The Down South Down Low

A few notable quotable humans sign off from Margaret River

Chris Binns

From enormous Mainbreak to a successful first appearance at North Point, this year’s Drug Aware Margaret River Pro had a little bit of everything. While the sublime performances of John John Florence have the whole world talking, we caught up with three of the placegetters for a few last words on other matters. Bring on the Drug Aware for 2018, we’ll see you all next year!

Stephanie Gilmore, well done on third place.

Thanks. I’ve always struggled out here for some reason, I try and do deep bottom turns and you just can’t, there are boils and wind and I find it a real challenge. The years when we go to Bells first allow you to get your deep water groove on a little more, but coming straight from the Gold Coast is definitely tough.

This event has been great though. I was mesmerised on the big day, I saw Sally Fitzgibbons and Courtney Conlogue paddle out and get big ones but I was too scared, it was wild! It felt like I was watching Jaws in Hawaii. After dinner that night I watched the replay of all the men’s heats, I couldn’t look away. John John was unbelievable, he really took things to a new level.

You seem to really enjoy the Drug Aware message?

Absolutely. I think surfers are great role models, we have an awareness of the environment and the places we find ourselves, and the community spirit is great too, we all really look out and care for each other. Hopefully the message we as pro surfers can send is that sure, we have a good time, but we also really look after ourselves, are respectful of others, and make smart choices.

Loving the West Australian crowd?

Of course! Everyone down here is so rad, no matter the wind or the weather it’s always packed, and it’s a really good show. Margarets is a great place for spectators.

Are you a fan of the south west?

How could you not be? It’s incredible down here. You drive up and down the coast, get great waves, it’s always an adventure. I love it.

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Kolohe Andino, runner-up, you’ve got to be happy with your week here?

Oh gosh, yeah, absolutely. I had a really tough draw coming up against guys who were ripping really hard, and I feel like these kind of waves have been my weak point in my career, so to make the final against one of my favourite surfers was really cool. To make the final means I had five good heats, regardless of scores and whatnot, so I’m really happy with that. Can’t wait to come back here next year, Western Australia always treats us well and we have a great time here.

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John John Florence, are you we going to see you back in Margaret River for years to come?

Oh my gosh I really hope so, I love this place so much. We had a few lay days and it just felt like I was back at home in Hawaii. You can surf and get barrelled, then it goes flat and you can fish and check out the amazing scenery! It’s definitely one of the funnest places on tour, I love it.

Chris Binns for The Down South Down Low

T: @binnsie9779

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If you, or someone close to you, needs help call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 9442 5000 or visit drugaware.com.au.