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Quiksilver Pro Rd. 1 Recap

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

dane reynoldsIt was a super windy day throughout the opening round at the Quiksilver Pro today. With steadily building winds whipping around and changing directions throughout the day there were tricky conditions prevalent throughout the opening heats at Duranbah. The locals held their own as expected with Parko, Fanning, and Dean Morrison all winning their heats. Here are a few of todays highlights from D-bah:

luke munroTop Heats – There were a number of exciting battles throughout the day, but heats 7 and 15 were the two that caught my eye the most. Parko ripping it up in tailor-made conditions for him at a break he’s surfed many many times was no surprise. However, watching Brazilian Neco Padaratz put a couple of very solid waves together was a welcome site as I really see this being a huge year on tour for Neco. Dane Reynolds in heat 15 was everything everyone expected and more. After going for a couple of huge moves early and not quite pulling them out, he settled down and put together one of the most impressive run of waves seen all day. Unfortunately for Dane he was in the same heat as Aussie Luke Munro who was absolutely on fire and put on one of the top performances of the day. Munro finished off his scores with a 9.50 to pull out the win and move on to the 3rd round.

Not So Top Heat – Heat 5 ended up being a 2-man event right from the beginning. Trying to rest the leg he injured at Pipe recently, Fred Patacchia was content to paddle out and enjoy some rays for a half-hour while hoping the condition of his leg improves before the second round. With Freddy P taking it easy, it left Andy Irons and french-man Mikael Picon to battle it out for the second-round bye. It may have had something to do with the drilling he took on the rocks earlier in the week, but Irons just did not look himself at all and was visibly frustrated as Picon ended up outsurfing him to take the heat. Although he looked out of sync today, he is A.I. and I’m sure he will be just fine as he moves on through the following rounds.

The Rookies – With all of the hype and hoopla surrounding the full-time arrival of Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds (I’m as guilt of it as any), I was very interested to see how they would hold up under the pressure. While it’s still too early to say and this was only one heat here are my thoughts. Dane easily had the better heat of the two and was really catching his rhythm as the heat progressed. Jordy looked solid early on in his heat but just could not do enough with the waves he caught to catch Luke Stedman. Overall it was an impressive opening to the season by both Reynolds and Smith and both appeared largely unaffected by the pressure.

kelly slaterKelly Slater – Watching Kelly today and seeing him fall a little behind early on in the heat to Rodrigo Dornelles I once again had the same feeling I commonly had when watching the Chicago Bulls during the Jordan-years. With the clock ticking and Slater needing a 6.54 to overtake Dornelles and bypass the second round, Kelly sat calmly in the water and everyone watching knew what was about to happen. With about two minutes left in the heat, Slater ripped off a smooth 7.10 ride to take the heat and move straight into the 3rd round. Just another case of Kelly Slater doing what has made him the living-legend he is. When asked about his plans for the tour beyond the Gold Coast, Slater replied nonchalantly: “Well I got a heat tomorrow or the next day and that’s it, I’m definitely not going to surf all the events, that’s for sure.” Kelly also spent a few heats up in the booth at Snapper announcing with Tom Carroll. With 10 world championships between the two it was great to hear their points of view for a while, especially on the future of Dane Reynolds during his heat. It was also quite entertaining to watch their reactions as the cameraman seemed to increase the shots of backsides of some of the Gold Coast’s finest with Carroll and Slater on the call.

Forecast – While the swell that has left over what was surfed on today will continue to diminish, Ben Macartney from Coastalwatch appeared very optimistic about a swell that is building and likely to move through next weekend. The Superbank is in fantastic condition and if this swell comes through as expected it will provide an unbelievable arena for a display of world-class surfing at what will more than likely be Snapper Rocks as the contest moves into the later rounds.

quiksilver

Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

Round 1 of Quiksilver Pro: ON

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The 2008 ASP World Tour is officially upon us and round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is officially on and will be starting at 2:00p.m. (PST). Although they held the Komunity Project trials at Snapper Rocks yesterday they have opted to hold the lead-off round at nearby Duranbah with the surf coming in around the 2-4ft range but conditions are clean.

I imagine ‘The King’ has to be stoked on D-bah being the call for now. As I mentioned earlier his ‘06 victory, as well as the only victory by a foreigner in this event took place at this location.

