worldprosurfers

September 28, 2010

FAMILY COMES FIRST

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — wpssuperblog @ 9:10 pm

Some things in life are more important than how you earn money. I know being a pro surfer is one of the best possible jobs in the world – if it can be called a job! But becoming a father for the first time is more important to me than anything, and that’s why I’ll be skipping the WT event in Portugal during October.

My wife Tarryn and I are expecting our first child at about the same time as the event and when it came down to the choice of what I should do – well, there wasn’t really a choice to make to be honest. It was an easy decision. Family comes first for me. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was a world title decider – I’m not missing this for anything.

Yesterday’s heat with Julian. © Joli

Everybody I’ve talked to says that being present at the birth of your child is an experience that stays with you forever. You never forget it. To me, it’s so much more important than any contest. I’ve had some great rushes from surfing – but every surfing Dad I’ve talked to says no wave can beat the feeling of becoming a father! Plus I can’t imagine how difficult actually giving birth is, and I really want to be there to support Tarryn the whole way.

Missing Portugal means every event is a counter for me for the rest of this year. Rather than seeing that as extra pressure to perform at Trestles, I used it as extra motivation to make every heat. I also arrived at Trestles excited. It’s a place where I’ve done well at in the past and I just love the wave. I think not getting over-amped helps there. There’s an overwhelming temptation to just go for huge airs and massive turns every wave. But I think you need to find a happy medium, and having a high percentage rate of finishing my rides has helped me out a lot there over the years. So has having a really good board there each year. I rode the same board I’ve used there for the past two years. So that’s two thirds and a second that board has got me now. Overall, I’ve had a first, a second and three thirds at Trestles now, so it’s definitely a good venue for me.

I had a crazy draw this year, though. I had to work hard in every heat to get through and just kept running into red-hot guys. The heat against Jordy was a really big one for me. He got me at J-Bay when I let that semi slip out of my hands, so I was pretty keen to get one back on him.

Jordy had also been on fire early, racking up some of the highest scores of the event, so I knew it would be a tough heat. But I just stuck to my game plan, had a quick start and got through. That put me up against Dane in the semis. He had just been going mad in every heat, doing some crazy airs and really pushing the limits. Fortunately for me he didn’t have his best heat and I got through. Once again I had a quick start and that put a bit of pressure on him and made him make a few mistakes.

Answering the groms’ question at the WPS night in the state park at Trestles. © Clyde

I was really happy to make the final. The waves were just getting better all day. That’s one of the big bonuses and best things about being on tour – just surfing a world class spot with only one other guy out! I wanted to get a quick start in the final so I caught the first wave of the set and got a five. As it turned out, the one behind would be the better option but Kelly got it and racked up a 7.9 to put the pressure on me straight away. I was finding it hard to get big scores in the event so I knew I had to put some big airs on to get a good score to match Kelly’s opener.

I probably went a little too big and fell on my next couple of waves. In the meantime, Kelly got an even better wave than his first wave, this time scoring an 8.9 and putting me in combo-land. Then in the last 10 minutes the biggest set of the whole day came through. Kelly got the first one. I heard the crowd roar and was thinking he must have done something crazy. I never imagined he’d got a crazy pit!

I caught the next wave and knew I had to go for it. So I threw a carving 360 straight up and made it. I could hear the crowd roar as I came down from it. It was such an amazing feeling. I fed off that and finished it off with an air and a late hit. I was back in the heat but only just. I needed a 9.9 to win – pretty much a perfect ride. I caught one last wave and went for it on my last turn but fell.

Even though I lost it was still a great final to be in. That one exchange Kelly and I had was pretty awesome. The Hurley Pro was also the first event to use the new format with a reduced field. I reckon it worked insane. Everyone was super excited to surf that fourth round heat and know they still had a second chance. The surfing in that round was mind blowing. Everyone was definitely going for it more and the spectators were loving it.

Even though Kelly definitely has an edge with two wins, there are still four contests left and I believe the world title is wide open. Anybody could get on a roll from here. It’s going to be exciting to see it all unfold.

– Bede

September 1, 2010

TEAHUPOO

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — wpssuperblog @ 10:34 am

Limbering up on the Gold Coast this winter. © Shield

Teahupoo is finally underway and it’s going to be a key event for everybody in the top 45, not just the guys fighting to escape the cut-off after this event.

I’m safe but I want to back up my semi-final finish at J-Bay in South Africa with a good effort here and in the next two events. J-Bay was such a good event again this year. I love that place. We scored some epic waves and finished the comp within the first four days of the scheduling window. That almost never happens. In fact, it’s only happened one other time in the six years I’ve been on the tour – and that was the epic Search event in Mexico.

