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Yeti: North America’s New Beast Generating Buzz

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Have you met Yeti? If you’ve already laid eyes on your Feb. 2009 issue of Surfer than chances are you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you may want to set some time aside and make it a point to suss out some of the photos captured by Jason Murray of one of the nastiest waves being ridden anywhere in the world.

yeti in oregon

The uncovering of this beast that lays just off the coast of Oregon has been making it’s way around the surfing world the past few weeks and is creating noise in the process. Waves like that just aren’t supposed to be ridden. Yet, looking into the mag and staring with my jaw down to my teets, there they were…some of the gnarliest surfers the sport has ever seen riding a wave that has death written all over it.

It cracked me up to get out of the water yesterday and spot a group of 4 or 5 wide-eyed surfers right there on the beach huddled together around their mag as if they were back in 8th grade getting a peak at their first Playboy. But that’s the effect that Yeti has upon first glance. The revealing of Yeti to the world of surfing is happening quickly and generating a crazy buzz.

Obviously Yeti is now a secret break no more, and the revealing of a wave that was essentially unheard of before is always a bittersweet process. You’re stoked to see images that are evidence of pure progression and raise the bar on what’s possible in surfing, but you feel for the locals who have been quietly charging the place long before it made it’s way into the center of Surfer Magazine. However the author makes a great point that waves like this take care of themselves. If you’re one of those who looks at a wave like this and gets any desire to ride it, you’re a far heavier surfer than I. With a wave like Yeti, I’m more than content to sit back and enjoy the view from the sidelines.

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Da Hui Backdoor Shootout: More Pipe Magic On The Way

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

da hui logoAlthough the 2008 Pipeline Masters ended up looking like a Backdoor Shootout with all of the rights that were taken, the official Backdoor Shootout is just a couple of days away from unleashing it’s magic on the world of surfing. The holding period for the 2009 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout opens this Monday and will run through Jan. 15. The opening ceremony for the seventh annual Shootout will be held Sunday morning at Ehukai Beach Park for anyone one interested in attending.

The Backdoor Shootout is doing a solid job at setting itself up as one of the premier independent surf competitions in the world. Any competition at Backdoor Pipeline is obviously going to generate all kinds of hype and excitement. Mixing in a world class line-up of surfers such as 2008 winner Jaime O’Brien, Makua Rothman, Mark Healey, Danny Fuller, Bruce Irons and many more only adds to that. On top of it all, Da Hui offers up a very healthy prize purse, as Jamie O’Brien took home $50,000 for his efforts last year. Bruce Irons, the ‘08 Shootout runner-up, pulled in $25,000 for his efforts. That 2nd place total stands just a few G’s short of the typical amount seen by winners of ASP World Tour events.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the event will be webcast, which is kind of a downer. There was a staggering amount of web traffic for the Pipe Masters and I’m sure many of those same fans would love to get another Pipeline fix. Hopefully this is something we can look forward to for future Backdoor Shootouts. For those who live on the islands and those visiting over the next 10 or so days, catching a glimpse of this classic event is something that will definitely be worth your time, so be sure to check it out.

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Bustin’ Down the Door: Surfing Can Make It All Better

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

busting down the doorThe ongoing freesurfing vs. competitive surfing debate is one that I’m sure will never end. There are legitimate points to be made on both sides of the fence, but the fact of the matter remains that there will always be differing views on whether surfing was ever meant to be a competitive sport when it’s founding fathers first took to the waves.

Whether you’re a fan of competitive surfing or not, the inception of surfing as a professional sport and the staggering amount of money it has generated has gone a long way to allowing surfing to progress and come as far as it has. The world’s best surfers are now rewarded handsomely to do pretty much nothing other than constantly surf the best waves around the world, thanks in large part to Mark Richards, Rabbit Bartholomew, Peter Townend, and Ian Cairns, as well as Shaun and Michael Thomson. While they weren’t alone in laying down the groundwork for professional surfing, they were certainly instrumental and vital figures in the process. And it was the story of these six surfers that is beautifully told in Bustin’ Down the Door.

Most within the surfing community are familiar with the basic story in Bustin’ Down the Door. A group of surfers from Australia and South Africa began making the trek to the Hawaiian Islands in the mid 1970’s and took the North Shore by storm. Determined to make themselves seen and heard throughout the world, a few of them began running their mouths and thumping their chests with no regards to the local people who called Hawaii their home. The result was a few brutal rounds of dirty lickin’s for the crew of foreigners, but order was eventually restored and in the process came the birth of professional surfing.

