worldprosurfers

October 30, 2008

THE NEW FORMAT

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:23 pm

Praia Imbituba, not a bad place to be. © Bella/SC

Hey everybody, it’s pretty bizarre sitting here in Brazil and seeing how many seeds have passed up the current stop on the WCT. It must be a record for the number of wildcards who have gained entry into the main event – last count, I think it was about 16!

I’m not complaining. I’m sure certain guys have got good reasons for not being here but it never crossed my mind not to come. You only get so many chances to
win a ‘CT contest and you won’t see me passing any of them up.

It was great to get my own campaign away with a win in my first round today. It was my third 1st round win of the year, and it’s always good to get that extra day off, under this format. But more so for me than ever because of the jet lag I have. It’s such a long flight from Australia and it’s the total opposite time – 12 hours difference.  That can wreak havoc with your body clock, but I’ll be right after one or more sleeps.

This event won’t be any easier for the absence of so many seeds. There are so many good competitors among the Brazilians that we will have to be on our game. It’s looking like we’re going to get some fun waves for the event again this year. Last year, the Brazilian event delivered some really good waves.

Brazilians like Heitor will be looking to put on a show for their countrymen. ©Joli

It’s timely I should mention the event format as that is a hot topic among ‘CT surfers and administrators right now. The ASP has just held a pretty historic board meeting where they’ve attempted to address some long-standing concerns about the current tour format. The result will be some changes to the 2009 Dream Tour.

The main change is all of the events are going to be given the chance to run with a format that can complete the comp within three days. Under the current 48-man format that’s pretty much impossible as you need four days.

The problem with a lot of events is that while a 12-day waiting spell sounds good in theory, it’s actually rare to get two consistent swells into that time period. Most of the breaks are good for three good quality days maximum. Too
often that means we have one day of the event in less than average conditions which is not what we or the spectators want.

It ends up putting a bit of a dampener on things, especially if that poor day of surf coincides with the finals. So events are being given the option to run with a new 32-man format which means comps can be finished within three days, allowing the organisers to pick the eyes out of the whole waiting period.

How does it work?
Round 1 will have 32 surfers instead of 48.  They’ll be man-on-manheats among the guys ranked 17th to 27th on the CT plus six wildcards and the top 15 guys on the World Qualifying Series (WQS). The top 16 ranked surfers will be seeded into round 2. I like that because it’s a true reward or bonus for the guys that have competed well over the whole year.

The new format has already been adopted for all of the Billabong events on the 2009 tour – the Pipe Masters, J-Bay, Teahupoo and Mundaka. But events will retain the ability to choose the 48-man format. Quiksilver has already decided on this for the opening event on the Gold Coast. Their thinking is that Snapper at the time of the year generally does produce four good days within the 12 and that the whole event can be run in good waves. Rip Curl are yet to let us know what they plan for Bells and The Search.

I’m a fan of the new 32-man format. One of the reasons is that it does away with  three-man heats which means a lot less hassling for waves.  You can just concentrate on surfing good and catching the best waves without having to worry about someone paddling around you or blocking you. Sure, you lose the double life under this format but I’m not worried about that. The vibe on tour is that everyone is pretty stoked with the changes being made for next year.

Pre-Brazil, I had two insane weeks at home on North Stradbroke Island. We had the Straddie Assault teams contest there where we scored some good waves and our club won the pairs event.

Looking forward to the Triple Crown. ©Joli

I also got in some hell training sessions with Elko (World Masters Champ Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton) to get my fitness level back up after six weeks away from home and ahead of the Hawaiian season.

In my next blog, I’ll look ahead to the awesome challenge I have of defending the Triple Crown and the Pipe Masters titles. I’m frothing for it!

Bede

October 28, 2008

NEW BLOG, NEW JOB, NEW HOUSE (ALMOST)

Filed under: Jake Paterson — Tags: , , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 10:26 pm

The new Snake digs under construction at Canggu. Check the photo at the bottom of the blog to see what it’ll look like when it’s done.

Well, it’s been a while. So much has happened in the last couple of
months so I will give a quick recap …

Firstly, I have a new job at Quiksilver Indonesia working in sports
marketing!!! Yeah, I have an office and a desk and stuff, haha, pretty heavy after having the ocean as my office for about 20 years!!! I’m stoked to be working in the industry that I know and love.

I’m still doing some work at the Quiksilver events: I was in France for the Quiksilver Pro where we saw Ace Buchan have his maiden win and holding off Kelly in the final.

The Champ, in Bali a couple of months back. ©Shield

Stoked for Ace, but it would have been great for Quiksilver for Kelly to win and be crowned the 2008 World Champ at that event. He didn’t have to wait long as he won it the next week in Mundaka. What a freak — nine World Titles!!! I’m sure he will have a shot at winning two fists full.