I was happy with my third placing. I had some really close heats in getting to the semis including my third round against Tanner Gudauskas. Neither of us caught a wave in the first 12 minutes and then on my first wave I snapped my board! I had to swim in to get my spare one (which Luke Stedman ran down for me … thanks mate!), then paddle back out, regain my composure and surf out the last 15 minutes of the heat. I ended up getting through but it was all a bit
stressful!

I lost my semi to Jordy Smith who was definitely the form surfer of the event.  I had a great start to the heat with an 8.3 score which I backed it up with a 5.5. Jordy struggled to find anything most of the heat and I had him in combo-land with just four minutes to go, plus I also held priority.

There were no waves coming and I thought: “Yes! … I should win this heat from here”. Then this tiny one footer came through and I thought there was no way in hell Jordy could get a decent score on it. So I didn’t use my priority. Next thing he went and pulled off this superman air on it.  I saw it and thought to myself: “Oh no, here we go”. I wasn’t sure how the judges would score it but he got a 6.9 and he was suddenly back in the heat.

Then a little set arrived. I caught the first one. It ran off pretty quickly on the reef and didn’t let me really open up on my turns. I got a 6 for it and slightly increased my score, leaving Jordy needing a 7.5. He caught the next wave and surfed it really well to nail down a 7.9.

I don’t mind admitting I was devastated. It had all happened in just four minutes and was definitely the craziest finish to a heat I’ve ever had. It’s the worst feeling to lose in a situation like that. But my hat goes off to Jordy to get out of a combo in such a short time period. He is having a blinder of a year and is on a roll at the moment. He is definitely surfing a lot smarter in his heats this year and it’s showing in his results. His pure talent, allied with a good game plan now, means he his a major threat for the world title. He’s the front runner going into Chopes and deservedly so. But it’s still early days with only four events surfed so far.

After J-Bay, I went to the US Open this year for the first time in six years. It was an awesome event. I couldn’t believe the crowds that go down to Huntington to watch it. Hurley do such an amazing job with that contest.

I finished equal ninth after falling to Miguel Pupo who is a really talented young Brazilian kid who can seemingly bust massive airs at will. Brett Simpson won the event for the second year in a row and surfed really impressively. I stayed on in California for an extra week doing some promo stuff for Fox and managed to sneak in a free surf at Trestles which was really good. I’m so excited for that event this year.

It’s been a long wait for the contest to start in Tahiti. The waves have been really small for over a week now but it’s looking like we might get a few fun waves for the last few days of the waiting period though. I’m staying with Adrian Buchan, Jay Thompson and Matt Wilkinson with a local family I stay with every year. Even though the surf has been small and the contest on hold, we’ve still been getting some fun little waves and having heaps of fun. The other day a big pod of whales surfaced near us and came so close to the boat. It was such an amazing experience to see those guys so close up.

There’s a bit of tension around Chopes, and not just because of how heavy the wave can get. It’s a really crucial comp for a lot of guys’ careers. With the tour being cut to 32 surfers after this event, we will be saying goodbye to 13 surfers. A couple of my very good mates are right on the bubble so I’m hoping to see them get the result they need to stay on tour.

I think the changes are going to make the remaining contests more exciting because there will be bigger match-ups earlier in the events. Plus it will only take three days to run a contest instead of four. That increases the prospect of finish an event in better waves and that’s got to be a good thing.

Until next time, stay safe in the water!

Cheers

– Bede

July 16, 2010

BAY OF JAY

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — wpssuperblog @ 3:03 pm

Break in training back home. © Shield

It’s so good to be in J-Bay with a clean new swell coming through. It’s one of the great feelings in surfing!

It feels like forever since the last contest. In Brazil But it has also been great to have a 10-week break to recharge the batteries and plan and plot some future strategy, starting with J-Bay.

I spent most of the break at home training with Gary Elkerton, aka ‘Elko’, and trying out boards. Luckily, we scored some really good waves on the Coast over that time. I was also able to get up to North Straddie Island quite a bit to see my family and friends — with the bonus of getting some great waves with no-one out!

One of the bonuses of being home was being able to take in the three-game State of Origin rugby league series between Queensland and New South Wales. I’m a league nut and a massive Queensland fan. Normally, the contest schedule has us out of Australia when the Origin series is on but this year was different and I was able to take in all three games.

