Category Archives: Surfing

Hot Wax Surf Shop

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In today’s culture the surfing industry is exploding with new and inventive technology, progressive riding styles, and new companies and shops popping up all over the US. However, most surfers have their favorite local shop in their hometown that has been there for their every need. Whether you have the need for a new board because you snapped your last Dumpster Diver on an Air Reverse or a new pair of sunglasses because you ran them over with your truck rushing to make the sunrise paddle out, there’s a specific shop you go to.

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In Wilmington, NC that shop is Hot Wax Surf Shop. The shop is located at 4510 Hoggard Drive, right off of S. College Road and directly across from the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus. Owner and surfboard shaper Michael Paul opened the shop in 1986 and has been shaping boards in this shop and before the shop for 33 years. With time and repetition comes experience, Paul started out shaping boards with legend Ed Barbera on the North Shore of Oahu. After gaining enough experience, Paul went on to start his own surfboard line. This line of boards is known as Proline Surfboards. Paul himself has personally tested his hand shaped boards in some of the biggest and best surf across the world. The most notable locations that Paul has surfed are places like: Jeffery’s Bay, Tavarua, Fiji, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Indonesia. As an avid surfer, Paul is willing to push the boundaries in terms of conventional surfboard design. Due to this enthusiasm for the sport, at Hot Wax you can order a completely custom board fit to your wildest specifications that Paul will obviously shape himself. In addition to carrying Paul’s hand shaped Proline surfboards, the option for a completely custom board, Hot Wax also carries all of the big brand name boards. The shop, including Paul’s shaping room boasts a 5000 square foot shop floor with an upstairs portion that holds all of the surfboards, bodyboards, and skimboards they sell.

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If you are ever on the East Coast chasing a storm, end up a student at UNCW, or are just taking a day trip down to one of the many surf spots Eastern NC has to offer, stop by Hot Wax and check it out. If you do get the chance to attend UNCW as a student, definitely take advantage of the 10% discount you will receive when shopping at Hot Wax simply for attending the University right across S. College Rd.

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The shop always has the newest gear and most popular brands on the market and the staff is extremely friendly and eager to use their vast knowledge to assist customers in the best purchases possible. The shop is open 7-days a week and no matter what you are looking for, Hot Wax Surf Shop is sure to have the product you are looking for in-stock or in route to the shop. Also, checkout their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.

-Contributed by crs4Surf

Earth Day and Ocean Pollution Awareness

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Today, 4/22/15, is a really special day. On Earth Day we pay homage to our home and planet. It is a day for recognizing and continuing our behavioral practice in protecting our environment. However, we have not really been on our best behavior with dealing with the environment, nor have we changed our brutal methods in how we obtain resources from our environment. Additionally, we are not the best at effectively managing and disposing our waste. In turn this waste, mainly plastics, are being transported by rivers, streams, and drainage sewers to our oceans. According to oceanographic research and personal accounts of seafaring individuals, there appears to be what is called, “garbage patches” in our oceans. Journalistic reports of “garbage patches” surfaced around 2007, but were not given much attention, and were rather looked upon as myth. Analogically speaking, the state of Texas was considered to be the size of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the North Pacific Gyre.

GPGP

As many years has past since the discovery of these so called, “garbage patches”, the myth soon turned into a horrible fact. “In 2010, eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the ocean from coastal countries—far more than the total that has been measured floating on the surface in the ocean’s “garbage patches” (Laura Parker, National Geographic 2015). It is baffling to hear that this statistic is not accounting for the trash on the surface, this is insane. Many other statistics since 2010 have been released about the percentage of waste in our oceans.

Now lets just take a second to think about all this. We are revolving around an ecological circle, where everything has an effect. If we are dumping waste into the ocean, and this waste is also dissolving into smaller micro-sized particles, who do you think is first consuming that? A fish does not just have to come across a piece of plastic and directly consume it. A fish can simply eat smaller organisms or planktons that could have been potentially feeding on these dissolved toxic micro-sized particles, considering the accumulating percentage of waste in the ocean. Lastly, the fish is consumed by us with all of the toxic biological/chemical matter it ingested . We are eating and taking in toxic and poison. Is that ok with you?

Zak Noyle’s famous picture of the “Indo Trash Barrel”, should be a constant reminder to us as surfers. Do you really want to be surfing in trash? Should you have to feel worried about getting sick from entering our oceans? It sucks to see beaches closing down due to dirty water conditions. If we don’t take the proper precautions and steps to a better methodology in handling our waste and where we dispose of it, we will be surfing in “trash barrels” (not just in Indo or Bali), or not surfing at all due to unsanitary and harmful water conditions.

Earth Day goes beyond just saying, “Go Green”, or “I pledge to recycle”. Earth Day is about turning words and thoughts into action. Informing, educating, and making others aware of these environmental concerns are of the utmost importance. Who is going to go before Congress and Committee panels to reinforce or redirect funding towards the environment? It is up to us to take the initiative to uphold the protection of our environment.

For more information on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and Ocean Pollution. Check out the Vice News Documentary three part series called, “An Ocean Full of Plastic”. It is free on Youtube. Another cool documentary to check out is one that is actually sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation called, “Plastic Paradise”, which describes Angela Sun’s personal journey to the island Midway Atoll, where she also comes across the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disrupting The Industry- 3D Printed Surfboards

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Disrupt

Shapers are modern day artists, they take a raw blank and sculpt it into the beautiful piece of art we call a surfboard. Think of Al Merrick as Michelangelo and Matt Biolos as Lorenzo Ghiberti, famous sculptors for those of you who haven’t picked up a book in awhile. It used to be the only way you could get a quality custom board was to surrender your creativity, and a months worth of rent, into the hands of one of the skilled foam sculptors of our time. Not anymore. Disrupt is your chisel, and your mind is the blank marble slate. They are giving you the ability to become Donatello and create your own version of David.

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Based out of Bondi, Disrupt is focused on 3 main ideas: educating people about the construction of surfboards, creativity, and innovation. They’re currently using a combination of 3D printing and CNC shaping to help you create the perfect custom board at a fraction of the cost. At the moment, full-scale 3D printing is still too costly due to a lack in commercial materials, hence the CNC shaping. To help improve 3D printing Disrupt is working with Australias largest 3D printing company researching and experimenting with different materials to lead the revolution of the surf industry.

How it works

If you have your dimensions dialed in on your magic stick and a 3D printer you can design your own 3d modeled shred sled. Then, when you’re finished digitally shaping the perfect board, Disrupt will print out a scaled version so you can physically see your masterpiece and edit your board if need be. Cool right? If you don’t trust yourself to create your own board without any help, have no fear. You can chat with the crew and give them an idea of what you want and they’ll do the dirty work. Once they’re finished, they’ll print you a scaled version and have you ok it, before moving on to full scale shaping.

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Using 3D modeling software creates the opportunity for virtually unlimited creativity. Disrupt encourages you to be as creative as you can be with designing your board. Whether it’s putting some abstract art on the deck of your board or something really weird, like embedding someone’s ashes into a board or putting in an ipad with inductive charging. Yes, they’ve done both.

