Tag Archives: Surfing

Bongley or Hurbong? Billabong and Hurley to Combine

Early this morning, Billabong and Hurley announced the collaboration for the 2012 Australian Open of Surfing to be held at Manly Beach. Whilst the event won’t be a part of the ASP Dream tour, the six star event is likely to start off the 2012 season before the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, and the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach get underway.

With Quiksilver and Rip Curl currently the only two surf icons hosting the only two available Dream Tour events in Australia, it appears to be a well though alliance with Billabong and Hurley to host the third event. Together, the pair are offering a $500,000 total prize pool for the event, making it the second richest event on tour.

The Australian coastline offers many venues fit for a surfing contest, with the Breaka Burleigh Pro on the Gold Coast and the Burton Toyota Pro at Meriwether, New South Wales, both four star events. Also included in the spectacular of Australian surfing is the specialty events; the Boost Mobile Surf Show, held at Bondi, and earlier this year the Telstra Drug Aware Pro, in Western Australia.

Not only is the event a great way to boost the Australian surfing industry, it’s another way for local fans to watch professional surfing at close hand. Beats watching via a live internet feed.

In other surf news…

The Australian events keep on rolling in. Late last month, the ASP announced that Kangaroo Island, South Australia, will be hosting a six star event from the 4th till the 9thNovember, and will be presented by Sea Link.

Not only is the South Australian event big news, but a wildcard entry has been given to 1999 World Champion Mark “Occy” Occhilupo. After wiping out on Seven’s Dancing with the Stars, Occy now has the opportunity to show off his skills one more time, to a hugely anticipated crowd.

An interview with the ASP, Occy seems in high spirits leading into the event. “I’m in better shape than when I had my comeback,” says Occy.” I’ve been training, surfing and dancing so much and I feel great. I can’t wait to get down to the ASP Kangaroo Island Pro, I’ve never been there and I hear that the waves are fantastic. I feel like I’m surfing pretty good right now and I’d love to show the young guns that I’ve still got
it.”

Also set to be headlining the event is local South Australian surfer Dion Atkinson. “I’ve never had an event close to home, so it’s going to be great to have the hometown support.” Atkinson is currently ranked 45th on the men’s ranking table, and will be looking to elevate his position with the support from his home crowd.

AK

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Another dream Tour event?


In the crazy world of surfing, the ASP has put to its fans the possibility of adding another event in the WCT elite surfing ‘Dream Tour’. Between the Billabong Rio Pro, held in May, and the Billabong Pro, J-Bay South Africa in July, there is a two month dry spell with no world tour events for the top 39 seeded surfers.

The ASP has announced the possibility of a return to G-Land (properly known as Grajagan) situated in East Java. Back in the ‘90’s, G-Land was Quiksilver’s baby. Having invested $200,000 for pre event set up, G-Land was set to be a spectacular. Consistently rideable, endless long, hollow, fast, left handed barrels over a shallow reef, peeling in from the Grajagan Bay, appealed to every surfer, on and off tour.

The Quiksilver Pro G-Land ran for three years, ’95, ’96 and ’97, and in ’98 it was called off due to ‘increasing social unrest in the region’.  It hasn’t featured in the Dream Tour schedule since. In his 1997 victory speech, Luke Egan said “what we saw over the past 10 days is as good as it gets. I don’t care what anyone else says, it takes good waves to be able to perform and show people how rad the sport is.” Whilst others beg to differ that a good surfer should be able to surf any conditions; the best waves bring out the best maneuvers and this takes surfing to a new level.

With travel warnings to the Bali and Indonesian areas, event organizers would be looking at huge amounts of cash just to get the insurance covered. Yes, G-land is out bush, away from the tourist and populated areas, but it would still have people edgy on their toes.

Confirmed by multiple resources, in 2010, Quiksilver held a ‘top secret mission’ in G-land, sending helicopters, photographers and jet-ski’s, along with top surfers Julian Wilson and Tom Carroll. You name it, it was there. Rumour has it Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds tagged along to scout the area for a potential 2012 event. And now,
the prospects of a G-Land return for 2012.

