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Heading Down the Home Stretch of the Dream Tour

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

ASP World Tour LogoA golden opportunity lost by the Usual Suspects not named Kelly Slater at the Rip Curl Pro Search turned into a golden opportunity seized by Bruce Irons. How will Bruce finish out his last year on tour with that monkey off of his back? Does anyone still really have a shot at stopping Kelly on his march to number 9? How will the very highly-touted rookies Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds complete their first full year on tour?

The 2008 Boost Mobile Pro Trestles is the beginning of the descent down the mountain that is the Dream Tour. While many believe Kelly’s 9th is inevitable, there are still a lot of interesting story-lines to follow. And aside from all of that…. a hell of a lot of amazing surfing to be seen from some of the best surfers in the world! Here is how the Top 10 is sitting at the moment.

CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10 AFTER STOP NO. 6
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 5620 points
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4548 points
3 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4382 points
4 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 4370 points
5 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 4353 points
6 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 3950 points
7 – Andy Irons (HAW) 3938 points
8 – C.J. Hobgood (USA) 3870 points
9 – Bobby Martinez (USA) 3628 points
10 – Bruce Irons (HAW) 3392 points

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Slater, Burrow, Durbidge, and Smith out at Billabong Pro

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

billabong pro manao drolletA lot of big names bowed out early at the Billabong Pro Tahiti today as Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Bede Durbidge, and Jordy Smith were all defeated in round 3 action at 4-6 foot Teahupoo.

Kelly Slater wasn’t looking too sharp again and was caught a couple times dropping in too deep, getting drilled in the head by one of the heaviest waves in the world. It didn’t matter though, as he suffered an early interference penalty and was literally surfing a heat he couldn’t possibly win. It seems there’s something about going up against local favorite Manoa Drollet that gets in Slater’s head, as he performed similarly when then two competed against each other in rd. 1 action. “This is just one of many events, you’re going to have throw-aways,” said Slater.

The highly anticipated matchup between Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds saw Smith go down as Dane was on absolute fire. If he continues to surf like he did in round three, Dane could possibly in serious contention for his first ever ‘CT victory, only three events into his rookie season. He was looking good. CJ Hobgood is another surfer to watch this event. He posted an amazing 19.64 in round three and has been looking awfully good here at ‘Chopes. Seems super-confident as well when you listen to his interviews and he no doubt wants to keep the Billabong Pro Tahiti title in the Hobgood family.

Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson – who are both tied for current world #6 – can definitely smell blood. All five surfers ahead of them exited early from this event and now they’ll definitely be taking advantage and looking to gain as many points as possible. Look to both of these guys to make a run at winning this event.

kelly slatertaj burrowteahupoojordy smithbede durbidgewct

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

O’Neill Going Back to Basics with SuperFreak/RuOne?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

o’neill superfreak ruoneAs many do in their high-school years, a couple of my best friends and myself decided to take over the world in the form of a start-up clothing company. We actually did really well considering we started the whole project off with limited resources somewhere in the neighborhood of $650. Our marketing skills were obviously somewhat limited, but we were bound and determined to get our name out and simply would not be denied.

We used part of our initial “investment” and had a few thousand stickers printed up in order to put our name out for all to see. After seeing that O’Neill is using a similar – obviously more large-scale strategy – with their recently launched SuperFreak/RuOne online contest, I took a trip back in time to the days where no object within 100 mile radius was immune from the branding method used by a few ultra-dedicated teenagers looking to become moguls at an early age.

Basically whoever prints off the SuperFreak/RuOne creative, found on the O’Neill site, and slaps it in or on the most random and crazy location wins. Entries are to uploaded and submitted online. At the end of the contest surfing phenom Jordy Smith will review and personally hand pick the grand prize winner who will receive a brand new autographed Jordy Smith surfboard, signature boardshort, along with a bountiful apparel package.

O’Neill makes it clear they aren’t looking for entries that deface public property or that will be considered vandalism. My past experience with this technique is that there is really no way to avoid it. Depending on the participation in this contest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the SuperFreak/RuOne image in some very unexpected places. We think placing one (or more) on the Cardiff Kook would do well.