It’s an inspiration to watch a team like Queensland. It was extra special to see Queensland score an historic clean sweep and fifth series win in a row. It’s going to be fun rubbing it in to all the New South Wales guys on tour.

The other more personal bonus was spending time at home with my wife Tarryn. She is pregnant with our first child and we are so excited about our baby due in October. It was the best feeling ever when we found out. It was great to have all that time off to get things ready for when the baby arrives too. We’ve got the room all decked out and painted – it’s pretty cute! There are a few other boys on tour due to have kids this year as well, so it’s really cool.

To split up the long break, I went to Bali for a week which was so much fun. I always have the best time in Bali. And it’s amazing how often you’re running into the other guys. I think pretty much everyone on tour went there at sometime throughout the break.

I also went to Fiji for a week on a diving and surfing trip. It was good for the soul to go and do something different instead of just surfing the entire time. I had only really dived once since I got certified so it was so cool to get down there again and see all the different sea-life and the colourful reef. Pretty mind-blowing stuff.

While in Fiji, we scored an afternoon of perfect six to eight foot waves at Frigates with no-one else out. We were having the best session until we saw the photographers’ boat get cleaned up by a monster sneaker set!

It was so heavy. I had caught the second wave of the set and got barrelled. When I came out, I couldn’t see the boat. I looked around and there it is upside down on the reef! It was so lucky no-one got seriously hurt.

Not surprisingly given the boat had flipped, both cameramen onboard lost all their gear. It wasn’t the best way to end a great trip, and was a timely reminder of Frigates’ power. It’s a place that reminds me so much of Cloudbreak. I miss that comp there so much!

Queensland’s had plenty of waves during the tour gap as well. © Shield

But it’s J-Bay that’s on my mind right now. The last couple of weeks I’ve been training my guts out with Elko preparing. Luckily, the points have been pumping so it’s been perfect training for the long walls at J-Bay.

I’m feeling really good about the event. J-Bay is definitely one of my favourite stops on tour and I feel the waves there really suit my style. Last year we got it so perfect. It would be insane if we could back it up this year with some big swells.

Kelly is on top again as we go into J-Bay and is looking very dangerous. It’s only early but you don’t want to give him a sniff of that title or he will just run off with it like he did on 2008. He looks a lot more relaxed than last year and he has his equipment dialled.

It’s pretty close among the top 5 and both Mick and Taj have won at J-Bay before. “Parko’s” absence due to that untimely and very ugly injury at Snapper takes out a major contender. I’ve seen some bad fin chops but Parko’s takes some beating. I can’t believe a surfboard could do that.

We all feel for the guy. And, of course, he was the defending champion at J-Bay and we all know how formidable he is when it’s on there.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how the comp plays out. I’ve had an OK start this season with two fifths in Australia. I’m sitting 10th right now so I’m still within striking distance.

– Bede

April 22, 2010

BETWEEN BELLS & BRAZIL

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:15 pm

Trundling at Duranbah the day before the flight to Floripa. ©   Shield

From what I’ve seen from the first two events, if this year’s world title isn’t the most competitive ever I’ll be massively surprised. The Gold Coast and Bells events have been super competitive. I think everybody expected a hot start but nobody probably thought each contest would set the performance bar so high and that virtually every key heat would be so exciting and capable of going either way.

Taj and Kelly have laid down the markers with well-deserved wins but I think even they would admit this is definitely shaping as the most competitive year ever for the world title race. I reckon there are a good 10 guys in with a solid chance this year and that’s why every heat has been so exciting to watch.

The only bummer at Bells was that we were pretty unlucky with conditions. I guess we can’t complain because we have had some epic conditions over Easter in the past but this year the swell gods weren’t as kind. It didn’t get above 3′ the whole competition and under the circumstances I thought Damien Hardman did a great job on calling the shots through the contest.

Dooma pretty much had no swell to work with and definitely made the most of what was about. There were rumours at one stage that we were heading for Phillip Island and Johanna early in the event but we managed to get a few rounds in at Winki and Bells and, for the first time ever, a round at Thirteenth Beach.

My Staffie’s been loving all the rain in Queensland.

With the small conditions, I had an expectation that the event might quickly turn into an aerial contest. That’s pretty much what happened — which was a bit daunting when you looked at how good some of the new guys on tour are when it comes to airs. My early heat with Stuart Kennedy was a good example. I knew he was going to be doing airs so it was pretty much became an air show between him and I. It was so tight. I managed a snap on one wave just before I did an air and I think that was the difference between us.

