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Posts Tagged ‘ASP World Tour’

AussieSheepRoot

The above photo was pretty much more exciting then all three of the Australian ASP WCT Contests.  Each year professional competition surf fans’ attention is drawn to Australia for the start of the new season of the Association of Surfing Professions World Championship Tour.  In previous years the Aussie leg included two comps, The Quicksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast and The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia.  The latter one of the longest running events in the history of the sport.  This year The Drug Aware Margret River Pro in Western Australia was added into the mix.

I was rather excited going into this leg.  I love Oz, its one of my favorite places to surf and visit in the world.  Having spent plenty of time on both the Gold Coast and Torquay I always welcome the chance to watch the top surfers in the world go head to head at these locations.  Adding a West Oz event only sweetened the deal for me.  The best thing about Australia contests for the American viewer is that the time difference puts the live stream in the evening/night so one does not have to give up surf time or sneak a watch at work to enjoy it.  Then there was all the new hype about the redesigned tour courtesy of Zosea media and their plans to re-invent the pro surfing wheel.

Let me say I was highly disappointed all around this year.  Most of the time watching the webcast was like watching paint dry and on the occasional good heat it was like watching glue dry.  The difference being at least when glue drys one can get high off the fumes.  Instead it was more of my favorite surfers riding some of the best wave venues at it’s most average, surfing conservative as fuck the better part of the time.  All I keep hearing is this constant talk of “progression”.   Yet the majority of the scores came from “safety surfing”.   Just when you thought the webcasts couldn’t get any more cheesy and lame Zosea made it looked like some ESPN knock off broadcast.  You just can’t take surfing and package it like any other sport cause it is not like any other sport.  I will commend the addition back of the women to the circuit.  I am not really a big fan of female professional surfing.  Sorry girls but when the average WQS men’s competitor could beat your best if he had a sex  change and donned a bikini I can’t give you any more seriousness then a side show to the men.  That being said I missed the side show the last few years with the women stand alone tour.

Snapper Rocks
SnapperComp
Snapper is one of my favorite events on tour.  Here you have one of the worlds best high performance waves in one of the most surf crazed areas.  The energy around the contest is nuts.  Last year the final day was held a near epic Kirra where all the last few heats were stand on your feet nail biters to the final where Slater came out on top.  A few years back we saw a very inform Dan Reynolds go nuts against Parko completely redefining the performance level in a heat.  This year however we saw average conditions at best for the majority of the event along with relatively boring surfing.

All these guys fucking rip and have video segments that make the everyday surfer wet his bed.  Yet, when they throw on a jersey its safety turn central.  The only time the bar is raised is when they are backed into a corner.  There are exceptions to the rule of course.  Brazilian Gabriel Medina took the win, who with out a doubt was one of the most inform guys of the event.  He may just be the best surfer to ever come out of Brazil.   I think everyone would have liked to see Dane flair up, but that never really happened.
gabriel-medinaThe Drug Aware Margret River Pro
yadin

There are some really crazy waves in West Oz, is Margret River really one of them?  In the case of the this event not at all.  With the exception of Yadin Nicol’s huge air reverse in the earlier rounds there was little for me to get excited about.  It was mostly an event composed of watching great surfers do their best to make the most out of head to overhead mushy surf.  Yes there were a few heats ran at the Box.  I hate to say it, but as sick at that wave is to watch in a surf video, in a contest it gets really boring really fast.  I love a good slab as much as the next, but unless the competitors lives’ are in jeopardy watching the same barrel ride over and over again becomes very tiresome.  Ultimately Michel Bourez took the win doing the same old fashioned rail to rail surfing that has been winning heats since the 80’s sans progression.  Whoooot!  Glad I had to work late and missed the actual live stream of the final day opting for the highlight real instead, which still bored the hell out of.  It was like masturbating to a Sears bra ad.

Bells
Bells
I find it Ironic that at a venue known best for power surfing Bells was the spot where some of the more innovative surfing was found.  Up until the end rounds there were a few guys who were going for broke.  John John’s 10 in Round 5 against Medina and Slater was fucking insane.  That heat in general was nuts.   In the end it was “White Lightning” and defending world champion Mick Fanning who rung the bell with nothing but power carves and floaters all event long.  Its a good thing my boys and I didn’t play one of those surf commentator drinkings games every time the phrase “fastest surfer in the world” pertaining to Fanning was thrown out or I might have died of alcohol poisoning.   Mick did surf incredible in the event, but minus solid surfing he did nothing innovative the entire event.  He threw up safety move after safety move and was awarded 9’s for it.  I am sorry but four big hits and floater in a WCT final should never garnish a high 9.

