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Quiksilver Pro Rd. 1 Recap

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

dane reynoldsIt was a super windy day throughout the opening round at the Quiksilver Pro today. With steadily building winds whipping around and changing directions throughout the day there were tricky conditions prevalent throughout the opening heats at Duranbah. The locals held their own as expected with Parko, Fanning, and Dean Morrison all winning their heats. Here are a few of todays highlights from D-bah:

luke munroTop Heats – There were a number of exciting battles throughout the day, but heats 7 and 15 were the two that caught my eye the most. Parko ripping it up in tailor-made conditions for him at a break he’s surfed many many times was no surprise. However, watching Brazilian Neco Padaratz put a couple of very solid waves together was a welcome site as I really see this being a huge year on tour for Neco. Dane Reynolds in heat 15 was everything everyone expected and more. After going for a couple of huge moves early and not quite pulling them out, he settled down and put together one of the most impressive run of waves seen all day. Unfortunately for Dane he was in the same heat as Aussie Luke Munro who was absolutely on fire and put on one of the top performances of the day. Munro finished off his scores with a 9.50 to pull out the win and move on to the 3rd round.

Not So Top Heat – Heat 5 ended up being a 2-man event right from the beginning. Trying to rest the leg he injured at Pipe recently, Fred Patacchia was content to paddle out and enjoy some rays for a half-hour while hoping the condition of his leg improves before the second round. With Freddy P taking it easy, it left Andy Irons and french-man Mikael Picon to battle it out for the second-round bye. It may have had something to do with the drilling he took on the rocks earlier in the week, but Irons just did not look himself at all and was visibly frustrated as Picon ended up outsurfing him to take the heat. Although he looked out of sync today, he is A.I. and I’m sure he will be just fine as he moves on through the following rounds.

The Rookies – With all of the hype and hoopla surrounding the full-time arrival of Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds (I’m as guilt of it as any), I was very interested to see how they would hold up under the pressure. While it’s still too early to say and this was only one heat here are my thoughts. Dane easily had the better heat of the two and was really catching his rhythm as the heat progressed. Jordy looked solid early on in his heat but just could not do enough with the waves he caught to catch Luke Stedman. Overall it was an impressive opening to the season by both Reynolds and Smith and both appeared largely unaffected by the pressure.

kelly slaterKelly Slater – Watching Kelly today and seeing him fall a little behind early on in the heat to Rodrigo Dornelles I once again had the same feeling I commonly had when watching the Chicago Bulls during the Jordan-years. With the clock ticking and Slater needing a 6.54 to overtake Dornelles and bypass the second round, Kelly sat calmly in the water and everyone watching knew what was about to happen. With about two minutes left in the heat, Slater ripped off a smooth 7.10 ride to take the heat and move straight into the 3rd round. Just another case of Kelly Slater doing what has made him the living-legend he is. When asked about his plans for the tour beyond the Gold Coast, Slater replied nonchalantly: “Well I got a heat tomorrow or the next day and that’s it, I’m definitely not going to surf all the events, that’s for sure.” Kelly also spent a few heats up in the booth at Snapper announcing with Tom Carroll. With 10 world championships between the two it was great to hear their points of view for a while, especially on the future of Dane Reynolds during his heat. It was also quite entertaining to watch their reactions as the cameraman seemed to increase the shots of backsides of some of the Gold Coast’s finest with Carroll and Slater on the call.

Forecast – While the swell that has left over what was surfed on today will continue to diminish, Ben Macartney from Coastalwatch appeared very optimistic about a swell that is building and likely to move through next weekend. The Superbank is in fantastic condition and if this swell comes through as expected it will provide an unbelievable arena for a display of world-class surfing at what will more than likely be Snapper Rocks as the contest moves into the later rounds.

quiksilver

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Round 1 of Quiksilver Pro: ON

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The 2008 ASP World Tour is officially upon us and round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is officially on and will be starting at 2:00p.m. (PST). Although they held the Komunity Project trials at Snapper Rocks yesterday they have opted to hold the lead-off round at nearby Duranbah with the surf coming in around the 2-4ft range but conditions are clean.

I imagine ‘The King’ has to be stoked on D-bah being the call for now. As I mentioned earlier his ‘06 victory, as well as the only victory by a foreigner in this event took place at this location.