 

SmartSurfAs for innovation they have developed an app that can be paired with sensors placed inside the board to help you progress. The sensors include: pressure, accelerometer and gyro. After a surf you can download the data to your phone via Bluetooth and see if your rail to rail transition is harder and faster than the session before. These sensors could also have professional surfing implications. Instead of subjectivejudging through the eyes of the judges, objective data could be used to reveal which surfers are really turning harder and surfing faster. Lastly, envision a transition like the music industry has made. Hardly anyone buys CD’s anymore, it’s all about digital files. Using 3D modelling software the idea is that shapers all over the world can put their shapes onto the internet to be purchased. Say you want a board from a shaper in Australia but you’re in Canada; it’d be as simple as going on their website, buying and downloading the file, then printing it out.

Currently they are accepting orders in Australia and Europe, but hope to establish a presence in other international markets soon!

 

Margies Fantasy Picks

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Well, here we are again; fantasy surfer crunch time. Margaret River has to be my least favorite spot on tour. [Rio’s a close second] Its a funky wave. Its got air sections, rail sections, the occasionally barrel section, but mostly bumpy sections. This makes it extremely difficult for me to assemble a team that I confidently feel has the ability to conquer everything thrown at them. As the trade deadline dwindles from days into mere hours and minutes, I’ll give you an inside look at my elite eight fantasy team.

Winning it all: Taj Burrow

Taj isn't afraid of anything West Oz throws his way.

Taj isn’t afraid of anything West Oz throws his way.

It’s his backyard and it’s going to be PUMPING. Not only does he have home field advantage, but Taj consistently performs well. Out of 18 years on tour, only twice has he finished outside the top 10. To get results like that you have to win a few events, and there’s no better place for Taj to snag a win then at home.

2-JJF

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Charges big waves? Check. Proper rail game? Check. Airs? Double check. John John meets all the requirements for the 2015 Margaret River Pro. Since he was basically conceived in the barrel at pipeline, I imagine John John will find himself quite comfortable in 12′-20′ wave faces at Margies.

3-Josh Kerr

Photo: ASP

Photo: ASP

Yep, another old aussie gets the nod. Last year Kerrzy made the finals but surfed like shit. This year maybe someone will remind the old bloke to wax his board and he’ll prove to be a good pick. He’s got the ability to put it hard on rail and his air game puts some of the young guns to shame.

4-Owen Wright

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Whatever you’re doing this year, keep doing it. 2013 and 2014 weren’t really your years. This year though, you’re going to win an event. I’m not asking you to necessarily win this event, but please, don’t blow it before round 4. When he’s on, he’s tough to beat. The conditions suit you Owen, don’t be a kook.

5-Matt Banting

Matt Banting

This was one of the toughest decisions in selecting my team. The rookie costs a hefty 5 mil and only has 2 events under his belt. I’m hoping his nuts drop this event and he can show the veterans he knows how to use his lanky body to displace some serious aqua. Bantings forehand rail work is stylish and he can take to the air with the best of them. The only doubt I have is if he’ll be able to prove himself in heavy surf.

6-Seabass

TomCarey_WA0047 Zietz

Come on Seabass, think back to that quarterfinal against Slater in 2013. Kelly flogged you with a perfect 20 while you put up a measly 4.10. Get fired up ya mad dog. Its about time you get some results, don’t let me down.

7-C.J. Hobgood

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He sits near the bottom of the rankings, but has the potential to pull off an upset. His backhand is decent but where he will excel is relying on his experience. In a dream world, Seabass and Hobgood would knock Adriano into the redemption round, but we’ll have to wait and see.

8- Dusty Payne

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I picked Dusty because he’s built like an ox and loves big cruddy surf. Hopefully he can find that mojo he had in Hawaii to lay down some solid scores. Bells was an unlucky draw so this event I’m expecting Mr. Payne to give everyone a run for their money. 

Why you should pay very close attention to Silvana Lima

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Who? If you’re a young reader, chances are she hasn’t been on the tour since you’ve been paying attention to it. If you’re like the rest of us, chance are you don’t care about women’s surfing anyway. It’s cool, I agree… the guys are generally more exciting to watch. But Silvana Lima is the exception to that rule. Here’s why:

http://youtu.be/7c1ErQMX1B4

2.) Every wave is over head.

She’s a whopping 4’9” tall, maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. You know how those 12-year-old groms can rip apart knee high slop on a potato-chip shortboard without sinking? So can she. AND SHE’S 30! Days one and two of the Roxy Pro at Snapper this past week only confirmed that.

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3.) She’s the reigning world champ’s polar opposite.

Take everything you know about Stephanie Gilmore and flip it upside-down, then put the two side-by-side in the same heat. It’s actually somewhat comical. Everything about the two from hair color to height to surfing style to native language clashes dramatically. After her world title last year, Steph admitted to me in an interview that her air game needs work. Silvana’s is already solidified. So far in the Roxy Pro, Silvana and Steph have had two heats together and have gone blow-for-blow. We’ll get see them duke it out once more in the quarter final too, and many more times this year I’m sure. Where Steph (5’10”/146) has to awkwardly pump out momentum in dwindling conditions, Silvana can throw her fins out the back and power through snaps on soft faces. The only thing the two have in common is an infectious smile.

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4.) She’s tactfully anti-establishment.

She’s not sponsored… Anymore. She used to be, back in the day. Billabong picked her up young as a rising star, but they dropped her cold turkey after she blew out her knees without thinking twice. (They’re going to be kicking themselves when she wins the world title this year – yes, I’m calling it.) She hasn’t had any interest in modeling from the get-go; she just wants to be the best surfer in the world. After being dropped she crowdfunded her way through her knee rehab and back into competition relying on people who supported her as a person rather than corporations who use their female riders for their bodies. I am so happy that she hasn’t signed back on with a major corporate sponsor; her blank board is essentially a big FU to Billabong every time she launches it. Anyway, instead of walking away from the sport, she’s been scrapping her way back into it one unfunded step at a time only adding fuel to a fire that Billabong didn’t believe in. She’s also just plain DIFFERENT. Instead of bouncing into the water in a bikini posting Instagram clips showing more booty than barrels, Silvana usually runs into the water in shorts and a T-shirt, has a tattoos (really awesome ones actually) all over, and warms up with capoeira (martial art). Her Instagram (silvanalimasurf) consists only of some really rad surf shots/clips, her french bulldogs, training moments, and some funny selfies with her friends. It’s so clear that she’s doing what makes her happy, and kicking serious a** at it.

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5.) She started from nothing.

Silvana is actually one of those stories. She grew up in Paracuru, Brazil She learned to surf on a piece of wood. When she did have money to spare with her early success on the tour, she gave it back to where she came from – She took care of her family first, obviously, but after her runner-up year she donated her winnings back to her city’s surf team.

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I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a superfan… but you should be one too. She’s a complete game-changer. Even though she’s been cast out of the spot light for the past few years, she’s now back in full force and better than ever. Watch for this tiny Brazilian spitfire to be the much needed spark that women’s professional surfing needs to push the limits today and for years to come.

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The Time I Almost Fell Off A Cliff In Australia

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Below is an anecdote about the time I nearly died at Grinders.

