No waves but life is swell
Sage Erickson and Coco Ho. Picture: Instagram

What do the world's best surfers do when there is no swell in the South West?

As the Margaret River Pro was suspended for the third day in a row yesterday, competitors ventured outdoors to enjoy the region's wine, visit art studios and even embark on safaris to check out the wildlife.

American Courtney Conlogue, who has won the event for the past two years, has enjoyed an action-packed schedule around Margaret River.

After kicking off her day as she usually does when she is in town - with a flat white and breakfast from the Margaret River Bakery - the world No. 5 yesterday went to the Melting Pot Glass Studio to learn how to heat and cut glass.

"It was so much fun because I love artwork and painting," Conlogue said.

The 20-year-old also enjoyed a pizza at the Cheeky Monkey Brewery and went to the Hay Shed Hill vineyard with fellow US surfer Sage Erickson.

"It's a really cool little vineyard, which is family owned and run.

"They had me sign a bottle of cabernet sauvignon last year and Sage signed one this year," Conlogue said.

The pair also went bush on Monday on Neil McLeod's Sunset Kangaroo Safari, where they took photos of western grey kangaroos and enjoyed a steaming cup of billy tea.

She could not think of many places she would rather be than the South West.

"It's definitely a great spot to get stuck without swell," Conlogue said. "Every single location you go to is full of things to do. I have been coming here for four years and have really enjoyed it."

World champion Joel Parkinson, Australian surfer Kieren Perrow and Hawaiian surfer Makua Rothman saw the countryside on the Wine for Dudes tour on Sunday where they visited Brown Hill Estate, Burch Family Wines and Blind Corner, where they bought a case of wine.

In the evening, they enjoyed dinner at Margarets Beach Resort where five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore played a tune on a ukulele.

On Monday, Parkinson and Rothman went crayfish diving and fishing off Kilcarnup. Gilmore was impressed by Margaret River-based The Villa Chef, which cooks for people in the privacy of their accommodation or home.

"Thankyou, so yum," she tweeted. She also checked out the Eagle Bay Brewery with her friend Oleema Miller, who is dating local surf legend Taj Burrow.

While world No. 5 Julian Wilson played cricket in Dunsborough, Josh Kerr and Jordy Smith went on a wine tour before setting up a golf course at their house in Prevelly.

Kerr, from the Gold Coast but based in California, agreed the South West was a great place to have a couple lay days.

"It's such beautiful countryside and just so great to drive around and around," he said. "It's such a good part of Australia and it takes me back to when I used to go camping as a kid. I just love the scenery."

NSW surfer Owen Wright said he loved Margaret River because it was a "quiet town".

"Every time I've been here I've had a blast," he said. "I've done wine tours, played golf, seen the caves and found great surf."

Melting Pot Glass Studio owner Gerry Reilly said it was a "buzz" to have Conlogue in the studio and the surfers' prolific use of Twitter and Facebook served as a good advertisement for the region.

The competition is set to resume today, with massive swells forecast for the weekend.

Blind Corner winemaker Ben Gould, left, with Makua Rothman and Joel Parkinson. Picture: Wine for Dudes
Courtney Conlogue visits the Melting Pot Glass Studio in Margaret River. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian
Courtney Conlogue chills out on her day off.

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