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ASP World Tour- We Just Want to See the Best Surfers Surf the Best Waves

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

If I want to hear about records, statistics and in-game strategy, I’ll watch baseball and basketball. With surfing, all I really care about is getting the chance to watch the best surfers in the world surfing the best waves in the world. Hopefully someday we’ll have a format which allows that to happen much more often than the system currently being used by the ASP.

kelly slater teahupoo

Somewhere between Kelly Slater’s vision of a radical overhaul and Da Hui’s discombobulated criticisms of the ASP lies the very real truth that the Dream Tour is in desperate need of a makeover. The new format where the top 16 surfers get automatically seeded to the 2nd round was supposed fix some of what’s ailing the tour. Unfortunately, all it seems to have done is make a bad problem worse. Aside from the appearances of Andy Irons, Josh Kerr, Dane Reynolds and maybe one or two others; Rd.1 of the Billabong Pro Tahiti was weak and painfully boring to watch. If you were to put the Rd. 1 line-up of main event surfers side by side with the surfers who took part in the trials, an argument could very easily be made that the trials line-up contained much more talent. Clay Marzo, Mark Healey, Julian Wilson, and Bruce Irons…or Ben Dunn, Jihad Khodr, Nathaniel Curran and David Weare?

CUT THE FAT There are 45 guys on the Tour. That’s too many. Cut it in half. There are guys who lose in the second or third round at every contest. One didn’t win a single heat last year. F1 doesn’t have 45 cars on the track for a reason. There should be a competitive level at the top, and we don’t have that.” Kelly Slater

In his Rd. 1 victory over Jihad Khodr, Andy Irons did more than just remind everyone he’s still at the top of his craft, he also put the mile-wide disparity in skill level on display for everyone to see. Khodr had no business being in the water with the 3x world champion at Teahupo’o and was left trying to scrape up 4’s and 5’s on the inside after A.I. opened with an 8.67. This type of situation happens far too often on the Dream Tour and is exactly why they’ve automatically put the top 16 into Rd. 2. Maybe instead of pretending the back half of the top 44 actually belongs with the front, it’s time to trim it down and allow more opportunities for locals and wildcards to go up against the surfers being touted as the world’s best.

As a fan of surfing and someone who likes to see how far it’s progressing, I watch the webcasts to see the best surfers surf the best waves. Unfortunately, for now anyways, the system being used by the ASP doesn’t always allow for that to take place.

Posted in Surfing | 5 Comments »

WQS: The Final 15, Marlon Lipke Awaits

Monday, December 8th, 2008

asp world tour logoAfter a full year on the 2008 ASP WQS Tour, the final 15 surfers that find themselves at the top of the rankings have guaranteed themselves spots on the 2009 Dream Tour. It’s a hell of an accomplishment for all of these guys; the ‘QS can be a grueling tour and a lot of sacrifices have to be made just to make it through the entire year, let alone finish in the top 15.

The man at #16, German shredder Marlon Lipke, has a couple of outside, although very possible scenarios in which he could sneak on to next year’s WCT. Dream Tour surfer Tiago Pires could possibly double qualify, meaning he has already sealed his spot for next year by finishing #13 on the ‘QS. He’s at #30 on the ‘CT going into the Pipeline Masters. A solid finish would boost into the top 27 and allow Lipke in. There has also been speculation about whether or not Andy Irons will participate in next year’s tour. I personally hope he doesn’t and just takes the year off to freesurf and film. There’s never enough fresh footage of Andy surfing; I’m guessing Marlon Lipke feels the same way.