8 A.M:

The sound of my alarm rings inches from ear. I blindly slap around to find my phone that’s hidden deep in between the couch cushions. I roll off of the couch and put on the only clothes I brought; jeans, a t-shirt, and a pair of reefs. As I stumble into the kitchen still half asleep, Michael says, “ Grinders today?” in an eager but questionable tone. He’s already seated at the table in front of the open sliding glass door, eating what resembles a granola bar dropped in a bowl of milk. I go through a mental checklist to try and come up with something other then grinders. Note, the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach is in full swing this weekend. Bells is off limits, Winkipop has everybody and their closest mates surfing, plus we had already surfed Pt. Addis and the other go to spots with little luck the days before. “Yeah, I’m keen”, I reply hesitantly, as I pull my bread out of the toaster.

The view from the top of the cliff.

The view from the top of the cliff.

Two weeks before:

We had just finished surfing and Michael wanted to check grinders before heading home. We pull into this dirt car park and he jumps out, I follow. As we start heading into the bush following this small footpath, a fence with the cliché “locals only” carved into the wooden post appears. A brisk jump over and we keep moving down this narrowing trail if you could even call it that. Another 5 minutes passes and here I am, getting my first look at grinders. As I stand there looking over the 100 foot near vertical cliff, I think to my self, there’s no f**king way I’m ever surfing here.

Steep enough for ya?

Steep enough for ya?

8:30 A.M:

We’ve finished breakfast and are outside loading up the ute. Boards get tossed in, followed by towels, and wetsuits. We pull out of his driveway and start heading down the Great Ocean Road towards Grinders. It’s a nice day, upper 50’s/low 60’s, partly cloudy, a light onshore breeze, and a forecasted 4′ swell. We pull onto the dirt road leading to grinders and I can feel my adrenaline already starting to pump thinking about making it down this cliff. He throws the truck in park and we start making our way through the knee-high grass to the cliff side. We hop the fence again and this time its for real, I’m actually going to have make it down this cliff.

Not the actual fence, but you get the idea.

Not the actual fence, but you get the idea. Photo: Chris Burkard

8:50 A.M:

Michael leads; showing me what he thinks is the proper technique to navigating this sketchy ass cliff. First, you have two options. Either walk the plank, a small wooden board placed across a 15 foot deep hole, or walk along the foot wide ledge of the hole, which is also the edge of the 100 foot cliff. After successfully crossing the creaking, weathered board, I look up and there’s two pieces of rebar with rope knotted around it. You guessed it, we grabbed onto the rope and navigated the edge of the cliff until I watched Michael take a sharp right and start descending the cliff. Trying to follow his exact footsteps, I take the sharp right grasping the scattered pieces of rebar and century old rope whenever possible. This is where I started to notice my reefs were no match for the crumbling rock. I continue to slowly make my way down and as I approach the last 15 feet of the cliff, I realize there are no more makeshift steps or switchbacks to follow down. There’s just this same piece of rope tied to a piece of rebar that was slammed into the side of the cliff, dangling down to the small patch of sand and rock beneath us. I watch Michael carefully bend over and grab the rope with one arm, board underneath the other, and slowly start to repel the last 15 feet. Yeah, I said repel, like hold onto a rope and jump down a cliff, repel. Now it’s my turn. My heart’s in my throat; I tug on the rope to see if the surfer with an engineering hobby that decided to set up this contraption did a good enough job. Rope in one hand, board under the other; I start stepping down the last drop off with absolutely no confidence in this rope. Surprisingly, my feet hit the sand first and the rope didn’t give out on me as soon as I took my first step.

Grinders hike up

 

11 A.M.

We get out of the water and with high tide approaching, there’s even less beach than there was before. This is the first time it crossed my mind that I was going to have to get up this cliff. Michael takes off first, firmly grabbing the rope and shimmying up one handed with ease. As soon as he lets go of the rope, I start walking my way up the vertical face to catch up with Michael. Everything is going smoothly until we reach the sharp turn. I’m wet, I have my board under one arm, and my reefs are basically as good as using banana peels for shoes. Waiting for Michael to make the last steep step up before we’re pretty much home free, I feel myself starting to slip. I made a crucial mistake; having put one knee down made it impossible to re-stand up with out sliding. I’m trying to grab onto any rock I can find to hold myself in place until I can get better footing, but nothing is within arms distance. Every time I move a muscle I slip more. Michael is up the last step already when I yell that I’m slipping and he needs to get down here. At first it was funny to him until he looked over the edge and realized I was indeed slipping, and slipping a lot. The wind has picked up now. I feel it catching my board; I’m starting to contemplate whether I should just throw it and use both hands or just keep clinging for dear life. While Michael is making his way down the cliff for the second time today, I’m digging my one free hand into the dirt as hard as possible trying not to fall to a certain death. After what felt like an hour, Michael finally made it down to me and  I can hand off my board and now use both hands. I pull my self together and start moving up the cliff again, slowly. Moving at a sloth like pace, I finally made it to the top where we had a good laugh at my misfortunes.

Looking up the cliff.

A better picture of the hike up.

Moral of the story: be glad you don’t have to do this every day at your local spot.

John John Florence Claims Volcom Pipe Pro Title

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John John Florence is no stranger to Pipeline/Backdoor. I mean, it’s essentially the kid’s backyard. The 22-year-old north shore local used his intimate knowledge of the reef to take home his fourth Volcom Pipe Pro title in a stacked final heat this past weekend.

Tricky conditions presented for the final day. With the wind and swell direction, backdoor was holding her mouth open for some deep barrels throughout the day like Kelly Slater’s perfect 10 in the Quarterfinal round.

 

http://youtu.be/K7D5XA_TJmc

John John earned his winning scores early in the heat with a 9.0 and an 8.43. In second was his north shore neighbor Mason Ho with a combined total of 15.9. Kelly Slater took third place with a 9.0 and Sebastian Zietz topped off the podium with an 8.47.

With an early win at home under his belt, John John’s looking poised and ready to chase down the world title in 2015 starting with the Aussie leg at the end of February!

 

 

 

Tribute for Ricardo Dos Santos

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dosantos

At about noon on January 20, 2015, Ricardo Dos Santos passed away after fighting to stay alive from three fatal gunshot wounds. Dos Santos was only 24 years of age and had a bright surfing career in head of him. According to social media reports and other surf websites, the young Brazilian was trying to stop a group of locals from openly using, and probably dealing severe and dangerous drugs in front of children. Dos Santos, who has been trying to rid his local community of violence and crime approached the group of locals, and told them to conduct their private matters elsewhere. The frustrated and stubborn group of locals then began to walk away after the confrontation. Unfortunately, when Dos Santos turned his back and began walking towards his home, a member of the group named; Luiz Paulo Mota Brentano (25), pulled out a personal firearm and shot Dos Santos once in the back and two more times into the abdominal region, as Dos Santos turned around in utter despair. He was then quickly evacuated via paramedic helicopter to a nearby hospital, while he was still loosing a lot of blood from his wounds. Upon reaching the hospital, he slipped into a fatal coma, a coma Dos Santos would not wake up from. The Emergency Room team did all that they could to save the young Brazilian’s life, he was pronounced dead after a three hour long attempt to bring him back to life.

Brentano, who is surprisingly confirmed to be a police officer and was off-duty at the time of the event, is now in custody with his brother (17), who is identified as one of the accomplices in the tragic murder event. It is also known now that, Brentano has had a history of alleged misuse of police authority.

