The Roundup and Quik Pro Open Thread

26 02 2010

....and so it begins. Snapper Rocks. Photo by Joli

This is an open thread for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. If you wish, comment as you watch online. (http://www.quiksilverpro.com.au/Home.aspx)  

The Roundup is a compilation of recommended clicks and awesomeness this week in the world of surfing and beyond. If you have any suggestions, links or tips email me at nugable@gmail.com.   

ASP Awards Banquet photo gallery. Dane, Kelly, Mick, Joel, Jordy, Fish, Bam, Coco, Gilmore and significant others get all dressed up (almost).
(Transworld)     

Just another clown with a surf blog.
(Surfer Magazine)     

Before Lewis Samuels men lived in caves, had yet to invent the wheel and had to read cumbersome paper magazines with annoying advertisements.
(Coastalwatch)   

Charlie Smith opines on Snapper’s Eve. “The Dane and Jordy know what they must do to win this year. They have cut their teeth. Their horns are no longer green. They will win lots, both of them, and when they win it is exciting because Dane surfs crazy and Jordy parties crazy. And Dane is crazy.”
(Surfing Magazine)    

A fantastic interview with Surfing’s Travis Ferre.
(Runamuk Visuals)    

Mexico, Kelly, Dane, Julian and an HD camera that rolls off 1000 frames per second.
(976 Surf)    

Jed “The Greek” Smith uses the word Negro and then says he’s sorry.
(Stab Magazine)  

The Edsel, the Pinto and now Fantasy Surfer. I think they have Toyota engineers working on a fix now.
(Fantasy Surfer

Bobby being Bobby. Finally. An ESPN Surfing post I read in its entirety without nodding off after the first paragraph. Congratulations fellas.
(The Mickey Mouse Club)   

I have no idea where River Oaks is but I just might move there.
(Craigslist via Major League Jerk)





Best Bets for the Quiksilver Pro

24 02 2010

Will 2010 be Slater's last drink? Photo: ASP/Roberson

The first event of the WCT season is crucial to world title aspirations. A good start on the Gold Coast can slingshot you into world title contention. A bad result can affect your entire year. A perfect example is Kelly Slater’s early exit last year at Snapper. He seemingly never recovered. Since 2005 only 14 surfers have won a WCT event. Just 14. Can you believe that? If that doesn’t prove how difficult winning a ’CT event is, I don’t know what does.

The new One World ASP format will make things even more interesting this year, even if an Asian MIT grad can’t figure out how it works. With the Top 44 being reduced to 32 surfers at the mid-point of the season, a good start in 2010 is more important than ever.  Additionally, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the “revised” judging criteria for 2010 and the Quiksilver Pro will be its first test at the elite level. And according to recent reports, Snapper is looking prime and ready to fire just in time. But who knows? This is a mobile event and Duranbah might see a little action as well.

Joel Parkinson (2009 Result 1st)
The aftertaste of last year’s debacle may be still haunting him like Macbeth’s demons. Unless his conscience is “too full o’ the milk of human kindness,” Parko will be looking for blood in 2010, and he’ll have more of the crimson liquid on his hands than the aforementioned Shakespearean protagonist. After nursing a bum ankle during the later half of ’09, he appears to be 100 percent healthy and that equals bad news for the rest of the top 44. Because he’ll be surfing in front of a hometown crowd, you know he wants to win this one badly. And I expect him to do just that.

Kelly Slater (2009 Result 17th)
On his death bed whiskey maker Jack Daniel went out in style. His last words were “One last drink, please.” 2010 might be Kelly’s ASP farewell tour and if he truly wants it he will be popping champagne bottles in Hawaii (or before that) in lieu of Tennessee whiskey. Last year, on the Gold Coast, everyone was talking about the kneeboards he was riding. This year they’ll still be talking about his boards, but instead opponents will also be on their knees praying they don’t draw the 9-time champ in a heat. I expect no less than a finals appearance, and if he decides to do the entire tour he’ll win number 10 this year. Book it.

Bede Durbidge (2009 Result 5th)
Bede finished second in the world in 2008. Last year he finished third. How does this guy get virtually no press? Maybe Al Qaeda should recruit the Australian, because he’s so far under the radar he could hop on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles with bomb strapped to his belly and no one would notice. Maybe he should start wearing eyeliner or go on a Tiger Woods-esque sex bender. All kidding aside, his local knowledge and ability to beat anyone when he’s on will pay off. Expect him to make the semis.

Mick Fanning (2009 Result 3rd)
If the “revised” judging criteria holds true, which on paper rewards progressive surfing more than ever, Mick might suffer more than any of the other world title contenders. He just doesn’t have the manuevers in his arsenal to match up with like Dane, Jordy, Slater and the up-and-coming young guns. But the ASP Tour is not a Kai Neville or Taylor Steele film and the two-time champ knows how to win. Besides, the judges have suffered from Paris Hilton’s Lazy Eye Syndrome for years. Why should 2010 be any different? You certainly can’t knock Mick’s innate competitive desire and ability to win when it counts. I’m pretty sure he’ll get a good result, but don’t expect them to hand out Micktory T-shirts and trucker hats when it’s over.

