I chat to WSL Championship Tour, rookie, Matthew McGillivray from the Gold Coast. What has it been like starting your CT career only to have it stalled by the lockdown? What has lockdown been like in Australia? What are his thoughts on the new WSL formats for the tours, announced this week? Why does he love BASE jumping? These are just some of the subjects we cover in the 30 minute interview.
We also chat surfboards and Matt’s relationship with Graham and Jordy Smith with the new brand, SMTH Shapes.
Lets Feed Jbay
We also chat about his home town and the incredible movement right now to feed the poor community of Jbay!
It took a few days to sink in really, that the World Title was done and dusted. It had been such a see saw year, with Matt Wilko holding on for months, then Gabriel fighting back, then John John into the lead and at the death we had, Jordy Smith, suddenly in the hunt right till the semi finals in Portugal. As a South African I would have loved to see Jordy taking the fight to Pipeline, but sitting in 3rd place he is in a great position for next year and we will take that. At the end of the day I don’t think there is a surfer on the planet unhappy right now, the most popular surfer in the world won the world title.
Lets make it plain, John John Florence is the people’s champ! More fans, more video views and more picks on Fantasy Surfer than any other guy. On top of this, the win does not just reflect on John, but on a whole family and clan of people that he travels with, lives with and adventures with. They all put so much energy and effort into what John has become that they all deserve some of the credit and the fantastic thing about it is, he gives it to them. Our new world champ is not only the best surfer in the world, but also the one with the most humility.
Congrats John! You are the man.
First wave ridden: age 3
First contest win: age 7
First wave at Pipe: age 8
First win at Pipe: age 18
First World Tour win: age 19
First Eddie Aikau win: age 23
I cant tell you how stoked I am for my guy, Steven Steezy Sawyer. The kid has been on a serious roll, with the release of his first album, which rocks, winning the SA Longboard Title earlier this year and now he takes out the Jbay Supertrial against a stacked field of the best SA Supers rippers. I am also stoked because I know Steezy can cause havoc in the Jbay Open, he won the wildcard, and I promise you the top boys will be very nervous! Nice to see the old boy, Shaun Holmes in the final and still ripping the place apart. Check out this cool video of the day with an even cooler soundtrack…
I love the West Coast! Every time I head up there I just fall in love all over again. One of the main reasons is what I like to call the “West Coast Handshake”. For this event, myself and Stanley Badger drove up a few days early and we arrive at pretty good Elands Bay in the morning with quite the crowd on it. Have a surf, go have lunch, come back to the point and the crowd gone and an old guy from the coast in the parking lot. We have a quick chat and he says, “Enjoy the empty lineup, I am paddled out and heading home.” and he shakes my hand. We score three hours of uncrowded perfection.
This is followed by the first ever WSL event on the coast and as per usual YoYos delivers whether 2ft, 8ft, crossshore or offshore and high tide or low tide. The kids are going off, the Pros are frothing and the vibe is super chilled and everyone is smiling. (Just watch the videos I tell you!) Mike February is looking sublime, but Beyrick de Vries has a look in his eye. Funny then that both end up in the final with Beyrick just pipping Mikey. In the juniors Jordy Maree smokes the field and it is good to see the Grom smiling from ear to ear with a big victory. No huge party follows, just fire, braai and a few beers. West Coast style.
I find myself parked at one of the multitude of reefs along the coast road, one surf down already on a Monday. The waves are out there and looking pretty good. A car pulls up with a bunch of frothing surfers who have just arrived. I say hi, we chat about the event and how the waves looking. A good little set peels off down the reef. I tell them to go enjoy themselves, I am hitting the road. We shake hands and I drive off with a big smile on my face.
2015 is a year Jordy Smith will want to wipe from the memory banks, with recurring injuries and a less than stellar year on tour. Coming home to SA for the holidays he finally got over his injuries, scored some epic waves at home and managed to sneak a quick trip over the border to Mozambique. He says he is feeling great, hungry for victory and ready to assault the World Tour in 2016, as he got the injury wildcard. Watching this video, I find it hard to doubt, especially when the first stop on tour on the Gold Coast resembles the waves he is busy destroying right here. So watch this and I almost guarantee he is going to make a quick appearance in your Fantasy team.