It was much the same in the next round in super fun waves at Winkipop where I drew Tanner Gudanskas. Tanner has been ripping this year but because of his low seed, he’s had tough heats in the early rounds. I knew he would give me a run for my money and again it came right down to the wire but I just got the win over him. But while it was interesting that there were d aerial attacks coming at the judges in just about every heat, it was still the guys from last year’s top 10 who claimed the quarterfinals berths. As one observer said to me, the cream always rises to the top.

Johanna looked really fun for finals’ day but it was actually difficult to surf. There was a lot of bump on the face and it was really tricky to pick the ones that would wall up through the inside. But with only one day left of the waiting period, the organisers had to go with what we had.

My win over Luke Steadman gave me more confidence for the quarter final against Kelly. I felt good going into the last eight. Unlike some of the other guys, I don’t get daunted going up against Kelly. I consider it a privilege to surf against him as he always brings out the best in me. I had a great start and was winning the heat until he got a 9.  I needed a 7.5 to take the heat back off him and to be honest I was supremely confident of getting that score as long as I could get the right wave.

Loving the standard sized boards again after a spell on those mega-fun little Mt Woodgee Bullets. © Shield

I had one last chance on my last wave to nail the score. The problem was that a lot of waves were only letting you do one major turn out the back before it would go a bit fat on the inside. So I knew I had to go for a massive air on that first section. I thought I had made that air but just as I landed I fell over the front of my board. I had too much forward momentum and my board wasn’t moving as fast as I hoped for.

I was spewing when I came up because I knew had I made that air I would have got through the heat and into the semis. I guess I was trying to do to Kelly what he did to me in the Bells final two years ago when he paddled up to Rincon and pulled off a contest-winning air in the last minutes.

Kelly certainly surfed amazingly well throughout the content and definitely peaked at the right time in the final. I think he had a really good board that worked in those tough conditions. It’s obvious he’s hungry to get that 10th world title after getting a win early in the season.

We’re all off to Brazil now for the Billabong Santa Catarina Pro. It feels a bit crazy going to Brazil this early in the year. Normally we’re getting ready to go to Tahiti about now. I don’t mind it though. It’s good to get that long flight out of the way early in the year. I really enjoy going to Brazil, though. I’ve had some good results there including winning in 2008 and I like that the crowds are big and full of energy. The Brazilian fans are great to surf in front of.
Talk to you from over there.

Cheers.

– Bede

March 25, 2010

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER CIRCUIT

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , — wpssuperblog @ 6:55 am

Sandspitters still whomping through Snapper after the Quik Pro © Joli

Another year, another circuit. But already in 2010 I’ve got a feeling this year’s ASP World Tour is going to set the performance bar at a whole new level. The marker has been laid down in the opening event on the Gold Coast.

There’s always hype around the first event and this year it definitely lived up to expectations. I’m convinced the level of surfing has definitely lifted again, setting the stage for the rest of the year.

Taj and Jordy have thrown down the gauntlet for 2010. Both have definitely stepped up their game and Taj in particular is on a major roll. With him winning Pipe and then at Snapper, followed by his second in the Drug Aware Pro WQS contest in West Oz last week, he is making a huge early season statement with his really fast, powerful and precise surfing.

I was pretty happy with my campaign at the Quikky Pro even if I obviously wanted to finish higher than equal fifth.
I felt like I surfed well in the event so I am not going to get hung up over losing a tight quarter final to Jordy. It’s a solid start for me and a “keeper” result. If you look at previous world title winners, most didn’t have results too much worse than 5ths along the way so I’m happy to bank that one.

The other bonus from the contest was that we got some really good waves too. There hadn’t been much lead-up swell and I thought we were looking at a likely small-wave showdown. So I was pleasantly surprised when a good-sized swell co-operated.

In the third round we got some really nice waves and it was that heat I enjoyed most. The 19.27 score I racked up was the second highest scoring heat of my tour career. I drew my good mate Luke Munro from Currumbin and it was just one of those heats where everything went right for me. I had a perfect rhythm throughout and every time a good set came through I had priority. The conditions were very similar to my highest heat score I’ve had which was when I beat Kelly in the same contest in 2007.

The 10-pointer Josh pulled off late to set up his win over Taj was just insane. It was more like a 15 then a 10! © Joli

The highlight was obviously the 9.97 ride I scored. I knew it was going to be a good one as soon as I saw it coming. I took off kinda late and free fell but it was on the perfect angle and that let me drive straight into it. It was just so hollow through the first section but then it ran off after that and I honestly thought I was gone and it was going to shut me down. But it just shot me out the end of one of the sickest Superbank barrels I’ve had in a while. When I came out I was so happy and I claimed it with the old fist in the air.