You can watch live rd.1 action HERE

Rd. 1 Heats-

Heat #1: Bobby Martinez, Royden Bryson, Jihad Khodr
Heat #2: Dean Morrison, Daniel Wills, Kieren Perrow
Heat #3: Jeremy Flores, Bruce Irons, Roy Powers
Heat #4: Pancho Sullivan, Ricky Basnett, Heitor Alves
Heat #5: Andy Irons, Fred Patacchia, Mikael Picon
Heat #6: Bede Durbidge, Leonardo Neves, Daniel Ross
Heat #7: Joel Parkinson, Neco Padaratz, Nic Muscroft
Heat #8: Mick Fanning, Michael Campbell, Tamaroa McComb
Heat #9: Taj Burrow, Adrian Buchan, Julian Wilson
Heat #10: Kelly Slater, Rodrigo Dornelles, Michel Bourez
Heat #11: CJ Hobgood, Adriano de Souza, Ben Bourgeois
Heat #12: Kai Otton, Travis Logie, Aritz Aranburu
Heat #13: Tom Whitaker, Dayyan Neve, Tiago Pires
Heat #14: Taylor Knox, Ben Dunn, Jay Thompson
Heat #15: Damien Hobgood, Luke Munro, Dane Reynolds
Heat #16: Luke Stedman, Tim Reyes, Jordy Smith

quiksilver
asp world tour

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Vital for Title Hopefuls

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

quiksilver proWith the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast rapidly approaching to kick-off this year’s Mens ASP Tour, all attention will be squarely directed at Coolangata in anticipation of who will come out up on top and thus take the pole-position in the what is setting up to be one of the most highly-charged and competitive tours to date.

Just how crucial is it going to be to stand up on the podium and receive an over-sized cardboard check following this event? The last two world-champions(Slater ‘06/Fanning’07) have both started their title-runs with victories at the season-opener. Formerly an ASP WQS 6-star venue, Quiksilver launched their initial Quiksilver Pro ASP World Tour event at Snapper Rocks in 2002. In that time, Slater is the only event-winner to hail from outside of Australia. His victory came at nearby Duranbah after a finals battle with Taj Burrow in three-foot surf. With half of the top 10 seeded surfers on Tour residing in the land down under and the ‘Coolie Kids’ holding a solid ‘home-break’ advantage, it’s going to be super important for any surfer that holds high hopes of taking home surfings crown at years end to start their 2008 campaign off in impressive fashion.

Will a poor showing at the Pro Gold Coast kill the chances of title hopefuls? With the best ‘9 of 11′ results format that the ASP is using to decide this years champ, a bad result here certainly isn’t going to dash any visions of being carried up the beach and showered with goodies, flowers, and champagne. It will just put an unnecessary element of added pressure to let it fly at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach which follows a few weeks later, which itself has shown the likelihood of an eventual top 5 finish at the end of the year for the events most recent winners.

With as deep and talented a pool as the ASP has ever fielded chomping at the bit and raring to go, anything less than a top 5 result in, at the very least, one of the two Aussie’ events may be prove to be just too big of a mountain to climb as the Tour moves on. For anyone, especially outside of Kelly, A.I.,and the Australian contingent, who plans on coming out of Australia with any dreams of capturing the title, this weekends Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast definitely needs to be the intended site of their coming-out party.

quiksilver
asp world tour

Posted in Surfing | 3 Comments »

Quiksilver Looking Seriously at Dumping Rossignol

Monday, February 18th, 2008

RossignolLast summer I asked if Quiksilver was looking to dump Rossignol, the ski company they purchased for a cool $300 mil back in March ‘05. It’s no secret (as not much is with public companies) that Rossignol has been struggling ever since it became a Quiksilver brand as the first year it went from a profitable company to a money-losing company.

Last week Quiksilver president Bernard Mariette was shown the door and troubled Rossignol was cited as one of the main reasons. Mariette was one of the main architects behind the original Rossignol deal and Quiksilver has speculated that he will likely try to acquire the company from them. I’m sure the shareholders are thrilled with that news. Either way, Quiksilver is definitely looking to get rid of Rossignol.

It’s hard to say at this point whether or not Quiksilver will try to remain in the ski game. I can imagine this has left a pretty sour taste in their mouth. If they do they should definitely purchase a smaller ‘core’ ski company that has the same culture as a surf company like QS.

On a side note: Bernard’s getting quite the severance package

Bernard will receive $106,726 to serve as a consultant for a year. In addition, he will receive severance pay of $2.8 million.