But the surf industry is changing. Once about the surfers and the waves, it’s now more about the money. Check out this year’s Rip Curl Pro Search. San Francisco? Another beach break. A high tourist area, easy access, plenty of spectators rolling in with the goods. Which makes many wonder, G-Land, the jungle, the middle of nowhere? Go figure.

Let’s cut back, and look at it from another angle. Throughout the Dream Tour, surfers are on tour for the majority of the year, visiting beautiful countries, surfing perfect uncrowded waves and getting paid to do something they love (and what many can only dream about). On the flip, this somewhat perfect life comes at a price as the fella’s will not return home for months on end. In some circumstances, events back onto each other with only minimal day’s in-between. Fine if you’re knocked out in round three, not a huge amount of time to celebrate if you win the event.

The two month gap between events three and four is the perfect opening for surfers to return home, have a break, and prepare themselves for the rest of the competition season. From a sport science perspective, there is only so much the human body is capable of. Even though these men are extremely fit, proper rest time is crucial in sustaining a high level of competition. Not only is there rest time, there is opportunity to work on new maneuvers, perfect techniques and make alterations to equipment.

Having the gap in the season creates a hunger amongst surfers for the next event. It provides an opportunity to showcase what they have been working on over the break, and push each other to new limits. If the ASP, its judges and the surfing community want to continue to watch surfing peak at new levels, it would be wise to bypass G-Land, and perhaps swap it for another event later in the year.

AK

Adriano De Souza wins Billabong Rio Pro

Emotions ran high as Adriano De Souza, 24, (BRA) came out triumphant at the Billabong Rio Pro, Brazil, against Taj Burrow, 32, (AUS) in tricky conditions at Burra de Tjucua. De Souza, one of the inform surfers for the whole event, had the crowd on his side at his local home in Brazil, with thousands flocking to the beach to see their local hero surf his way to victory.

After a week of consecutive lay-days, event 3 of 11 in the men’s ASP World Tour 2011 was finally underway, with conditions testing surfer’s abilities at backup location Arpoador during the first and second day, and then home location Burra Tjucua for day three and four.

De Souza was on fire throughout the whole event, only having minor upsets in rounds 1 and 4, luckily for him, they weren’t elimination rounds. He faced some challenging opponents, including Michel Bourez in round 5, who had previously knocked out 10x World Champion Kelly Slater in round 3.

With event organizers looking to wrap the event up quickly, the boys had to be selective of their waves in order to score good results from the judges. Burrow was quick to score, with his first wave of the final landing him a 7.0, but struggled to find anything substantial to back it up. De Souza waited patiently, and used his home break knowledge to score an 8.0 and a 7.63, giving him a total of 15.63 for the final. The crowd was behind De Souza all the way, cheering his every ride, and cheering when Burrow came unstuck. They wanted their golden boy to win.

Jeremy Flores, 23 (FRA) was another in-form surfer throughout the event, who looked fierce in the opening rounds,  taking down anyone in his path, until round 4 where he met Joel Parkinson, 30 (AUS) who was later knocked out in round 5 by Burrow.

Australian Bede Durbidge, 28, also surfed well, and was possibly the dark horse of the event, until he met with De Souza in the semi final. Frustration was evident, as the tricky conditions saw De Souza leave the water triumphant. Durbidge spoke with ASP after his event and said ‘Adriano’s got the whole crowd going for him with a lot of energy and he’s fired up and we just had the worst heat’.

Michel Bourez, 25 (PYF) had a lucky escape in round 5, needing the jetski assist to help him back to shore after coming off a wave the wrong way. Event medical staff played it safe and sent him off to hospital in an ambulance to make sure everything was alright.

However, the light was still on Brazil’s hero Adriano. The $100,000 prize money and 10,000 ASP ranking points bolstered De Souza into the number one position on the leader board, overtaking Parkinson who now sits in second position, and Kelly Slater (USA) in third. De Souza is the first Brazilian in history to be in the number one position on the WCT tour.