The Big Wave World Tour did not have the best season with many of the “Jewel” events not running, but there were some crazy events and there must be a World Champion. With solid performances in the contests that did run and with one of the craziest drops in competition history, Hawaiian, Makua Rothman was named the Big Wave World Champion for 2014/15.
“We take our sport seriously and we want to be at that elite level,” says Makuakai Rothman about the world’s perception of surfers. We’re not beach bums. We train. We want to win.
And this year Makuakia Rothman wanted to win the WSL’s Big Wave Tour.
He has been the Golden Boy of South African surfers for years and many ask the question, why has he not won a World Title yet? There are plenty of questions and answers on this subject, but I am only going to go into why this could be the year of Jordy Smith.
In 2014 he had a reasonable start and then somewhat of a bad run, including nearly drowning at Teahupoo when being nailed by the biggest set of the day. That all turned around though at Trestles, where we once again were treated to the site of an indomitable Mr Smith. In that performance the World was reminded again of how good this guy surfs and why he is known as the Power Broker.
Going into 2015, Jordy is settled in California, married life seems to be agreeing with him and the right hand points of Southern California certainly lend themselves to his style of surfing. Every time we see an interview or a social media post, it is of a happy and very content looking man and this will be ringing the alarm bells for the other surfers on tour. Why? Because a happy and relaxed Jordy Smith, is a very, very dangerous competitor!
With Snapper Rocks starting tomorrow and the Gold Coast having enjoyed a stellar warm up for the event, you can be sure that not one of the surfers at the Quiksilver Pro are going to want to see Jordy warming up before their heats. The wave is made for his fast and hard approach and he has perfected his tube riding over the last few seasons in Mozambique. If Jordy wins Snapper, you can be sure he will carry that momentum into Margaret River and Bells Beach (Both venues he has done well at before and could easily win.) My call, if he makes semis or higher, World Surf League watch out!
But don’t just take my word on it, watch the video below to see how he has been spending his time in California warming up for the start of the year. Pretty dam mental surfing!
Last year the Brazilians finally got their first World Champion, now it’s time for South Africa. Good Luck Jordy! You have a nation behind you!
The World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) is green lighting the Pe’ahi Challenge in Maui, Hawaii for an 8 a.m. start (local time) this Thursday, January 22, 2015. Watch the world’s best big wave surfers riding giant waves live at WorldSurfLeague.com as a projected 30-to-40-foot swell descends upon the region.
Pe’ahi, also referred to as “Jaws”, breaks off the northern coastline of Maui with the ability to produce waves in excess of 60 feet. Although the break came to fame under the guise of tow-in, or jet-ski-assisted, surfing, a dedicated crew of paddle-in surfers have been pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible at the venue in recent years. Thursday’s Pe’ahi Challenge will be the first paddle-in event ever held at the infamous venue.
The 24-man field for the Pe’ahi Challenge will be comprised of the WSL BWT Top 12, led by reigning world champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, as well as six WSL BWT wildcards and six local wildcards.
Top 12 WSL BWT Surfers:
1 – Grant Baker (ZAF)
2 – Ken Collins (USA)
3 – Nic Lamb (USA)
4 – Shawn Dollar (USA)
5 – Kohl Christensen (HAW)
6 – Alex Gray (USA)*
7 – Greg Long (USA)
8 – Ryan Augenstein (USA)
9 – Anthony Tashnick (USA)
10 – Ramon Navarro (CHL)
11 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
12 – Tyler Fox (USA)
*Adur Letamendia (EUK) will be filling in for Alex Gray who has withdrawn due to injury.
WSL BWT Wildcards: 1 – Kelly Slater (USA)
2 – Mark Healey (HAW)
3 – Shane Dorian (HAW)
4 – Dave Wassel (HAW)
5 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW)
5 – Gabriel Villaran (PER)
Pe’ahi Local Wildcards: 1 – Ian Walsh (HAW)
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW)
3 – Albee Layer (HAW)
4 – Shawn Walsh (HAW)
5 – Kai Lenny (HAW)
6 – Tyler Larronde (HAW)