As they competed, the South West was pumping

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It was a great last day or two at Margaret CT. Fun for our team of forecasters, fun for all of us spectators, whether we’re on the hill or watching from afar. And an incredible pleasure for Jack and Isabella, who were obviously both delighted. Happy Days!

But some things you couldn’t see, at least from a distance.

This amazing right-hander was once an alternate location for the CT, but somewhere in the lockdown and associated mess, that idea came out the back door.

Maybe that’s cool in a way, because it left the door open for the home team and a few professional visitors to come and charge.

Ooooooo. You would think twice about a twinnie. Great long interval set at North Point, May 3. Photo: Tom Pearsall

Deep positioning on another cracker. Photo: Pearsall

This coast is a whole other world. Photo: Pearsall

It was the penultimate day of the contest, when the wind howled from the SSE and Margies opened up in the triple-overhead-plus zone. Photographer Tom Pearsall stuck his 9’0” in the ute with a camera and went for it. “It was pretty big from quite early on,” he says. “Not the best North Point ever, but damn good.

“There were long waits between the biggest sets, maybe 15 minutes to half an hour. It was the longest period that showed itself. There were a few skis and a bit of a stage, but I saw Northy much more crowded. But those long waits made it really hard for everyone to get a good one.

Tom’s board: a 9’0″ x 3.5″ bonzer set-up, shaped by Matt Percy. If you live here, you have one like this. Photo: Pearsall

Someone is in there. Smaller at North Point. Photo: Pearsall

Swallows on the parking sign at Gnarabup, just south of Main Break. “They are called Welcome Swallows,” explains the photographer. “Australia’s most common swallow.” Well, there it is. Photo: Pearsall

All was not well that day. Local Mia McCarthy (not pictured) suffered a serious cut to her head. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast. Photo: Pearsall

The kind of place where a jet ski is just a good idea. Photo: Pearsall

Cowaramup Bay in all its beautifully displayed glory. Photo: Pearsall

Another session you haven’t seen from afar:

It was the day of the final, and it took a while for anyone to approach the joint. Maybe partly because of what was happening across the bay at Main Break, but maybe also because it was sketchy. “I checked it early and I think there would have been a few moments,” says Tom. “But when it’s that size and that long period in the swell, it’s a bit too much for the reef.”

But people started thinking about it, and by the time Tom checked it again around noon, Kelly Slater had jumped on it. Box was always on the edge of herself. “You can see how he just nailed that one (Tom shot). He ate shit several times. It was the best I’ve seen for maybe 90 minutes.

Above: Kelly, on the same wave you can see below, chasing demons. Sequel: Joel Foster

Kelly’s capture by Tom, possibly around the time Jack Robinson was fighting Jordy Smith. Windy and challenging, but somehow he made it. Photo: Pearsall

Part of the crew watches near the event site say they saw Kelly make a solid four, which must have helped erase the memory of his loss the day before in a massive blustery Main Break. We all need a shot in the arm of the ocean from time to time.

Above: Kelly and perhaps the best of the day at Box. Sequel: Foster

In short, after a while of filming, the 9’0” gave Tom had itchy feet so he went back to check the reefs south of Main Break. “A lot of people did that,” he says. “They were checking other spots because they couldn’t surf Main Break.”

The next morning, the day after the event, was head held high and a bit overhead, and “a perfect little day,” Tom says. “All the old boys were straight there. I surfed right across from Main Break and heard everyone chatting, talking about the previous days. It is such a social center.

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SWELL SIGNATURE

SOUTHWEST WA, May 3-4, 2022

STORM LOCATION/MOVEMENT: The polar low initially formed southwest of South Africa on April 27 and developed into a full-scale storm system moving across the southern Indian Ocean basin from April 28 to May 1.

Lotus swell spread graph from May 1, showing the massive sea state swell near the heart of the storm.

STRONGEST STORM WIND/SEA: Strongest wind speeds of 50 knots at the start of the storm, but an expanded large-scale 1000 NM fetch sustained winds of 35-45 knots across open seas resulting in maximum satellite detection of 36 foot waves on April 30.

MAXIMUM STORM INTENSITY: The large-scale sustained swell formation originated from a 962 mb storm core located approximately 2000 NM southwest of Western Australia.

WAVE TRAVEL TIME: 3-4 days from peak storm seas.

WAVE PEAK: The Cape Naturaliste buoy peaked at 3.5m with 17-18 seconds on the afternoon of Tuesday May 3rd. The best conditions occurred on Wednesday as the swell eased slightly to 3m under offshore winds.

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