Quiksilver
Rossignol

Posted in Brands, Snow | No Comments »

Eddie Didn’t Go, Ku Ikaika Did

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

With just 16 days of the three-month holding period for the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational In Memory of Eddie Aikau remaining, the mighty Pacific Ocean is bouncing back to life after what has been, to up until this point of the year anyway, an overall disappointing season on the North Shore. The new swell lifted hopes that the event would be able to run today, however it was called off this morning once organizers realized that although the surf was big, it just wasn’t big enough for Eddie. However, with the new found energy being seen in the ocean and large swells forecast for the next week or so, there are still hopes and realistic chances that one of the premier big-wave surfing events in the world will still be able to run this year.

Although the swell didn’t materialize to the level that many had hoped for, it did carry enough size and was in the right direction to give the the one-day Quiksilver Edition Ku Ikaika Challenge it’s chance to get going and heats began earlier today. The world’s first big-wave international stand-up paddle surfing competition is being held over at Makaha and will give those jonesing for a big-wave surf contest at the very least something to hold them over until the size is up to par for Eddie’s standards. With over 15,000 big ones at stake and the chance to see some of the worlds best paddle-boarders go at it in heavy surf, the Ku Ikaika presents a great opportunity to those able to make the trek out to the west side of Oahu.

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Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

Quiksilver Natural Selection Goes Off

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

The first annual Quiksilver Natural Selection wrapped up yesterday with Travis Rice standing atop the field. Travis himself came up with the idea for the contest a few years ago and has been trying to make it all come together ever since. The idea is that the contest gathers the world’s best riders for many of snowboarding’s disciplines; pipe, park, back country and all-around freeriders.

Featuring semi-natural hits and powder landings the contest showed a new direction for both the sport and contests alike. Riders threw variations of 180s, 360s, 540s and 720s through out the day including a few that opted to flip. Among the participants were legends DCP, Nicolas Muller, David Benedek, Gigi Ruf and other of the sports superstars.

Pictures and Video coverage are available to those interested.

Unique to the contest was a win-win situation for all riders who participated. All of them received prizes just to come and put on a show, regardless of who well they placed in the competition. With a combined purse of more than $75,000 in cash and prizes the contest went off huge. Rice, the overall winner donated a chunk of his $18,000 check to the Jackson Hole search and rescue and other charities in the local community. Other prizes included a snowmobile donated by DC Shoes for the best trick, won by Mark Landvik for his huge 720. Top three finishers received painted bison skulls. The skulls were painted by local artist Ryan Haworth. This is definitely a contest that will raise the standards among all other contests and I’m hoping we see something similar expand into other action sports.

quiksilver

Posted in Snow | 1 Comment »

La Jolla Group Acquires License for Rusty Apparel

Friday, August 10th, 2007

RustyThe fate of Rusty apparel has been in question since April when R.. & Everything Else Inc, the parent company of Rusty Surfboards and Apparel, canceled their 40 year licensing agreement with C&C Companies. The separation was actually a fairly nasty one and it didn’t seem that C&C wanted to let go. Well, there’s no longer any question as to Rusty’s fate now that the La Jolla Group has acquired the North American license for Rusty apparel and accessories.

The La Jolla Group also holds the licensing rights for other major brands in the industry such as O’Neill, Lost, and Metal Mulisha. They have done a pretty solid job with these other brands and Rusty fits right into their culture as a brand with deep roots in surfing from legendary shaper Rusty Preisendorfer. Rusty also supports some of the top surfers in the world, Jamie O’Brien and Josh Kerr.

Charlie Setzler, VP of Sales for O’Neill, will take over as President of Rusty North America. Charlie had this to add…

“Rusty is a tremendous brand with a rich heritage in surfing. Rusty has all of the components of a successful surf brand; strong retail support, some of the most well known surfers on the planet in Jamie O’Brien and Josh Kerr, one of the most recognizable logos in the industry, and most importantly, the connection to world renowned shaper Rusty Preisendorfer. I plan to assemble a team and deliver product that reflects the creativity and forward thinking of our world class athletes and Rusty, himself.”

“I leave O’Neill with a heavy heart knowing that, after ten years, I will not be a part of a brand that will continue to sky rocket to the top of the surf industry. However, I am stoked to begin a new chapter and build a team that will take Rusty in to an exciting new direction and keep the rest of the industry on their toes.”