O’Neilljordy smith

Posted in Brands, Surfing | 2 Comments »

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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10 Reasons This Could be the Best Year Ever on the ASP World Tour

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Right around the time the final horn sounded at last years Pipeline Masters putting an end to a year of unexpected outcomes and less than stellar waves on the 2007 ASP World Tour, all eyes turned to 2008 and anticipation has been steadily building as the opening event gets set to kick off at Coolangata, Australia in less than two weeks.

As we move closer and closer to the lead-off contest, the story lines that this year’s tour will be the setting of continue to look more and more intriguing by the day and promise to make this years tour one of the all-time greats. Every year the tour produces dramatic finishes, surprise winners, adrenaline fueled confrontations, the arrival of up-and-comers, and of course, mind-blowing surfing by some of the most creative and talented athletes world-wide. However 2008 promises to be special for a lot of different reasons and here are ten that we think will amp your stoke level just few more notches and make this years tour one for the ages.

1. Will he stay or will he go? – “I’m sure Mick is going to be hungry to back up his title, the new guys will be hungry to make a statement, Andy is going to be hungry to find his place again, and as for me… I don’t think I’ll do a full year on the tour so I’m just going to have some fun.” With this comment, Kelly Slater once again hinted at retirement and has done so for some time. However, he is the first to admit that he has a hard time walking away from world-class conditions should the swell chart for an upcoming event call for them. He has confirmed his spot at the season-opener, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and following that event he has pretty much left it wide open. One thing is for sure, Slater would like to go out on top. If he shows good results early on in the tour and conditions at future contests are forecast to produce, I would find it almost impossible to see any scenario in which Kelly decides not to continue on. His competitive nature is part of what makes him who he is, and if he can feel one more championship in his grasp, you can be sure that he will put it all out there in order to go out on top. Then again, with Kelly, you just never know.

2. Aussie connection – With Mick Fanning taking the ‘07 title, Bede Durbidge winning the Triple Crown, and Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow keeping pace with top 5 finishes, the Australians have a very legitimate shot at dominating and holding the top spots on tour for many years to come. They finished last years tour holding 4 of the top 5 positions with only Slater keeping them from a top 4 sweep. If you throw in Dean Morrison’s 9th place finish that makes half of the top 10 residing in the land of Koalas and Kangaroos. They each take the pressure off holding Australia’s title hopes in their hands and if Slater does indeed retire and others don’t step up, there is a solid possibility of these guys having a repeat of last years domination and once again bringing the title back to the land down under.

3. Andy Irons, Andy Irons, and Andy Irons – For many surfers, a sixth place finish on the tour would leave them content and pleased with the way that they rode throughout the year. Andy Irons is not most surfers. Irons thrives on being the alpha-male on tour, the center of attention, and the face of surfing. Finishing behind Slater and the Aussie contingent has undoubtedly not sat well with him in the off-season and you can be sure he will be as determined as ever to seize his crown and bring surfing glory back to Hawaii. Look for Andy to come out charged up and ready to rock.

4. The Chris Ward Saga – While this story-line is obviously of the more somber type, Ward’s legal issues and proceedings will definitely make it’s own waves throughout the tour this year. Already sitting it out for the first event, Ward is facing some fairly heavy charges and there is a real possibility of him sitting the whole year out. We wish him the best in resolving his legal issues and hope he is able to make it back. This will definitely be one to follow up on.

5. Jordy Smith – Smith, who holds down the 34th place seed after finishing 1st on the 2007 ASP WQS, has lofty aspirations for his debut season. Having already made a Final in an ASP World Tour event as a wildcard (JBay in 2006), he is certainly one to watch. Having recently signed an astronomical deal with O’neill, there will be the proverbial 800-pound gorilla sitting squarely atop his shoulders in the form of lofty expectations for the young South African. Think Jordy is worried? “I would say that I am looking forward to gaining experience and doing my best,” Smith said. “I am just going to put my best foot forward and hope that I can link together some good results. That might see me in the Top 5.” Doesn’t sound like it… does it?

6. Nations collide – The 2008 ASP World Tour is comprised of 17 Australians, 14 Americans (five of which are Hawaiians) 6 Brazilians, 4 South Africans and 4 Europeans – the greatest number of elite tour surfers Europe has ever boasted. The ASP tour obviously holds competitors from all over the world year after year, however with the immensely skilled and talented riders that each nation has produced, this year as much as any gives us the real chance of seeing the title going back to any of the aforementioned countries.