Sounds pretty basic, right? But what makes Bustin’ Down the Door such a special film are the stories within the story. There’s the emotional confession of a man who is now the current head of the ASP, Rabbit Bartholomew, that as a young man he became so desperate to put food on the table that he resorted to stealing. You also gain a better understanding for what type of men Clyde and Eddie Aikau were and still are, and also see just how much of an influence that they and their family had in restoring order to the North Shore. And then there’s finding out that the trophy Pete Townend received from Fred Hemmings for winning the inaugural world title was actually borrowed from the Outrigger Canoe Club. Hearing and seeing the stories of each individual and what they went through in this time period is a priceless and enjoyable experience.

When it’s all over though, and everyone has shared their stories, you realize that in the end, it’s all about the surfing. This was summed up best by the closing lines of the legendary Shaun Thomson. They are words that will be running through your head long after the movie comes to an end. And they are words that sum up Bustin’ Down the Door far better than I could ever hope to-

“Surfing makes it all better, it really does…I’ve been through some tough times in my life, but surfing can make it all better.”

The DVD will be in stores January 13th.

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WANTED: Granny Robbing Kook Heads to Hawaii

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

raymond george wilkinsYou have to wonder just how low people will go sometimes…

According to our friends over at Transworld Surf via LA Times blogs, “San Diego police are searching for a 34-year-old surfer who allegedly stole $13,000 in cash and Krugerrand gold coins from a 92-year-old woman and may have skipped out to Hawaii. Raymond George Wilkins was acting as caregiver for the victim, police said. He was known in the Pacific Beach neighborhood and is thought to have purchased a one-way plane ticket to Hawaii after the theft. Wilkins, 5-foot-9, 180 pounds and known to favor earrings in both ears, is wanted on a fugitive warrant and can be extradited when found, police said.”

The faster we get this story plastered all over the ‘net, the sooner we get him out of the water, off the streets, and back to face the heavy charges that are awaiting him back in San Diego. So everyone, especially all of our 5ones friends out in the islands, take a good long look at this guy’s mug (I know, easier said than done) and keep an eye out for him. The last thing a haole on the islands wants as a reputation is to be known as the caregiver who cleaned out his 92 yr. old patient. Whether it’s the real police, or Hawaii’s own Karma Police, with enough cooperation Mr. Wilkins isn’t going to be experiencing a whole lot of Aloha on his temporary stay in the islands.

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Is Surfer, Dude for Surfers?

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

surfer dudeYou may or may not have noticed, but a pretty solid number of your favorite surfing websites are serving as advertisers for Matthew McConaughey’s latest movie: Surfer, Dude. The film originally came out in September and the reviews weren’t pretty. With the Surfer, Dude DVD being released just a couple of days ago, those in charge of advertising for the film seem to be counting on actual surfers to help make-up for the disappointing box office results. I’m kind of curious….Is this actually going to work?

For what it’s worth, I arrived in Nicaragua just shortly after McConaughey was wrapping up his much publicized trip there. I heard nothing but rave reviews of him as a person, and the whole town of San Juan del Sur really seemed to embrace him (well, besides the fools that robbed him clean). Transworld had a pretty smooth article on him back in August and he seems to be a celebrity who is genuine in his passion for surfing. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to see.

As far as the movie though, well I have yet to see it, and to be honest, I’ve never really put much thought into ever making the effort to do so. I know there are at least some of our 5ones peeps who have though, so feedback from the select few who have actually taken part in the Surfer, Dude experience is welcome and encouraged. Is this something worth sitting through? Or will I forever lose 89 minutes of my life watching a classic Hollywood portrayal of surfers, one filled to the brim with stereotypes and cliches? And if the movie really is as dismal as the reviews say it is, does it bother you to see ads for it plastered all over actual surfing websites?

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Clay Marzo Set to Go Big in 2009

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

clay marzo just add water

You can put Clay Marzo’s name on the long list of surfers who came up big in 2008. When word that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome started to spread, I think I, like many others, had two questions pop into my head. First, what exactly is Asperger’s Syndrome? And secondly, how will this affect his life and his ability to surf?

Eventually it became known that Quiksilver was setting up a movie that would tackle these questions head on, and they ended up releasing Clay Marzo: Just Add Water. The movie answered the questions surrounding Clay and his diagnosis beautifully, and the result was an inspirational surf flick that touched thousands of people well beyond the realm of the surf community.

Not knowing what it is that set Clay apart from those around him couldn’t have been easy for Clay, as well as for those within his inner circle. But finally getting the answers they were searching for and gaining an understanding for what makes the Maui Young Gun tick, now makes it even easier for Clay to do just what he’s supposed to do: Surf and blow minds.

The 19 yr. old Marzo is coming into his prime years for surfing and is part of the super exciting next generation of surfers set to take the sport further than ever imagined. With the questions surrounding him having been answered, look for Clay Marzo to go big in 2009.