A message from the Dos Santos Family: “Our Ricardo is gone,” said his family moments after his passing. “He lived so much in his 24 years. It is a very hard time for us right now. We believe that there are better barrels where Ricardo is going and that he will be there getting barrels with Andy Irons. We want to say thank you to everyone for all of the support. Thanks for all of the opportunity for his life and career. Ricardo was so grateful for everything and for everyone.”

May our condolences from the DailyStoke community go out to friends and the Dos Santos family.

Ricardo Dos Santos is a recipient of the Andy Irons Forever Award in 2012 and Wave of the Winter for the year of 2012-2013. Dos Santos was an exceptionally awesome big wave tube rider and was awarded the Wave of the Winter award for an epic, unforgettable, ride in the tube at Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline.

 

Medina wins World Title; Wilson takes Pipe Masters

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*** ALL PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR (Tasha Rivard, instagram: @tasharivard) ***

Sharing is caring. Both Gabriel Medina and Julian Wilson had the best days of their lives yesterday.

Sharing is caring. Both Gabriel Medina and Julian Wilson had the best days of their lives last Friday.

Well, that was exciting.

Friday, December 20th marked the final day of the Billabong Pipe Masters and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in clean, classic 8-foot Pipeline conditions.

The Rundown:
– Gabriel Medina brought the first ASP World Title to Brazil.
– Both Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning were knocked out of title contention by Alejandro Muniz.
– Medina eliminated wildcard Dusty Payne in round 3, opening the door to the Triple Crown Title.
– Julian Wilson came out of the shadows, defeating Medina in the closest Pipemasters’ final to date, claiming both the contest victory as well as the Triple Crown.

That’s the gist. But in reality it was WAY crazier than that! So keep reading.

Conditions were favorable for the final day of the 2014 Billabong Pipemaster's

Conditions were favorable for the final day of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters

After calling the remainder of the afternoon off on the previous day of competition (the best afternoon of the year I might add, but it was actually the right call at the time… but that’s an entirely different article) and with the Da Hui breathing down the ASP’s neck, commissioner Kieren Perrow had to get creative. Somehow, all of round 3 through the final heat would need to run between 8am and 4pm Friday to stay within the competition window and keep things legal. The result: shortened, overlapping heats – meaning more bodies in the water and ultimate priority were still factors in the equation.

This situation worked in favor of Gabriel Medina and Team Brazil (as they shall now be dubbed). Countryman Felipe Toledo fully admitted to intentionally blocking Dusty Payne’s waves in round 3, giving Medina an an edge (which he may or may not have needed) to knock the tenacious wildcard out of the competition while their heats overlapped. Alejandro Muniz turned the tide further in favor of Medina by snagging a buzzer-beating backdoor barrel to knock Kelly out in round 3. Muniz then sealed the deal in round 5 by taking down Mick Fanning, the last contender standing.

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The majority of the crowd spoke Portugese and sported gold and green.

When Mick went down, the beach erupted. To make it more interesting, Medina was in the water about to begin his quarter-final heat against Felipe Toledo. The excitement overtook the young Brazilian who immediately broke into celebration as well. After lunging up, pounding his chest, and hugging everyone in the water including Mick, Medina paddled to the beach to be carried up by what seemed like the entire nation of Brazil. Fifteen minutes into the heat, the celebration was still going on. Finally, Medina decided to surf the rest of it. Did Felipe let him take waves? Maybe. Either way, Medina came out of the heat victorious and advanced into the semis.

Medina came to the beach to celebrate his World Champion Title mid-quarterfinal heat.

Medina came to the beach to celebrate his World Champion Title mid-quarter-final heat.

Gabriel Medina. Semi-final heat

Gabriel Medina. Quarter-final heat

Medina, semi-final heat

Medina. Putting on a show in the remainder of his quarter-final heat.

Meanwhile, Julian Wilson was quietly slashing his way through the ranks. When Julian entered the water for his quarter final, he didn’t come out until the end of the contest. (Because of the condensed heat structure, he had to remain in the water and change out jerseys in the lineup.) The 26-year-old Aussie had to surf 5 heats on the day before facing Medina in what would be one of the most exciting Finals in professional surfing.

Julian Wilson, Semi-final heat

Julian Wilson, Semi-final heat

Within the first minute, the two immediately exchanged blows in the final. The surfers both opted to favor their front-sides and split the peak for first wave that rolled through. Julian’s backdoor ride earned him a 9.93. Just seconds later, Medina turned around again and answered quickly with a perfect 10. on an even beefier backdoor barrel! Moments later, it was Medina again pulling an 8.0 out of the Pipeline with a fins-free finishing hack to top it off.

Julian Wilson stuck to his front side, picking off Backdoor gems

Julian Wilson stuck to his front side, picking off Backdoor gems

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The begining of Medina’s 8.0

...and the end of it. The kid definitely knows how to finish with flare.

…and the end of it. The kid definitely knows how to finish with flare.

But the heat wasn’t over until the last exchange before the buzzer. On the beach, we could see the set standing tall on the outer reefs as it marched toward the lineup.

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Julian Wilson found the wave he was looking for…

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…but Gabriel Medina answered.

“I asked him [Medina] if he wanted the first or the second [wave]. He said the second so I went,” Julian said after all was said and done. “I knew I got the score but I thought he might have come back on it.” When Medina’s last-ditch score came up short, “I just face-planted into the sand,” Julian said.

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Julian Wilson was all smiles in his post face-plant victory interview.

Julian took down the newly crowned world champ with a whopping combined total of 19.63 for the heat against Medina’s 19.20. Julian walked away with the Billabong Pipemaster’s victory as well as the Vans Triple Crown title.

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The very beginning of a very long party

Oh, all wasn’t lost for Dusty Payne, by the way. At the end of the day, he still had the highest combined heat total of the Triple Crown – a 19.64 (0.01 better than Julian’s) which he earned in the final of the Reef Hawaiian Pro, granting him the Hawaiian Airlines Best in Class award. Don’t you just love it when everybody wins?

*** ALL PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR (Tasha Rivard, instagram: @tasharivard) ***

Surfing Sexism Overshadows Talent

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Image via: http://sweatforit.com/fit-girls/surfer-girl-alana-blanchard/

Alana Blanchard.
Photo URL: http://sweatforit.com/fit-girls/surfer-girl-alana-blanchard/

 

Have you ever heard of Alana Blanchard? What comes to mind when you think of her? Howbout Anastasia Ashley? Be honest guys. How many thought “dat a*s” before carves or hacks?

 

On the flip side, have you ever heard of Silvana Lima? If you have, chances are your impression of her is “the fiery little Brazilian who throws those crazy airs!”

Photo URL: http://www.zigzag.co.za/news/contest/bianca-interferes-rio-womens-pro-day-2/

Silvana Lima.
Photo URL: http://www.zigzag.co.za/news/contest/bianca-interferes-rio-womens-pro-day-2/

 

Here is the sobering reality of women’s professional surfing: bums sell better than barrels.

Yes, I know the athletes are 80% naked while performing, but surf magazines shouldn’t be comparable to a Playboy. First and foremost, surfing is a sport and an art – and it deserves to be respected as such. The women’s surf industry, in particular, has faded from its roots. It’s now watered with profits generated by selling its athletes’ sexuality.

