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Would You Drop Into Monster Mavericks for $150,000?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

“Now we have a prize purse that begins to acknowledge what goes down out there at Mavericks, and we can all look forward to an amazing show of athleticism on Contest Day this season.” -Mavericks CEO Keir J. Beadling. -


One of the biggest big-wave surf competitions just went even bigger. How big we talkin’ ’bout here? Surfing’s top big-wave chargers selected to compete in the 2009 Mavericks Surf Contest will be battling it out for a prize purse worth $150,000, the largest known prize purse in big-wave surfing competition history. Let’s put that in our metaphorical pipes and smoke on it for a bit….that’s a lot of money for a surfing competition, and every single cent of it will be more than deserved by some of the world’s greatest and most skilled big-wave surfers who will be putting their lives on the line at Mavericks.

The Mavericks competition should no doubt win some sort of award for “comeback of the decade by a surfing competition“. Lacking a sponsor and thought to be on it’s deathbed not all that long ago, the 2009 Mavericks Surf Contest is now set up to be one of the biggest events ever for surfing, and not just because of it’s record prize purse. There are brilliant minds making things happen for the Mavericks event, and if the surf cooperates we could end up seeing one of the all-around great productions in the history of surf competitions. For the first time ever, a live surfing event will be webcast in high-definition, brought to us by FUEL TV. On top of that, the action at Mav’s will be available for viewing through Myspace, as well as FLO TV. Those in the ‘Frisco area will also have the opportunity to attend the simulcast that will once again take place at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

So who’s behind the “let’s go bigger than ever” movement currently taking place for the event at Mavericks? It’s a combination of Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision, who personally contributed $75,000 last month, and new Mavericks partner Barracuda Networks Inc., who followed suit and doubled up the prize money.

“Jane and I are very happy for Mavericks and the Contest surfers with Barracuda Networks’ decision to double the prize purse,” commented Moose Guen. “This historic moment serves to recognize the bravado, the skills, and the talent of these big-wave surfers in such extreme conditions. As I like to say, ‘Let us defy the odds in 2009!’”

This is big for big-wave surfing….really big. And it’s not only big for big-wave surfing, but for surfing in general. I love seeing obscene amounts of money being thrown at the guys who are at the front of the sport, especially those who are paddling into a wave such as Mavericks. They deserve every bit of it, and then some. The prize money for surfing in general has been criticized at times for being stagnant, but I think that’s starting to change. Having guys like Bob Hurley calmly drop an extra $45 G’s on top of the standard ASP purse the way he did at Trestles is awesome for the sport (that is, if he did in fact follow though with the I.O.U. presented to Mr. Slater), and it’s great to see others following suit. There is obviously a lot of money being made off of our sport, and who better to reap the rewards than the surfers who are at the forefront of it’s progression.

You can peep the Mavericks Surf site for more info on the upcoming event.


Posted in Surfing | 3 Comments »

Billabong SG5: Solar Heated Wetsuit

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The boys over at Billabong have created a new wetsuit technology that uses solar energy, yes solar energy, that uses the sun’s heat to warm the suit. It is said to be 30% warmer than any other suit, except of course the Rip Curl H-Bomb. The MeSurf team is the first I’ve seen to break the news of this wetsuit and they are said to be getting one soon for a full review, so stay tuned.

The r+d team at Billabong have come up with a great new way to keep you warm during the season that matters most as a surfer…winter. Having a suit that blocks the wind and holds out water is one thing, having a suit that will heat you up using the solar energy, that is another!

From what I can tell, the suit will be available in Australia in a couple months and be priced in the $500-$600 range. No word yet on if, or when, this suit will make it’s way to the US.

