We had an action packed day 1 down at the Ballito Pro with both the mens trials and the ladies competition surfing to completion. In the trials we saw Brazilian domination with Roberto Santos taking the win from Flavio Nakajima, who both got wildcards into the main event. In the ladies it was Nikita Robb taking the win from Faye Zoetmulder in the final and walking home with a R10’000 payday. We also caught up with top junior surfer, Ntando Msibi and ladies competitor, Tarry Chudleigh. This insert was broadcast on the Expresso Show on SABC 3.
With Ultimate X and Night Harvest just around the corner, we have a lot of Bmx ahead, so i thought it would be good to start building the love for the bike.
These guys are no stranger to riding Vans and we would officially like to welcome Tyler Fernengel, TJ Ellis and Kevin Peraza to the Vans BMX Pro team. There are heaps of road trips planned throughout the year so these guys are going to hit the ground running in waffle soles. Music: “The River” by People’s Temple
Time for stop 2 and one of the newly added stops to the premier tour on the ASP year, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. This competition has been running for years as a qualifying event and many of the top contenders for the World Title have had success here. The wave breaks as an almost perfect A-Frame, but as it gets bigger the rights can close out and the left really starts running. Make no mistake, this wave gets big! Of course they do have the option to shift operations over the bay to the slab, right hander, known as the Box, but this will only happen if that wave happens to be all time.
Taj Burrow has to be high on your list of picks. The West Australian native has surfed the area for his whole life and knows the conditions, the waves and the local support like the back of his hand. He was looking destructive at Snapper and he also must know this is one of the last chances for him to win that elusive World Title. Expect a huge performance from Taj. Jordy Smith, looking good at Snapper then losing in a shock result to Pires, will hopefully be angry and looking to muscle the larger canvas that is Margaret River. This wave suits Jordy in a heat situation, with massive bowls and lips waiting to be taught a lesson by the big South African. He needs a solid result to stay in top 5 contention. John John Florence had a a shocker at Snapper, but, has won the event at Margaret River recently and also enjoys the big powerful waves. I am pretty sure most of the surfers on tour will be hoping not to draw John John. Slater of course is always in the hunt, as will be Joel parkinson and Mick fanning, all who were looking fantastic at Snapper. Gabriel Medina fresh off a big win and the current World Number 1, will want to consolidate, but he is going to be under pressure in the West Oz conditions. I also reckon Nat Young will suit the conditions and waves here, so watch out for the Californian. Giant Killer forecast goes to Yadin Nichol, who is in the trials. He has had great results here over the years and with no pressure for tour points could just murder a few tour guys all the way to the finals.
Check out the teasers below and follow the action at http://www.aspworldtour.com/events/mct/649/drug-aware-margaret-river-pro from 2 April 2014.
There has been a flurry of activity online this week with a couple of surfing edits dropping from some of South Africa’s top surfers. What better way to remind yourself how good the waves are at home and what quality surfers we have here, than by watching these videos with Josh Redman, Dylan Lightfoot, Slade Prestwhich, Shane Sykes, Dan Redman, Brandon Jackson and Ricky Basnett. Well done to the guys behind the cameras too, we need more footage infiltrating the world wide web.
Talk about a year flying by. Its time for the biggest event of the surfing year, the event that draws viewers from across the globe and cultures, the event that has always been considered the pinnacle of professional surfing, the Pipe Masters. You are never going to be considered one of the best until you have won this contest and thats a fact!
Starting on Sunday and with the swell charts showing some decent swell, the contest that will decide who our 2013 World champion is will get off to an explosive start. Mick Fanning is in front and will be looking to take his 3rd World Title along with the Pipe Masters crown and in so doing emulating one of his best friends and legend, Andy Irons. His competition in the form of 12x Champ, Kelly Slater, will make for an epic battle. In my eyes Kelly has started to show weakness towards the back end of the tour with some serious chinks in his infallible armor. Mick on the other hand is looking super fit, super psyched and the man for the job. Kelly will also have to win the event to take the Title.
Who else should you be keeping an eye on? John John Florence pretty much dominates the Pipe lineup when he is out there and no one would bet against him being able to win this competition. With Jamie O”Brien not given a wildcard, which seems insane considering how good he is out there, the door is open for other young Hawaiians such as triple crown contender, Ezekiel Lau. With a commanding win at Sunset and considered one of the strongest surfers on the North Shore, this kid is looking to make name like Sebastien Ziets did in 2012. (Just check the photo above!) His major competition for the title is the Spartan! Michele Bourez has had a great year, is looking focused and strong and will be wanting that Triple Crown title to take back home to Tahiti. What better way to win the Crown than winning Pipeline along the way.