Just as I did, I thought “Hang on, this wave isn’t over yet’. I got two more turns in but fell on my last move. In hindsight, I should have tried a bit harder to make the last move as it could have secured a 10. But, heck, emotion just took over after the barrel. Ha!

I’m just back from Margaret River where Taj got me in the semis of the WA contest. It was fun to get back to Margarets for the first time in about five years. Third place and a fistful of nice overhead rights and lefts made the trip worthwhile.

It was a hell final between Josh Kerr and Taj too – one of the best I’ve ever seen. The 10-pointer Josh pulled off late to set up his win was just insane . It was more like a 15 then a 10!And let’s face it, that’s what it took to stop Taj’s winning streak. So it’s off to Bells now. I’ve been going there since I was 15 and I never tire of the place. I didn’t do as well there as I wanted last year so I’m on a mission this time.

Fingers crossed, cos I’m looking for a big one.

Talk soon

Bede

February 8, 2010

BULLET

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — wpssuperblog @ 8:47 pm

Fresh Bullet out of the Mt Woodgee chamber.

Ever since Simon Anderson’s breakthrough with the thruster, surfers on the pro tour have looked for any design edge they can get. Board design is a constant evolution and if there’s any way for those of us on the Pro Tour to improve our performance, we’ll go looking for it.

My break since Hawaii has revolved around my fitness regime and some
board experimentation. Kelly is a guy who in the past 12 months has shown the courage and innovation to experiment with design.  More and more guys on the tour are doing the same.

I’m not going to be wheeling out anything radical but my long-time shaper at Mt Woodgee, Wayne McKewen, and I have been playing around with our smaller wave equipment over the past month or so.

The catalyst was Dane Reynolds’ outstanding surfing at last year’s Hurley Pro at Trestles and in Europe. Wayne and I are both on the same wavelength and when I got back he said outloud what I was already thinking: “Did you see that board
Dane was riding? We gotta take a look at that.”

A few Spanish Mackerel me and my mate caught last weekend.

My brother caught this one, I think his is a little bigger.

Dane called the board design something like a “dumpster diver”. We like to call them “Bullets”. Wayne, myself and Woody (a cool guy who owns the shaping machine we use if I get pre-shapes) started working on a couple of our own
designs similar to what Dane has been riding.

The concept works best for me in the 5’7 to 5’10 range and I’ve had some amazing boards off it! I’ll still be taking on tour and using my normal handcrafted 6’2s off Wayne but if it’s around two or three foot, the ‘Bullets’ just go so good.  I’ll definitely have a couple in my board bag on tour this year.

I had plenty of opportunity to test the boards over January on the Gold Coast. It was a poor month of waves but with it being so small I’ve been able to work on the repertoire you need nowadays for anything under head height.

The Bullet has definitely helped me there. They just fly and are so good for airs.
The swell finally kicked up recently and we had some fun waves at Kirra the other day where I rode a 5’8 out there that just went insane. I still think they work best in beachies around two or three foot but there are also possibilities there in slightly bigger surf too. What I like about the Bullet design is not only is it great for airs, it does really good carves too. Surfing is just getting more and more radical every year, so riding these boards will help me with my airs and other new school stuff.

Just got the best present ever off my wife. A Queensland jersey personally signed by my hero Wally Lewis.

With the calendar ticking into February, we’ve moving into cyclone season here on the Gold Coast and there has been some good swell which is a positive sign ahead of the Quikkie Pro.

I’ve had a solid training month through January.  With no decent surf at all really for the whole of the month, other than testing the Bullet, I’ve been ripping into training with Gary “Kong” Elkerton. I love how ‘Elko’ always pushes me to my limits. It’s comforting to know you have a really good fitness base at the start off the year to set yourself up for the whole tour.

From here, it’s just a matter of topping up that fitness base as necessary throughout the season. With the opening event here at home just around the corner, I’m feeling good and itching to get that competition singlet on again.

– Bede

December 30, 2009

WHAT A WAY TO END 2009

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , , — wpssuperblog @ 7:26 pm

Celebrating Mick’s title at Turtle Bay. © Joli

Another year down but what a way to end it! I’m back home on the Gold Coast now and we’re locked into that October to early January pattern where the surf is the pits. But I’m coping because one of the best Hawaiian winters I’ve ever had is still fresh in my memory banks.