After France, I was back in Bali for a couple of weeks then I was off to Portugal to coach the Australian team at the ISA World Games. It was one of the best events I have been part of – the camaraderie is unbelievable and just to be a part of the whole thing was an honour. Australia smashed the field winning by over 3000 points so our team made me look pretty good as coach! Haha.

I’m back in Bali now and look forward to getting some good waves and finishing the house we are building up here in Canggu.

This is how it’s going to look when it’s all done.

Yes, I have been in the office the last few days catching up on everything but hopefully next week I will get some time to get in the water, swell looks good all week.

Until next blog,

Take it easy,

Jake the Snake

October 16, 2008

PYRENEES BIKERS

Filed under: Kai Otton — Tags: , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:43 pm

Kai

Quick blog,

Got Californicated in LA whilst there … view from hotel says enough … good times.

View from brekky.

Mad biker gang from the Pyrenees in Spain. So fun. We all hired scooters for a day and charged the Tour de France track

So fast it’s blurred.

Watch out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– Ottz

FIESTAS & SIESTAS

Filed under: Tom Whitaker — Tags: , , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:29 pm

Whits

Looks good but doubt the shot was !!!

Hello Frothers,

Back from good times in Europe but all I have to froth is the milk for my coffee as it’s pretty bad waves here at the moment!

The tour has been pretty damn fun with lots of really good waves. Trestles pumped and Hollywood was offshore, the beachies in France were punchy and the golf course pure, and we finally got to surf Mundaka doing its thing!

Contest-wise it was a little slow for me, but u get that in our game. I was able to get something happening in Spain which was cool as I was on the bubble to re- qualify.

Surfing Mundaka again was epic, that place is really cool and with the crowd looking down onto the waves it creates a real cool stadium feel.

Our mate Belly with the world title.

A big congrats to king Kelly for his ninth title, it was pretty special watching that freak do his thing this year: and also to Ace Buchan, the legend, for winning his first ‘CT. I’ve had enough of this keyboard already (such a slow typer), so I’ll just add some shots of us having fun out of the water!

Best time ever riding mopeds around France. We looked so tough, all in black, until Bede crashed, totalled his bike and skinned himself!!!

Hope you’re all well in web world,

See ya in the surf,

Whits

October 15, 2008

HIP SHAKE

Filed under: Mick Fanning — Tags: , , , — wpssuperblog @ 5:30 pm

It all started at Jeffreys, back in July. © Joli

Hi Guys,

Just to let everyone out there know, the reason I did not compete in Mundaka is because I have been having a problem with my hip since J-Bay.

I thought I could work through it and get it sorted but as time has gone on it has just gotten worse. I decided in France the best thing to do was to go home and really figure this thing out. I came home, got all the tests done and the doctors tell me I have a slight tear in the hip joint.

So, I’m laid up for another 10 days to see if it will hopefully heal. If it doesn’t then I might have to get an arthroscope. I hope it doesn’t come to that as I am losing my mind already without surfing. Being bored on the couch isn’t that fun. But all is good, I am being positive and hope to make a full recovery.

With KP and Griggsy in France a couple of weeks back. © Joli

Other than that, not too much else has happened for me. I missed Mundaka, which looked fun, and I wanted to represent Australia at the ISA World Titles in Portugal but had to pull out too. Luckily for me the waves at home have been pretty average so that’s making it a little easier. Anyway, I start some rehab in the next couple of days so that should keep me moving in the right direction.

Cheers,

MF

October 14, 2008

THE CESSNA & THE DUST

Filed under: Damien Hobgood — Tags: , , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:17 pm

This is what a Baja dust storm looks like from space. © SeaWiFS Project/ NASA.

Flew back from Europe, saw this hurricane spinning off Baja, so the next morning I scrabbled to make it to the airstrip to jump in a little one engine Cessna, which, I thought, would be flying me down to score perfect waves.

Mundaka may have been wet but at least there were waves. © Joli

Slept in the dirt with my jacket, got blown all over the place, ate snacks for three days, and got crap waves. Scored.

Peace,

Damo

EUROPA

Filed under: CJ Hobgood — Tags: , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:06 pm

Mundaka came back to life during the Billabong Pro event. © Joli

What’s going on? Without fail — for like three years in a row – Mundaka ends and the waves pump for a week …

Me, Benny, Dion and Yadin surfed our brains out for the last few days. Good thing is after a month in France you have a semi handle on the bars’ direction, size, and what not, to make a somewhat educated decision and try to nail the windows.

France: Had a blast, I love that place! © Joli

We did a pretty good job except for one of the days when I swear we checked every spot between Zarautz and Bordeaux.

