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2007/2008 Billabong Freewave Challenge Announces Finalists

Friday, January 18th, 2008

As previously mentioned, Billabong has put on it’s first ever virtual surf contest. Between the months of last October through December, surfers were given the chance to film anywhere on the North Shore and submit entries of their favorite rides.

During that time Billabong received 120 clips from local-groms to seasoned pros alike that have since been viewed and rated by visitors on FreewaveChallenge.com. After tallying the number of views and rating-levels each clip received as well as receiving input from respected journalists and surfers, Billabong has announced the finalists for the first ever Freewave Challenge. Five clips were selected for each category as contestants could submit footage for either Best Tube Ride Or Best Performance ride. It comes as no surprise to me that Hawaii-surfers were responsible for half of the selected rides with the contest being held in their backyard. After careful consideration, here are 5ones.com picks for each:

Best Tube Ride
Best Performance Ride

Anyone interested in viewing the other clips that made it to the final five can head over to FreewaveChallenge.com and see what you think. There are some pretty epic rides and this appears to be a really tough decision. The final rankings will be counted down from fifth to first places beginning Feb. 1, 2008 and $40,000 will be handed out among the winning surfers and videographers.

billabong

Posted in Brands, Surfing | No Comments »

Hangup Systems for Surfboards a Huge Success

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

The Surf Expo held earlier this month in Orlando, Fl. saw the release of the Hangup Systems for Surfboards in North America and it has created quite a buzz. In fact it did so well that over 200 retail stores placed orders for the system and over 80 are already in the process of converting their standard retail surfboard presentations to the Hang Ups. Almost all who visited the Global Surf Industries booth at the expo gave rave-reviews on the system and imagined the endless possibilities they have will have to fill all of the space that converting to this new system will give them.

Basically the Hangup System is a way to hang surfboards and avoid building costly racks and stands, while in the process minimizing the amount of space that typical surfboard stands take up. Boards are hung upside down using the fin sockets thus allowing retailers to display 14 or so boards per meter as opposed to the 6-7 that a typical retail rack is able to display. Global Surf Industries also lists the following benefits of using the Hang Up System on their website:

  • Flexibility in hanging arrangement for retail environments – no specialized rack is required. The same rack that displays clothes, wet-suits or board-bags can be utilized for your surfboard display.
  • Increase your sales by increasing your floor stock. More stock = more sales, same space more flexibility.
  • Easily able to accommodate seasonal changes. Surfboards or Steamers on the same space same rail.
  • Makes the most of valuable retail floor space.
  • Your boards always hang straight and tight.
  • A modern professional presentation for your merchandise.
  • No part of the surfboard is touching the ground and if secured using the grub screw the surfboard will remain secure.

The only downside is that the Hangup System doesn’t work with fixed-fin boards or twin-fins. It does sound like that is something they are working on though. I can’t imagine store-owners being anything but stoked to have a way of storing more boards using less space while having them appear even more organized. Don’t be surprised to see these systems being utilized more and more as you cruise into your local board-shop.

surf expo
hangup systems

Posted in Brands, Surfing | No Comments »

Wardo Arrested, ASP Releases Statement

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Things aren’t looking so hot for pro-surfer Chris Ward right now. The San Clemente-native was arrested outside of a bar in the late-night/early-morning hours last Tuesday (Jan.8) in Mammoth Lakes, Cali. Ward was allegedly involved in some sort of altercation with three females and is now facing some pretty heavy charges that include assault with a deadly weapon (other than a firearm) and disturbing the peace.

On top of the ongoing criminal investigation, the ASP is now launching it’s own investigation of the evenings events that led to his arrest. They will wait for the pending criminal case to finish up before making any decision. According to ASP Rules and Disciplinary Committee Chairman Robert Gerard, “Any surfer who damages the image of the sporting body, no matter the place or location, is subject to suspension or expulsion from the ASP World Tour.”

Ward strongly denies the allegations. According to Ward, “This whole event has gotten out of hand. I’ve never hit a woman. I was jumped by a bunch of people, and this has become a big misunderstanding. I should be the one pressing charges.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Booze Ban on San Diego Beaches Short-Lived

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Well that didn’t take very long. The beach booze-ban that took effect for all of San Diego beaches last Friday lasted all the way until….last Friday.

Opponents of the ban gathered at a last-call keg party at Pacific Beach on Jan. 3rd in an effort to sure up enough signatures for a petition aimed at overturning the ban. At 2 p.m. on the 4th, 45,940 signatures (well beyond the 30,209 required) were delivered to the San Diego city clerk and the ban was lifted. Verification of the signatures will now take place and the ban will more than likely head to the ballot later this year. Ban the Ban 3 has been at the forefront and a crucial organizer of events aimed at securing the signatures that were needed.