I’ve been going to Hawaii for 10 years now but this last season was definitely something special – one of the best I’ve had there. It was kind of a slow start through November but the moment December hit, it was on!

The whole month just pumped. We got bombarded with huge swell after huge swell and there were some perfect days at Pipe. I stayed at a place down at Rocky Lefts this year which was cool because it’s really central to all the breaks. I lost count of the excellent sessions out the front at Rockys but I was often lured down a bunch of times to Off The Wall, Sunset and Pipe.

The best surf I encountered was during the third day of the Pipe Masters. It was six to eight foot with a five knot offshore blowing. The waves were absolutely flawless – just like the waves you would draw in your school books when you were a kid. I don’t think it was possible to get better conditions.

Out front at Rocky Lefts. © Joli

For the pros there, the Triple Crown was very much on our mind early. My campaign didn’t get off to the best of starts when I got knocked out in my first heat of the World Cup at Haleiwa. The waves were good when they came but it was incredibly inconsistent and only one good set came through during my heat. Unfortunately I didn’t get one!

Joel Centio won it — awesome to see. Joel grew up surfing there and he had all his family and friends down the beach watching. It was a day he won’t forget for a long time and good on him.

I went a bit better at Sunset in the next event where I made the quarters for an equal ninth placing. The waves were huge. Some locals were saying it was the biggest surf they have ever held the contest in. Joel Parkinson got his third win out there. Parko was on fire all event and Mick must have been anxious watching Joel in such hot form ahead of the world title-deciding Pipe Masters.

But as it turned out, Parko had an unfortunate early exit at Pipe and Mick had the championship in the bag midway through the event. The Masters pretty much developed into a backdoor shoot-out. There was the odd sick left (CJ Hobgood got one that was one of the most perfect waves I’ve ever seen).

The only bummer about the event was it dropped off a bit for the final day, although the waves were still really fun. I bowed out in the quarters. My heat with Taj was a tough one. As mentioned, the swell had dropped off quite a bit compared to the previous days. It was a pretty close heat and I had the wave to get the score I needed near the end of the heat but I didn’t make the drop
– my board was probably a little small.

Taj kicked on to win the contest. He didn’t do any of the other Triple Crown events, preferring to concentrate solely on Pipe. That paid off and he was in great form the entire comp. It was a amazing finish to the year with Taj taking out Pipe, Mick winning his second world title and Parko grabbing his second Triple
Crown. My result at Pipe gave me an end-of-year finish of No. 3 so it was
definitely a good year for Australia. We ended up filling the top four spots which we were stoked with.

Andy at the Eddie. © Joli

The other bonus this season was getting to watch my first Eddie Aikau Memorial.
It was the best surfing comp I’ve ever watched. There must been close to 20,000 people down on the beach and it made for an insane atmosphere.
I found it really exciting. The guys out there were putting it all on the line every wave.

It was so cool to see Greg Long win it. That guy blows me away. Plus to have the contest go so well and get so much publicity around the world was really neat for the Aikau family and Eddie’s legacy. Like I said, I’m now back on the Goldie and the 2010 tour is just around the corner. I’m already excited.

I’m stoked as I picked up a new major sponsor while in Hawaii. I’m riding for Fox now. They’re a great company, although I can’t see myself trying out any motocross action with them. I came a cropper on a scooter last year in France and I won’t be racing to get on anything more powerful! But I’m frothing about the relationship and I believe 2010 is going to be a great year. I hope it is for you too.

Catch plenty of waves and remember to keep it cool in the water. We surfers are the luckiest people alive.

– Bede

November 17, 2009

LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 5:59 pm

Pipe. © Joli

I’m on my way to Hawaii, we’ve got an amazing world title showdown about to unfold in front of us at Pipe and my mind is just full of all of those amazing waves we had last North Shore winter. My mood has obviously been helped along by my recent run of results which has got me back into a position to achieve my goal for this year – finishing inside the Top 5.

I’ve had a chance to freshen up at home on the Goldie after the Search in Portugal and I’m frothing about what might lie ahead in Oahu. The Triple Crown is going to be awesome.

Having that little “mini-circuit” at the end of the Dream Tour is a nice carrot at the end of the season for the guys who are out of the running for the world title — and that’s all of us bar Mick and Joel!

That carrot’s pretty big this year too. It’s a nice cash prize but I still reckon the prestige of being a Triple Crown winner is something money can’t buy. If I can repeat my 2007 Crown success again, I’ll be stoked.

But most eyes are rightfully going to be on Joel and Mick. Australia wins either way because we get to bring the world champion home with us at the end of the Pipe Masters. It’s going to be an awesome show as the title comes down to the wire.