It will be interesting to see the direction Rusty heads over the next few years under the direction of seasoned executive Setzler. Rusty has always struck me as a brand that’s kind of been on-again-off-again throughout the years. I remember some years their apparel was sold in just about every shop in the country and some years they were nowhere to be found.

Rusty
La Jolla Group

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Will Quiksilver Sell Rossignol?

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

RossignolI’ve been hearing a lot of rumors and speculations lately that Quiksilver is looking to dump Rossignol, the ski company they purchased in March of ‘05 for just over $300 million. That doesn’t really come as much surprise seeing that Rossignol posted their first loss in 15 years under Quiksilver’s management. Not to mention that Rossignol doesn’t fit into the Quiksilver culture either.

In my opinion, this purchase was never going to be a good fit. Like I just mentioned, Rossignol just isn’t a company that fits into the lifestyle culture of Quiksilver. While they actually make some of the best skis out there, the company’s roots are just too deeply tied into ski racing. If Quiksilver wants to get into the ski game they should acquire a smaller company that’s core in the freestyle sector, someone like Line Skis would be perfect.

Although a much smaller company, Line fits perfectly right in with the action sports lifestyle. The company is breed on freestyle and has been a major factor in the innovation of skiing’s comback since the mid ’90s. They’ve been at the forefront with freestyle ski technology and have consistently sponsored and supported some of the sickest athletes in the industry. And although some years their products weren’t exactly the best constructed, that’s something Quiksilver could bring to the table which would help Line to the next level.

It’s obvious Quiksilver didn’t really understand the industry they were getting into. One doesn’t need to look any further for proof than the $4.8 million loss they posted in comparison to $3.7 million in profit the year before. The ski community would’ve responded better to Quiksilver’s entrance into the sport through a core company like Line and Quiksilver’s culture should never include ski racing.

Sources close in the company are saying that three different offers are on the table for Rossignol. They are also independent rumors that they’ll just dump a few of the companies under Rossignol such as Dynastar, Look and Lange. So what do you think? Should Quiksilver dump Rossignol?

Quiksilver
Rossignol

Posted in Brands, Snow | 6 Comments »

Quiksilvers Young Guns 3: Movie A+, Online Marketing Big Fat “F”

Friday, July 27th, 2007

I haven’t watched Quiksilvers financials, but I bet the new team of riders that make up the Young Guns are a big part of their coming back to a Core image. Whether they were ever loosing money or not I don’t know but it seems that Quiksilver is coming back as a brand for Surfers as opposed to a brand for barneys from Ohio that have never seen a beach. Their riders are some of the best in the world, and I am not just talking about Kelly Slater. Dane Reynolds, Clay Marzo, and Ry Craike have been laying down some of the sickest sections in the latest videos. Young Guns 3 is no exception.

Check out the Trailer:

As always when seeing press releases on new products or events for Action Sports companies I am interested in the Online Marketing Campaign. While Young Guns 3 the movie may get an A+ the online marketing promo gets a big fat whopping F-.If you type in Young Guns 3 in Google Quiksilver doesn’t even rank on the first page. Now if you are Quiksilver and you spend hundreds of thousands if not a couple million on creating one of the sickest videos of the summer, don’t you think you would want to own that traffic?There is a site www.youngguns3.com, it is a site that has been up a while and was used as a viral campaign over the last year to get followers to vote on videos of pros and eventually choose who was to star in the new movie. It doesn’t look like it got a ton of traction, honestly it was the first I had heard of it and only because I did the search. BUT and a big BUT at that it still isn’t number one for the Google search. Quiksilver also posted 10 videos on YouTube that were labeled as Pre-Films with clips from the making and some seriously long sick surfing sections from the riders. Most were only getting about 2k views with some with about 10k. Now the surfing industry may not be entirely adapted to online media, but I would expect more views than that. It isn’t very hard to get videos to get over the 100k mark on YouTube. They didn’t even post the videos on their site, and I would think that would bring some serious views and traffic.Also if they would of laid out the Titles and Descriptions right for those videos and then linked to their urls, they would probably have one or two of them ranking in the top ten of Google for both Quiksilver and Young Guns 3. But I guess they wanted no one to see it?Once again a major player in the Action Sports industry falls very short when trying to market online. Can’t somebody get this right?
Quiksilver

Posted in Surfing | 4 Comments »

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