Don’t get me wrong! Silvana is a mulher bonita! During her career and her post-injury comeback, however, she has never put herself out there in a way that allowed sex appeal to overshadow her skill. The girl just wants to be the best surfer in the world and bring the title to Brazil (and bust an air or two over your head in the process). She is currently sitting comfortably on top of the QS this year with 25 heat wins – and she’s doing all this without sponsorship (anymore).

 

Take a look at Dimity Stoyle (11th/10 heat wins) and Johanne Defay (8th/13 heat wins). Both of these ladies absolutely rip and have been performing well despite their lack of major sponsorship. These ladies scrap to travel from one event to the next in order to compete professionally in the sport they are passionate about.

Johanne Defay.

Johanne Defay.
Photo URL: http://ist2011.over-blog.com/article-interview-johanne-defay-3eme-au-world-junior-2009-86862370.html

Dimity Stoyle. Photo via: http://www.tracksmag.com/dimity-stoyle-five-feet-high-and-rising/

Dimity Stoyle.
Photo URL: http://www.tracksmag.com/dimity-stoyle-five-feet-high-and-rising/

 

Meanwhile, Blanchard (17th) has not won a SINGLE HEAT this ENTIRE YEAR. Judging by some of her post-heat interviews, she doesn’t really seem to care either. Rip Curl continues to back her with ringing endorsement and modeling gigs, throwing money her direction so she can travel the globe. Why SHOULD she care?

Yes, I know, Blanchard can actually surf alright. But it’s tough to look up to her or even take her seriously. You have to ask yourself, did she win the 2013 Surfer Poll because she charges (she was ranked 11th at the time)? Or did she win it because of sex-appeal publicity? Does she deserve to be held up to the likes or Rochelle Ballard (2000-2002), Lynne Boyer (1979), or Lisa Anderson (1992, 1994-1999)? Is this title about progressive surfing accomplishments? Or should we change the name (since that seems to be the thing to do in professional surfing these days) to something more suitable, like ASP Prom Queen/King?

2013 Winners: Alana and Kelly. Both have contributed about an equal amount to professional surfing... right? Photo courtesy of: http://www.surfermag.com/features/surfer-poll-results/

2013 Winners: Alana and Kelly. Both have contributed about an equal amount to professional surfing… right?
Photo URL: http://www.surfermag.com/features/surfer-poll-results/

 

At the end of the day, I understand that professional surfing needs the financial support of the major surf brands to survive. Surf brands need to generate profits to survive. In order to generate profits, they have to sell desirable products and market those products desirable ways. That’s just business 101. But is this the reality? Or is “the marketing” actually changing the mentality of “the market”? Is the women’s surf industry promoting the wrong standards and ideals for the up and coming generation of athletes? You decide.

Carissa Moore.

Carissa Moore.

Why John John Should Be The Next World Champion, Not Medina

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Medina has been getting a lot of hype lately fueling his already egotistical attitude. Yeah, he has the chance to win the world title. So what? So do a lot of other people, 7 if you want to be exact. If anyone should be winning their first world title this year, it should be John John.

Why do I think John John should be this year’s champion over Medina? To say JJF has taken surfing to a new level is an understatement. His free surfing abilities are at least ten times better than anyone on tour right now. No one can consistently throw huge alley oops or as stylish of carves as John John can. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the hell does free-surfing have to do with winning the world title?” You’re right. Nothing, but if he competes like he free-surfs (which he does) he surfs better than the other 35 guys on tour.

What other surfer on tour punts airs into the stratosphere in a jersey?

Medina, simply surfs how the judges want him to surf, whereas John John surfs how he wants to surf. Combine this with a rigid scoring system that limits creativity, the result is unprogressive surfing getting rewarded. Again, you’re probably reading this thinking, “This guy is about as smart as a sack of bricks. If John John surfed to the judges scale, he’d get rewarded too.” The point here is, John John knows the scale and what he should do, but surfs WCT events like he wants to. It’s this free-surf approach that helps distinguish Florence from the rest of the guys on tour.

Lastly, John John’s demeanor shows he expects to make every wave he drops in on, whereas Gabe throws claims like they’re going out of style. This is no reason, not to win a world title, but the claims may have influenced the judges to be generous with a few tenths of a point. Over the course of the season, these tenths of points have quietly been adding up to extra points in the rankings. With this in mind, John Johns’s semi final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti was decided by a tenth of point, and the final by three hundredths of a point.Had John John or Kelly come out of a barrel and put on a performance worthy of an emmy award nomination, they could’ve won the event.

And just in case you disagree, here’s a clip for your viewing pleasure, to show why john john should win the tour this year.

5 Reasons Every Surfer Should Visit Australia

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Recently I had the privilege to do a semester abroad in Australia. During my 6-month stay in the land down under, I can confidently say I spent more time surfing than in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong grades are important, but when the opportunity presents itself to surf world-class waves, you jump on it. Coming from a relatively small beach town with mediocre beach breaks to six-foot bells feels like what I imagine going from a mini van to a Mercedes would feel like. With this in mind below are my top five reasons every surfer should visit Australia at least once.

1. THE WAVES

This one should be obvious; anyone remotely interested in surfing knows Australia produces some of the best waves consistently. The variety of waves in a relatively small area is unparalleled. My first week at uni I met a bloke that lived on the great ocean road, one street past bells. Through him I got to experience spots most tourists would never see. The dynamics of these spots varied greatly even though we were only traveling ten or fifteen minutes. Australia can serve up anything from the rippable walls of over crowded point breaks, to secluded, thick lipped, beach break barrels.

Bells beach Photo:ASP

2. The Babes

Remember the chick from Wolf Of Wall Street? The hot one? Yeah, she’s Australian. Granted, not all Australian females look like her, but for the most part they’re easy on the eye. The lulls between sets provide the perfect opportunity to scout out a potential date for the night.

Not bad right?

3. The Locals

There’s a reason that Melbourne, Australia has been chosen as the worlds most livable city for the past three years. In my opinion, Australians are the friendliest type of people. Within my first week of being in Australia I had made such close friends I felt like I was their all my life. Australians are generally very welcoming people. Embrace and it score as many free home cooked meals as you can imagine.

4. The Eats

Everyone knows the post surf hunger feeling that can only be satisfied by a meal that could feed a small village. Everyone that goes to Australia, surfer or not, has to try a Tim-tam slam. What is a Tim-tam slam you ask? It consists of two simple ingredients, Tim-tams and milk. Combine the two and you have the perfect post surf snack. The second unique Australian dish I recommend is chips, cheese, and gravy. Combine french fries, mozzarella cheese, and your favorite gravy to have a true blue aussie meal.

The Goods

5. The Scenery

Last, but definitely not least, is the landscape. I was never really big into photography before this trip, but the views in Australia certainly changed my perspective. There is no place else in the world that can rival the landscape of Australia. If you get the chance to go to Australia, do it, it will certainly be life changing.

Cairns Australia

Will Gabriel Medina bring the WCT title to Brazil in 2014?