7. Dane Reynolds – The two most talked about surfers outside the Big 5 of Slater, Fanning, Irons, Parko, and Burrow over the past year are the previously mentioned Smith and Dane Reynolds. Both are powerful young surfers with a ferocious repertoire and as expected cut through the WQS with a fair amount of ease. By virtue of their 1-2 finish they have secured mid range seedings and will not meet any of the usual suspects on top until at least the round of 16. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell by his surfing, Dane has admitted to being torn between wanting to surf competitively and simply wanting to free-surf without being limited by the rules, limits, and politics that go along with competitive surfing. The humble Ventura prodigy had this to say when asked about Jordy Smith and the tour, “I just know that he’s going onto be world champion, and that’s not where I’m headed.” This is part of the intrigue with Reynolds, and coupled with his limitless potential he will be very interesting to watch as his career progresses.

8. More of 2007 or will conditions excite? – It’s no secret that the conditions throughout last years tour were sub-par at best. Slater summed it up best with this – “I do think it will be a tougher year competitively this year and the surf can’t be any worse than it was last season, so 2008 will definitely be a better year all around for the tour.” There are 11 events scheduled on the 2008 ‘Dream Tour’ and after a rather lackluster season wave-wise in 2007, the world’s best are eager to start from scratch and return to idyllic locations like Australia, Tahiti and Fiji with another opportunity to ride the best waves on the planet.

9. Expect the unexpected – One of the great things about the sport of surfing is it’s limitless scenarios and possibilities. Put down your cup of java and raise your hands if you foresaw the relatively unknown and unsponsored Bede Durbidge taking last years Pipeline Masters and Vans Triple Crown titles? Me either. There is so much talent on tour that it is impossible to foresee what will transpire. We can talk about Andy, but what about Bruce? We can rave about Dane and Jordy, but cannot forget to throw in last years rookie of the year Jeremy Flores. With surfing growing to be as big as it is worldwide and showing no signs of slowing down, the tour will continue to see the uprising of previously unknown surfers opening eyes year after year. Who will be 2008’s Durbidge? Who will be the tour-regular that puts it all together this year to make a run at the title? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

10. 2008 Pipeline Masters – Thousands of surf contests are held worldwide year after year. When it boils right down to it, the Billabong Pipeline Masters is the crown jewel of them all and everything else is a distant second. Taking place at the epicenter of the surfing world, year after year all eyes become squarely focused on this historic event. It’s the Super Bowl of surfing and the quickest way for a professional surfer to put his name on the map and go down in the history books. With last years lack of title-drama, big names, and classic bone-breaking, picturesque Pipeline barrels coupled with a tension fueled confrontation out of the water, more than ever all eyes will be on this years event in hopes that lightning doesn’t strike the same-place twice. As for myself? I personally don’t think the surfing gods will allow a repeat of last years event and therefore look forward to the Pipeline Masters returning to its heralded form, captivating the minds of surfers and its fans everywhere. Look for Pipe to be the legendary break that we have come to to know and decide who it is that will be crowned the 2008 ASP World Champion.

ASP world tourandy ironskelly slaterjordy smithdane reynolds

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Jordy Smith in High Demand

Monday, January 28th, 2008

jordy smithIt’s good to be Jordy Smith right now. Having already signed a seven-figure deal late last year with O’neill, the 19 yr. old Smith recently hooked a deal up with DVS shoes and is in the process of putting out his signature pair of sandals. It seems like everyone is trying to get a piece of the up-and-comer that many are calling the best young surfer to hit the tour since Slater. They have good reason too. Smith absolutely crushed the ‘QS in 2007 setting an all time points record with 14,575. His best seven results averaged an amazing 2,082 points per event, which included wins on four different continents.

With the ASP World Title being dominated by Americans, Australians and Hawaiians over the past 30 years only time will tell if Smith can follow in the footsteps of World Champions Shaun Tomson and Martin Potter by bringing the title back to South Africa one day. South Africa has always produced great surfers and it has always been hard for them traveling internationally, but Jordy is leading a new generation of rippers that are sure to shake up the rest of the surfing world. One thing that is certain, 2008 will be one of the most exciting years in history on the ASP World Tour!

o’neilljordy smith
dvs

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

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