The next event takes the men to the J-Bay (formally known as Jefferies Bay), South Africa for the Billabong Pro. Last year Jordy Smith (ZAF) won the event in front of his home crowd. Can he do it again? View all the live action from when the event kicks off on July 14th – 24th.

For highlights from the Billabong Rio Pro and heats on demand, visit; http://www.billabongpro.com

AK

Major upsets at Billabong Rio Pro take the WCT to a new level.

Day three at the Billabong Rio Pro, Brazil, saw the event moved back to the prime location Barra Da Tijuca. The beach break dished up plenty of left-handed rides, and small tubes for the guys to slot into; just what the ‘goofy-foot mafia’ would like (surfers who ride right foot forward). However, three of the top seed surfers were sent packing after being knocked out in round three of competition.

Bobby Martinez (USA) was responsible for the first and biggest upset, knocking current world number one Kelly Slater (USA) in a close heat, scoring 14.50 over Slater’s 14.10. Opting to stick with the left hand breaks, Martinez utilized his priority (where the surfer has first option for the wave) in order to secure his round four placement. After struggling at past events, drawing top seeded surfers early on, Martinez was in great spirits. Slater on the other hand, remained in the water like a bouey for two hours after his heat finished, which stirred the other surfers in the water.

Just 30 minutes later, Josh Kerr (AUS) was responsible for the second upset of the day, sending current number three Jordy Smith (ZAF) packing. With a standout performance, Kerr unleashed a massive air to secure a round 4 entry, which was quickly backed up with another win in round 5, defeating Adriano De Souza (BRA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS), and advancing him to the Quarterfinals.

The third upset of the day came in the final heat of round three, where Brazilian Raoni Monteiro trumped current world number 6 Mick Fanning (AUS), with a score of 14.48 over Fanning’s 13.37. Fanning was left needing a 7.35 in the final minutes, but couldn’t find the right wave to advance him to round 4.

Round 4 got underway with the winners progressing straight to the Quarterfinals, with 2nd and 3rd surfing again in round 5, in a knockout round. Taj Burrow (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA) and Daniel Ross (AUS) were first to hit the water, with Burrow coming out triumphant. Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Bobby Martinez followed, with Parkinson the winner and moving to the Quarterfinals. Josh Kerr (AUS) and Owen Wright (AUS) also secured Quarterfinal spots.

With three of the top current leaders out of finals contention, the challenge for Billabong Rio Pro Champion just got slightly more exciting. Scoring 10,000 points for a victory, and 8000 points for second place, the winners could highly elevate their position on the leader board, just in time before the mid year cut off.

Watch all the action live online at; http://aspwtrio.com.br/brazil11/live-en

AK

Billabong Rio Pro, Brazil – Rounds 1 & 2

After a week of consecutive lay-days, and uninviting conditions, the Billabong Rio Pro finally got underway on day 7 at the backup location Arpoador. Stop 3 of 11 on the men’s ASP World Title season saw round 1 successfully completed in consistently changing conditions that challenged each surfer’s skills.

In the first round of three man heats, winners progressed to round three, and second and third entered round two, the knockout round. Almost missing his heat, Kelly Slater (USA), current leader of the 2011 tour, made up for lost time. Attacking the waves with style, he sent Julian Wilson (AUS) and local wildcard Peterson Crisanto (BRA) into round 2.

Mick Fanning (AUS) was on fire up against Dusty Payne (HAW) and Simao Romao (BRA), securing a solid 15.07 (out of a possible 20). With his trademark cutbacks, and swooping turns, it’s clear why Mick Fanning is a two time World Champion.

Patrick Gudauskus (USA) upset current world number three Jordy Smith (ZAF) and wildcard Igor Morais (BRA) in the lowest scoring heat of the day. With a total heat score of 8.13, Gudauskus became one step closer to his maiden tour victory.

Day 8 of 12 saw round 2 underway, with winners progressing to round three, and losers exiting with an equal 25th and 500 points for the tour leader board. Heat number one opened up with Jordy Smith and Peterson Crisanto going head to head at backup location Arpoador. Local wildcard Crisanto wasn’t good enough for Smith, who scored an 11.67 to Crisanto’s 7.10.