My 2 dark horse picks are Kai Otton and Kieran Perrow. Kai has had his best year on tour ever – in a year where I called him falling off the tour at the beginning of the year. He has had an incredible year and is super strong in waves like Pipe. Kieren is the defending Pipe Masters Champ and always makes the rounds at this event.
This looks to be an epic Pipe Masters with loads of guys needing results to qualify and the battle for the Triple Crown and World Title thrown in the mix. I cannot wait!
The Billabong Pipe Masters will be webcast LIVE via vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Joel Centeio (HAW)
Heat 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Marcus Hickman (HAW)
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Kaimana Jaquias (HAW)
Heat 5: Yadin Nicol (AUS) vs. Kahea Hart (HAW)
Heat 6: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) vs. Reef McIntosh (HAW)
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Olamana Eleogram (HAW)
Heat 9: Mitch Crews (AUS) vs. Shane Dorian (HAW)
Heat 10: Granger Larsen (HAW) vs. Kalani Chapman (HAW)
Heat 11: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) vs. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 12: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. TBD
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. TBD
Heat 9: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. TBD
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 11: Adam Melling (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. TBD
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. TBD
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. TBD
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. TBD
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. TBD
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. TBD
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. TBD
Bam, straight back into action and the World Tour battle is alive and well! Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater have a slight gap out in front, but Jordy Smith and Parko are in the hunt with Taj Burrows closing with his win at Trestles. Kelly and Mick have both had success in France before, but after his performance in similar beachbreak in Rio this year, watch out for Jordy Smith.
Dane the dark horse is back. He had a disappointing run in California, but you can never count the guy out. Another guy to keep an eye on will be Gabriel Medina. A past winner in France, he has had a quite one this year, but never for a minute think he is out of it. Julian Wilson is hot property right now, especially after a great run at Trestles. Many thought he would win in California and he will want to keep his roll going.
All in all we should be looking at one hell of a contest, with everything to win or lose for the top 8 surfers and the guys bringing up the rear realising they need a result now with just 3 events remaining.
Check out the teaser and you can watch the webcast below:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Adam Melling (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 8: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), John John Florence (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Watch Live here:
Roll right up the Circus is about to start! Trestles has to be one of the best platforms on the planet for Pro Surfing and its also at the crux of the turning point for the year on the ratings. You just know their are going to be huge performances, massive upsets and incredible shockers from the judges… Yip, I said it. Trestles has also seen some of the worst decisions by the judging panel in recent World Tour history. Remember that heat between Jordy Smith and Joel Parkinson? Jordy was pretty diplomatic about it, but the surf fans were not!
Talking about Joel and Jordy, these 2 guys have to be the high on the list of favorites for the win. Both surf the long peeling right handers like magicians and both are focussed on Kelly Slater and the World Title. If Jordy is surfing like he has been in the free surfs leading up to the event though, I don’t think anyone will beat him (The judges also have the spectre of “That” result in the back of their minds which may work to Jordy’s advantage.) Kelly Slater is the man in the number 1 vest though and no mere mortal will unseat the king at the venue where he has pretty much made his name! He was showing chinks at Teahupoo though and he may finally be feeling his age…
Julian Wilson has found his rhythm again and will definitely be a good call for Trestles on your Fantasy team. Just check the photo above and realise how dangerous he can be out there. Also expect to see the Brazzas make a firm statement at Trestles. Medina, Pupo, Da Souza, Muniz and the young gun, Felipe Toledo will all be danger men at Trestles. These guys have the punts, they have previous wins at the cobblestone point and right now they need results!
My dark horse call for Trestles, Michel Bourez. He just fell short at Keramas and will be just as devastating on the right walls at Trestles! The Spartan could seriously upset the cart. Oh and lets not forget Mick Fanning and John John Florence. So good luck picking your team people, this one is wide open and if the waves deliver we could see some of the best surfing seen in competition. Think John John’s air in Bali and the ultimate dark horse, Dane Reynolds’ turn at Haleiwa last year! I am amped…
Wow, Dane is back. I am giddy with excitement.
Wow, now that the spit has settled and I have had some time to consider the ramifications of the event in Tahiti, one thing has become absolutely clear! Kelly Slater is finally showing his age and some associated chinks in the armor! Yes, he made the final at Teahupoo, but he was owned by Ace Buchan, who dominated every heat from Round 4 to take the win. Kelly had some serious wipeouts in his final day heats, got owned on the reef and simply did not look his usual calm and dominant self. Forty will do that to you…
Another guy who went to the semi finals but has allowed the door to open on the rankings is Mick Fanning. He is still out in number 2 but the gap is not huge and everyone in the Top 10 still have an outside shot at the title. Luckily for Mick and Kelly (Number 1) there closest rivals Joel and Jordy both dropped by the way side before the Quarters. Jordy was looking strong until a rampant Ace simply shut him down! Kelly owning Joel and thus not a surprise that he and Ace made the final.
