Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

 

Event Champion Filipe Toledo reminding us that safety turns are a thing of the past.

Event Champion Filipe Toledo reminding us that safety turns are a thing of the past.

This years Quicksilver Gold Coast Pro at Snapper Rocks concluded in lack luster conditions that left all of us surf fans wondering what is to come of this surf season.  Despite meager conditions the competition did not fail to hold interest for die hard fans.  As top seeds kept falling in early rounds to surprisingly remarkable performances by the low seeds it reminded all that it really is any man’s ball game out there.  Sure everyone wants to see the best surfers in the world surfing against each other at the best waves in the world, but a major part of surfing is having the ability to surf sub par waves well.

Many got down on Kieren Perrow that he should have canceled the event due to wave quality.  I think an event cancellation should be the absolute last possible scenario.  We only have 11 events a year to watch as opposed to most other sports where fans get to view 20 plus games a season.  If an event gets canceled its a let down to both the fans and athletes alike.   What I think should be considered in extreme cases is a change of event venue.  We all know in places like Australia there are spots that are wave magnets and such waves should be all set to go as a back up venue.  In this case Duranbah would have been a logical option, a location that has been used as a back for Snapper in prior years.

Duranbah on one of its better days.

Duranbah on one of its better days.

Professionalism was another topic that came up strong a this years Quick Pro.  Josh Kerr was the first to lose his cool in round 3 when he gave his board a few shots with his fist on the way in.  Then an irate Gabriel Mendina got on the mic for a post heat interview with Peter Mel where he just decided to speak his mind freely, calling out the WSL, Perrow, and threatening Glen Hall using the F-bomb.  Last time a surfer sounded off that hard it was Bobby Martinez in the 2011 NYC event.  He was banned from competition for it.  In this case Mendina ended up with a fine.  Honestly why force guys to do a post heat interview after they lost?  Of course the guy is going to be upset.  Andy Irons blew up on a reporter once in the height of his career when he was asked how he felt about losing. His reply was “how the fuck do you think I feel?  I just lost”.  To top off the round three festivities Freddy Pataccia after posting one of the lowest heat scores of the event surfed his board right into the rocks.

One would say these guys need to show a better attitude considering the WSL is trying to build a larger non-surfing audience.  Of course one needs to remember that you are dealing with a bunch of surfers who got into this sport for its free form no rules type of feeling.  When one attempts to put it into a format and give fair and accurate scores for one surfers ride vs. another there is going to be quite the margin of subjection.  This on top the already unnatural environment created by these high profile contests are enough to make any surfer lose his mind.  Even Kelly Slater has destroyed more then one board in a post heat tantrum.  Lets face it surfing really isn’t a sport to be judged with numbers, but to be ascetically enjoyed.

We cannot control the ocean hour to hour let alone day to day.  I love watching surf contests now that I have been out of them for nearly ten years.  I for one couldn’t stand contests when I had to compete.   Competitive surfing will never sell to masses like other sports do.  Its too complicated for your average non-surfer to understand.  Fuck, my friends and I have trouble following the judging sometimes.  Instead of the WSL focusing on selling to this non-surfing audience they should cater to making it more entertaining for the surfing audience cause that is the market anyway.  There are close 20 million surfers world wide and that is who the WSL should be focusing on.

Eventually the event came down to Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo, a final I very much anticipated to be a show down and a half.  I even stayed home a little later from the bar to see it.  Toledo to his credit put on an amazing performance the entire event and didn’t disappoint running away with the final leaving Julian comboed for most of it.  More then anything I am proud of the the judges for allowing two of the more progressive guys to make it to the final.  Could this mean the WSL looks to reward explosive surfing in 2015?  Lets hope so.  We will have to wait for Bells to start June 1st.

Read Full Post »

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…

 

Read Full Post »

This week Kooky Kyle strikes back getting a star on the board.  Got to be honest people its still a two way street between Kooky and Mauriello.  Now that we are myspace free there really is no reason not to play.  Kooky asked what I would rather surf, Sand sucking barrels or perfect lined up waves such as Trestles.

The answer my friend is that I will take both.  As a matter of fact I live on a wave, you may have heard of it, Sand Spit that offers both sand sucking barrels and rip able walls.  Also Rincon on Low tide will barrel like a motherfucker and also allow for plenty of performance.  El Capitan is a crazy heavy barrel that also offers high performance surfing.  I live within a 15 mile radius of all these waves.

There are waves like this all over the world.  J-Bay and Snapper Rocks offer great barrels and rip able sections.  If you give me the choice of Beach, Reef, or Point Break, I will always take the point break no contest.  On a beach break you may get a handful of days a year where every wave is perfect but 90% of the time your bobbing and weaving and fishing through close outs lucky to find a half dozen good ones at best.  Meanwhile at a point even the not so perfect waves are pretty damn killable.  As far as barreling reefs go I find them fun to visit but would get bored of just pulling in everyday.

Sand Spit doing its thing.

Snapper Rocks, barrel and performance.

El Capitan, Need I say anymore?

Read Full Post »