I for one am incredibly stoked that this ban has as much opposition against it as it does. It completely misses the point of its purpose and just takes away a freedom from the law-abiding ocean lovers who spend a good amount of their days on San Diego beaches. Coming out of the water after a long session to an ice-cold brew thats been waiting for me to make my turns is something I’m not ready to give-up without a fight.

Anyone else interested in fighting this injustice can head over to bantheban3.org for info on how they can make a difference.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Pipe Masters Thuggery Makes Surfing Mag. Top 16 list

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Surfing Magazine issued their Top 16 stories of 2008 recently. It was a pretty eventful year and the world of surfing definitely had its ups and downs. From the “Surfing for Peace” rally in the middle-east, mind-blowing up and comers, and epic films to shark-attacks, fires, and the loss of fellow water-men at well-known breaks.

The story that once again drew my attention and ended up as no. 6 on Surfer Magazine’s list, was in my opinion nothing more than a gang of thugs attempting to intimidate and assault a world-class surfer in the middle of the most prestigious event of the year. In the first round of the Pipeline Masters, Sunny Garcia and Neco Padaratz battled intensely for a crucial wave in the heat and ended up getting tangled up. As they stood-up, Garcia clearly dives at Neco and takes him out at the peak of the wave. Garcia then proceeded to throw a fit and go after Neco in the water, doing so again once they were onto the beach.

At that point Neco runs to search for refuge from not just Garcia, but his Wolf-Pak buddies who were coming to threaten and go after Neco as well. He attempted to find any source of protection while the whole time throwing his hands in the air to let everyone know he wanted no part of the violence. Surfer described it as “the most exciting thing we’d seen on the North Shore all year”. And depending on your definition of ‘exciting’ I guess they could have a point. But, in my eyes, it was nothing more then a senseless, disgusting display of a gang of thugs having their way at Surfings greatest stage and premier event of the year.

Anyone who has spent much time surfing or following what goes on year after year on the North Shore knows that this is the way that things are run. Local-surfers band up to regulate what goes on and protect their breaks with intimidation and violence. Whether you like it or not, that is the way surfings epicenter has been ran for years and will continue to be regulated for years to come. What should never be tolerated though is having a well-liked and respected professional surfer come to an event put on by surfings governing body only end up being chased from the area of competition with nowhere to go for protection by a fellow competitor and his group of friends.

Having tension and drama at such a crucial event is nothing we haven’t seen before. Having a competitor fear for his own personal safety to the point he needs to be escorted home is. Hopefully the ASP and Pipeline Masters does everything they can to prevent such a sad scene from ever happening again. Garcia summarized it best with this quote,”I might have spent time in prison, but that doesn’t change who I am.”

pipeline

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Need a New Stick? Ready to Unload a Board?

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Looking to find another board to play on? Need to clear some space for that next stick that is currently being worked on? If you’re not quite satisfied with results from the Craigslist postings or don’t really feel up to surfshop-hopping you can give Boardhunt.com a try.

Boardhunt uses a pretty simple format, making it easy to search and locate whatever it is your looking for, as well as posting boards that you are looking to unload. They’ve been at it for a little over a year now and have forged relationships with well-known industry retailers Hansen’s and Surfride, helping them to launch their initial database of boards and accessories.

While it looks like they could use a little more traffic to beef up their listings, there are still a few killer deals on there. Their main problem is that they haven’t quite figured out that SEO is a must for any website. For example, I can’t find them by typing any relevant keywords (such as: “used surfboards”) into Google.

As their name gets out, and with the right marketing strategy, Boardhunt could end up being a really useful avenue for buying and selling used surfboards, skateboards, snowboards, and any other type of plank that we put underneath ourselves for recreation. But for now, I’m sinking them on a poor marketing execution. Here’s to hoping they figure it out and Boardhunt becomes as popular for selling boards as Craigslist.

boardhunt

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Mick Fanning Breaks Wrist Snowboarding

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Surfing’s world champ Mick Fanning broke his wrist while snowboarding over the holidays in Japan. Fanning, who picked up snowboarding about 5 years ago, broke his wrist while boarding down his first run of the day. The culprit responsible was said to be an intermediate level run at the Niseko ski resort, on the island of Hokkaido.

Fanning’s injuury is said to be minor and should have no effect on his preparations to defend his first ever world-title in the upcoming ASP world tour. Fanning captured the title and brought surfing’s bragging rights back to Australia in November of last year in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

mick fanning

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Billabong’s Freewave Challenge

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Billabong’s Freewave Challenge threw a twist into surfing competitions and opened up the doors for all competitors, surfers and videographers alike, to win some serious prize money outside of the arena of typical contest surfing. The competition officially began on Oct 1st of last year and is now in its judging period.