Should Jordy have got a ten

This was the big debate at bells and I am at a loss to understand why.  It was a great wave and ride, but far from ten worthy.  Its true he rode the wave well, but the low nine he was rewarded for it seemed fair to me.  If you compare it to John John’s Ten in round five its not even close or Slater’s one move ten from 2012.  Its a bummer the guy didn’t get the score to move on and I am stoked that Jordy is one of the few guys on tour who pushes the envelope performance wise, but it was not a ten.  Compare the following videos and then really consider if he should have got the ten.  I think you will agree.
Jordy’s Wave in Question


He has some big turns out the back, then milks it to the reform before landing a very average front side air reverse.

John John’s 10

Meanwhile John John throws up a huge full rotation 360 air, sticks it, comes around a difficult white water section, finishing up with a giant lay back that most thought he fell on till he finally stood back up.

Slater’s 10 from 2012

Slater got a ten off of one huge maneuver, a no grab big full rotation 360 air, landed in the flats with hard offshore winds in his face.  The odds of anyone pulling that off in a free surf in such conditions let alone a contest is slim.  That is what a ten should reflect, a feat so uncommon it would be hard to repeat, the impossible made possible.

What happened to Kelly Slater?

Slater

I know Slater is getting old and all but his combined performances at all the past three events have been a disappointment.   He looks awkward and miss timed on everything.  I think it might be all of the experimental equipment he has been messing around with.  Maybe its its time to go back to more traditional equipment especially in harder heats.  He is got twenty years on a good portion of the guys on tour.  He needs to regroup and get back into that competitive animal of years past.  Of course a two quarter finals and one semi final finish is nothing to shake a stick at.  Going into Brazil, a place Slater seems to constantly find a lack of motivation for, one begins to wonder what result may take shape for the 11 time world champ.

Brazil

Next stop the tour heads to Rio Brazil for the Billabong Pro where we are sure to see more average waves and heavy frustration as the world’s best slog it out for points and dollars.  We get to watch more paint dry.  I guess we need to keep our fingers crossed for Fiji, J-bay and Tahiti.  I for one am not going to be holding my breath for another amazing to go down in shitty Rio beach break.

Sorry, but this is about the only thing worth getting excited about Brazil...

Sorry, but this is about the only thing worth getting excited about Brazil…

 

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John John Florence reminding us that surfing is a progressive sport.

John John Florence reminding us that surfing is a progressive sport.

As many of you know the Oakley Pro Bali Pro recently concluded in less then stellar waves in a less then stellar final with less then stellar judging.  I don’t know about you folks but for me I was at a loss to understand why this contest sucked so much.  It was at Keramas a wave every single person on the WCT with maybe the exception of the Irish guy, who’s name I can’t recall (but who cares since he will most likely not be on tour next year anyway with his weak ass game) has spent time at.  The performances should have been mind boggling.  I for one thought it would be nothing then the most progressive airs and maneuvers seen in competition yet.

Then I remembered that Dane Reynolds is not on tour anymore and that the wild card was awarded to Bruce Irons a man who with out a doubt deserves all our respect for his years of being a freak.  Lets face it since he fell off the ‘CT years ago its been a slippery slope in the man’s surfing.  To think that he could keep pace with the top 32 was laughable at best just like the Bali local wild card and the 15 year old Aussie grom.  Honestly can we not get some wild cards that actually shake the tree now and again?  I know its nice not to have upsets in Round 2 and 3, but does anyone remember the Dane/Parko heat in the Quicksilver pro at Snapper two years ago when he made the guy look like a kook?  If you missed it lets just say for a brief moment everyone in attendance knew who the best surfer in the world actually was.  Of course then in the next round he lost with a combined wave score of 3.24.

This turn looks rather impossible but knowing Dane he made it.

This turn looks rather impossible but knowing Dane he made it.

Unfortunately for us Dane decided he would rather surf 2 ft onshore Emma Wood then mix up with the worlds best.  To each there own.  Lets go over the venue.  Every morning for about two or three heats Keramas was sick with perfect tubes and rampy sections.  Then the wind would come up and it looked like an average blown out day at Huntington Pier.  I was confused because I thought the US Open was not until July.  Thanks impart to these terrible conditions many were dealt a raw deal.  We saw Slater get bested by a very inform CJ Hobgood in such conditions despite the fact that he still managed to find two solid barrels.  Jordy found an early exit as well.

