Huge swells greet sailors at Margaret River Wave Classic

Huge three metre swells and strong winds greeted wavesailors in the Margaret River Wave Classic last Sunday.

South West locals showcased their big wave experience in the extreme conditions and took wins in four of the five divisions.

Local sailor Ian Potts also took out the wave of the day with his attack mode and the biggest aerial of the day.

In the Open, event favourite and current world number 7, Jaeger Stone from Geraldton, had to fight his way back through the repechage round to win.

Jaeger recently returned to competition after a serious knee injury, which set back his world title campaign last year. But wearing a knee brace, he went into attack mode and managed to unleash his powerful waveriding on the massive waves.

Jaeger said "I really enjoy spending time in Margaret River and sailing Main Break.

"It's one of the best and heaviest windsurfing waves in WA on its day.

"The level of sailing here amongst the locals is really high and sailing with them pushes me to go harder, which is both scary and a lot of fun."

Ben Newson from Perth took out second place with a stunning display of wave riding that made the difficult conditions look smooth and inviting.

Twenty year old French sailor Bastien Escofet showed he'll be a real threat in coming years, placing third with some hard charging manoeuvres.

Bastien moved to Margaret River two years ago, where he now trains to compete in future World Tour events.

Gnarabup local, Jane Seman won the women's division for the third year in a row by picking off some of the biggest waves in her heats.

"It was pretty radical to be competing in those conditions. It was well over mast high and pretty bouncy. I thought my legs were pretty strong but midway through my second heat, they were just burning."

Maeli Cherel from Perth, also charged hard to take out second place. Both girls performed well against the men and made the semi-finals of the Open.

Rebecca Cutter from Perth showed great spirit to take on the conditions and get third place after recently giving birth.

The Juniors was a hotly contested final with all the competitors tackling the huge surf with confidence.

It was the biggest swell any of the Juniors had ever sailed in and they certainly kept the water safety team on their toes.

Gnarabup local and current Australian Junior Wavesailing Champion, Jake Ghiretti won with some solid waves ridden almost all the way to the beach.

At 13 years of age, Jake was the youngest sailor in the event. Jake defeated National Techno Champion, Kai Marns Morris from Perth.

Margaret River holiday home regular Ollie Desforges was third and Busselton local Camillo Pillonel placed fourth.

Proving that age is no barrier at the other end of the scale, the Weekend Warrior division was won by the oldest sailor in the event.

Sixty five year old Margaret River local Paul Jackman showed off his long time experience at the break, winning with confident and consistent wave riding.

After many near misses, Busselton local Serge Pillonel was ecstatic to win the Amateur division.

Not so fortunate however, was William Kolbrink who ended his heat with a fractured foot after a bad wipeout.

The competition pushed people to take risks and the Water Patrol Australia team was kept busy.

The day finished with three broken masts, one destroyed sail and many other assists when sailors lost gear in the massive surf.

Results

Open

1. Jaeger Stone

2. Ben Newson

3. Bastien Escofet

Women

1. Jane Seman

2. Maeli Cherel

3. Rebecca Cutter

Juniors

1. Jake Ghiretti

2. Kai Marns Morris

3. Ollie Desforges

Amateur

1. Serge Pillonel

2. Adrian McLean

3. Nick Bentley

Weekend Warriors

1. Paul Jackman

2. Sam Burnett