Taj Burrow (2009 Result 3rd)
Taj is on a roll. He won the last WCT event of 2009 at Pipeline and the recent 4-star WQS at Burleigh. That might give him the momentum he needs to mount a world title campaign in 2010. Consistency is his strength and weakness. He’s always in the hunt but can’t seem to ever finish the job. His clock his ticking.  It can be argued the Western Australian gave progressive contest surfing its launching pad. If the tour was a Tennessee Williams’ play he’d be Amanda Wingfield, longing for the days when he was the belle of the ball. He still has a few prime years left, and half of the time competitive surfing is just luck. Taj always comes through with good results on the Gold Coast. I can’t see him finishing with less than an equal fifth here. 

Dane Reynolds (2009 Result 9th)
There’s so much hype surrounding Dane he’s like a genetically engineered love child of Barack Obama, Miki Dora and Christian Fletcher. Dane is progressive surfing’s perceived savior. Last year at Jeffreys Bay he hit his stride and began to live up to the hype—at least competitively. He has so much talent and is so in tune with the ocean, that if he was female the tides might just ebb and flow with his menstrual cycle. If the revised judging criteria isn’t just PR propaganda, his go-for-broke approach in heats will surely benefit. A good start here may just propel him into the top 5 this year. It’s a sizable gamble to state he’ll be on the winner’s podium. At Snapper, he could lose in the first round or win the whole thing. My prognostication skills are like Dane’s surfing and I’m willing to gamble on this one.

Jordy Smith (2009 Result 9th)
I saw the South African assassin surfing a marginal beachbreak in Orange County about a week ago and he was just lighting it up. He might be the best surfer in the world right now. What amazes me about Jordy is he’s 6’2’’ and nearly 200 pounds. He can throw buckets of water and huck himself six feet in the air on the same wave. He probably won’t win, but I predict he’ll make the trek to Bells with no less than an equal fifth under his belt.

Owen Wright (2009 Result N/A)
Owen is my dark horse pick to win the Quik Pro. The only negative for Owen at Snapper is he’s a goofyfoot, which means he’ll be on his backhand. If some of the comp runs at D-Bah that might help his chances even more because it’s a right or left. When it comes to competing he has balls the size of watermelons. Slater? Parko? Mick? No worries. It doesn’t seem to faze the kid one iota. If he drew Jesus of Nazareth in round three he’d probably shrug and say “looks like I’m going to have to one up this guy’s walk-on-water routine.” And he probably would.





Why Surfing Really Isn’t an Olympic Sport

22 02 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics began last Friday in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For two weeks billions of viewers will watch thousands of athletes compete for country, glory and medals. I’m one of them. I admit it. I’ve bought in. I have Olympic fever even if Bob Costas makes me want to kill myself with and SUP paddle. Costas makes the impossible possible. He makes surfing announcers almost tolerable.

I think I’ve completely lost my marbles. On Saturday I was simultaneously watching the WQS 4-star event at Burleigh on my laptop and Olympic curling on television. I hate to admit it but the curling won the majority of my attention. I’m now a verified curling enthusiast. Hell, I might just scrap this site for a curling blog.

Another person with Olympic fever is Reef co-founder and International Surfing Association President Fernando Aguerra. The Argentine has been trying to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add surfing to the Olympics for more than a decade. In two years London will host the Summer Olympics and surfing will miss the cut again. But it appears few people care—other than Aguerra and those that see dollar signs with its inclusion. No one is more passionate than Aguerra about the subject. You have to give him credit for his persistence. Last year he even got a little face time with IOC President Jacques Rogge. What came out of the meeting was the IOC would consider surfing if artificial waves or wave pools were utilized. With that ludicrous idea they completely lost me.

Proponents of getting surfing into the Olympics have a fairly valid case. Duke Kahanamoku, perhaps the most famous surfer of all time, was a five-time Olympic swimming medalist, including three gold medals. Surfing’s man-against-man-against-nature element seems like a perfect sport for the Games. And snowboarding, a sport that evolved directly from surfing, was included recently. But for non-surfers surfing really isn’t that exciting to watch. Don’t believe me? If you ever need some alone time and you want the wife or girlfriend to leave the room, pop in a surf video. She’ll leave the room faster than greased gorilla sliding down a bobsled track.

Right now Shaun White is possibly the most recognizable and marketable Winter Olympic athlete. He’s everywhere. His burnt sienna locks are searing retinas all over the world. He’s had so much face time on NBC I’m concerned his Geico caveman mug might become permanently burned into my TV screen. But when the IOC included snowboarding in 1998 it wasn’t exactly embraced by snowboarding’s elite with open arms. Arguably the most respected and best snowboarder at the time, Terje Håkonsen, basically told the IOC to go fuck themselves. He wanted no part of it. I suspect surfers have the same attitude. The ASP, which is nearly 30 years old, isn’t exactly a perfect system. Imagine how bad outsiders would screw it up. Wave pools would be just the beginning.