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Gabriel Medina could possibly be the first Brazilian to bring the coveted WCT title home to Brazil, if he should best veterans Slater and Parko. Medina, at the ripe age of 20, has the chance to be on the same pedestal as the legend him self, Kelly Slater, to share the record of the youngest surfer ever to win a WCT title.

Medina roughly has a one-stop advantage over Slater and Parkinson. Should Kelly or Joel have any hopes of robbing the young Brazilian of his title dreams, they need to perform at their highest level in the remaining three events. Looking back to last year’s tour, the tour veterans had strong showings in the ongoing and upcoming events. Mick Fanning, who is currently sitting in 4th in the rankings, is the defending champion of the Quiksilver Pro France, Parko had semi-final finishes in all three remaining events, and Kelly’s dominance at pipe last year, set the stage for an exciting finish to the title race.

Throughout the 2013 season Medina didn’t win a single event, eventually resulting in a 2nd or 3rd round finish in a majority of the events. In the upcoming days of the Quiksilver Pro France, the results of Slater, Fanning, and Medina, will ultimately determine the 2014 WCT title race. If Medina slips up and loses in the round of three or four, it will create the opportunity for Slater, Parko, and possibly Mick Fanning to determine the outcome of the 2014 WCT title race. As the rankings stand thus far, the “ball” is in Medinas court, he has the ability to determine whether the WCT title visits Brazil for the first time ever, or returns to Australia or the United States.

Photo: ASP

Photo: ASP

 

 

 

 

Azores Surf Trip: Days 3 & 4 Cheezin’

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Days 3 & 4

azores

Heaven

With a report worse than the first Waist high day, we decided to scour the west side of the island. What an awesome few days indeed! Same plan: drive until lost, find somewhere amazing to see, repeat until you get your bearings and get lost again.
We happened upon a lot of churches, and stopped at what seemed like a tiny spot on the hill. No tourist kiosks, no gift shops, no bus stops, just a small road in a beautiful city somewhere around Remedios. One of my favorite set of non surfing photographs on the entire trip.
We continued on a long winding steep road, stopping at a couple of streams along the way to make it atop the now dormant volcano, finding probably one of the more well known locations called Lagoa das Sete Cidades or “Lake of the Seven Cities.”  Such an incredible view and story to it. I snuck a shot of Guillaume cheezin’ hard.
Cheezin'

Cheezin’

Directly across is a “ghost hotel” that was a 5 star resort in the middle of absolutely nowhere with the best view, that was built and went bankrupt in 6 years. What used to be heavily guarded after being seized was now open and stripped of its beautiful craftsmanship. It was a very surreal, yet amazing thing to see. I hope one day this gets reclaimed and fixed.
We finished the day trying to scour some more surf, and ended up just taking a relax day, as the report for tomorrow was pretty insane (at least for us). 5-9ft at 16 seconds. First 5 star report of the trip with a heavy period. We had no idea what to expect and wanted to wake up early and well rested.
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AZORES SURF TRIP DAYS 1&2: The Plan is to Have No Plan!

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Dailystoke community members Kyle and Guillaume won a free trip to the Azores courtesy of Dailystoke!  Here is how Days 1 and 2 went.  Share the stoke…and note these guys got bumped to first class.  Not bad, fellas.  Dailystoke is the #1 site on the ‘net for surf giveaways — so join our community today and don’t miss out!   
PIC1 azores trip
I’m going to preface day 1 just a little bit, due to the fact that our plane left at 11:45pm the night before and arrived at 7:00am the next day, so We can count that as the same day. To say we were “stoked” was truly an understatement. I had never left the country before, so the concept of being somewhere this foreign was exciting and scary all in the same. With boards strapped to the roof of my tiny car and bags packed with camera gear and wetsuits (literally, that’s all we had room for), we left for Logan. After going through all of the tedious work of getting our tickets and passing security, there was a small hiccup in Guillaume’s ticket that got us bumped to first class. Seriously, SATA airlines rocked through this whole trip. Hands down the number 1 airline company I’ve ever dealt with to date. Our boards, as long as they were under 15lbs, actually flew free! We haven’t even left the United States and already we were off to a good start.
Fast forward inflight airline food and movie jokes aside, a short 5 hour plane ride and we were descending on Sao Miguel. Seriously, what a beautiful island through and through. A crescent of sun managed to break through the cloud cover we flew through just enough to make the Ponta Delgada side of the island absolutely SING green. Just seeing that gave me enough butterflies to wake up. We departed the plane and gathered our boards and gear in one of the tiniest airports I’ve seen, and grabbed the rental car.
Everything we had BARELY fit in the little ford we had rented. Although that was seriously the perfect sized car for the whole tip, after I quickly learned driving around here can be dicey. It’s not hard to find you rself on dirt roads, or two-way city roads that were barely large enough for one car. The first few days getting used to this my anxiety level was through the roof. No dataon our phones and a lack of a GPS didn’t help either, and our map was for large roads only, so after lots of accidental one-ways, roundabouts, and nerve pinching tiny roads, we made it to the hotel and unloaded. The view was unreal both day and night, and was instant adventure fuel for touring the entire island.
PIC2 azores trip
We grabbed a few snacks from the deli down the road, threw on our trunks, packed the boards and suits and decided to hit the entire island on day one. We literally crawled and scoured the entire coastline. Who cares if you got lost? The island was so small that you could judge your distance and location from how close to a populated city you were. That was probably one of the most interesting and perfect days to do this, as the surf reports showed it was pretty flat everywhere so It gave us a good chance to see as much as we could now and save the surfing for the rest of the week.
Our first stop (and I’ll use that term loosely because we got lost) was in Furnas.  After taking a couple wrong one ways winding through a very steep rainy part of the mountain, we stopped because we saw smoke, so naturally our interest peaked as to what this could be coming from an area that was similar to a rainforest town. There were hot springs everywhere! One thing you had to experience for yourself though was the smell. That sulfur mixing in the water is so strong, only a half an hour of checking things out and I felt like years of sinus congestion was blown out. A couple quick videos and we headed anywhere that resembled an east or costal direction.
We made the loop around the east of the island and continued after not seeing much on the surf radar. Then, somewhere along the northern coast we stopped when I freaked out looking at an insane break from the highway. I cautiously parked my car in what would look like a cow pasture driveway and snapped a couple shots on the coast.  Back on the road to continue the adventure, we came across the city of Ribeira Grande.
PIC3 azores trip
This would prove to be the place we ended up spending the most time in our week there between Monte Verde and Santa Barbara. This was also the ONLY location we happened upon other surfers. We stopped at the Monte Verde surf spot first and grabbed a bite to eat by the Municipal salt pools in the “snack bar” known as “Let It Be” (we quickly found out that this is very typical to find snack bars through the entire island) My traveling buddy Guillaume is actually southern French and speaks it very well, so with a mix of our English, his French, and my Spanish, we managed to somewhat communicate with people at all of our locations. The lady who worked there was probably my favorite on the entire trip. She rifled off as many languages as possible to Guillaume. I watched semi awkwardly with a smile, lost in translation, but after Guillaumes quick conversation, she knew we were surfers and wanted to watch the ocean, so she promptly sat me down on the best view in the house, and about-faced me out (whilst I ‘m sitting in my seat!) to watch the surfers. “Here, you sit and watch the water, not the restaurant!” as she pointed out. Man was she a trip, and the food was always spot on here. We were never too picky, but a good burger or fish and a beer were right around 5-6 euros. That ended up being a spot we frequented a lot, and you couldn’t beat the view.
Full and now craving some type of action, we drove around a little more, getting lost a lot along the way until we happened upon Santa Barbara. This is probably the most common surf location on the entire island. It had a very long break from a nice parking lot all the way to its large cliff side on the west point of the beach. Again, another “snack bar” was here as well. What a beautiful black sand beach teeming with lava rock! We looked from the parking lot down at a small waist high wave and figured, why the heck not? No ones in the water, so we might as well get in there. Not to mention, we just came from surfing 40 degree waters on the east coast in full winter suits, so throwing on a 3/2 was nothing.
PIC4 azores
Within 20 minutes, we must’ve either sparked interest, or just beat quitting time on the island, because we were soon filled with about 20 surfers. It was definitely odd at first, and we certainly got a few stares, but it s understandable being the only two kids in the lineup speaking English and euphorically laughing about being in such a tropical location and how cold dark and rocky our east coast break we left was. After saying a couple of funny phrases and watching people crack a smile or laugh a little, we realized many of them spoke a lot more English than we thought, so little bits of conversation was key to getting in, and having people recognize us for the week.  Not to mention the key elements that got us noticed was not dropping in on other people, staying in your spot in lineup ect. A little respect here goes a long way, as you will read in our future days at this break.
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Exciting news from Firewire Surfboards – Pyzel Surfboards Collaboration!!!