To CJ’s credit he killed it the entire event.  Between his performance here and Fiji I will be the first to say after a few lack luster years on tour the asterisk world champ is back.  As for his brother, well I think Damo is going to find himself with plenty of time to go fishing back home in Florida in the near future.  Too bad for CJ as he fell to a very in form Josh Kerr in the Semis.

CJ probably has the best back hand in the business.

CJ probably has the best back hand in the business.

How about our friend and 11 time world champoin, Kelly Slater?  I must admit he surfed better then I had thought him to do in this event.  Given the fact that Slater seems to only really shine these days when the waves are absolutely firing.  Fuck his performances at both Kirra and Fiji had everyone wondering what planet this guy was really from.  The man is 41 years old now and from what I understand was fighting some tendinitis of the knee.   That being said the he still surfed rather incredible and if you ask me I think the judges have been very hard on him all season long.  With Tahiti coming up you better believe if it is solid this man is going to school more then a few.  I still think a twelfth world title is very with in his grasp this year.

For a man supposedly surfing with a bad  knee it certainly did not slow him down.

For a man supposedly surfing with a bad knee it certainly did not slow him down.

While I am on the subject of injuries it seemed a very good portion of the Mens top 32 were dealing with Injuries.  One of which was Freddy P showing everyone that he still belongs on tour.  With an ankle injury he still managed to put on the best goofy foot performance of the event.  His exit in round 5 was a bit questionable to Mick Fanning causing him to make an uproar Bobby Martinez style.  I am sorry I thought Mick out surfed him in that heat and overall was very impressed with his surfing this event.  Even if the judges have been sucking  his cock all year.

John John’s Air

“The biggest air ever done in a WCT event!!” That was what everyone was touting it as.  To his credit the air was huge and clean.  The media loves to make lofty claims then run away with it.  Slater threw up two huge fucking 360 airs at both Bells last year and New York the year before that.  Both were equally huge.  John Johns might have been bigger.  Who knows, its hard to say.  Either way it was sick and I was glad to see that at least someone stuck a big air in the event.  You be the judge.  Here is the clip from Bells:

and  this one from New York:

Parko’s Perfect 20

Kooky Kyle coined the phrase the “Parko Push” which refers to how the judges constantly over score Joel’s mediocre at best surfing.  It won him a world title last year and then Keramas this year.  Were those two barrels he got worth two perfect tens.  I must beg to differ.  Think back to Slater’s perfect 20 based on barrels in Fiji this year.  Maybe the second one was a ten but the first not eve close.  It should have maybe been a low 9.  It was the most exciting heat of the entire event that in my opinion could have gone either way.  Both him and John John put on an excellent show.  The judges ruined the entire heat by boxing themselves into a corner five minutes into it.  So they ultimately gave the win to Parko.

Then in the final they handed him the event when in my opinion Mickey Bourez should have taken the cake.  I guess the ASP Championship Tour has pretty much become professional wrestling.  In the last three years the judging has gotten so sporadic no one including the athletes have an idea how the scoring works.  At this point I believe they either have a tick tack toe playing chicken picking the scores or the judges just pick the winner of each heat out of a hat.  Which ever the case these guys get paid a ton of money and need to shape up.

An ASP Judge hard at work...

An ASP Judge hard at work…

Tahiti is coming up next August 15.  Lets hope its solid for a change so that we don’t have to watch our boys getting head dips and doing turns.  Till then I guess we will have to look forward to the US Open on July 20th at wonderful Hunting Beach, California, a surf contest that has absolutely nothing to do with surfing.  There is nothing better then watching all your favorite surfers slog it out in terrible waves at a terrible surf spot in a terrible place while there is a motor cross demonstration, skate jam and grand stage with musical performances going on in the background.  Just the kind of scene Mickey Dora loved.

What you mean this isn't the first though that comes to your mind when you think about surfing?

What you mean this isn’t the first though that comes to your mind when you think about surfing?

 

 

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Kooky Kyle takes this week’s UCB in what I have to say was a hard fought battle.  There were so many good suggestions this week it took me nearly a half hour to go through and select one.  Ok that’s a bit of a lie I was also chatting with like three people on Facebook as well.  Thank you everyone for taking it up a notch from the poor showing of the previous week.