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Mark Healey Cover’s Stick Size With Eddie Invitee’s

Monday, December 29th, 2008

After an absolutely firing start to the 2008/2009 season on the North Shore, the swells that make the seven-mile miracle just that have apparently decided to take the holidays off. No worries though, we still have January and February to look forward to. This is more than likely the thought running through the minds of most involved with the ‘08/’09 Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau.

Following a couple of near misses early on in the holding period, organizers for the premier big wave surfing competition look to January and February with hope and optimism that an opportunity to run the event for the first time since 2004 will present itself. In the meantime, Quiksilver and Mark Healey are keeping us posted on the updates and getting us the inside scoop on the inner-workings of the Eddie.

In Quiksilver’s latest video update, Healey polls some Eddie invitees on their prospective board choice for the event and the size of the board they will be charging with. The strategies are as diverse and varied as the competitors themselves. Everything from 9′0″s to 11 footers will be taken to Waimea as board of choice for the competition, some with one fin, others with three, and a few competitors looking to ride quads for extra speed and escapability in hopes of not being caught from behind by avalanches of white water.

The field for this season’s Eddie is as deep as talented as ever so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the North Shore comes back to life. In the meantime, I’m sure Mark Healey and Quik will keep the video updates rolling out.

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When Da Wave Breaks Here, Don’t Be There….

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

…..Or you’re gonna get drilled. But like we all already know, nobody listens to Turtle. Had 23 yr. old Jacob Cockle of Cornwall, England taken the advice of the legendary character from the 1987 epic North Shore, he would have been far away from where he was when he got absolutely drilled during a recent session.

Jacob was out surfing while his older brother Joe was taking pictures from the beach. Jacob ended up being caught inside and up against a seawall made of stone, and his timing couldn’t have been any worse. ‘I couldn’t believe it, I was stuck by the pier and I saw this huge wave rear up right in front of me. It was just massive and there was no escape, I thought that was it, that I was in way over my head,” said Jacob. “The wave was so powerful that I was underwater for ages but eventually I managed to swim in to the beach.” Considering the size of the wave and the position Mr. Cockle found himself in, he was unbelievably lucky he was able to swim anywhere at all.Moral of the story? When da wave breaks here….

Don’t be there, or you’re gonna get drilled!

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Oregon Surfers Doing the Dirty

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

dirty waterNearly 20% of surfers polled in Oregon claim to be putting down a shot glass worth of sea water every time they paddle out. On top of that, about 50% of the 520 surfers polled by Oregon State University and the state Department of Environmental Quality claim to swallow one to three teaspoons of the ocean throughout each session. The poll, as well as gathering and testing water quality at six popular surfing beaches was done as part of study done to calculate the risk of infection Oregonian surfers face each time they take to the waves.

I would probably fit (I hope anyway) in the one to three teaspoons group. At first thought, that doesn’t really sound like that much. But taking that amount an multiplying by the number of surfing days logged throughout the course of a week, month, and even year leaves us facing a gruesome reality….We’re drinking a lot of shit.

The study determined that surfers swallow 10 times the amount of water as that take in by swimmers or divers. Obviously this leaves us that much more susceptible to ending up in what can be the very unenjoyable, and even life threatening situation of catching a bug or parasite.

So how much water are you taking in per session? A couple of teaspoons? A shot’s worth? Even more than that? What about the surfer’s who call the brutal waters of certain So. Cal. and South-side Oahu breaks home? That’s a heavy statistic to chew on and extra motivation toward working to keep the ocean clean. You definitely don’t want to making a habit of throwing down shots of the Newport special

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Rip Curl H-Bomb Wetsuit: Is it Really Worth a Cool Grand?

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Apparent yes, or at least says Surfing Mag’s Editor Evan Slater, who just put up a review of Rip Curl’s battery powered wetsuit.

“The button on your leg gives you three heating options: low, high or “boost.” For the really frigid stuff. But just to be a wimp, I kept it on “boost” the whole time. The carbon-fiber coils in my back roared to life, I stayed warm and loose (like I had a little campfire in my suit) and – even though the surf sucked – I kept telling myself “one more.”"

rip curl h bomb

Ok, so as expected, the suit works. And it’s easy for Evan to love it, considering he didn’t have to plunk down the cash for it. I think the bigger question is- is it really worth it to spend over a grand on a wetsuit? I guess that comes down to the individual. For me personally, the answer is no. But I don’t have an extra G burning a hole in my pocket either. I’m a wuss when it comes to cold water too, and I admit that I would be nice to have a wetsuit that I could just turn up the dial on every time I get a little chilly. But for now, my 4/3 seems to be doing just fine on those really cold days.

It probably wasn’t the best time for Rip Curl to be dropping the H-Bomb, considering the economy and all. But I suppose that’s not something they could have predicted.

While I won’t be rushing out to buy an H-Bomb anytime soon. If you guys over at Rip Curl want to send me one, I’ll be more than happy to review it.

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