Mick has the upper hand — but not by much. Both guys have made finals at Pipe so it’s anyone’s still. I’d love to replicate my 2007 success at Pipe because not only would it cement that top 5 finish I want and prime me for a big campaign next year, I will have also achieved my other goal of winning at least
one event per year.

I’ve done that the last three years running, so the pressure’s on at Pipe!
My recent run gives me some confidence, though. I last blogged after the event in France where Mick beat me in the final. I followed that with a 5th at Mundaka and then reaching the final in Portugal against Mick yet again. So I can’t be too bummed. Two seconds in France and Portugal, a third at Trestles and a fifth at Mundaka gave me the consolidating run through California and Europe that I needed.

It was a bonus to also be involved in one of the more memorable tour days. I’m talking about the third round and quarter final day at the Search.

We’d missed the best surf in years at Mundaka by a week so everybody was amping for Portugal.

We had fun waves before the event started. There are so many set-ups there and that coast gets so much swell. Everyone was stoked to be surfing some good waves because we hadn’t had much the rest of the European leg.

I felt right at home among the punchy beach breaks. Growing up on Straddie Island, we encounter those sorts of waves all the time. The only bummer is they are board breakers too! I snapped my favourite board on my first wave in my heat with Marlon Lipke. I was so bummed. It was the magic board I won in Brazil last year and that I had used in the final in France. I loved that board!

Peniche. © Joli

It was hard to get my head around it for a couple of minutes there but then I said to myself: “I’ll get another magic one”, and got on with the heat.

The third round and quarter finals were pretty insane. We scored some of the best waves of the year in round three. There were a lot of closeouts in the quarters but the odd perfect one would sneak through. It was one of those that saved me in my quarter with Jordy. That’s a heat I’ll definitely remember. I knew he would be fired up to beat me because I had knocked him out in the last comp the week before. And sure enough he had me on the ropes and just about beat. I needed a 9.67 to win, which is pretty much a 10. But I just had this weird feeling that if I was patient I was going to get it. Luckily this bomb came through and it went to plan. That wave – and being awarded a 10 – was such a rush. And the crowd made it even better. They were insane to surf in front of, probably the best I’ve seen on tour. They made it so much more exciting to surf.

My semi clash with Parko is also something I’ll remember for a long time. I knew it was going to take a big heat to overcome Joel given he was obviously back in top form. The swell had dropped off from the previous day but it still looked fun. Joel got a couple of good scores early then the wind changed halfway through the heat and just went to crap. I needed something like a 7.8 and I couldn’t see much hope of that given how the barrels at the start of the heat had pretty much disappeared. Time was ticking down and this left came. Parko didn’t go it and I thought ‘I’ll just go it and see what happens’. It turned into a 7.3 and then I only needed a 5.5. I paddled back out and pretty much got nearly the same score. If only all heats went that well!

The conditions were even worse for the final. Mick and I were both scrambling for whatever we could find. It was really hard to find a wave that ran off and let you get in a few turns. I fell on a good wave and that probably cost me the final. But it was still good to finish on a high note after a good trip.

Bring on Hawaii!

– Bede

October 8, 2009

MOST CRITICAL TIME ON TOUR

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — Tags: , , , , , — wpssuperblog @ 9:33 am

“Seeing who can hold his nerve the longest”

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Was feeling fit and primed at the Quik Pro France. © Joli

Hey Everybody,

Bede checking in from Mundaka. It’s been a hectic few weeks since the tour resumed and we’re right in the thick of the action now in Spain. Trestles and the first of the European events in France came right on the top of each other after the long six-week break post J-Bay.

And with Mundaka on right now, and The Search, just around the corner, now
is arguably the most critical time of the tour. That’s definitely the case for Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. And it has been for me too.

I went into Trestles determined to make my own move after being dissatisfied with some of my early season performances. So to come away with a semi-final appearance out of the Hurley Pro and then a second to Mick in France last week was a good feeling that told me I had used my time off since J-Bay wisely.

What did I do? Basically, I just knuckled down. I did a bit of reflecting on how the first few events had panned out for me and I realised I needed to work
harder if I wanted to stay in the top 5. I’d become a bit slack around training and I wasn’t putting in the same effort as last year, which was why the results weren’t coming.

So the first thing I did was commit to a daily training regime – and to hit it hard. I was spending three days a week solely concentrating on fitness work. I did that with Gary “Kong” Elkerton. Elko is such a mean taskmaster. He always gets me to peak condition. But I also made sure I pushed myself harder more often than I had been. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, physically and mentally. But I also started doing skills training two days/week with my
shaper Wayne McKewen.