There’s just one problem. What happens when the sun isn’t shining?

billabong sg5 wetsuit

Posted in Surfing | 7 Comments »

Another Deadly Shark Attack Has Surfers Tripping Out

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

killer whale surfingC’mon, admit it…. you know you kind of get a rise out of shark attack stories. Most of us do, it’s our guilty little pleasure and exactly the reason that nearly every single surfing website has some version of the recent Australia shark encounter stories gracing their home page right now. The numbers don’t lie, the people are interested in reading about these unfortunate encounters.

Surfing’s intertwining of man with nature is part of what makes it so unique. I’m not sure that there is another sport throughout the world that even comes close to allowing these types of interactions. While it’s the occasional negative interactions that draw all the interest and appear more sexy, for every one of those there are a countless number of other incredible and positive interactions taking place between surfers and marine life every single day. They may not get the traffic as headline stories, but they are part of what makes surfing so magical and far outweigh the 1 in a Gazillion chance you have of becoming part of the food chain each time you paddle out.

On that note, and out of fairness to all of our ocean-living friends who aren’t trying to munch on our legs, here are a few stories and images of just how incredible being out in the ocean can be. Shark attack stories may get all the headlines, but they are just a tiny, tiny part of what really takes place when we’re out in the water.

“Running of the Dolphins” – Sea of Cortez

“Shamu Regulates the Line-Up” – New Zealand

“Shark Stomps a 1280 as Mind-Blown Surfers Look On”

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Notes From The Mecca: Big Swells On The Way

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

big swell

The winter season on the 7-mile miracle got off to a roaring start in 2008, making for one of the most exciting Triple Crown’s in recent history. However, in recent weeks the surf has tapered off just a bit as a quiet NPAC has slowed down it’s production of epicly large swells. It looks like that’s all about to change, and you can bet the folks at Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, as well as the Eddie Aikau Invitational are keeping their fingers tightly crossed.

The National Weather Service is predicting a very large northwest swell to arrive on Wednesday producing surf above the 25-foot warning threshold along the north shore and possibly above the 20-foot warning threshold on the west shore. Residents and visitors are being encouraged to take the necessary precautions to protect life and property. There is the possibility that this maybe the biggest swell of the winter so we are reminding everyone to take the necessary safety precautions,” said Bryan Cheplic, Emergency Services Department Public Information Officer. Honolulu Advertiser

While there have been some fun, and even sizeable days on the North Shore in recent weeks, the abnormally large number of WWSUP’s(Weekend Warrior Stand-Up Paddleboarder’s) seen cruising from break to break in recent days isn’t supposed to be taking place right now. The swells on tap for the coming weeks should quickly put an end to that.

While we wait for the swells to make their way, here is the latest from Mark Healey and Quiksilver on the potential to run the Eddie later this week.

Stay tuned-

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Surfer Beats Up Shark, Saves Cousin

Monday, January 12th, 2009

shark bite surfboard

It was a busy weekend for the sharks, as we’ve now seen three attacks over that last couple days. The latest, a 13-year-old girl in Australia was bit by a 15-foot shark. Upon seeing this, her 20-year-old cousin quickly paddled over and started beating the hell out of the shark until it let go. He then lifted his cousin onto his board and paddled into shore, with the shark circling them the entire way in.

“I paddled over to try to get as close as I could to try to stick my thumb in its eye, but I missed and we were just hitting it…

…She climbed up on my back, but there was that much blood in the water I didn’t really know … whether she could stay awake on my back. We started paddling. The shark was behind us. Then it was underneath us. We just stopped and tried to face it so we could slap it again.”

Like avalanches, this is quickly shaping up to be a year filled with reports of news that will make an enthusiasts think twice before they venture into territory that has an increased element of risk.

The girl suffered a bite on her leg that went all the way to the bone but she is expected to have a near-full recovery. She is reportedly doing well and in high spirits. Her board didn’t fare so well, but it should make for a nice souvenir. Or, if you’re a 13-year-old girl, it would probably serve as a reminder that will give you nightmares the rest of your life. Her cousin however, will have one hell of a story to tell chicks at the bar.

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

The End of The Core Surf Shop?