You can watch live rd.1 action HERE

Rd. 1 Heats-

Heat #1: Bobby Martinez, Royden Bryson, Jihad Khodr
Heat #2: Dean Morrison, Daniel Wills, Kieren Perrow
Heat #3: Jeremy Flores, Bruce Irons, Roy Powers
Heat #4: Pancho Sullivan, Ricky Basnett, Heitor Alves
Heat #5: Andy Irons, Fred Patacchia, Mikael Picon
Heat #6: Bede Durbidge, Leonardo Neves, Daniel Ross
Heat #7: Joel Parkinson, Neco Padaratz, Nic Muscroft
Heat #8: Mick Fanning, Michael Campbell, Tamaroa McComb
Heat #9: Taj Burrow, Adrian Buchan, Julian Wilson
Heat #10: Kelly Slater, Rodrigo Dornelles, Michel Bourez
Heat #11: CJ Hobgood, Adriano de Souza, Ben Bourgeois
Heat #12: Kai Otton, Travis Logie, Aritz Aranburu
Heat #13: Tom Whitaker, Dayyan Neve, Tiago Pires
Heat #14: Taylor Knox, Ben Dunn, Jay Thompson
Heat #15: Damien Hobgood, Luke Munro, Dane Reynolds
Heat #16: Luke Stedman, Tim Reyes, Jordy Smith

quiksilver
asp world tour

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Tahitian Tamaroa McComb Moves onto Main Event at Snapper

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

tamaroa mccomb16 yr.old Tahitian giant killer Tamaroa McComb killed it today at a smaller than expected Snapper Rocks, securing himself a spot in the main event of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Edging out Aussie Troy Brooks, McComb sealed his victory at the Komunity Project Trials with a solid final heat score of 16.60. Dale Richards and Blake Ainsworth, fellow Aussies themselves, joined McComb and Brooks in the finals for the right to move on to take on the worlds greatest pros at Snapper. Last year’s trials winner, Richards, was looking strong throughout the day but couldn’t hold on to secure the victory.

McComb is just another drop in the bucket of young up and coming surfers to keep your eyes on as it appears the sport of surfing is will be in good hands for years to come. Now, with the trials being completed, we move on to the main event.

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Billabong XXL: Large and In Charge

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

billabong xxl huge wave

When Billabong launched it’s initial XXL Global Big Wave Awards competition almost eight years ago, it was said that the unveiling of the first contest of it’s kind was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to big-wave surfing. Now with just one month left to go in the entry period for the 2008 awards, we’re starting to get an idea of exactly what that meant.

When word that a contest of this type was first coming out around 2000, I, and I’m guessing many others as well, basically assumed that the winning entries would annually come from the bellies of the beasts we know to be Jaws, Mavericks, or Cortez Banks. As big-wave surfing has grown and expanded all over the world, other jaw-dropping, bone-crushing breaks have introduced themselves to the surfing community and have made the Billabong XXL truly an international event. With still four weeks left in a year that has produced some of the largest and heaviest waves ridden to date, Billabong is already shattering previous marks with over 420 entries already submitted. Equally remarkable as the quantity of submitted entries has been the diversity of the locations that they are coming from. With videos and photographs from Chile, Tahiti, Western Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Tasmania, Spain, the British Isles, and France among others, this contest has gained interest from all over the earth and has helped lift big-wave surfing to new heights.

So just how high are these ‘new heights’ that the Billabong XXL as well as big-wave surfing in general are reaching? One of the recent entries, and my new favorite to load up the $50,000 at the Billabong XXL Awards ceremony this April 11 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim is the shot of a truly epic monster at Belharra Reef off southern France being ridden by Vincent Lartizen of Hossegor. When I first laid eyes on this shot I simply found myself speechless and staring dumbfounded at my computer screen. To me it comes across more as a natural disaster than a surfable wave, and captivates a truly epic display of skill and bravery. It’s nearly impossible to fathom guys charging anything larger than that. With that being said, I learned my lesson a long time ago that with surfing, anything is possible.

billabong

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Trials Start Today at Snapper

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

mick fanning world tourAmidst speculation that recent weeks of being hammered by La Nina weather had ripped out a lot of the sand that makes Snapper Rocks the world-class break that it is, it appears that all is well as the Komunity Project Trials of the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast are set to get underway at Snapper. As of last night most of the Gold Coast was in the 4-6 ft. range with winds blowing offshore. If the pattern continues to hold it there will be some very rippable conditions.

Earlier in the week, ASP Tour President Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew voiced his concern over the havoc wreaked by the storms that have pounded the Gold Coast.

Two weeks ago I was still concerned, but desirable conditions have since cooperated in streaming sand back into Snapper and with another week’s pumping I think we’ll be okay.

It looks like Rabbit was right on and Snapper appears to be coming to form. With as stoked as we all are on this years tour, did we really think it would happen any other way?

