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Posts Tagged ‘Professional Surfing’

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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Normally I save all the day to day surf experiences for the surf log but I felt the last two sessions I have partook in were worth a more insightful recount.  Not the actually surfing or conditions although I must admit yesterday Emma Wood was rather fun and Cstreet did offer up a few waves this afternoon as well.  What I would like to talk about here are two instances that I found amusing.

The Abstruse Rob Machado

Last night I was super stoked at the sight of clean chest high Emma Wood, super bowly lefts and rights with only three guys out.  I tore on my wetsuit and ran down the trail so that I could take full advantage of the miniscule moments of daylight left courtesy of the time change, thank you 100 year out dated customs for making my life even more annoying.  As Im boring down the path I see a very familiar looking persona behind an open hatch back of a mini van.

I get closer and notice it is some strange looking scruffy dude with a fro fooling with a blow up mattress.  Then when I was with in fifty feet of this character I realized it was none other then once world number two, goofy foot aficionado, free surfer extraordinaire Rob Machado.  He looked right at me and I exclaimed “whats happening bud” in typical Santa Barbara surfer speak.  “Not much” he retorted and then jumped into the back of the van, closed the hatch and that was the last I saw of him.

I guess Rob Machado was going to spend the night sleeping in his van in front of Emma Wood.  I would have thought he would be in Hawaii by now for the Triple Crown.  Its not like there was a good swell in the water that he was trying to chase.  Im sure there must be more then a dozen people he could have called to crash at home in either Santa Barbara and Ventura, yet the dude was going to sleep in the van.  Shit Im still kicking myself for not inviting him to come home with me and crash in my spare room.  I guess Rob and I are destined to cross paths in the strangest of circumstance.

Those Darn Groms

Today after work I thought I would take advantage of the NW/SW combo swell in the water down at one of the Ventura beach breaks.  My buddy claimed it to be light winds and with the mid tide Emma was out of the question.  Stoked I hauled ass down the 101 and sure enough the wind was pretty light.  That was of course till I got with in earshot of Cstreet.  From there South it was howling WNW.  At that point I was not left with any other options besides Cstreet and there I found myself.

The surf was not bad solid chest high with the bigger peak or so, but the line up was mobbed with grommies.  I mean there had to be at least fifteen after school specials frothing all over the wind blow rights.  I took my time getting dressed for what was a forced paddle out.  Upon getting in the water I was equally let down by a sudden upwelling making the holey 4/3 I chose to wear a bad choice.

I sat out there for the first thirty minutes or so feeling rather un aggressive as the groms swarmed all around me poorly slicing and chopping away at the broken up lines.  All of these factors were enough to send any sane person running for the hills, but I stuck it out and actually ended up getting a handful of five and six turn rides.  I knew most of the groms out by face from both Emma Wood and New Jetty, just stoked Ventura kids.

Towards the end of the session one of such paddles up to me and says “I remember you, you used to rip New Jetty all the time, what happened?”  I did not quite now how to respond.  I still rip New Jetty somewhat regularly and was not sure to take his words as an insult or just plain stupid grom ignorance.  Before I formulated a replied he continued with “How come you don’t have any stickers on your board any more?”

Ahh it all made sense now.  I must not surf anymore cause Im no longer sponsored.  I tried to explain to the kid how Globe and Body Glove dropped me and that I was kind of over the whole thing anyway, tired of starving.  I did my best to try to annotate that I was now living life after “professional surfing” (in my case meaning I helped to pay into the profession of other surfers and industry type people) and have more fun surfing now then I ever had when I was a logoed rider. Now when I paddle out I have nothing to prove or contests to train for and other things of that matter.

I just get to go out and surf and surf however I want.  If I want to spend the entire session boosting airs I can.  If I want to fuck around in waist high close outs trying to perfect the drop in floater basically making a fool of myself kooking it its my choice.  I can surf rights, lefts, straights, wherever I want, however I want, whenever I want and because I work I have money to boot (ok that last part is a lie Im still pretty damn poor).  I did my best to construe my situation on him, but at 16 years old he just could not grasp how I could give up “living the dream”.

Then he caught a wave and about five minutes later a different grom paddled up to me and we basically went through the same saga.  I don’t understand these kids.  I suck at surfing, especially by California standards of performance.  Why would any of them believe I could still be a pro surfer?  Shit all I want to do is surf as much as humanely possible and cook food to support my living.

Speaking of Rob Machado in strange settings...

With awesome moves like this it is a wonder no one wants to sponsor me...

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