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Billabong Pro J-Bay: Kelly Slater Wins…. Again

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Kelly Slater Wins Billabong Pro JBayWhile we are only about half-way through the 2008 ASP World Tour, we are already becoming witnesses to one of the all-time great performances throughout the course of the surfing year. Eight-time world champion Kelly Slater defeated last year’s champ Mick Fanning in the final of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay earlier today for his fourth victory at the prestigious South African break.

Slater has now won 4 out of the first 5 events in 2008, and with the victory at J-Bay he has all but essentially sealed his record 9th world title. A gracious Slater had this to say following his 38th tour victory – “I didn’t realize I was going to be overwhelmed by it, but I haven’t been in this position before, at this point of the year, with this many wins, there are great things going on in my life so I’m just trying to soak it up and be appreciative.”

The morning started off with classic Jeffreys Bay conditions keeping the 4-6 ft swell in almost perfect shape. However, after just a few heats in the morning, the wind turned onshore for the quarters, semis, and final. Both Slater and Fanning had issues adjusting to the bump and crumble that was being offered up. “It was really challenging,” Slater said. “You really have to change your frame of mind because we were looking at waves the other day where we were getting 30-45 second rides and doing six to eight maneuvers and now we’re looking at waves where if you get three moves it’s a good score. It’s really hard to change your perception on how you are going to surf a wave. I didn’t really catch on until the very end of that heat when I realized I could get a three move wave and probably seal it.” Fanning appeared uncharacteristically sloppy, even falling on waves that held opportunities for high scores. While the Billabong broadcast team wondered aloud if it was equipment issues, an obviously Fanning quickly put that all to rest. “I surfed like an idiot,” Fanning said. “I had the opportunity to win the whole thing and I fell and I don’t know why. I don’t know what happened, I just had a shocker. I was feeling great, I just couldn’t stay on my board.”

Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Kelly Slater

With the rest of the Top 44 now with deflated hopes for a world championship, it will be intriguing to see how the year plays out. Aside from Fanning’s bid to repeat, Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson, and Andy Irons all came into the year with very high aspirations to come out on top. They are all very aware of the difficult, if not impossible, task that now lies in front of them. “Kelly wins another final, enough said, unbelievable.” Burrow said. “The door is really closing as far as I can see it. He’s got a ridiculous amount of keepers now so… how many events left? Not enough!”

It sure does appear that way. Congratulations Kelly Slater, winner of the 2008 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay!

Posted in Surfing | 4 Comments »

Billabong Pro: Mick Fanning & Jaime O’Brien Out

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

kelly slater billabong proFor the first time in 2 years, reigning world champion and current world no.3 Mick Fanning will finish a WCT event with the dreaded T-33 next to his name. Fanning was upset by Brazilian wildcard surfer Bruno Santos 10.00 to 9.17 in round 2 of a Billabong Pro that is really starting to liven up. “Things could be better,” Fanning said. “Every wave was a battle for fours and fives out there. They weren’t opening up and then I was either too wide or too deep – I couldn’t find the happy medium, but it happens. The waves were good, I wasn’t good.”

Fanning won’t be the only big name making a sooner than expected exit from Teahupoo. Jamie O’Brien had the unexpected misfortune of meeting Kelly Slater in rd. 2 following Slater’s round 1 loss to ‘Chopes-specialist Manoa Drollet. Kelly came out firing in their heat and O’Brien quickly found himself in an a combination hole that would lead him to sharing the same fate as Fanning following an 18.70 to 13.90 loss.

Kelly has now moved into rd. 3 where he will face the man responsible for putting him up against O’Brien in the first place, Manoa Drollet. “It’s excellent to beat Kelly,” Drollet said. “I feel bad, he was a bit pissed, but it’s a contest. I was lucky to get the best two waves of the heat, Kelly got one in the end and he almost came back. In this competition, the guy who gets the good waves is going to win the heat, and that was me today.” Drollet kept Slater out of position for most of their rd. 1 heat, forcing Kelly to take off deeper than he wanted do which resulted in the 8x world-champ getting pitched a time or two. Their rd. 3 match-up will surely see both surfers coming out ready for battle.

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Mick Fanning re-signs with Reef

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

mick fanning reef sandalReef has announced that they have come to terms with current world champion Mick Fanning on a new 5 year deal. Mick’s partnership with Reef dates all the way back to 1995. Since then, he has established himself as one of Reef’s elite footwear team riders, along with the likes of Rob Machado and Sofia Mulanovich.

“I’m so stoked to continue my relationship with Reef, they have been my longest sponsor along with DHD. I have been wearing Reef shoes and sandals for as long as I can remember. The people who work there are like family which makes the partnership that much easier.”