Apparently the ASP World Tour is planning on doing one of the “World Tour” events on the East Coast US to go along with world class venues such as Pipe, J-Bay, G-Land and Trestles.  Kooky asked my opinion on the situation.  Being a former professional surfer and resident of the east coast I find myself more then qualified to give thoughts on the subject.  For more information about this event or the WT and ASP click the following links: http://blogs.surfermag.com/office-blog/the-world-tour’s-next-stop-east-coast-usa-2/ and http://www.aspworldtour.com/ .

I guess the first major issue would be is the east coast a viable contest destination for that caliber of surfing.  It certainly can be. There are some serious beach breaks very comparable to France or Brazil two places that both host a World Tour contest.  There are reefs and point breaks up in the New England area that are more then able to produce world class waves on the right day.  The key word is “right day”.

The East Coast is fickle with a swell window that travels the wrong way making it very short.  Weather is tricky considering that your heaviest surf usually comes in the frigid late fall early winter time period and I don’t think the top 32 surfers in the world are about to don a 5/4/3 when they could be at a handful of other destinations with as good if not better quality.  That is a guarantee.

Why is the ASP entertaining such an idea then?  Let me be the first to say its not for the quality of waves, but the quality of the market.  Over the last four years the tour is constantly getting more commercial oriented moving away from the “Dream Tour” surfers once fought hard to achieve.  Face the facts the ASP is a business and so is professional surfing.  The more fans, the more t-shirts that get sold and the more money that is produced.

This is how the world works.  The east coast of the US is a huge market, a rich market and a stoked one.  Overall surfers on the east coast care way more about surfing and having the latest gadgets/paraphernalia then out here on the west coast and with all the down time between swells have more time to think about it.  Shit I know when I lived out there I bought all tons of useless crap and over priced clothing because I thought that was what a surfer was suppose to wear and do.

It was not till I moved out west where surfing became an everyday occurrence that I realized what a crock it all was and began wearing $3 dollar Kmart t-shirts if it meant more time surfing and less time working.  Take the Brazil event as a perfect example the last six years they have held it at Santa Catarina, Brazil, one of the most consistent waves in the country, yet this year they are moving it to Rio, a way worse wave location.  Rio is a way bigger venue, which will bring out more crowds and sell more advertising space.  Remember there was a time back in the 80’s when the ASP held a contest in a wave pool in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Where and when should this event take place?   To me the answer is obvious and should be held either the end of September or any time in October.  The water is still warm and at this point there are both Nor’easter swells and hurricane swells on offer.  As far as a location goes I think a mobile Hatteras or Outer Banks, North Carolina event would work the best.  Cape Hatteras Light House is arguably the most consistent spot on the East Coast and then there are also plenty of other options depending on swell and wind.

Certainly the beach breaks there as good as France.  During the time period I have mentioned it is very rare to go a week with out a decent wave.  I remember years where I would get ten to twelve days out there of straight surf at least chest high or better.  Out of all my travels it is still one of my favorites to visit and one of the entities I miss the most about leaving the east.

People would be stoked too.  No body loves surf stars like east coasters do.  I know I still get star struck when I see Dane Reynolds paddle out and blow up Emma Wood, an everyday thing around here.  I nearly fall over every time Slater or Tom Curren make everyone else look like kooks at Rincon.  It would definitely be a moneymaker and you know what that is why there are commercial sporting events in the first place; to make money.

I am all for a WT East Coast event.  I watched my favorite pros surf shitty waves at nearly every other venue on tour even some of the ones that were suppose to be all time.  Why not see them grovel in my old stomping grounds.

Hatteras. Good enough for the pros??????

You be the Judge.

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How many fingers am I holding up?

By now I think everyone in the surfing world unless you live under a rock knows that Kelly Slater has achieved the unimaginable; winning an unprecedented 10th world title and claiming his 45th world championship tour victory.  The man has broken just about every competitive record there is in surfing and raised the bar so high we may never see such a surfing champion again.  It will take some pretty phenomenal surfing talent to undo the Kelly Slater dynasty.

More then all the stats and records Slater was as stoked as anyone to win.  You think after nine ten would be just another notch on the belt, but you could see just from the look on his face the amount of emotion going through him as he was chaired up the beach in Puerto Rico.  Then when most people would be ready to celebrate he went out and won the whole dam event.  All bull shit aside, judging, favoritism or whatever Slater truly claimed this years world title on pure ability.