Final 2008 ASP WQS Top 16
1. Nathaniel Curran USA
2. Chris Davidson AUS
3. Michel Bourez PYF
4. Gabe Kling USA
5. Jihad Khodr BRA
6. David Weare ZAF
7. Josh Kerr AUS
8. Nic Muscroft AUS
9. Kekoa Bacalso HAW
10. Greg Emslie ZAF
11. Tim Boal FRA
12. Dustin Barca HAW
13. Tiago Pires PRT
14. Phillip MacDonald AUS
15. Drew Courtney AUS
16. Marlon Lipke GER

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WQS Top 20: Movement All Around Following Haleiwa

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

asp world tour logoIn what was supposed to be an event that saw those atop the WQS standings solidify their positions and inch ever closer to a 2009 Dream Tour berth, the Reef Hawaiian Pro instead saw opportunities open up for those still trying to make their way into the Top 15. With half of the 32 top seeds for the event in Haleiwa crashing in the Round of 64, the doors flew open and surfers like Dusty Payne, Kekoa Bacalso, Jihad Khodr, and Reef Hawaiian Pro winner Michel Bourez all took advantage of the valuable ‘QS points left on the table by the surfers who bowed out early in the event.

Time is running out on the year, and the WQS situation just got a whole lot more interesting. Here is how things are looking now for those trying to seal their spot on the 2009 Dream Tour-

The current WQS ratings Top 20 are:

1 Curran,Nathaniel USA 13200
2 Bourez,Michel PYF 12775
3 Davidson,Chris AUS 12525
4 Kling,Gabe USA 12476
5 Khodr,Jihad BRA 12150
6 Kerr,Josh AUS 12075
7 Bacalso,Kekoa HAW 11913
8 Muscroft,Nic AUS 11900
9 Boal,Tim FRA 11888
10 Pires,Tiago PRT 11750
11 Barca,Dustin HAW 11726
12 Emslie,Greg ZAF 11626
13 Courtney,Drew AUS 11600
14 Lipke,Marlon DEU 11450
14 Weare,David ZAF 11450
16 Gudauskas,Patrick USA 11438
17 MacDonald,Phillip AUS 11263
18 Bettero,Hizunome BRA 11125
19 Romao,Simao BRA 11000
20 Simpson,Brett USA 10838

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WQS Top 20: O’Neill’s Cold Water Classic On Tap

Monday, October 6th, 2008

asp world tour logoWith only two more events on the ASP World Tour remaining following the completion of the Billabong Pro Mundaka, the picture is becoming clearer for many of the WQS hopefuls. The Top 27 from the ‘08 World Tour and the Top 15 ASP WQS surfers, plus three wildcards, will make up the Dream Tour Top 45 for 2009.

Of note for the month of October on the WQS is the ever-popular O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz. The 4-star event at California’s legendary Steamer Lane will get underway in just a couple of weeks. O’Neill has bumped the overall prize money for the Cold Water Classic to a cool $80,000. That’s up $5,000 from last years event, one that saw their own Jordy Smith come away with the victory and join the likes of Tom Curren, Bobby Martinez, Taylor Knox, Martin Potter, Joel Parkinson as past winners of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

Stay tuned…

The current ASP WQS Top 20 rankings:
1.Curran,Nathaniel USA 13200
2.Davidson,Chris AUS 12525
3.Boal,Tim FRA 11888
4.Gudauskas,Patrick USA 11438
5.Kerr,Josh AUS 11325
6.Weare,David ZAF 10675
7.Nicol,Yadin AUS 10500
8.Courtney,Drew AUS 10475
9.Lipke,Marlon DEU 10375
10.Henrique,Pedro BRA 10263
11.Bettero,Hizunome BRA 10150
12.Khodr,Jihad BRA 9888
13.Pires,Tiago PRT 9663
14.Paulino,Pablo BRA 9600
15.Bourez,Michel PYF 9600
16.MacDonald,Phillip AUS 9450
17.Emslie,Greg ZAF 9375
18.Sedley,Leigh AUS 9375
19.Gossmann,Shaun AUS 9363
20.Garcia,Sunny HAW 9350

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Phil MacDonald’s Big Buondi Win, Current WQS Standings

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

phil macdonaldIt may not have been the most spectacular victory, but Phil MacDonald will gladly take it. “I placed 2nd many times in my career but to eventually win a big event is just amazing,” MacDonald said. “It was one of the smallest contests in a long time but a win is always a win and I am stoked I finally got the boys to hold me up in the air and get that feeling at last. It was a tough contest, kind of nerving testing with the tricky waves all weekend.”