Taking place in surfing’s epicenter, the North Shore of Oahu, contestants had from Oct. 1 until the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31st to submit video of themselves on their best waves. The competition is broken down into two categories: Best Performance Ride and Best Tube Ride. Any worthy ride on a wave not occurring during a regular surfing contest is eligible.

With out any qualifying tour, elimination rounds, or any ’standard’ of what constitutes the best ride, this contest became one of the most inclusive and gave equal chance to local-legends and pro-surfers alike. Video clips of contender rides were required to be uploaded to the FreewaveChallenge.com hub by registered videographers in the specified time period where they were to be viewed and rated by surfers and fans from all over the world. Now that the entry period has concluded the most popular and frequently viewed videos are being judged by some of the top names and top journalists in the industry. The winners will be announced at an awards party later this month and $40,000 in cash and prizes will be given to the winning surfers and videographers.

With so much being made yearly about the standard used to judge the majority of surfings big events, it will be interesting to see what ends up being deemed the best ride. It also opens up the door for surfers who aren’t as well known and may not be ‘contest’ surfers to throw down something sick and walk away with a big stash of loot and a lot of recognition. And it appears Billabong has been quite pleased with the success of this new style of contest as they will announce the date and location of the next Freewave Challenge at its awards party.

billabong

Posted in Brands, Surfing | 1 Comment »

Occy Retires, Durbidge Seals Triple Crown with Pipe Masters Win

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Cheers to Australia’s Bede Durbidge for winning the 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters, clinching the Van Triple Crown of Surfing title in the process. In a contest that saw the legendary career of surf legend and Australian-icon Mark Occhilupo come to an end, fellow country-man Durbidge pulled off the victory by throwing down a near-perfect 9.5 ride early on in the final heat and never looked back. In the process, the 24 yr. old up-and-comer from Queensland, unsponsored and financing his own way around the world, won himself over 75,000 dollars in cah and prizes with his victories. That will go down as the biggest single-day gain in the history of professional surfing.

With this years world title already being wrapped up by Mick Fanning in Florianopolis, Brazil, the small and inconsistent surf did nothing to help give the Pipe Masters contest the drama and intensity that has made it the premier event of the year in the surf world. Maybe it was only fitting that today’s final was held at a break known as ‘Off the Wall’, which is located about 100 yards down the beach from the most famous wave in the world in three-foot surf.

The lack of waves was probably the culprit for the scarcity of local Pipe riders in the final heats. But even the lack of typical Pipe Masters conditions couldn’t keep top surfers like Bruce Irons and Fred Patacchia, both of whom were on the bubble for making next years tour, from qualifying to surf full-time on the 2008 ASP world tour next year.

So a big ‘Congratulations’ goes out to Durbidge, who I am sure we will be hearing a lot more from in the coming years. And here is to hoping that 2008 brings back the mind-blowing barrels that has made Pipeline the legendary break that it is today.

bede durbidgebillabongMark Occhilupo

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Volcom to Shell out $10k for Kick-flip on a Surfboard

Monday, December 17th, 2007

The search continues……

Nearly a month later and Volcom’s added ‘motivation‘ has still yet to produce a successfully executed and documented ‘kick-flip’ by a surfer. For those unfamiliar with the contest, Volcom’s motivation comes in the form of $10,000 to the first person to produce video of themselves cleanly stomping this yet-to-be documented maneuver.

The contest, which began on November 21 and will run until a winner is produced, has no doubt inspired countless attempts by surfers all over the world. There have been several documented attempts nearly-executed that can be seen on Youtube, but to date there is still no known footage of a surfer landing a “proper, above-the-lip” kickflip.

YouTube Preview Image

By “proper” and “above-the-lip”, Volcom is very clear that one must launch an air, use their front foot to flip the board, and then land on it and ride it out cleanly. There is a list of rules that the winning entry must abide by, including no tow-ats, no grabs of any kind, no wakeboards, boogie boards, or trays, no shoes (booties okay), and (my personal favorite) no dolphin-assistance.

Although this extremely difficult maneuver has yet to be successfully landed, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Surfing has always been and always will be a sport of progression and it’s only a matter of time until someone is filmed riding this one out and receives 10,000 reasons to justify the many “sick-days” taken from school or work to in order to paddle out. And as stoked as someone will soon be to have Volcom add to their bank account, one can only imagine the feeling that will come from riding out the first ever documented kickflip on a wave.

volcom

Posted in Surfing | 14 Comments »

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