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

The effects of the current economic crisis have been fairly visible throughout the community. Everything from established brands to major surf events have been touched in a bad way by the weak economy and have the battle wounds to show it. However, one group that seems to be taking it especially hard right now are the independent, core surf shops that have long been a staple of the sport.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to find out that some of my long time “go-to” surf shops in both Southern California and Hawaii are getting set to permanently close their doors. For many of them, last hopes of a Christmas turnaround was grasping at straws. Now, they sadly find themselves drowning and unable to make ends meet; unable to compete with with multi-million dollar corporations at a time when every penny counts.

With all this going on, I was stoked beyond belief to lay eyes on this article put out by Surfline recently. It’s an entertaining piece that very clearly illustrates the seemingly impossible odds the core shops are facing. But more than being a must read, the article is a preface to something I feel Surfline should be commended for: Running a series that gives a voice and a whole lot of love to “surf shops around the country that best represent the values, history and authenticity of what a core store should be.”

It’s on our shoulders to make it a point to keep our truly core shops alive. Not just in surfing, but in all of the sports that make our worlds go round. I’m all for riders like Shaun White and Carissa Moore who are raking in the cash from Target and others just to stick their name on a product. But I personally have never had the desire to go and shop there. And imagine being relegated to just that? It’s a scary thought.

We are obviously all feeling strapped by the economy, so I’m not going to give one of those “let’s all run out and spend money at surf shops just to keep them afloat” lines. But just be sure to keep them in mind the next time you want to treat yourself to any surf-related goodies.

“Surfing is magical, and the one place where we all gather outside of the water is magical as well. We, the authentic surf shops, are nothing less than shrines to the sport. We provide the essentials for riding waves, and we provide a place for surfers to connect, communicate, and share the stoke. Just as wavepools fail to deliver the magic found in the ocean, pseudo-surf shops fail to offer a genuine experience. Truth be told, I don’t deserve the credit. It isn’t the building or the smells that make a surf shop special. It’s people. And those people don’t just smell like surf, they do it.”

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Seriously… Localism is So Cool

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

localismThe whole concept of localism has always been a trip to me. It’s not that it doesn’t have a place in surfing, because there are, and always will be regulation needed at certain breaks from foreign surfers who simply don’t have a clue. But those cases are few and far between. Far too often, thugs trying to pass themselves off as surfers take to the practice of localism simply to boost their own ego and feel better about themselves each time they dip into their ever-growing quiver of Affliction tee’s.

It was a smooth little post by one of the Cote brothers over at Transworld that set me off on this whole tangent. As I watched the classic Youtube clip he included and read the following…

-”Whether it be on a surf trip to Timbuktu or a quick, 15-minute jaunt down the coast, there’s always some asshole who thinks he’s “local” because he’s lived there for six years”

…My mindseye immediately turned to one of the most misguided and kook’d out attempts at being a local I have ever witnessed. At an ultra-fun, but far from heavy break in southern Nicaragua resides some dude from Holland who has apparently made it his life mission to be looked upon as a “local”. After living in Nica for just a handful of years, and because a hierarchy has yet to be established in the relatively adolescent surf scene there, this character has taken it upon himself to let everyone around him know just how local he is. If you ever make it to this particular wave you can’t miss him, for the lengths he goes to in order to demonstrate his local status are truly comedic. He’s the one wearing a full wetsuit when the water temps drop from 80 degress to a frigid 78. He’s the one who spends the majority of each session paddling around, waving his arms, and hollering like a madman at harmless visitors who are minding their own business. And he’s the one who ends up getting weekly slaps on the beach when his length of time surfing the break fails to translate into any sort of ability to physically defend himself. He is as classic as classic comes.

Why share this personal kook experience? Because I’m pretty sure I don’t stand alone in witnessing this level of barney’ism take place. As I stated earlier, this type of thing happens far too often in surfing, wherever in the world you may be. I know there are stacks of stories just like this out there, so feel free to share below. Maybe, just maybe, these tough-guys that give surfers a bad name will lay eyes on these accounts and have themselves a coming to God/Buddha/Jah experience and decide to change their kook’d out ways.