With his recent victory at the WQS 6-star Buondi Billabong Pro, the 29 yr. old from Sydney, Aus. did wonders for increasing his chances to return onto the WCT in 2009. Moving from no. 31 to no. 14 in the WQS standings, another year on the ‘CT is now looking like a reachable opportunity following what has been a slow start to the year. “I was not really into it when the year started and I did not want to put any pressure on myself,” MacDonald said. “With these two good results I guess I will start thinking of the possibility to make it back on the Dream Tour but I would need a couple of big scores still. I will see how things go.”

Carlsbad, Ca. surfer Pat Gudauskas finished runner-up to MacDonald at Buondi and earned himself big points toward his quest for next years WCT. With the waves being meager and fickle at best, Gudauskas was pumped on making another final heat. “I was so excited to make another final after the one in Florida in January but the waves were tricky and it was not an easy heat,” Gudauskas said. “Phil got that one excellent wave and with inconsistency of the swell there was not much I could do. I am still stoked.”

Nathaniel Curran still sits atop the WQS standings following the Buondi Billabong Pro. Here are the current rankings as the tour moves onto Spain:

ASP WQS Top 20 (Top 15 advance to WCT at year’s end):
1.Curran,Nathaniel (USA) 13200
2.Davidson,Chris (AUS) 12525
3.Kerr,Josh (AUS) 11325
4.Gudauskas,Patrick (USA) 11207
5.Boal,Tim (FRA) 10938
6.Nicol,Yadin (AUS) 10500
7.Courtney,Drew (AUS) 10475
8.Weare,David (ZAF) 10450
9.Lipke,Marlon (DEU) 10375
10.Henrique,Pedro (BRA) 10263
11.Khodr,Jihad (BRA) 9888
12.Pires,Tiago (PRT) 9663
13.Paulino,Pablo (BRA) 9600
14.MacDonald,Phillip (AUS) 9450
15.Bettero,Hizunome (BRA) 9400
16.Emslie,Greg (ZAF) 9375
17.Garcia,Sunny (HAW) 9350
18.Gossmann,Shaun (AUS) 9276
19.Monteiro,Raoni (BRA) 9275
20.Simpson,Brett (USA) 9200

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Nathaniel Curran Wins U.S. Open of Surfing

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

US Open Champion Nathaniel CurranBolstered by the thousands of rowdy fans lined up along the shores of Huntington Beach, Oxnard, Ca. surfer Nathaniel Curran overcame the fatigue that was setting in as a result of surfing four heats on Sunday on his way to becoming the 2008 Honda U.S. Open of Surfing champion. “I’m so pumped I don’t even know what to say,” Curran said. “Everyone was getting me really pumped up because I really wanted to win and I’m stoked. I just tried to keep myself cool and composed the whole time. I was just trying to keep it in rhythm and keep going.”

With a fading south swell combining with the incoming high tide, it wasn’t exactly a stellar final heat for what has been one of the better years as far as waves go for the U.S. Open. However the 23 yr. old Curran put up a couple of decent scores and held on as runner-up Tim Boal waited in vain for a workable wave. Boal, from Hossegor, France, put a little drama into the final with a last minute desperation wave, but Huntington had essentially shutdown at that point and didn’t present Boal much to work with. Curran defeated Boal by a final score of 11.66 to 10.70. “I’m upset that I lost,” Boal said. “I’m happy with the points, but I would have liked to come away with the win.”

Aside from the cash and crowd love that Curran pulled in with the biggest victory in his career to date, Curran now sits atop the WQS standings and bolstered his chances of joining the Dream Tour next year. “I’m super stoked to be the new WQS No. 1,” Curran said. “It’s tough because there are so many good guys. I’m just trying to focus on each heat and take it one contest at a time. I think all of the training and staying focused is paying off.”

Congratulations Nathaniel Curran! – 2008 Honda U.S. Open of Surfing champion

(more…)

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