The 16 trialists are Dale Richards (AUS), Clay Marzo (HAW), Chris Salisbury (AUS), Troy Brooks (AUS), Garrett Parkes (AUS), Alain Riou (PYF), Ry Craike (AUS), Shane Bevan (AUS), Tamaroa McComb (PYF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Trevor Tripcony (AUS), Corey Ziems (AUS), Jay Phillips (AUS), Mitch Coleburn (AUS) and Blake Ainsworth (AUS).

asp world tour

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Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Vital for Title Hopefuls

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

quiksilver proWith the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast rapidly approaching to kick-off this year’s Mens ASP Tour, all attention will be squarely directed at Coolangata in anticipation of who will come out up on top and thus take the pole-position in the what is setting up to be one of the most highly-charged and competitive tours to date.

Just how crucial is it going to be to stand up on the podium and receive an over-sized cardboard check following this event? The last two world-champions(Slater ‘06/Fanning’07) have both started their title-runs with victories at the season-opener. Formerly an ASP WQS 6-star venue, Quiksilver launched their initial Quiksilver Pro ASP World Tour event at Snapper Rocks in 2002. In that time, Slater is the only event-winner to hail from outside of Australia. His victory came at nearby Duranbah after a finals battle with Taj Burrow in three-foot surf. With half of the top 10 seeded surfers on Tour residing in the land down under and the ‘Coolie Kids’ holding a solid ‘home-break’ advantage, it’s going to be super important for any surfer that holds high hopes of taking home surfings crown at years end to start their 2008 campaign off in impressive fashion.

Will a poor showing at the Pro Gold Coast kill the chances of title hopefuls? With the best ‘9 of 11′ results format that the ASP is using to decide this years champ, a bad result here certainly isn’t going to dash any visions of being carried up the beach and showered with goodies, flowers, and champagne. It will just put an unnecessary element of added pressure to let it fly at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach which follows a few weeks later, which itself has shown the likelihood of an eventual top 5 finish at the end of the year for the events most recent winners.

With as deep and talented a pool as the ASP has ever fielded chomping at the bit and raring to go, anything less than a top 5 result in, at the very least, one of the two Aussie’ events may be prove to be just too big of a mountain to climb as the Tour moves on. For anyone, especially outside of Kelly, A.I.,and the Australian contingent, who plans on coming out of Australia with any dreams of capturing the title, this weekends Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast definitely needs to be the intended site of their coming-out party.

quiksilver
asp world tour

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Who Are You Tossin’ Your Coin On?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

In what I view as a clear result of the endless buzz and hype that’s been building in anticipation of the 2008 ASP World Tour as well as the sport of surfing in general, U.S. bookmaker BetUs has arrived to be the first and only U.S. bookmaker to field for both the 2008 WCT, World title Futures market and this weekend’s Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast. Following suit are the South Africans and it’s pretty easy to see why the bookmakers at Black Pearl are also throwing out their own odds for the 2008 WCT. A quick way of checking out the different odds and find the best betting partner comes in the form of Surfing-Odds.com. It was quite interesting to take a look at the odds listed by the various bookkeepers and see where they had everyone set as the Tour approaches.

To be honest, I’ve never really thought too much about betting on surfing. In fact, I’ve never really done any type of serious betting in general so this really made me curious. I lobbed a couple of inquiries in the direction of close friends that I knew who had done some betting to see what their thoughts on this were. They both replied that they had never really given it much thought and one replied that the lack of television coverage weakens his interest because it hampers his ability to watch his bet take place, and that is half the fun.

Is there a sizable group that regularly or occasionally puts bets down on surfing events? I’m really not sure, although I’m positive the bookmakers must think so. Now that bookmakers in the U.S. are fielding bets, will betting on surfing in increase in the States? Only time will tell.

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Snap-Shot of Surfing’s History: Noll, Velzy, and Body Glove

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

greg nollA closer look at the DNA that makes up the sport of surfing reveals an immensely deep heritage of revolutionary characters and time-periods. There have been countless pioneers throughout the days before us whose style and innovation have paved the way to make this modern era of surfing the wonder that it is.

One of the most crucial and vital time periods for surfing and its evolution came during the 1940’s on the beach cities of Los Angeles. I was recently given the privilege of sitting down to chat with a man by the name of Chuck L. Riley. I’m sure there are few, if any, of our readers that are in anyway familiar with his name. What made me so intrigued to sit and pick his brain was his growing-up and experiencing life as a teenager while in the midst of one of surfings great revolutions.