Sill standing as the all-time classic depiction of localism…

Posted in Surfing | 4 Comments »

Shark Attack in New South Wales

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

A 31-year-old male was attacked today by a shark in the waters off of Fingal Heads Beach in New South Wales. The surfer was bit on the leg while sitting on his board about 100 yards offshore near a pod of dolphins.

New South Wales beaches have been closed after a shark attack at Fingal Heads where a surfer wrapped his leg rope around his thigh to stop bleeding.

There are a couple things that make this story interesting, besides that fact that the dude just got munched on by a shark. First, he was near a pod of dolphins. I have no scientific evidence that surfing next to dolphins is any safer, but for me personally, I’ve always felt more at ease when there are dolphins in the water. Maybe it’s that YouTube video where a dolphin saves a woman who is clearly about to get eaten by a larger Tiger. Whatever it is, I guess I can no longer count on dolphins as my security blanket. The second thing that caught my attention was the brilliant use of a leash that would make even McGyver proud. Apparently leashes are useful for things other then making it so I don’t have to swim all the way into shore everytime I fall.

At this point it is unclear what type of shark attacked this man. Although he is in critical condition, the injury is not life threatening. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Danny Fuller Leaves Quik, Joins RVCA

Friday, January 9th, 2009

danny fuller

Kauai’s own model/pretty boy surfer, Danny Fuller has left the Quiksilver team to join the likes of Rothman, Archy, Jones and others on the RVCA team.

Danny is officially a member of the RVCA Tribe. A long time friend and the perfect ambassador for the brand, Danny fits into the mix perfect. He’s back in Hawaii now, getting ready for the Backdoor Shootout.

This is a great move by both parties. Fuller was never going to get the exposure he deserves riding for Quiksilver. I would imagine being in the shadows of Quik’s allstar lineup of Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Julian Wilson, Ry Craike, Fred Patacchia, Clay Marzo, and Jeremy Flores is a very cold place to be. Danny will have a much better opportunity to break-through and show the world just how hard he charges being on a team that isn’t stacked to the roof with the world’s best surfers. Plus, RVCA’s all about the artsy stuff anyways, which seems to fit Danny’s lifestyle of modeling, photography, and philanthropy a lot better.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

More Maui-Waui, This Time From Kai Barger

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

For whatever reason, Maui’s group of young talent just continues to blow up harder than anyone expected. The latest of the Valley Isle’s rippers to officially make his claim as one of the elite under-22 surfers in the world: 19 yr. old Kai Barger.

kai barger

Word of Barger’s victory at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships came as a surprise to most of us, probably even all of us. If a surfer from Maui was going to become the new ASP World Junior Title holder, chances are it was going to be Dusty Payne or even Granger Larsen. And Barger apparently felt the same way. “I’m as high as Saturn’s kite baby!” Barger said after his monumental victory. “Out of all the incredible surfers in this event, like Dusty and Granger and Julian Wilson, I probably had the least amount of confidence, but I guess this goes to show that every dog has his day and today’s mine!”

asp world junior

The fact that Kai was an afterthought as far as Maui’s surfers go is a testament to how stacked the line-ups must be over there. As far as making names for themselves, you would be hard-pressed to find two surfers who did more to announce their arrival in 2008 than Dusty Payne and Clay Marzo. Payne’s win in Bali and nearly becoming the youngest Triple Crown of Surfing winner went right along with Andy Irons and Kelly Slater labeling Marzo as the best 18 yr. old surfer in the world in Marzo’s Just Add Water. Now, Barger’s huge win to kick-off 2009 will keep the spotlight firmly on Maui’s young crew for years to come.

There’s something special going on over on Maui. If anyone has any idea just what it is, I would love to hear why…..

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

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