Ace was the man though taking down Jordy, Mick, John John Florence and Kelly in 1 day! That is quite the results list for any surfer. He jumps up the ratings into number 10 and will be feeling very confident heading for Trestles. Another man who shined in Tahiti was Freddy Patacchia. The Hawaiian was in sublime form and was unlucky not to make his quarter final when the wave gods deserted him against Kelly. Another old boy standing up and taking names was Kai Otton. before the competition I was writing him off as a definite good bye at the end of the year, but he charged hard and will be a danger in France and Portugal later this year if the waves get meaty! Making the semis he has also climbed up the ratings and will be feeling a lot safer!
One man who failed dismally after a great start to the year was Michele Bourez. I really thought he would do well in this event, but unfortunately it was not to be. Nat Young was my second bad boy! After the start to the year he has had most people were expecting a big result in Tahiti, but the kid dropped the ball.
So, now we head off to Trestles in California with a wide open World Title hunt, led by Mick, Kelly and Joel who can all get a big result at the cobblestone perfection point. They will all have eyes in the back of their heads for Jordy Smith though, who has shown how dominant he can be out there. (Parko knows he should have lost “that” heat last year!) Also look to the Brazilians to come back with Toledo, Medina and Adriano all danger men in California!
Congrats to Ace on a well deserved win! Stoked I picked ya in my Fantasy Team!
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (Following Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 38,950 pts
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 37,900 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 30,700 pts
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 29,200 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 25,400 pts
Wow, I am absolutely frothing for this event. Not only are we heading to the one wave on tour that can break dreams faster than Wok judging a ladies surf event, but we have one hell of a title battle on our hands for the World Tour. Quietly sitting up top going about his business is, Mick Fanning. The already 2 time World Champ knows his business, but wihthout a win this year, he knows it is time to put a number 1 on his results list.
Sitting in second and third are Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson, both of whom have already hit 5 perfect tens this season in competition. Probably good to mention that 3 of those for Kelly were at macking 10ft Cloudbreak… Parko is on form though, with the win in Bali and a Semi final in Fiji. Many were hating on his Bali win, but the judges love him and he has a solid track record in Tahiti.
Sitting in fourth and with everything to prove, my man, Jordy Smith. Life is good for the big guy right now! Engaged, the crowds love him and most of the surfers on tour are petrified to get him a heat. He exudes power and confidence this year and will be wanting more than anything to prove himself at the one wave he still needs a result. No easy run for him though as he comes up against good mate and fellow Saffa, Travis Logie, in Round 1 and danger wildcard Alain Riou. Remember how his title run 2 years ago came to an end? This is Jordy’s opportunity to really step up and ensure that he is the number 1 contender for that World Title. Win at Teahupoo, go into number 1 and fly to Trestles knowing the whole tour are terrified of you! (On a side note, Jordy is the number 1 Surfer on the 1 World ranking! Confused, dont worry, everyone is.)
These are your danger men and there are plenty of them, starting with Nat Young. Sitting in 6th in his rookie year and with a solid performance at Cloudbreak, most will want to avoid the goofy footer. Both of the Hobgoods will always be dangerous out at Chopes and you can also sling the Tahitian, Michel Bourez in there, as the Spartan’s form this year has been excellent and he charges backhand tubes. My feeling is that Sebastian Ziets will be a dark horse and with his Hawaiian pedigree will have no problem in the Tahitian lineup. Freddy P is another dangerous low ranked surfer with plenty heat wins out there. Getting a last minute wildcard slot, look to Nathan hedge causing some upsets! The Hog is charging hard and got in due to injuries to a whole bunch of tour surfers. He has won the event in the past…
Lastly, John John Florence has to be in your pickings! The kid is back from injury and absolutely ripping. Even Kelly does not want to come against him at Teahupoo. He is my number 1 pick. Just check his video below…
I have just had an epic week up at Afriski in Lesotho and expect some videos of that very soon! In the meantime enjoy this week’s Friday Mix, starting with my pal, Wok, jaunting through some fun Bali Tubes with his mate and RVCA surfer, Adam Bennets.
Next up we go down south to the land of Oz and some serious BMX action from the FOX Bmx Pro! These dudes are caning it!
Lastly we go down memory lane with Skate wunderman, Kilian Martin and some seriously tripped out action from one of his older clips from 2011. This guys blows my mind!