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FirewireSurfboardsAfter the successful collaboration with Tomo Surfboards (see the Dailystoke Tomo Review for more details), Firewire has entered into a similar arrangement with Pyzel Surfboards. For the Dailystoke staff, this is a dream collaboration…we have been passonate patrons of Pyzel’s boards for years, and think that this collaboration will be a win-win for everyone involved – most importantly, the consumers!!!pyzel-surfboards

Jon Pyzel is clearly one of the best short board designers around”, said Firewire CEO Mark Price, “and we are excited about the opportunity to combine his high performance designs with Firewire’s innovative flex technology”.

jpyzelJon Pyzel commented, “Looking at past and present surfboard technologies, I believe that Firewire is ahead of the curve, utilizing some of the most advanced and groundbreaking types of alternative construction available today”.

Jon continued, “I also really appreciate the fact that they are committed to keeping the environmental impact of their board building process to a minimum through the use of bio-resins, citrus based cleaning products (in place of Acetone), and recycled packing materials. Furthermore, Firewire is run by a bunch of surf stoked people who love what they do and are just as excited about surfboards as I am”.

Firewire is introducing two Pyzel colab models this year. In addition, Firewire teamriders can now get Firewire technology in custom designs from Jon. The recent World Tour wins by Sally Fitzgibbons and Michel Bourez on designs by Nev and Jon is a perfect example of how the Pyzel Colab broadens the range of options for Firewire’s current riders and future team prospects.winners_rio_02-300x183

The first Firewire/Pyzel release will be the Pyzalien, hitting retail mid-2014, while the Slab will be introduced around September 2014.

Firewire believes that minor refinements to the shape of today’s modern surfboards can only produce incremental performance benefits. Exponential improvements in performance require the ongoing development of new materials, construction methods and radical shape, which, in turn, will fuel new design success. In addition, with the increased eco-consciousness of today’s consumer, Firewire is constantly refining our raw materials to decrease the environmental impact of our boards. Currently their surfboards emit only 2% of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that conventional polyurethane boards do throughout their lifespan.firewire-pyzalien

Firewire has been put to the test many times via our often brutal, and candid, Dailystoke reviews.  Time and time again, they have proven themselves as not only one of the best surfboard manufacturers; but, also as one of the biggest influences and driving forces behind the future of the surfboard industry.  Their technology and shapes keep getting better and better and with each new one we ride, we come out asking how the heck they do it!  With more collaborations like this new one with Pyzel, there is no doubt in our mind that we the consumers, are in for some amazing surprises and advancements in the next few months!!!  firewire-pyzalien-logoKeep your eyes peeled for more on this exciting new collab and our fingers are crossed that we will be able to give you our read on this new line with another Firewire review!!!  As always, thanks for reading…and be sure to tell a friend.  See www.firewiresurfboards.com for more.

 

 

Exciting News Update – Firewire Teamriders Dominate ASP Rio Event 2014!!!

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powerpop

 In unprecedented affirmation of the performance characteristics of Firewire’s parabolic rail, EPS/Epoxy sandwich construction, Firewire teamriders Sally Fitzgibbons and Michel Bourez won their respective divisions at the 2014 Billabong Rio Pro.

This is a very big deal for both Sally and Michel and we are so stoked for them,” said Firewire CEO Mark Price, “and I’m equally stoked for Nev Hyman and our entire product development and production team who continue to produce some of the best performing surfboards in the world”.

use_mark_price_smile

The man, they myth, the legend – Mr. Mark Price himself

Price continued, ”When Firewire first came on the scene there was understandably a lot of skepticism about the technology, but I think that today’s result cements Firewire’s credibility as a viable alternative to the traditional center stringer polyester surfboard.  And that bodes well for future development around new materials and construction methods”.

B97A40E7-DEB7-456B-BFF3-6A3812620816

Michel Bourez proving he and his boards have the right stuff

Firewire believes that minor refinements to the shape of today’s modern surfboards can only produce incremental performance benefits.  Exponential improvements in performance require the ongoing development of new materials, construction methods and radical shape, which, in turn, will fuel new design success.  In addition, with the increased eco-consciousness of today’s consumer, Firewire is constantly refining our raw materials to decrease the environmental impact of our boards.  Currently our surfboards emit only 2% of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that conventional polyurethane boards do throughout their lifespan.

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Sally bringing home a win for Firewire

The Dailystoke team has been a strong advocate of Firewire’s technology for years and it was only a matter of time until their boards dominated the podieum.  Congrats to Michel, Sally, Mark, Nev, and the entire Firewire team!  Keep up the inspiring work everyone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dailystoke goes to Mainland Mexico: Toobs ensue

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When my old buddy Chris suggested I jump on a last minute $300 flight to Colima, on the central West Coast of Mainland Mexico, I really couldn’t give him any answer but, “How big of boards should I bring?”

“Well, give the fact that we’re going to have access to a jet ski the whole time we’re there should eliminate the need for the big guns.”

“Jet ski? Like step-offs? This just keeps getting better!”

“Yeah, pack your bags, we leave from Tijuana at 2:00 am Tuesday.”

Two days later we were crossing the US-Mexico border at San Ysidro bound for warm water solitary waves. The forecast looked promising, with a solid 5-8 ft 14 second period NW on its way to meet us.

We landed at about sunrise, and were met by a certain incognito ex-pat big wave surfer who would be our guide for the week (to protect the innocent, and more importantly, the guilty, names have been omitted). We headed straight westward and were in the water with the ski as quickly as possible to avoid the predictable onshore noon wind. The waves were pumping, the water was 80, I’ll just let the photos do the talking…

Chris scoping the scene.

PK slotted.

PK looking pretty comfortable in there.

PK in his happy place.

