Margaret River Backstage Pass with Andrew Shield

While the Marg’s contest scene and the surrounding production hums along at the speed of light … There’s a Yin to that WSL Yang, and it takes place in and around Margaret River.

Surfers with all the time in the world, waves of all kinds on speed dial. Here, there is no singlets, no hurry just waves.

Western Australia offers an other worldly, free-surfing carte blanch. Reefs, bombies, points and some of the best beachies in the world. Run your finger down the menu as Mikey Wright, Kael Walsh and Jack Robbo headed north in the car for a secret beachie session.

Jack Robbo on some beachbreak bliss.
Jack Robinson tour guides. Now open for business. Jack took the crew in chase of beachbreak nirvana. And of course, they found it.
People who know, say the West is home to the best beachies on the planet. Hard to argue that claim when they are breaking mechanically like an offshore reef. Like the good scientist he is, here’s Mikey Wright conducting his own sampling and analysis.
Kael Walsh, slotted
Kael Walsh is one of Surfing Life’s favourite surfers. He’s a laid back kid on land, and some sort of one man rabid sea horse stampede in the water. Here, the horse waits in his stable.
Empty WA Beachbreak Wave
Beachbreaks packing all the punch of an Indo reef, and just as consistent too.
Another empty beach break in WA
As an Online Editor at Surfing Life, when you’re sent a batch of images you look for empty waves. The reason being: The waves which go unridden tell you just how good a session was. When guys (and girls) are letting waves like this go through unridden, because the one behind looks better … you know you just hit pay dirt.
Jack Robbo says hi
In a two hour session there were more than 120 of these waves. More than one per minute. With no comp singlet on, there was no hurry. You could just sit a set out, perch yourself in the lip and wave to the photographer, if you so decided. Jack Robinson says hi.
Mikey eats shit
It wasn’t all beer and skittles though, folks. When she bared her teeth, this beachie followed up with a bear of a bite. Just ask Mikey wright, next time you see him. He had to pick his ankles out of his anus after this one.
Mikey Wright on a freight train
Don’t feel too bad for Mikey though. After retrieving his ankles … the very next wave he got mindlessly slotted, and then spat out into the channel like an old piece of gum.

The Box

The great thing about West Oz is you don’t have to drive for a few hours to find perfect waves like above. Right next door to Margies, there has been all kinds of free surfing done at The Box.

JJF in the Box
John John Florence is the most unstoppable force in surfing right now. In Slater’s most dominant years (think ’96 and ’97 when Kelly won 15 events in that span!), Kelly never stood so far ahead of the competition as what JJF does right now. His heat scores of 19.27 and 19.73 while every one else struggled to put up a 15, is testament to that. The fact that his pro career is just starting out, is pretty freaking scary.
Robbo stuffing his face at the Box.
If there is another human alive who’s logged more water time than Jack Robbo this past week, we would like to meet them … and then tell ’em that they’re wrong.

Words /Braithy & Photos /Shield