It’ll need to be. Opening day in SW WA is gonna take some beating.
“I had an idea that session might be going to go down,” says photographer Tom Pearsall. “I knew the crew had landed the afternoon before. I was down there super early with (Margaret River local) Jerome Forrest. It was dark, basically, and he didn’t wanna go out by himself.
Forecast: The Box
“When Seabass was on tour he’d always be the guy first out at Box, but he wasn’t there this time. We decided to hit it anyway, went out, and Ace Buchan was already out there. We looked around and Conner (Coffin) was running down the sand. You knew it was on.
“Ace was just out there, in the dark, by himself getting psycho ones. Three metres at 15 or 16 seconds is about the Box’s limit, and surfing backhand, it’s mean like that! You’re just looking down at big chunks of reef. But he was surfing it with more style than anyone, I think. He was pulling these no-hands high lines, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do that. I’ve got a lot of respect for that fella, he handles himself well and he’s definitely not boring!
“Main break was pumping too, there was a heap of the CT crew out there. I bet all the old boys were enjoying that! There was probably 40 people out over there. Box wasn’t nearly as crowded. It never really got crowded. There were guys getting four or five, then heading back over the main break, kind of a rotation.
“It’s always a fairly long wait for the good ones at Box. There was too much period so it was real surgey. But that crew will go anything. The local crew have the pick of the good days so they’ll tend to be choosy, wait for the ones with some west angle. The CT crew don’t have time to do that, they just go.
“John John came over from main break on a ski and straight away got a good one. He’s got a different approach to the place, a bit like Jack’s (Robinson). He paddled back out and said, ‘How good is it to get barrelled again!’ I don’t know, but it seems like they haven’t had any really great waves yet in Australia? There was a lot of excitement in the water, everyone was hooting and hollering and just stoked to be getting waves like this.
“Griff (Colapinto) and Seth (Moniz) are often out there together, they’re Box hunters. Crosby, I don’t know, maybe it was his first time? He got that one where he got in late and his body’s kind of contorted with the arm up, he was hooting and carrying on after that one.
“There’s a shot from behind, shot from the left, of Conner low down. I have a little break over there sometimes when I’m a bit tired (Tom swam for six hours this day). There’s a boil over there that hides the wave from you a bit. That angle hasn’t been nailed yet, you’d need to be patient, but I aways start wondering what that ride looked like from in front!
“It’s freakishly warm here right now for this time of year. Water’s about 20 degrees C which is tropical, well Margs tropical. Water’s teeming with jellyfish, which is a bit weird. But we’ve been surfing in 2mm short-arms, and everyone’s pretty excited to see this event kick off this weekend — or at least to see if it kicks off. Looks good all the way to Tuesday, that could be a Box day.”