Me and Benny got a flight to Portugal for the World Games on Sunday where we competed today in (no lie) really fun and super-rippable waves — tripping.

And now Portugal: checking the waves and scene around Lisbon. © Gago

Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us, the Aussies, Tahitians, Brasilians and South Africans are blowing up.

Should be fun.

cj

October 2, 2008

FROM NEW YORK TO SOPELANA

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 9:55 am

Hey everybody, I’m in “hold” mode here with the rest of the crew in Spain waiting for the Billabong Pro to get into the water. I’m frothing at the chance for some classic 6-8′ Mundaka at some stage of the event, but chances are we won’t get through this event using Mundaka only.

Mundaka view of bay and church

There’s barely been a ripple at the high-tide affected Mundaka.
© Joli

What’s gone on here in recent years with the harbour dredging is pretty well documented and there are lots of views about it all. The reality is the break is now too tidal to work all day and anything more than a three-day swell cycle is rare for here at this time of the year.

That means getting a good part of the event done elsewhere, still in pretty good waves, and then hopefully engineering the end to finish the finals in classic Mundaka: A big challenge, as we’ve seen in the last three years. In the past, the back-up wave was Bakio and it just wasn’t up to it, causing frustration at times.

This time, Billabong has moved the back-up beach to Sopelana which is further away though a better quality wave. Round One was held there overnight but hopefully the second round (where I am the first heat up) will be back at Mundaka. I know a little bit about Sopelana as it has hosted ASP events before. My coach Kong (Gary Elkerton) won an event there and has tuned me about the break.

The ASP was going to drop the losers’ round in this event but the pros were worried that would cause too much hassling in the first round. So we came to a compromise that if we ran the first round at Sopelana before the swell comes for Mundaka then the losers’ round would be retained.

Personally, I think Mundaka is a bit too fickle to run an entire WCT there. It’s so tidal and needs a solid swell to work. It’s a contest director’s nightmare but when it works it’s one of the best waves in the world. Hence the dilemma on whether to retain it as a stop on the Dream Tour or not. Rumours are they are looking elsewhere in Europe.

New York, New York.

New York, New York. © Warby

The past month has been pretty active for me. My wife Tarryn and I called into New York before the Trestles WCT event. We’d never been there before and I gotta admit it was pretty cool to do the full-on tourist thing and just get lost in that monstrous city.

Back in San Clemente, it was full contest mode with sponsor and trade show appearances and the event itself. I felt really good at Trestles. I had the most amazing board and enjoyed taking on Kelly in the semis. The waves didn’t really pulse during our heat but they were still fun.

I always love surfing against Kelly. It brings the best out of me plus I get to surf against my hero. There’s never been a heat I haven’t learned from. This one was so close with only 0.5 the difference in the end. I fell on my best wave on the last section, trying to doing a little air. Maybe if I’d made it the heat might have been mine … but you can’t make any mistakes against Kelly.

Surfing Trestles is always enjoyable for me. It’s like a high performance skate park for surfers. It’s a wave that’s been good to me over the years and I feel really comfortable there. This year the waves pumped for the whole comp too. Personally, I think the best surfing all year on the tour went down there.

"The Spartan" Michel Bourez on fire during the Round Three clash in France.

“The Spartan” Michel Bourez on fire during the Round Three clash in France. © Joli

France was a bit more frustrating. A few of us top seeds went down early and I got put to the sword by “The Spartan” in round 3! The Spartan is Michel Bourez. We call him that because he’s ripped and buffed like a Spartan fighter. The guy is so fit and that was the hardest heat I’ve surfed this year.

Michael came out of the blocks firing with a 9.8 but when I countered with an 8, I thought, ‘Sweet, I’m in the heat, I just need another good one before he gets another one’. Next thing – bang! – he’s nailed a 9.7 and I’m combo-ed. I will never give up and I waited and waited for a good wave that never came. It was pretty hard to beat a 19.5 heat score in those conditions. He smashed me. Michel beat Parko the heat before and Kelly at the same event last year so he’s definitely on the rise. He surfs with lots of power and big turns, and I think he will be around awhile.

Congrats Ace!

Congrats Ace!

The French event was frustrating for me. The banks were a little weird and we didn’t get much swell, but it was so awesome to see one of my good mates Ace Buchan win the event and take down Kelly in the final. It showed Kelly is beatable, and it was a pretty wild night for the Aussies celebrating Ace’s first win.

This event will be about Kelly wrapping up his ninth World Title and pretty much the perfect year. I think there will probably be a few people skipping Brazil. As for me, I am just amping for some quality Mundaka.

Bring on those sick waves,

Bede

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