If surfing didn’t gain inclusion during the Sydney Games in 2000 why should we think surfing will ever become an Olympic sport? That was its best shot. It’s like the prom queen was in the limo drunk on cheap champagne, naked and horny and they still couldn’t close the deal. Like they say, he who procrastinates masturbates. And Aguerra has had Olympic blue balls for more than a decade.

Unfortunately it’s all politics theses days. Think about it. The most popular and most televised sports involve teenage or 20-something females in skimpy, tight-fitting outfits. Think about it. Gymnastics. Check. Ice skating. Check. Swimming. Check. I can picture some hick in middle America on his sofa drinking a Budweiser. “God damn,” he would say while polishing his shotgun with his free hand. “I sure do love it when that Dominique girl does the splits.”

If Aguerra and the ISA are truly serious about getting surfing in the Games, I suggest a fresher, bolder approach—one that would guarantee a slot in the Games and massive amounts of network television coverage. Let’s introduce the IOC and the boys at NBC to Alana Blanchard and Bruna Schmitz. Then surfing would be on primetime in no time. Besides, Michael Phelps probably needs a new weed connection, and I’m sure there are a few surfers out there that could hook him up. 

 





Jordy and Me

19 02 2010

Jordy Smith. Photo: Sherman

The new board had been resting against the wall in the corner of my bedroom for almost a week. A long week. One that involved three days of rain, fierce winds and a nasty bout with the flu. But she was lonely. It was time.

Nothing stokes the soul of a surfer quite like the smell of new, unridden polyurethane in the morning. Like Viagra for the toes. And these phalanges were stiffer than a crucifix. I woke up early but the tide was super high. I decided to let the tide drop a bit, have a cup of Joe and watch a little surfing on the computer beforehand. Modern Collective was the call. I took a long sip of Kona and it chased with a bit of Jordy Smith footage.

I abandoned the wait-for-the-tide-to-get-low theory after about 20 minutes, chugged the last bit of Joe and hopped in the car. As I sped past Magnolia Street on my way to the jetty, I saw a few peaks bubbling on the horizon. A clean, west swell was brewing. It looked promising. I knew the jetty was one of the few spots in the area that wouldn’t be swamped out by the high tide.

I pulled into the lot and parked beside a black pick-up truck with an O’Neill sticker on the rear window. A tall, shaggy silhouette emerged from the truck and began putting on his wetsuit. I did the same. Didn’t even need to do the usual pre-surf look-see. I was going out regardless of the conditions. I grabbed a bar of wax from the trunk and looked to my right. The silhouette was now distinguishable. It was Jordy Smith. Jordy fucking Smith. What are the odds? I gave him a quick nod. He nodded back. I tried to avoid looking directly at his nipples. I focused instead on the pure, white board and the bar of wax in my hands. I paused and pondered the sheer randomness of running into Jordy Smith at the local break.

It was time. I walked down to the end of the key. Jordy was already in the lineup. He hacked a meaty, head-high left. I stretched my hammies.

Paddling out was an adventure of its own. The runoff from the rains of days past made the water dirtier than a Barstow gas station bathroom. Debris of all sorts littered the impact zone. My wetsuit acted as the protective liner provided by management. My hands, feet and face had no such luxury.

It was a good session. The new board worked well. A little squirrely, but after the first turn I knew she was a keeper. I surfed for nearly three hours, caught one last righthander, kicked out and headed back to shore. My arms felt a little like worn Volkswagen fanbelts with more than 100,000 miles on them.

On the beach, a condom wrapper rested on the sand alongside a pile of debris. I looked back toward the lineup. Jordy boosted a three-foot alley oop. I turned around and walked slowly to the car. I needed a shower.





Please Stand By…

18 02 2010

Nug has been unable to update due to the removal of his wisdom teeth. He apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Regular scheduled programing will return shortly.





The Roundup: Swine Flu Edition

12 02 2010

The Roundup is a compilation of recommended clicks this week in the world of surfing and beyond. If you have any suggestions, links, tips or want to donate product or cash to support a hungry blogger email me at nugable@gmail.com.

A Mavericks contest without Jeff Clark is like an issue of O Magazine without Oprah on the cover. Regardless, it’s a go for Saturday. (Maverickssurf.com)

Why surf blogs matter. Now I know what Navin R. Johnson felt like in The Jerk when he discovered his name in the phone book. (Surfer Magazine)

Mike Hynson talks about the famous scene in Rainbow Bridge when they stored hash in a Rainbow surfboard. (The Surfer’s Journal)

Mick Fanning offers President Obama surfing lessons? The horror. (Boardistan)

Rasta isn’t going to like this one bit. Is Billabong in bed with the bin Ladens? (Abtractlines.tv)

The Brown brothers on a boat? I’m speechless. Really I Am. (thebrownbrothers.com)

Looking for some concealable weapons? Look no further. (Dontevenreply.com)

The new face of the Republican party is Ronald Reagan? (The Onion)





Surfing Motivational Posters

8 02 2010

H/T to Your Daily Donkey