The guy surfed flawless and not just Kelly Slater flawless but at the par of the so called “modcol” generation.  The guy pulled off one of the craziest ally oops I have ever seen, falling completely off his board and some how recovering at Bells Beach, event two.  He stuck another ridiculous full rotation ally oop at the Portugal event.  Kelly has been throwing down on the gnarly aerial maneuvers the entire season on top of his usual blend of flow and power.  Im not even going to get started on that backside reo he pulled at Trestles another event he won that from the first heat he set the bar so much higher then anyone else out there.

The only other surfer who was really worth watching for comparative ability this year was Dane Reynolds.  Not in contest statistics per say but in just the aspect of pure go for broke performance.  Dane has consistently surfed the best wave or maneuver in just about every event on tour this year.  Some of the stuff he sticks is outlandish for a free surf or video segment let alone a contest.

The problem with Dane is his ability to put a heat together in terms of points, but you know what I don’t think anyone cares how Dane finishes just as long as he does well enough to stay on tour.  Personally I would be really sad if decided to fit his surfing into a mold just so he could win a few more heats.  Its about time we got someone out there who just goes for it no matter the consequence.  Dane my hat is off to you as well.

As for you Kelly, great job now lets bring the magic through to Hawaii and take the Triple Crown and Pipe Masters as well making it a banner year.  I know I have been saying for the entire year that I hope he takes his tenth and then retires, but after watching his performance on tour this year I really hope Kelly sticks around.  I would really like to see how many more victories the guy has in him.  Could Kelly Slater be a forty year old world champ?

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/tracing-kelly-slaters-career-defining-2010_49310/ This is a great video up on Surfline.com on Slater’s amazing title journey this year.  Watch it and see some of the crazy waves I was talking about.

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Well I have to commend everyone for stepping up the ante in the UCB race this quarter.  I have gotten so many submissions it made picking a winner this week rather challenging.  I don’t want to sound like a whinny bitch but if we could try and use surfingruinedmylife.com comments to post future submissions I would be greatly appreciative.  You see word press, my server allows me to compile all comments onto one page making it very easy to sort through all of your entries.

It’s a bit more time consuming when I have to check through days of face book comments, emails, myspace, etc.  I will still take submissions through those mediums but I definitely prefer it if you post here.  Its really easy all you have to do is set up a user name and password.  It only takes like a minute of you time and then you can leave lude comments on my blog whenever you like.

This weeks victory goes to Nick the Kook who suggested I write about Slater’s 10th title run.  At the time of his posting I was not even considering this topic, but just recently Kelly won the Portugal event of the world tour bringing him within spitting distance of title number 10.  His clinching it is almost eminent.

Slater gets a bad rep sometimes in surfing with people claiming they are tired of him winning or that he gets over scored or is a sell out.  I have heard everything.  Fuck man the guy rips, flat out rips.  He has dominated the sport now for over 20 years.  The guy is a living legend.

Not to mention he is one of the coolest people to surf with in the water.  At the most crowded days at both Rincon and Malibu he never drops in on anyone despite the fact that people will burn him out of spite.  Even when such an instance occurs Kelly is still smiling.  He is a true testament to the human spirit and that anything really is possible.

Here was a poor kid from a broken home growing up in south Florida surfing the crappiest waves ever.  From that he managed to break every record in professional surfing.  He misses round one of events cause he is off scoring waves someplace else.  He brought surfing into the limelight through his dominance.  Everyone knows who Kelly Slater is even people who know very little about surfing at all.

He was once voted one of Time Magazine’s most beautiful people, was on network television, toured in a terrible rock band, dated super models.  How can you hate on a guy like that.  Kelly is living a dream and if you have a dream too then there is no reason to be angry at a person living his.  At 38 years old he has shown us all that its possible to high performance surf well into our later years.  Thanks to Slater you don’t have to stop doing airs at thirty.

New School, Old School, Mod col, whatever, Slater has dominated them all.  I think we will be hard pressed to see anyone for a long time rip down the dynasty Kelly Slater has built.  When he takes the world title for the tenth time no one will be happier for him then me.  Every time Im doing something hard and want to give up I always think about Slater and how hard it must have been for him to remain dominant all these years and I put my head down and keep at it.  Thank you Slater for giving me something to believe in.

 

After all these years of winning he is still stoked.

 

 

 

Who says Slater cant keep up with the kids?

 

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