Injury frees up extra Pro position for local

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Jacob Willcox after his win.
Camera IconJacob Willcox after his win. Credit: Surfing WA

A tantalising extra wildcard slot has allowed Cyrus Cox to squeak through to join Jacob Willcox and Willow Hardy in this year’s Margaret River Pro.

During the locals-only trial held on Tuesday, last year’s trial winner Willcox powered through as he did in 2019, battling against Cox in 4-5ft conditions.

While Willcox nosed ahead, Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane told the Times the cancellation due to an injury over east freed up an additional contest spot, and the World Surf League endorsed the position going to a Margaret River surfer.

The women’s field boasted strong contenders, including 2019 winner Mia McCarthy, Yallingup’s Emma Cattlin, Ruby Berry from Augusta and Red Bluff’s Coral Durant.

But 14-year-old prodigy Hardy tore through the line-up as befitted the recently crowned under-18 State champion. The local junior was beside herself at news she’d be contesting her first Championship Tour event.

“I just can’t take it in, it feels like a dream. I can’t process it, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

Willcox acknowledged his win over comrade Cox was close.

“It’s so fun to surf out there with Cy,” Willcox said. “He’s been ripping the whole event. The waves haven’t been great, but I feel like it’s always fun as the conditions for the trials are different every year.”

The winning surfers were expected to put their local knowledge to good use.

A series of stormfronts to the north were also expected to bring the goods to Surfers Point as competition kicks off on Sunday.

For more on the Margaret River Pro, visit www.worldsurfleague.com.

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