The work I did with Gary and Wayne was also very specific to this up and coming leg of events. Plus I was armed with some pretty good boards which just added to my confidence. Trestles went well from the outset. It’s always been a good venue for me (I won my first WT contest there). It’s like a perfect little wave park and I was really looking forward to getting my year back on track there. I felt I was surfing good and then I ran into Dane Reynolds in the semis. Dane was on fire.  He was riding a smaller board and just doing some massive airs, almost at will. With a few huge carves thrown in as well, it was an impressive showing.

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Mundaka mezu ohartu. © Joli

I felt we had a good heat. I was able to get a couple of airs myself but the difference proved to be one really high score of 9.67 Dane pulled off which included two really nice airs. Equal 3rd place showed me I was on track though, and I immediately felt good for France.

It was ironic to come up against Dane again, only in the fourth round this time.
I knew it was going to be another tough heat and this time I wanted to get off to a flyer to put Dane under some pressure. I was able to get that quick start and with the waves slowing up as our heat wore on, I was able to hold my lead and get one back on Dane.

I felt I surfed really well the whole contest except the final. It got a bit choppier and I didn’t adapt to the conditions as well as Mick. I was trying to push my turns too much and caught the odd rail which cost me. Mick was surfing so precise and fast and the better man won on the day.

But Trestles and France did help me climb back up to #4. I’m back where I want to be in the ratings. I want to finish the year off strongly and remain in the top five. Realistically, the world title is a long shot for me this year. But if I can remain in the top five after finishing second last year, I can set myself for a shot at the title next year.

The real battle for the world title is between Mick and Joel now. It’s going to be a fascinating contest too. Parko had such a great start to the year but now Mick has turned his season around and is coming home like a steam train. I’m excited to see how things now unfold. Both are really good mates of course but they’re also both super competitive. Their friendship is big enough to survive the competitive tension but seeing who can hold his nerve the longest is
going to be epic.

– Bede

August 13, 2009

INTERESTING TIMES

Filed under: Bede Durbidge — wpssuperblog @ 10:52 am

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There was a lot of sand on the rocks so it was barrelling more then normally it does there. I felt like I was surfing a point-break back on the Gold Coast. © Joli

Hey everybody,

It’s interesting times in pro surfing right now so I thought I would clock in.

J-Bay turned it on at the last contest. It was absolutely pumping. The key swell only lasted three days but it was epic. I felt right at home in my round two heat against Greg Emslie who is always so dangerous at J-Bay. Greg and I both got some good barrels and it was a close heat. But luckily for me I was able to pip him at the end.

My next heat on the final day was in totally different conditions. The swell dropped off and the wind was up early. I was against Damo Hobgood who is always a formidable competitor. He got the better of me but it was a super close heat. I needed a 6.9 on my last wave but came up just short with a 6.5.

Damo went on to finish second to Parko and he is having a great year. Parko was definitely the form surfer of the event. His style suits J-Bay perfectly and he was pretty much untouchable from the opening heat.

To be honest, I’m surprised he hasn’t won J-Bay more times with the way he surfs out there. He’s unbelievable. After J-Bay, I was keen to refresh the head. So I spent two weeks at home before heading to Bali where I’m currently having a break ahead of the European contests.

It was so good to be at home after being away for a month. I caught up with Elko a few times and got stuck back into my training. I also got some new boards off my shaper, Wayne McKewen, which I’m fine-tuning here in Bali. Bali has got to be the best place in the world to come for a holiday — it’s got everything!

Outside of J-Bay and the world title race, the big talk has been about the possibility of a new tour next year. Many of us aren’t yet aware of the final detail but I have a feeling that whatever develops will ultimately be good for surfing.

Frankly, there is a need for some things to change. I only really know what has come out in the media and I’m sure a lot of that is just speculation. Nothing official has emerged from the ASP yet. I’m guessing that is because both parties are still trying to work things out. I hope that happens because that is the ideal scenario. If the organisers of the new tour can work in with ASP, I believe we will get the best outcome for pro surfing.

One last note … it has been reported recently that my sponsor Mada had dropped me. That’s not right. Unfortunately, Mada has been gobbled up by the worldwide economic recession. It was a real bummer seeing that happen to a good company but I met some good people and made some life-long friends via my association with them. Maybe if we get a new tour I’ll have the opportunity to surf for a new major sponsor.

– Bede

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