His description of the vibrant atmosphere that surrounded the communities of Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches during the mid-1940’s almost took me right there as he described what it was like to see the rise of such influential giants as Greg Noll, Dale Velzy, and Bob & Bill Meistrell right before his very eyes.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts of my conversation with Chuck L. Riley-

5ones – Chuck, thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate this. So tell us, what was it like growing up in those towns during the ’40s?

Chuck Riley – Oh God, it was incredible… Hermosa, Redondo, and Manhattan Beach were wonderful communities to grow-up in, especially during that time. Each city had phenomenal beaches to surf at and piers to fish from. Spring through Fall brought fabulous runs of Halibut, Barracuda, and Bonita and kept the piers packed with a melting pot of personalities. There were men like Jim Thorpe, Oscar Bessonette, and a young kid by the name of Greg Noll.

5’s – Greg Noll? Da Bull? What was he like at the time?

C.R. – This skinny little tow-head was one of the cutest kids to ever grace the Manhattan Beach Pier. He had a tremendous energy about him and was all over the place. All who knew him really enjoyed him. He was given the nickname ‘Termite’ and there was no indication at the time that he world one day be referred to as ‘Da Bull’ and go on to pioneer big-wave surfing. Bobby Meistrell loves to tell the story of his having to pull Greg out of the surf when he got in a little over his head one day. Who would have ever known this little rascal would go on to ride the worlds biggest waves someday and become one of surfings greatest legends?

5’s – Unreal!, ‘Da Bull’ used to be the ‘Termite’? Now you mentioned the Meistrells, they are the founders of Body Glove, correct?

C.R. – Correct! Bobby and (the late)Billy Meistrell were some of my closest high-school buddies. They are absolutely fantastic people. They were members of the great El Segundo swim teams that ended up compromising most of the 1952 Olympic Water-Polo team. The Meistrells were world-class skin divers. They developed “Dive & Surf”(which still runs today) and ultimately went on to create Body Glove.

5’s – The surfing scene in the 40’s…..What was that like? What were guys riding on?

C.R. – I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was 11 yrs. old on the south of Manhattan Beach Pier and a man by the name of Al Holland brought down some of the 1st hollow, plywood boards. There was a puka in back you had to plug so it would stay afloat and they were around 7ft. in length. They were surfed by all until Velzy began making his first balsa boards. Dale Velzy was a fine natural athlete himself, an excellent surfer, and all of the girls sure loved Dale. You want to talk about passion for what they did, those days the guys surfed 12 months out of the year wearing only trunks!

5’s – It really sounds like it was an incredible era to grow up in and experience?

C.R. – It was, it really was.

body glove

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Mick Fanning Cleared for Take-Off

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Reigning world champ and Coolie-local Mick Fanning has been given a clean bill of health leading up to the commencement of his title defense this weekend at the season-opening Quiksilver Pro, starting at Snapper Rocks on Thursday.

As previously covered, Fanning suffered a hairline fracture while on a snowboarding voyage to Japan over the holidays. As expected, his arm has healed just fine and Fanning couldn’t be more stoked as his reign as champion will begin right in his own back yard.

The wrist’s fine – I’ve been surfing virtually since I got back from Japan, even with the cast on… I’m feeling fit and healthy, I’ve got some great boards and I’m just really excited to start competing again.

Fanning, and everyone else for that matter, is expecting Kelly Slater to come out firing from the opening horn. With that being said, he believes his biggest threats will come from fellow “Coolangatta Kids” Joel Parkinson and Dean Morrison, who are both past winners of the event.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. With the the line-up of so many phenomenal surfers ready to go, the 2008 ASP Tour is certainly shaping up to be one of the most competitive and exciting tours ever. There will be a lot of pressure to start the season off with solid results at Snapper and the “Coolie Kids” wealth of knowledge when it comes to this break definitely has to be seen as an advantage.

mick fanning

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Jordy Smith is South African Surfer of the Year… Again

Monday, February 18th, 2008

jordy smithIn case you have somehow (in which case you’re probably not a surfer) not heard yet…This guy is pretty damn good. Jordy Smith racked up another honor for himself by being named the Surfer of the Year for the second consecutive year at the South African Surfing Awards at the International Convention Centre in Durban on Saturday night.

If Smith keeps heading in the direction he’s going, his record contract with O’Neill is most definitely going to come in handy when it comes time to shell out the dough for building a trophy case large enough to hold all of the accolades this young man is sure to amass throughout his career. I for one am eager to watch this kid write what will at least be a few pages of surfing history. Congratulations, once again, to Jordy Smith.

jordy smith

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