scoring wave of 5.83 halfway through the final. But it wasn’t long before Payne grabbed the defining moment, scoring a big right hander. Despite coming out of his third massive turn to be surrounded by white water over the shallow inside reef, Payne kept his feet to record a 9.23 and take the momentum away from Kerr.
Payne soon backed that up with another solid right, controlling his turns to make sure he banked another decent score. His strategy paid off, with the judges scoring him a 7.3 which left Kerr searching the big sets for a wave that could give him the 9.36 points he needed for the win.
After scraping through a number of earlier heats with late scores, Kerr’s luck finally ran out at Margaret River. That left Payne, the 24 year old Maui based natural footer, to celebrate his first ASP Tour victory.
“This is my first major win so I am stoked,” exclaimed Payne after he was chaired from the keyhole and up the staircase at Surfers Point. “I just love Western Australia so I could not be happier that (my first win) happened here.”
The thirteenth year in the new millennium may be lucky for Payne who received one of the ASP World Championship Tour Wildcards for 2013 after suffering a serious knee injury on the elite tour last year.
“I was injured for most of last year and sat out for six months and watched my friends win events. It just made me work hard so it is nice to see some results.”
The win by Payne continues a recent dominance at Margaret River by the Hawaiians after his fellow WCT surfer John John Florence won the event here last year.
Florence was unable to defend his title after sustaining a serious ankle injury in the opening World Championship Tour event on the Gold Coast earlier this month. The 19-year-old now faces a race against time to be fit for the second stop at Bells Beach which is due to begin later next week.
Early this morning, experience prevailed when the four remaining WCT surfers won their way through to the Semifinals.
New Zealand wildcard Jay Quinn had his giant killing run brought to an end by Josh Kerr in a super tight Quarterfinal. Kerr caught a wave in the final seconds of the heat and scored a line-ball decision from the judges to progress by just 0.3 of a point over the unlucky Quinn.
After the final, a relaxed Kerr admitted he had probably been fortunate to make it that far in the event. “I had a crazy amount of luck go my way this week,” said Kerr. “I never really found my groove but everyone kept making mistakes against me and leaving the door open.”
Earlier, Dusty Payne won a close Semifinal over Australian Julian Wilson. The two traded high scoring waves throughout the heat and the decision went down to the final wave. With Wilson needing a 9.03 to move into the final he caught a solid left hander, performing 2 nice big turns but it was not enough as he only managed a score of 8.23.
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro is the first Men’s ASP Prime rated event for the 2013 season, offering maximum points towards qualification for the 2014 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT). For second-tier World Tour surfers like Jay Thompson (AUS), Aritza Aranburu (EUK), Jay Quinn (NZL) and Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) their Quarterfinal results at Margaret River give them a great platform to build from in their efforts to qualify for the elite World Championship Tour next year.
In 2014 the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be added to the World Championship Tour schedule for both the men and the women. At the presentations after the final, Kerr confirmed that the Surfers Point location will be a fantastic addition to the full elite tour calendar.
“Margaret River is such an awesome location. You get such an amazing array of waves and conditions here. It is so challenging and I can’t wait to come back here next year and surf the pick of the waves as a full WCT event,” said runner-up Kerr.
MEN’S FINALS RESULT:
Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.36 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.20
MEN’S SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) 18.00 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.16
SF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.33 vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.43
MEN’S QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.00 def. Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 8.27
QF 2: Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.17 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 8.23
QF 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.50 def. Jay Quinn (NZL) 13.20
QF 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.30 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 14.50