Bede Durbidge (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Joel Parkinson (AUS), and CJ Hopgood (USA) were the top names to progress to round three, sending their opponents packing. Not only are points and prizes on the line, but the importance of gaining solid results before the midyear cutoff are just as good as the massive cardboard cheque.

Round three is on the cards for day 9, however with the ever changing conditions starting round 4 underway is questionable.

All the action can be viewed online at;
http://aspwtrio.com.br/brazil11/live-en/and

AK

2011 Rip Curl Pro – Bells Beach, Victoria


The Bells breakdown…

Bells Beach, the iconic home of the Rip Curl Pro and Surfing Australia is celebrating its 50th competition year with a star-filled line up. Event number two along the ASP World Tour (WCT) journey is sure to feature some excellent surfing for the 50th year celebrations.

This year at the traditional Easter contest, 10x world champ and 2010 Bells winner Kelly Slater will be headlining the event, along with everyone’s favourites Jordy Smith, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow. Let’s not forget the women; Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho and uprising Tyler Wright. Throw in some local wild cards, and you’ve got yourself a lethal combination of tallent.

Bells Beach has two breaks that take centre stage for the event. The more popular ‘Bowl’ is preferred, and works best on a low tide. Rincon is the second break, and works best on a high tide. And when the conditions aren’t favourable to Bells, the event can be moved to the fast flying, J-Bay resembling Winkipop. The second backup location is Johanna Beach, commonly used as a last resort, and when the event is running low on lay-days (days where the swell is below average and the event is postponed for the next day). However if the sand banks are working properly, Johanna’s can offer some of the best beach break waves in the world.

The recent change in format allows spectators to witness a higher level of surfing, with no surfers being eliminated until the second round. The format involves a three man round 1 heat, with the winner progressing to round 3, and the runners up battling it out in an elimination heat in round 2.  Again in round 4, the winners advance to the Quarter finals, and 2nd & 3rd go to an elimination round 5. This new format allows surfers to get more “radical” in the water and try out new maneuvers that may not have appeared in previous years.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Competition is more than bragging rights. The trophy; a massive bell, and only the winner can ring it. It’s one of the most sought after trophies in the WCT.

Day One and Two Highlights..

Huge upsets in Round 1 of the men’s comp saw the highly ranked Jordy Smith and Taj Burrow having to compete round 2 to stay alive in the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Competition. After Smith finished third in his heat (9.00 out of a possible 20) to Hawaiian surfer Dusty Payne (10.50) and Australian Stu Kennedy (11.70), the pressure was on for the 2010 number 2 to pull it back together in Round 2 against local wildcard Adam Robertson.

With the event moved to Winkipop, the superb conditions saw the two boys put up a huge battle in the elimination round. Smith was triumphant with a 17.43 over Robertson’s 16.26 to proceed to round 3. Word on the beach is that Robertson was ‘robbed’ (no pun intended) of his round two victory, however footage replays show that Smith had the maneuvers to get him through to the next round.

Enter Taj Burrow (AUS) v Bobby Martinez (USA). With Burrow one of the favourite’s to ring the prestigious Bell, after taking out the 4 Star Brekka Berleigh Pro earlier in the year at the Gold Coast, Martinez stepped up the notch and bumped Burrow out of contention with a 16.16 to Burrows 15.93. This is Martinez’ first heat win since the Search event last year.

The girls can rip too. Round one highlights saw 4x World Champion Steph Gilmore through to round 3, along with Silvana Lima, the bubbly Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Coco Ho.

Round two (following the same format as the blokes) saw Jessi Miley-Dyer, Melanie Bartels, Carissa Moore, Chelsea Hedges and Courtney Conologue progress to round 3, whist the 2nd place getters finished with an equal 13th on their WCT score card.

With a solid swell forecast for the next few days, the surfing spectacular should be at its prime. All the action can be seen live online at www.live.ripcurl.com and also broadcast on FUEL TV.

AK