Mick’s journey to the top has been a long, arduous trek. Reef has seen him progress through National titles, Pro Junior series, and the grueling WQS on his way to winning the ASP title last year. Mick is as hard a worker and as dedicated a surfer as you’ll see on the tour. Reef has to be especially stoked on this deal, seeing that Mick’s consistency will almost undoubtedly keep him at or near the top of the standings in every one of those five years. Congratulations, once again, Mick Fanning.

mick fanningreef

Posted in Brands, Surfing | 1 Comment »

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Slater, Reynolds On Fire

Monday, March 24th, 2008

rip curl pro bells beach 2008With the ASP Tour making the transition from Snapper Rocks to Bell’s Beach we have seen a big part of what makes the tour so great year after year. Each stop provides unique conditions that pose new challenges.

In the early rounds at Bell’s we have seen a stark contrast in conditions with those that presented themselves for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. We have gone from endless 2-4ft. waves giving competitors unlimited opportunities (Taj Burrow’s mind-blowing 13 turn wave at Snapper for example) to score, to thick, unruly, doubled up 6-8ft. walls with limited sections to open up on. Each wave at Bell’s may present only 2 or 3 opportunities to let it fly. The surfers that have taken advantage of that by placing themselves in the right section at the right time have found themselves with massive scores. As we await the completion of Round 3 at Bell’s, here are some of the story lines to keep an eye on-

Mick Fanning – By having to surf in the second round, the reigning world-champion found himself in a very unusual position. By posting a meager 7.24 score in Rd. 1, Fanning found himself in a spot he hasn’t been in for 15 events- Rd. 2. I was curious to see how he would perform as he spent the weekend leading up to Bell’s strapping on the proverbial ball and chain. He righted the ship in Rd. 2 however, and now faces a tough third round match-up with Bell’s local Troy Brooks.

Kelly Slater – This really goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – Kelly put on a clinic. The amount of speed he generated from his bottom turn on his 9.5 is almost unfathomable. “I didn’t do a whole lot on that wave,” Slater said. “I did one turn to start off with and then this section loomed up ahead of me that was crazy – it was so smooth, especially for what’s out there. I had a ton of speed and I held the bottom turn as long as I could and was able to get that carve in. It reminded me of the turn I had in the final against Parko (Joel Parkinson) that one year.” The 35 yr old 8-timer is aging like wine and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Dane Reynolds – Dane’s putting up a 9.73 in Rd. 2 was amazing. His humility and attitude when talking about the score even more so. “I got pretty lucky,” Reynolds said of his heat against Alves. “I went out there with a good, positive attitude feeling like the waves were going to come my way and they did. I didn’t see another wave out there that looked like the ones I got, so I was pretty fortunate.” With Jordy going out, this leaves Reynolds as the feature rookie at Bell’s and it will be intriguing to see if he can keep this level of performance going.

Bruce Irons – It’s hard to say what’s going on with Bruce. The bottom line is he is way too talented of a surfer to consistently be going out in the early rounds. He seemed particularly disinterested in his third round loss to Adrian Buchan at Snapper. How sick would it be to see him go the path of Jamie O’brien and just completely dedicate himself to the freestyle thing? Those two alone are surfing as progressively as any, and would serve as worthy pioneers for a new freestyle movement for surfing.

Here are the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs.Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Troy Brooks (AUS)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 10: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 11: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 16: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)

asp world tourkelly slaterdane reynoldsbruce ironsrip curlmick fanning

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Dragon Gold: Mick Fanning’s Signature Series Glasses

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

dragon gold mick fanning signature seriesWith the release of the Mick Fanning Signature Series Gold Brigade, Dragon could not have possibly picked a more deserving athlete to use for their very first Signature Series sunglass. They also chose an equally fitting name.

Mick’s partnership with Dragon goes back almost twelve years. They became the first brand to use Mick in a photo shoot and following his 2007 world championship and now the release of “Gold” that relationship has come full circle.

With the increasing use of the ’signature series’ in our industry I always find it refreshing when the brand releasing the series makes a point of really adding personal touch and meaning to the product. It would have been easy to simply stamp Fanning’s name on the shades and call it good, as many companies do when releasing a so-called ’signature series’. With “Gold”, Dragon makes it clear who this product represents. Not only does “Gold” represent his ‘07 crowning as world champ, but it also pays tribute to his homeland of Gold Coast Australia. Add that to the emblazoned Fanning family crest on the frame and you have a perfect tribute to surfing’s current king.

dragonmick fanning

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

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

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

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 »

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