Chris with some steez on a sandy one.

Gopro Hero3 FTW

Chris with a hell of a view.

Finally Reid whips into a round one!

Chris closes out the trip with a clean little one.

Paradise, really.  I’ve already booked my flight for July to go back.

-PK

Dailystoke in The Azores: Surf Spot Rundown, Go Get It!

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Another Dailystoke writer and I spent a week in the island paradise of The Azores.  What blew us away on our visit to the Portuguese island chain, was how high the “waves to surfers ratio” was.  Not that there are many surfers on the island to begin with, but as you’ll see, when swell lights up the coast, there are numerous places to be alone.  Like many remote island communities whose economy is driven by fishing, and whose folklore and bedtime stories are fed by sailors that did not return, the Azorians are afraid of the ocean that surrounds them.  Even our fearless guide seemed to always be talking about how sharky our sessions felt.  Thanks Ricardo…

But one thing we did do on our trip was hunt for waves.  If I could somehow get back every dollar I’ve spent on gas driving up and down the California coast looking for waves, I would be a rich man.  Not surprisingly, surfers all over the world operate similarly.  From the minute we landed, we were frothing for waves and started putting miles (kms) on the rental car, and there was lots to see.

Like I had mentioned in the previous post, The Azores is a volcanic island chain with an amazingly varied coast.  Exposed to swell from all directions, there’s rarely a flat day if you know where to look.  The main island of Sao Miguel is about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, so you’re never farther than an hour away from any surf spot.  Our surf guide has been on the island for about a decade, and knows every nook and cranny that pulls in waves.  In the week we were there to explore, we saw about a dozen spots that can turn on with the right conditions.  We saw some flat, and we saw some firing, and we never saw a crowd.

I’m going to give a rundown of the spots that we visited, but I do so with the understanding that some will be impossible to find without the help of someone with local knowledge.  Let’s start with the most obvious, and end with the mysto.

Santa Barbara:  The main surf beach on Sao Miguel is a half mile long black sand beach on the north coast at Ribeira Grande.  It’s the only place we ever saw other surfers, and it’s easily marked on every map.  Shifty sand bars, a rock cliff and reefy wedgy on the west side, and a rocky reef on the north side, if there’s north swell, there will be a wave (or many) here.  There’s even a deep water big wave spot about 200 yards offshore that can hold 20 foot+.  We heard stories of the only time someone tried to ski to it, got stranded outside the beach break, and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard.  Are you man enough to be the second to try?

Spinach:  Directly to the east of Santa Barbara, this is another large stretch of beach with a (dirty) river mouth sandbar.  We never surfed it but we were told it can be as good or better than Santa Barbara, and since it’s tougher to find down a scary narrow alley, can be less crowded.

Milicias: This is the closest beach to Ponta Delgada, about 10 minutes west of the harbor.  The parking lot is just past the cliffside church in the photo below.  This steep beach break is south facing and we were told, can be as good as beach breaks get.  Think wintertime perfection at Blacks, but with predominantly offshore winds and board shorts in the summer.  There is a deep water canyon, lots of peaks, and no crowds.  You convinced yet?

 

The Slab at Maia: At Ponta de Maia, on the north side of the island, there is a reef slab left that was created by a landslide from the cliff above.  We never saw it break, and it’s more of a bodyboard spot, but when conditions are right, it’s the most critical wave on the island.

Ponta Formosa:  This small beach break to the east of Ribeira Grande was dead flat when we were introduced to it on the first day.  There is a small cafe called “The Mill” at the bottom of a steep hill.  Parking is tough, but we’re told theyserve the best burger on the island.  We can’t speak to the burgers, but the post-surf beers were some of the best, and most earned, we had ever had the pleasure of drinking.  Needless to say, we saw a lot of action there later in the week.  We had solid N swell, 12 feet at 15 seconds, with  SW wind at 25 knots, gusting 50.  Challenging doesn’t begin to describe it, but bombs were had.  Anyone want to volunteer to sit on the beach and shoot next time?

Monsteiros:  Pronounced moose-trrey-oosh, which took us a week to learn to say, means “The Monastaries”.  It’s named for the rock formation at the mouth of the harbor that resemble, you guessed it, rocks.  The harbor is on the Northwesternmost tip of the island.  This was the longest spot to travel to, as the coastal roads are windy and meander through the countryside.  Gorgeous, but less than direct.  The mouth of the harbor has both a left and a right reef point, about 20 yards away from each other.  The makings for a pretty epic wave park if you ask me.  We had W swell when we saw it, but also W wind and too much tide.  I want to surf this spot when it’s on!

Rabo de Peixe: Just to the West of Ribeira Grande, is a small fishing village with a harbor.  Unfortunately, the story is not all good here.  This used be the most perfect and lengthy left rock point on the island, but a new addition to the existing break wall has caused the wave to be less than perfect.  The Surfrider foundation got involved during the engineering of the addition, but the builders ignored the recommendations.  The result is the wave energy and sand now have no exit, resulting in a wicked backwash on the inside.  We saw swell here, but surfed elsewhere.  Keep meddling civil engineers out of our precious resources people!

Ribeira Quente: This is another south facing break that we saw totally flat, but with amazing potential.  Down the mountain from the volcanically active town of Furnas, this remote fishing village is far from the surfing population.  The wave is an a-frame reef that breaks off the break wall of the harbor.  The right (we were told) is a hollow and shelfy short wave that closes out into the rocks, and the left is equally hollow but is much longer, makable all the way down the length of the jetty and finishes in a channel.  Apparently, the thing to do in summer is surf until you’re noodled, then drive 20 minutes up into the crater and have a soak in the volcanic hot springs with the visiting Norwegian co-eds (which we did, sans waves, and the girls, unfortunately).  I’ve got my summer flight booked already, do you?

Santa Iria:  I culminate our wave tour with the most remote, and basically impossible to find spot on the island.  The irony is that you can very easily see this wave break from the road, at the bottom of a 1,000 foot cliff.  In fact, there is a parklike viewpoint just off the highway that teases you to try to navigate the drop below.  It might just be worth your life to try, with a hundred yard cobblestone barreling point on the left, and a shorter right barrel on the opposite side of the cove.  When we finally saw it break, we were led to the 1.5 mile goat trail, but even if I wasn’t sworn to secrecy, my directions would be worthless to you.  Over a river, through some woods, dodge electric fences, you get the idea.  Not to mention the rocks on the point (the last 300 yards) are so slippery, you have to wear shoes to navigate them. We got some great waves this day, but only saw about 10% of its potential.  This is another spot I will surf perfect and alone one day in my life.  Just me, a buddy, and the hammerhead sharks that come from thousands of miles to breed in this cove…

 

Well, that was partially more comprehensive than I had planned, but as far as I’m concerned, if you have the balls to fly over 2000 miles to an unconventional surf destination, you should have the tools to score.  There’s no doubt that this is a world class surf destination, and will be popping up on surf travel sites sooner than you might think.  But what makes it world class isn’t how amazing the surf can be but rather the combination of surf and the things to do on the island when conditions are less than perfect.  There’s no better way to take your mind off not surfing than soaking in a 100 degree hot spring in what feels like the set of Jurassic Park.  More on that, in the next post…

-PK