'What a grub': Surfing world stunned by shocking Aussie incident

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Jacob Willcox and Ezekiel Lau, pictured here in nasty scenes at the Margaret River Pro.
Jacob Willcox and Ezekiel Lau were involved in nasty scenes at the Margaret River Pro. Image: Stab Mag

Aussie young gun Jacob Willcox was involved in ugly scenes at surfing's Margaret River Pro after a nasty incident with American rival Ezekiel Lau.

Willcox and Lau were practicing ahead of the opening round of heats when things got nasty.

NOT HAPPY: Aussie surfing legend blows up during flood crisis

SURFING NEXT? Ash Barty's surprise appearance after retirement

Lau appeared to drop-in on Willcox when the Aussie was trying to surf a wave and the pair then repeatedly blocked each other.

Fed-up with the back and forth, Lau then fell backwards off his board and sent it flying straight at Willcox's head in what appeared to be an intentional act.

Willcox was left fuming and paddled over to Lau to express his anger.

The pair then appeared to argue for a number of seconds before Willcox paddled away.

“Bagging him out on the internet isn’t how I like to deal with s***, but this is an honest review of the situation and the video speaks for itself,” Willcox later told Stab Mag.

“We had some good words in the water, and I had the chance to tell him what I thought and vice versa. At one point he said that ‘it was enough’.

“I said, ‘Okay, shake my hand and it’s done’. He splashed water at me like a grub and that really pissed me off.

“Imagine if it was the other way around - me in Hawaii, dropping in on him then flicking my board at his head… f*** me, it would be a different story."

Jacob Willcox, pictured here in action at the Margaret River Pro.
Jacob Willcox in action at the Margaret River Pro. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League via Getty Images)

Willcox and Lau appear to have history, with the Aussie claiming the native Hawaiian has dropped in on him before.

"He’s dropped in on and snaked me at Sunset and Haleiwa (in Hawaiia) and I’ve just put my head down and copped it," he said.

"I have respect - I know that it’s his zone and I respect that. I know my place in the line-up.

"We even had a heat in 2019 at Sunset where he ducked behind me and jammed his board into the top of my foot. It cut my foot up and I copped that too.

“In the surf, he is a bully and not used to anyone standing up to him. I told him I’m not scared and I’ve had enough.”

Ezekiel Laul, pictured here during the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia.
Ezekiel Lau (L) looks on during the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia. (Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League via Getty Images)

Zeke Lau responds to Jacob Willcox incident

However Lau claimed it was Willcox who was in the wrong and has no memory of him.

“He snaked me after I was waiting out at the peak at Main Break for 40 minutes,” he said.

“And he said he did that because I did the same thing to him in Hawaii. But I don’t remember meeting this kid in my life.

"I guess this is just his way of demanding some respect. But I’m just here trying to do my job and keep my spot on tour.”

Willcox was knocked out in the elimination round, while Lau was beaten by Jordy Smith in the round of 32.

Only the top 22 men and top 10 women will qualify for the second half of the Championship Tour (CT) season, with the rest of the field relegated to the Challenger Series (CS) under the World Surf League's new mid-year cut.

The controversial new system has already claimed the likes of Sally Fitzgibbons, Morgan Cibilic and Joao Chianca.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting