Tag Archives: ASP

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.

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

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 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”.

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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”.

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the “Momentum generation” still relevant?

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While watching each World Tour event over the past few years, I’ve found myself in a constant state of struggle over supporting the new guard versus the old. I grew up with the Momentum generation. I was in high school while they were hitting their stride on tour. They were the innovative youngsters, changing the way we all looked at surfing… even the judges.

Fast forward twenty years. Only two of those heroes from my youth remain on the elite tour today. On one hand you have Kelly Slater, whose freakish ability to continue innovating and staying at the cutting edge of surfing is awe inspiring and surreal. On the other, you have Taylor Knox, who continues to say he’s surfing better than ever before, though his performance is hardly inspiring. Like a tired old warhorse, he trudges on, but a quick preview of his sections from almost any surf video of yore will prove that his best days are far behind him.
Purists will argue that Taylor’s patented cutback, fluid style and powerful hacks should be embraced by judges and studied by the younger surfers on tour. Purists be damned. I love Taylor’s steez and wish I had it, but I’ll bet you Taylor wishes even more that he had an air game. I wanted to root for him the past few times he drew Gabriel Medina or one of the other young talents in a heat. I really did want to cheer him on, this hero of my youth. But… I found myself jumping out of my seat with excitement at every ridiculous punt Medina lofts.
Medina and Taylor are a perfect comparison of where surfing is now versus where it came from. The difference between their approaches is night and day. Youth versus age. Excitement versus get ‘er done. Explosiveness versus tried and true. The fact that Medina is the better of the two is obvious. Yet, perhaps ironically, Knox and Medina are only a few spots apart in the back of the World Tour rankings. Rankings aside, any guy on tour will tell you, Medina will win his first World Title soon, while Taylor clearly missed his window. If Medina has the staying power of Slater, he can still be earning titles long after Taylor is eligible for AARP membership.
Is the Momentum generation still relevant? It’s legacy most certainly is. Kelly Slater definitely is.  But, Taylor Knox might want to consider the path of the rest of his peers and leave the highest level of performance to those who are performing at the highest level.

Did Freddy P really interfere with Michel Bourez’ wave?

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The backdrop:

Bells Beach during the 2012 Rip Curl Pro. Second round, heat five. Fred Patacchia vs. Michel Bourez.

The wave:

A clean head-high line unloads on the bank. The Spartan strokes into it in the pocket, while Freddy P. paddles in just a few yards inside, all eyes on where he’s going, without even a glance toward the pocket.

The incident:

Freddy P. gets to his feet and takes a quick look back, only to see Bourez charging towards him. Freddy quickly hits eject and kicks over the back. Michel, undeterred, goes on to hack the wave to pieces.

The call:

Freddy got hit with an interference call, meaning his second highest score in the heat would be halved.

The result:

A hobbled Freddy P. tore the bag out of everything he could get, while the rattled Spartan dropped the oversized ball and couldn’t put enough of a score together to take the win. Even with the interference, Fred survived to surf another day.

Why the interference?

If you look carefully at the moment of the incident, you can see an ever so subtle hesitation on the part of Michel Bourez. But, even a millisecond of hesitation can make or break a score. The line Michel might have drawn had Freddy not paddled in may have very well been the same, but… allowing Freddy’s pop up sans interference would open the door for others to do the same.

You might not agree with the call (especially after seeing Bourez proceed to demolish the wave), but that’s how priority positioning works. You wait your turn and take your wave. You never interfere with the surfer with priority’s scoring potential. And, whether you have priority or not, you always, always, always keep an eye on where the other guy is.

The lesson:

Mistakes happen, but cooler heads always prevail.

Shame on a Hobgood who try to run game on a Hobgood

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I was watching the second day of the 2012 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and I can’t understand for the life of me why they would put both CJ and Damien Hobgood in the same heat.

Granted it’s only the first round, which is essentially just a warm up round. But, the winner, in this case Damien, went straight through to round three, while second and third place finishers – CJ and Michel Bourez were forced to fight for survival in round two.

After the falloff of Tanner Gudauskas, the retirement of Bruce and passing of Andy Irons, the Hobgoods are the only remaining brothers on tour. Seeding aside, it seems silly to have the twins face off in the first round of competition. Wouldn’t the fans rather see them duke it out at a more critical point?

I’d personally rather see Damien and Ceej paddle battle through a man-on-man heat, throwing elbows to the face and caution to the wind. Instead, the brains at the ASP gave us a premature evacuation, throwing the ‘Goods in a no loser round.

The silver lining is that CJ overtook Miguel Pupo in the loser round to make it into round 3. So if he and Damo hold out, I may just get my wish.

ASP posts the NEW Top 34 Surfers

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The ASP just finalized its selection of the 2012 top 34 and there are a few notable departures, additions and survivors. Let’s take a look.

The biggest single departure would be Dane Reynolds, though it can almost be argued that he wasn’t really even on tour in 2011. Dane was “injured” for six events, completely blew off another two, and placed 13th, 25th and 37th in the three events he deigned worthy of his presence. We all know what he’s capable of, but clearly his mind and health (or mental health) weren’t there this year.

Fred Patacchia, Dan Ross and Chris Davidson have also fallen off the tour, though we’ll likely see Freddy P and Davo as injury replacement surfers throughout the first half of the year.

The 2012 season will also see a few exciting additions. 17 year old Kolohe Andino broke into the big leagues. Brother has been hyped for years and has quickly lived up to it. It will be great to see him mixing it up with the world’s best. Joining Kolohe is Yadin Nicol who was granted an injury wildcard. Yadin gave up a hard won midyear seed on tour in September after an injury sidelined him for over 3 months. His wildcard is well earned and he’s also sure to bring some excitement.

CJ Hobgood is back on tour after briefly failing to requalify during the 2011 midseason cut. The gray man of the tour, Taylor Knox managed to hold on for another season with a late season push and some strong results in France and San Francisco. Kieren Perrow was deep in the danger zone. He pulled off a real end of season fairy tale ending, saving his hide with his well earned Pipe victory.

With Snapper Rocks just two months away, here are the 2012 top 34 (courtesy of the ASP)-

2012 ASP TOP 34:
1. Kelly Slater (USA)
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
3. Taj Burrow (AUS)
4. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
5. Owen Wright (AUS)
6. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
7. Julian Wilson (AUS)
8. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
9. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
10. Michel Bourez (PYF)
11. Josh Kerr (AUS)
12. Damien Hobgood (USA)
13. John John Florence (HAW)
14. Mick Fanning (AUS)
15. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
16. Heitor Alves (BRA)
17. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
18. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
19. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
20. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
21. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
22. Brett Simpson (USA)
23. Adam Melling (AUS)
24. Kolohe Andino (USA)
25. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
26. Tiago Pires (PRT)
27. Jadson Andre (BRA)
28. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
29. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
30. Dusty Payne (HAW)
31. Travis Logie (ZAF)
32. Taylor Knox (USA)
33. Kai Otton (AUS) *surfer wildcard (next on the ASP World Rankings)
34. Yadin Nicol (AUS) *surfer wildcard (injury)
1st Alternate: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
2nd Alternate: Willian Cardoso (BRA)
3rd Alternate: Chris Davidson (AUS)
4th Alternate: Thiago Camarao (BRA)

Pipeline Delivers an Epic Finish to the 2011 Season

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20111212-101933.jpgIt’s a wrap folks. The 2011 Billabong Pipeline Masters and the 2011 season are done and dusted. What could have been an anticlimactic final event turned into the must see event of the season, with Pipe providing jumbo sized barrels throughout the event.

Going into Pipe, Kelly Slater had already snagged the World Title and the seats on next year’s Tour were mostly filled. Leaving Pipe, Kelly Slater is still a master, Kieren Perrow saved his spot on Tour, the local boys charged hard and the Aussies took the day. The Pipe Master’s title might have once again eluded runner-up, Joel Parkinson, but it was a well deserved victory for Kieren Perrow.

KP threaded through three days of oversized pits to claim his first tour win of his career at what most consider to be the most prestigious venue in the sport. Moreover, his win pushed him back onto next year’s tour. If KP didn’t advance through to at least the quarterfinals, he would have been sent back to the minors. He couldn’t have possibly picked a better way to prove his relevance than to go out and win at big Pipe.

The locals flared throughout the event, stopping the best of the best dead in their tracks and pushing through to the quarterfinals. Two local wildcards, Jamie O’Brien and Evan Valiere, won through to the quarters alongside the local tour rookie, John John Florence. John John, of course, took enough points from his quarterfinal finish to claim his first Triple Crown victory. This is surely only the first of many for the young talent.

Now, the boys of the World Tour are on break until February, when they’ll return to Snapper Rocks for the first event of 2012. We’ll break down just who made the cut and who didn’t for the 2012 season as the wildcards are awarded and the lineup settles over the next few days.

Holding Our Breaths for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

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If you’ve been aching to see the Hawaiian season kick off, Monday is the magic day. While other prominent North Shore breaks have been seeing playful surf, Haleiwa has been epically flat since the start of the waiting period for the Reef Hawaiian Pro, suffering under summer-like conditions for over a week.

The real excitement will kick off in round two when current women’s World Champ Carissa Moore will put her talent on the line against the boys. While interest in surfing and the sheer number of female surfers has continued to surge, the dollars for the female professionals just haven’t kept pace. As a result, the women were left without a single Hawaiian event in 2011. Without an event or contest series to call their own, Carissa was granted a one of a kind wildcard into the first two events of the men’s Triple Crown. Carissa will be up against Cory Lopez and two surfers who advance through round one.

Sit back and get ready for some pre-Thanksgiving action packed days as the Reef event now only has three days to run from start to finish. Hit up the official event website and be sure not to miss Carissa Moore’s historic heat in round 2.

ASP Releases the 2012 World Tour Schedule

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The schedule has just dropped for the 2012 World Tour season. Per the official ASP World Tour website, next year’s lineup won’t look a whole lot different than this year’s. The only real differences being that the Rip Curl Search is out and Fiji is back in.

Rip Curl will continue to spin each successive Search event as “the best event ever”, but they need to step up the search a bit. San Francisco was underwhelming, and while it might have been acceptable as just another stop on American soil, as a Search event it fell flat. If Rip Curl feels they need a city event, then they should pony up and add a whole new event to the schedule. If they want to maintain the spirit of The Search, they should keep their eye on far off locales with top quality waves.

Here’s Rip Curl’s statement on the missing Search event:
“We are taking a year off from the front line of running the event and putting a solid 18 months into the planning of the 2013 Rip Curl Pro Search. To take the Search to the next level is always the goal. We do that every year, but following San Francisco and the twist it delivered to the surfing world we feel we need more time and care to really blow minds,” said Rip Curl’s Neil Ridgway. “Throughout the history of the Rip Curl Pro Search we have had everything from ASP world titles to underworld rip offs, terrorist alerts to perfect tubes, great personal and professional difficulty and epic celebration parties. This event more than any other combines the discipline of professional sport with the traveling lifestyle and freedom surfers love. It needs to be nurtured so it grows better than ever. A year tending to it in planning is the right way to develop it.”

On a positive note, the Quiksilver Pro New York is back. The stop quickly became a favorite among the guys on tour and despite the City of Long Beach trying its hardest to kill the event at the last minute, went off without a hitch. If the waves show up again next year as they did for the finals this year, we’re all in for one hell of a show.

Here’s your 2012 schedule:

2012 ASP World Title Series
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – Australia (February 25 – March 7, 2012)
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – Australia (April 3 – 14, 2012)
Billabong Rio Pro – Brazil (May 9 – 20, 2012)
Volcom Pro Fiji – Fiji (June 3 – 16, 2012)
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay – South Africa (July 11 – 22, 2012)
Billabong Pro Teahupoo – Tahiti (August 16 – 27, 2012)
Quiksilver Pro New York – USA (September 2 – 14, 2012)
Hurley Pro at Trestles – USA (September 15 – 23, 2012)
Quiksilver Pro France – France (September 26 – October 6, 2012)
Rip Curl Pro Portugal – Portugal (October 7 – 17, 2012)
Billabong Pipe Masters – Hawaii (December 8 – 20, 2012)

Rip Curl Pro Search wraps up “Somewhere in San Francisco”

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Yes, Gabriel Medina claimed the win at this year’s Rip Curl Pro Search event, held in the ultra-secret San Francisco. Not only did he take home the trophy, money and points, but Gabriel’s second win on the 2011 World Tour earned him heaps of respect, praise and confidence. Most importantly, his win gave legitimacy to the half-year reshuffle that so many have rallied against.

Gabriel (I refuse to call him “Funky Cold”) Medina bested Joel Parkinson in a seasick final at Ocean Beach. If you have your own horror story of surfing in chunky conditions at Ocean Beach, then Monday’s final was familiar ground. Gabriel surfed through the heavily textured conditions with absolute grace and precision, linking together turns and sections as if he were surfing any other righthand point break. In an amazing display of good ol’ fashion hook-in-the-pocket surfing, Gabriel silenced anti-aerialists, naysayers, anti-Brazilians and other critics by winning the final on his ground game alone.
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In other news, some young whippersnapper named Kelly Slater won his eleventh World Title in San Francisco, then didn’t yet win it, then won it again a few days later. If it’s to be believed, Kelly himself found the error in calculation that handed him the title before he really earned it. In any event, he earned it in spades this season and won it for good in his round four heat against Gabriel Medina and Miguel Pupo. More impressive than his heat and title win was his after buzzer victory lap that sent him hurtling through the longest barrel of the event, only to come shooting out the end section long after most had written him off. Thanks again for the show Kelly. You truly are the people’s champion.
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Beyond Kelly’s title and Gabriel’s ascendancy, one of the other major highlights of the event was Pat Gudauskas’ round three victory over Jordy Smith. Gudang stuck a gorkin flip halfway through the heat, earning him a solid lead and an ankle fracture. He paddled in just seconds later, leaving Jordy out the back with almost 13 minutes left on the clock. Thanks to Pat’s mixed bag of luck, Jordy was unable to put together the necessary score to move on, leaving an empty Gudauskas sized vacancy in rounds four and five.

So how was San Francisco overall? Rip Curl and the world’s best surfers put on a great show, despite the ever changing conditions. But… I think many (other than San Franciscans) would agree that it’s a venue that need not be revisited any time soon. If online polls are an accurate indication, fans want to see more of the flawless perfection of the 2006 Rip Curl Pro Search, when they took us “Somewhere in Mexico”. Wherever it ends up next year, all are looking forward to the excitement of a new location and a great show.

Adriano de Souza takes the Rip Curl Pro Portugal

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If the France event was the European Trestles, then the Rip Curl Pro Portugal was the European Pipeline. Deep, throaty barrels were on tap throughout the event, culminating in epic final day of competition. The trophy race turned into an endurance event on the final day, when event organizers and the surfers decided to power through the remainder of round three and run through to the finals.

Adriano de Souza stole the day, taking home his second event win of the year and a rare win over Kelly Slater in the final. This time around, Adriano’s win was without question and without the highest-scored-floater-in-history controversy that marred his win in Brazil. Interestingly, both of his 2011 wins took place in the only two Portuguese speaking countries on tour. Conspiracy theorists and anti-Brazilians are surely likely to vent about this co-ink-ee-dink.

Adriano’s road to Portuguese victory was paved with the blood and tears of the world’s best. He posted a square win over Kelly in the final (replete with an unrewarded mega-claim), knocked out Bede Durbidge in the semifinals, and ousted Michel Bourez in the quarters, locking in a 10 point ride to seal the deal.

So, what’s the net? Adriano bumps up in the rankings to third, Owen Wright stays squarely in second place and Portugal runner-up in chief, Kelly Slater, increases the height on his cat-bird seat. According to the numbers crunchers at the event, all Kelly needs is a ninth place finish or better at the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco to lock in his eleventh world title.

Just under two weeks to go until San Francisco kicks off. Catch your breath, juggle your Fantasy Surfer lineup and hit up the official Rip Curl Pro Portugal website to watch replays of every heat.

See you in San Francisco!

Gabriel Medina invades France and conquers all

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Did Gabriel Medina just raise the bar when he won the Quiksilver Pro France? Get ready to hear this question over and again following the 17 year old Brazilian’s stunning win and performance at the Quik Pro.

Gabriel didnt just raise the bar. He raised it, pushed it higher still, made it his bitch and pushed it higher again.

Gabriel destroyed hopes, dreams and all challengers on his quest for glory, but he didn’t start the event out that way.

In round one, Gabriel took a distant third to hear winner, Travis Logie, and runner up, Adriano de Souza. Not quite ready to exit just yet, he rebounded by ousting Dusty Payne in round two and then Bede Durbidge in round three.

Round four’s three-man format had Gabriel facing off against the king himself, Kelly Slater, and Ace Buchan. Gabriel and Kelly duked it out, while Ace apparently forgot he was supposed to actually catch waves. The champ and the kid posted insane rides and excellent scores, but Kelly managed to squeak by in the end with a 15.83 to Gabriel’s 15.80.

While Kelly slid straight through to the quarterfinals, Gabriel should have had a round five matchup with Jeremy Flores. As luck would have it, J Flo (in typical French fashion) surrendered bowed out due to injury just before his round five heat, granting Gabriel a free ride to the quarters. As a silver lining, the injury probably also saved Jeremy from a thorough thrashing.

The quarterfinals brought the big rematch. The in-form Gabriel drew an in-form Slater, but this time knocked him for a loop, throwing him out of sync and leaving him in combo-land.

In the semis, Gabriel drew the good old tour warhorse, Taylor Knox. Poor Taylor apparently missed the memo that he was in an air show. The elder surfsman stuck to his admirable ground game, but came up comboed as Gabriel continued to huck impossible airs. The kid came up just shy of a combined perfect 20, scoring a 9.57 and a 10.

For the final, Gabriel drew fellow youngster, Julian Wilson, who had been busy scalping heads on the other side of the bracket. Julian put on a little air clinic of his own, effortlessly sticking a 180 shoveit and other punts. Unfortunately, Gabriel went bigger, faster, and with more rotations, edging out the Aussie talent with a score of 17.00 to 16.10.

So was this a glitch in the matrix or a sign of things to come? Well… if you listen to Kelly Slater, it’s the latter. Kelly hath spoken and quickly rallied behind his usurper, declaring him a future multiple-world title winner.

If you missed even a second of the Quik Pro France, hit up the official website where you can catch every single heat on streaming video.

See you in Portugal!

What We Learned From The 2011 Hurley Pro at Trestles

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The 2011 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles certainly didn’t fail to entertain. It also provided more tinder for the anti-ASP/anti-contest bonfire. All throughout, it offered up more excitement per heat than many other contests generate per day.

Here are a few things we learned from this event:

You can still win heats in the most progressive event on the planet on your ground game. Owen Wright pulled a damn near perfect score (9.77) and a heat win over John John Florence on the strength of a handful of backside off the tops. On a side note, Taylor Knox will still remain underappreciated and underscored for his ground game.

Owen Wright is the new golden child of the ASP. This was more than evident when O’Right won the better of several questionable calls. First it was his ground game win over John John, then it was the Julian Wilson interference call, and later, his split decision win over Mick Fanning. No one can argue that Owen isn’t one of the judges’ little darlings after his treatment at Lowers.

Kelly Slater still has it. Skill? He gots. Pay attention kiddies. When you grow up and put on your big boy pants, be sure to do those same airs and gouges with 150% commitment. That’s how babies are made contests are won.

The kids are alright. While more seasoned competitors took the day, the young’ins brought the excitement. Gabriel Medina, John John Florence and a few of the other kids on tour have compressed the learning curve and showed they are a force to be reckoned with.

“The Brazilians are back, more aggro than ever.” How sick was Heitor Alves? My friends have been praising him for years, but it wasn’t until this year that I went from being a Heitor-hater to drinking the Heitor-ade. I’m a fan.

Josh Kerr finally got the airshow recognition he always wanted. …. and he didn’t even have to compete outside of the tour. Kerrzy, please keep doing those airs that completely mindfuck the judges.

So there you are. It wasn’t the best Trestles and it wasn’t the worst. The tour is getting exciting again, the title race is far from over and the Quiksilver Pro France kicks off in a week. Life is good!

See you in France!

Excitement, Fighting and Scandal at the 2011 Hurley Pro at Trestles

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Tuesday set the stage for the final day of the 2011 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles, with exciting performances, heated arguments and the second major overscore of the season.

As for performances, the boys were literally on fire, hucking airs and throwing down huge turns in the increasingly playful surf. Taj Burrow and Adriano De Souza looked like they were letting loose in their own backyard beachy. Kelly Slater and Owen Wright showed us exactly why they’re numbers one and two in the world, effortlessly stringing together high scoring maneuvers. Joel Parkinson stamped his claim as a frontrunner, letting Kelly and Owen know there’s still another horse in the race. Finally, John John Florence put on one of the best performances of the event, but had the great misfortune of facing off against the very in form and significantly overscored Owen Wright.

… Which brings us to the second big overscore scandal of the 2011 season. Owen Wright was trailing John John Florence in their round three matchup, needing a huge score to pull ahead in the closing minutes. A clean righthander swung through, Owen paddled in, did a few less than critical turns and the judges handed him a 9.77 and a ticket to round four. You can see the wave in the above video and while Owen’s surfing looks crisp and tight, he shouldn’t have been rewarded anything more than a high mid-range score. A 9.77 suggests Owen’s wave selection and performance were virtually flawless. It might have been one of the larger set waves of the heat, but Owen’s ground game was nothing exceptional and nothing you couldn’t see at your local beachy on a similar day. John John clearly owned the heat, but the judges obviously decided to keep Owen in the world title race, sacrificing the young Hawaiian in the process. Perhaps the judges felt justified in their latest farce after they screwed Owen earlier this year in Brazil, when they gave Adriano De Souza the highest scored floater in history to push him ahead of Owen. Though I love Owen’s surfing and wish him luck in the remainder of the event, I can’t help but feel that he should have been eliminated.

While Owen’s overscore sparked a number of arguments across the web, Adriano De Souza and Taj Burrow exchanged shouts over last minute hassling in their round four heat. Since round four is a throwaway round, no one really loses, but they still had a little paddle battle hassling spat at the end of their heat as they were duking it out to see who wins the direct ride to the quarterfinals. Making things even more interesting was the fact that the king himself, Kelly Slater got involved in the yelling as he paddled out for his own heat. Kelly looked vicious as he unleashed a torrent of shouts and splashes at the Brazilian contender. In his post heat interview, Adriano downplayed the whole episode, but it certainly made for some audience excitement to see a bit of real rivalry on the big love tour.

Check out the event website for a full recap of the third and fourth round action, photos, heat sheets and video highlights. And be sure to log in Wednesday morning to catch every minute of the final day of action.

2011 Hurley Pro at Trestles Starts Cutting Heads

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The 2011 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles completed its second day of competition on Monday and began sending guys home. The new kids on tour and seasoned pros alike took to the air and flared tail at every turn, sending a dozen surfers packing as the event heads into round 3.

Making Lowers look like a playground, John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Jadson Andre stole the show with the highest heat totals of the day and huge spreads over their fellow competitors. Florence obliterated Alejo Muniz, while Medina destroyed Travis Logie and Jadson KO’d Dusty Payne.

Also packing their bags on Monday were wildcards Rob Machado and Connor Coffin; Aussies, Bede Durbidge, Dan Ross and ADam Melling; Brazilians, Miguel Pupo and Raoni Monteiro; Portugal’s Tiago Pires; and local boy, Patrick Gudauskas.

Check the official event website for photos, heat sheets and video highlights from round 1 and 2, and be sure to log in Tuesday to catch all the live action.

Balaram Stack’s Lucky Wildcard a Tough Draw

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Balaram Stack won the surfing lottery jackpot when he was gifted a spot in the main event of the Quiksilver Pro New York. As a top Quiksilver teamrider and a New Yorker, the gesture from Quik seemed an obvious one but was still a huge accomplishment given the impressive invite list for the trials. The wildcard, like a golden ticket, allowed Bal to leapfrog the closely contested trials to compete against the world’s best in his own backyard.

Wildcards often say, “I was stoked just to get the opportunity to be out there with the world’s best surfers.” Now there are the world’s best and there are the world’s best. In Balaram’s case, he was seeded in heats against the best of the best.

In his first round heat, Balaram had to face off against the 10 time world champ and current ratings leader, Kelly Slater. Dan Ross was also in their heat, but when you’re an up and comer with stars in your eyes and much less competitive surfing experience, Dan Ross is merely wallpaper and Slater is the guy who’s mindfucking you before you even get out of bed that morning.

As could/would/should be imagined, Slater looked like he was having fun out there dominating in the small conditions, Dan Ross posted a strong ground game and Balaram spent the heat watching the others build houses.

So a win over Kelly wasn’t to be, but at least Balaram got a second shot in round two. Right?

Wrong.

Bal had the great (mis)fortune of drawing the only other multiple world title winner on tour, Mick Fanning. And, unfortunately for Bal, round two was for keeps. Mick took the second win of the day over the starry-eyed kid, using his white lightening to knock him out of his hometown event.

Most guys would kill for a 30 minute session with a world champ. Balaram Stack had two. Not bad for a New Yorker who only celebrated his 20th birthday during the event. Other early exits might be down and out, but Bal lost twice yet still came out a winner.

Quiksilver Pro New York Goes Big(ger) for Rounds 3, 4 and 5

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The Quiksilver Pro New York logged another day of memorable performances on Thursday as the swell from Hurricane Katia filled in throughout the day. Plenty of heats were completed but the Kelly Slater-Josh Kerr-Jadson Andre matchup was easily the heat of the day.

Josh Kerr was definitely the day’s standout with his round four performance. Kerrzy put an abrupt stop to Kelly Slater’s total surf domination in their fourth round dustup, sticking a few massive airs including a shove-it and an insane full-rotation alley oop to post a combined heat total of 19.27 out of 20.

Slater put his own big punts in, throwing a giant full-rotation alley oop that he landed in the flats and managed to stick, but he couldn’t make up the spread that Kerr created before the buzzer. Jadson Andre, an aerial wiz in his own right, came to compete but only stayed for the show. He only managed to notch a third place finish in the heat while the Slater-Kerr show went down around him.

Kerr’s win landed him directly into the quarterfinals and, thanks to the second loser-round format, Kelly Slater and his fellow Jadson Andre, got to try their luck again in round five. Both fought their way to their own quarterfinal berths where Slater destroyed fellow Quik teamrider Jeremy Flores and Jadson took out fellow Brazilian, Adriano de Souza.

Beginning with rain, cold and a full roster of guys, Thursday closed with only 8 surfers still standing, ready to take on what should truly be world-class conditions come 7:00 am. Tune in to the official Quiksilver Pro New York website at first light so you don’t miss a single second of the action and be sure to check out the Kerr-Slater-Andre matchup and all of the days heats in the video recap section.

See you on the beach!

Kelly Slater Damn Near 40 and Still Dominating: Quiksilver Pro NY Coverage

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Kelly Slater is now closer to his 40th birthday than he is to his 39th. He just won Teahupoo, where he took a backwards ride over the falls of a heaving Tahitian beast and came up laughing. Just days earlier, he handily defeated the entire professional world at the US Open. A few days further back, Slater blew off “everyone’s favorite wave”, Jeffreys Bay, to score epic Tavarua.

Now he’s in New York, in old familiar Florida-like territory, sitting in the catbird seat and looking completely at home in the small, playful waves. He easily earned a one way ticket to round 3, taking out local wildcard and fellow Quiksilver rider Balaram Stack and Australia’s Dan Ross. He looks together, in form, unstoppable.

In this post-Andy Irons world, there doesn’t seem to be a person on the planet who can come close to matching Slater on win consistency. The scary thing is, he shows absolutely no sign of stopping or slowing down. He may be offering $100,000 of his own money to stop Japan’s senseless slaughter of dolphins, but he wants to win that $300,000 as much as, no… more than any guy on tour.

Back at number 1 in the rankings, Kelly is just a few strong placements away from winning an 11th title. Yes, 11th.

We can all feel it.

Kelly can smell it.

Watch out, New York. Actions speak louder than words, and the master has spoken.

Bobby Martinez [expletive!] [expletive!] and The Rant Heard Around the World

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bobby martinez quiksilver pro rant

photo:ESPN

A lot of amazing surfing performances went down at the Quiksilver Pro New York on Wednesday in the steadily improving conditions, but none generated more buzz than Bobby Martinez’s post heat interview.

Just moments after taking out Bede Durbidge in their second round heat, Bobby was pulled aside for the now standard post heat interview. What should have been a plain vanilla reckoning of how he won the heat and what he thinks of the venue turned upside down when Bobby started spewing an F-bomb strewn rant about the current state of the ASP. While Bobby had previously let his feelings about the altered state of the tour be known, he held nothing back in this anger filled tirade that was broadcast around the world.  Here is what he said:

“First of all, I’d like to say, and the ASP are going to fine me, ‘cuz I don’t want to be a part of this dumb [expletive] wannabe tennis tour. All these pro surfers want to be tennis players. They want to do a halfway cutoff. How the [expletive] is somebody who’s not even competing against our caliber of surfers ahead of 100 of us on the one world ratings. They’ve never been here. They’ve never [expletive] made the right to surf against us, but now we’re ranked upon them. Come on now. That’s bull—. That’s why I ain’t going to these stupid contests no more. This is my last one, because FTW, my sponsors is here and I just tell it like it is. This is my last one and I don’t like tennis lessons. I don’t like the tour. Who gives a [expletive]? You know what I mean?  I’ve been here before. I love this city. I’ll tell you right now, if my sponsor wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here for this dumb contest. ASP? The [expletive] surfing’s going down the drain thanks to these people.”

Though he may only have been saying what many others on tour are quietly thinking, the ASP didn’t take his vitriolic criticism too kindly and ejected him from the event. Citing the ASP rules, they deemed Bobby’s angry indictment of the organization as harmful to the sport. Their decision ultimately put Bobby out of the event and off the tour (though he already announced his intentions to quit the tour after New York).

If Bobby’s intention was to be heard and go out in flames, he more than succeeded. Despite all of the negative press and fallout his rant created, he certainly got people talking about the state of the ASP.

What did you think of Bobby’s bridge burning exit? Did he go out in style?

Kelly Slater’s girls

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Bar Rafaeli is amazingly hot.
Most of us love Kelly Slater’s surfing and wish we could be this guy. In and out of the water, he has a life most of us can only envy. A charmed life, as we learned in our interview with Kelly. Wanted to take a few moments to point out in photos a few more reasons to worship this guy. I’m sure I’m missing a few good ones, and he’s probably had a slew of “regular” girls, some of which probably even top these in the hotness department. Take careful notice of his appreciation of Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex’s. Kelly Slater had two of them.A few reasons why it’s good to be king:

Pamela Anderson is hot, too.

Cameron Diaz and Kelly Slater on the links. They surf, too. Just friends.

Slater got in some sh!t defending Gisele Bundchen from the Papparrazi.

Kirsten Dunst

Not one of his proudest dating moments: