Wrap Up: Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro

South African Jordy Smith has taken out the Hurley Pro in California! The natural-footer took a little time to find his composure in the Final of the world famous event in Southern California’s San Clemente region, though eventually overcame Hawaiian rival John John Florence in an epic Final of competition. The win is his first of the 2014 surfing season.Jordy2Jordy6Smith overcame reigning World Champion Mick Fanning in the Quarterfinals and continued to answer back to every turn, air and hack his competitors threw at him. John John lived up to his usual antics, posting a near perfect 9.17 in the Quarterfinals before overcoming 11-times World Champion Kelly Slater by a narrow score of just 1.00 in the Semi Finals for a spot in the Final. JJThe huge crowds gathered for what would be an amazing Hawaiian vs. South African showdown. Though he was dominated by Florence throughout almost the entire Heat due to falls and insecurities, Smith eventually found his form and posted a crucial score in the dying minutes to secure his win at Lower Trestles. Smith finished his Hurley Pro campaign sitting on a comfortable 16.50 to that of Florence’s 15.87. Now a local of the region, Jordy has proven he deserves a spot out in the infamously crowded line-up.Jordy3Stephanie Gilmore also overcame fellow countrywomen and good friend Sally Fitzgibbons in the Final of the Swatch Women’s Pro, also held at Lower Trestles. The 5-times World Champion proved simply unstoppable as she concluded the event on a near perfect score of 19.50, just 0.50 shy of a perfect result.

“I wanted to get Sally back from Fiji because I had a tough performance there,” said Gilmore. “Whoever won that heat there, I thought was a definitive moment for the year.”Sally Sally2 Sally4SurfStitch would like to congratulate both Jordy Smith and Stephanie Gilmore on their wins in California! Bring on Stop #9 of 2014 ASP World Championship Tour in France, due to start on the 25th of September.  Stay tuned for all the latest news, action and updates!

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Hurley Pro Update

Though the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles has been on standby status for the past few days, Round 1 saw plenty of explosive action and some surprising big name upsets we did not see coming. Competitors have been training hard throughout the waiting period, tearing apart the waves of the Southern California region and getting in plenty of practice.Trestles2The world’s top surfers awoke to fun 3-5 foot clean conditions for Round 1 and the excitement that the ASP World Tour was back in town was evident. With a tonne of local spectators, the day saw plenty of action as well several huge upsets including; 2013 event champion and tour veteran Taj Burrow going down to Adrian Buchan and Travis Logie, Kelly Slater being defeated by the local Tanner Gudauskas and Carlos Muniz making history by out-surfing current World Number 1 and 2014 Teahupo’o champ, Gabriel Medina.

Defending event champion Taj Burrow struggled to find his composure in the second half of the first heat of the competition, after posting a strong first score of 7.67. The veteran couldn’t pull together a winning score combination or match the antics of Adrian Buchan and Travis Logie and was pushed to Round 2, where he will once again get a chance to prove himself to the judges. After his impressive winning performance last year, Burrow is eager to once again push through to the final Rounds.

The Gold Coast’s Mick Fanning overcame the dangerous surfing of Miguel Pupo and American Brett Simpson in Heat 2 of Round 1. The reigning World Champion traded small scores with the others for the first half of the heat before paddling into a perfect shaped wave and executing several incredible manoeuvres for a 7.17, sending Pupo and Simpson directly to Round 2 for one final chance to stay in competition.

Tahitian, Michel Bourez was able to out-surf popular contenders Filipe Toledo and Jeremy Flores in Heat 3, moving directly through to Round 3 and pushing the others towards the elimination round. Bourez attacked the right handers like no tomorrow, throwing out powerful turns and hacks and impressing the judges. “I was talking to my coach before and was thinking maybe it’s better just to stick to my game and go 80 percent, but I couldn’t do that,” Bourez said. “You never know surfing against Toledo because he can throw airs so easy. I guess I got lucky he didn’t get the score.”TrestlesMichelJoel Parkinson overcame Raoni Monteiro and fellow Australian Kai Otton in Heat 4 as the waves continued to produce fun and punchy conditions. Parkinson tore apart the punchy a-framed waves at Trestles, proving to the ASP judges why he remains close to the top of the competitive World Championship Tour (WCT) ladder.

Heat 5 saw another of the three major upsets, as local surfer Tanner Gudauskas defeated 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater and Aussie Matt ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson with his powerful backhand approach at his home break. “I don’t usually go right — I’m like a Zoolander surfer — but it felt good,” Gudauskas said of his winning ride. As for the crowd roaring on his behalf, ”I over-froth in general so I really got to watch it down here.”

Heat 6 immediately followed with the third major upset, as current World Number 1 went down to Carlos Munoz. Munoz made history with the tremendous outcome, becoming the first ever Costa Rican to win a ASP World Tour heat, and his face showed it all, filled with pure happiness and disbelief. “I cant believe how everything happened,” said Munoz after his win. “I got this chance, I prepared myself mentally. When I heard the score, I started crying. I heard everybody screaming, and I knew I needed a score. I gave my heart to that [last] one, so I’m glad the judges liked it. I can’t believe it.”TrestlesMunoz1TrestlesMunozThe dangerous competitive Brazilian Adriano de Souza wowed spectators yet again, as he turned the Trestles line up into his playground and defeated Aritz Aranburu and Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz in Heat 7. Hawaiian Fred Patacchia pushed Kolohe Andino and Jadson Andre to elimination Round 2 in Heat 8, coming a surprise to some given the recent attention his younger rival has been getting over the past few weeks. “Kolohe’s a really nice kid,” said Patacchia. “But I really, really wanted to beat him after he beat in me in Tahiti, and I did it!”TrestlesDSCalifornian Nat Young scrapped past veteran C.J. Hobgood with a narrow win of jsut 0.47 in Heat 9, impressing the local crowds. “I’ve had the same confidence all year: it was nice getting those early results but lately I’ve been struggling,” Young said of his mentality coming into the event. “I just want to get back to what I was doing.” His determination to do well at Trestles is clearly evident, as we wait to see what he can do in Round 3.

Aussie Owen Wright’s performance in Tahiti was simply incredible to say the least, and it looks like Trestles will be much the same way as he out-surfed fellow countryman Julian Wilson and Spain’s Alejo Muniz with a steady win of 17.43. TrestlesWright

South African ripper Jordy Smith was a stand-out in this year’s Billabong Pro J-Bay event, and Trestles was no different as he overcame Tiago Pires and Josh Kerr in Heat 11 with his controlled and styled approach.  “I was waiting in the lineup and there was an amazing wave I was able to work with,” Smith said. “I made some mistakes with priority so I’m stoked to make it through.”

The outstanding performance of Hawaiian John John Florence showed up Australian’s Mitch Crews and Bede Durbidge in the final heat of Round 1, with a winning score of 15.27. The Hawaiian secured a few mid-range scores and was then going for his usual explosive aerial tactics, though could not stick a high score. “For consistency I guess I have to stop trying to go all out on every turn I try,” Florence said with a sheepish smile. “Nothing I do out there is conscious. It just sort of happens.”TrestlesJJ

With a predicted swell ready to hit Trestles in the next few days, get ready for more explosive action from the world’s best surfers! One thing is for sure, if you are taking part in the ASP Fantasy Surfer League and had some smaller name surfers on your team, you’d be quietly cheering right about now as we approach the elimination rounds!

Enjoy the Round 1 highlights of the Hurley Pro below and be sure to stay tuned for all the latest updates on the competition right here on SurfStitch!

*All imagery by ASP

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Hurley Pro: Our Picks For The Prize

The Hurley Pro will take over Southern California’s Lower Trestles this week. With all the big-name surfers we’ve seen competing in the warmer water events, Trestles will be a whole different ball game – no grinding 10 footers at Teahupo’o.

The big question is, who is going to take out Stop #8 of the 2014 ASP World Championship Tour? We’ve put together some of our favourite surfers for the event title contention. It’s a mixed bag with some obvious big names and others you wouldn’t have guessed.

Mick Fanning
Growing up with one of the best right-handers in the world in his backyard, Mick Fanning knows how to read a line-up correctly. Though Trestles may not have the power or long barrels that the Superbank is well known for, the open walls will provide great opportunity for Fanning to draw those long lines and controlled, powerful turns and hacks. Fanning desperately wants to win the World Title and Trestles may be the event that helps him move up from 5th on the ladder.Mick1

Kolohe Andino
Kolohe Andino continues to prove that he wants to take surfing to the next level. From huge airs to controlled tube rides and aggressive manoeuvres, Kolohe has his surfing game on point. It’ll be exciting to see what he does in the Trestles line-up to distinguish himself from other competitors. On home surf, the Californian is no doubt ready to show the world what he can do in his backyard!Andino

Gabriel Medina
Having just won the Billabong Pro Tahiti, the young Brazilian is a favourite for the Hurley Pro. Medina proves strong in all conditions, whether it be 10 foot Teahupo’o or a 2 foot beach break. From aerials to playful on-the-face manoeuvres, Medina is a huge threat to the other competitors. A win at Trestles will push Gabriel one step closer to becoming the first Brazilian surfing World Champion, and we’re pretty sure he’s hungry for it.gabs

Josh Kerr
Yep, Josh Kerr. He hasn’t had the best run this year, but don’t let that fool you. Josh prevails in all conditions and is known for his ability to make something out of nothing. An obvious strong aerial game, the Australian will be eager to prove to world how he can tear apart Trestles. Currently ranked at #11, a good result could significantly buff up his position on the ladder.JK

Jordy Smith
South African shredder, Jordy Smith is another favourite to take the event to the finish line. With plenty of cold water experience and those long right-handers at Jeffreys Bay, Jordy has a strong advantage over some of his warm water rivals. It was obvious at this year’s Billabong Pro at J-Bay that Jordy is capable of anything and everything. Standing at 6 foot 2, bigger surf would help Smith showcase his true raw power.jordy

Julian Wilson
Wilson has been taking the surfing world by storm since a young age. Known for his technical surfing skills and trademarks, Wilson will no doubt throw out a bag of goodies at this year’s event. He is also one of Hurley’s top team riders, so chances are he’ll be looking to impress his boss.Julian

Competitor rivalry aside, Trestles is one of the most amazing events on Tour. It may not have the perfect crystal clear waters of Fiji or Tahiti, but the wave itself proves a challenge,not to mention the raw competitiveness that the American’s bring.

Be sure to keep up to date with all the news from the Hurley Pro here on the blog! With the recent fun run of waves over in California, let’s hope for some epic days during the competition! Stay tuned…

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One For The Loggers

We all know that the whole of Australia has recently been on the pump with waves. From epic superbank sessions, to some stand-out and solid days at Cape Fear, Australia has had no lack of swell over the past few weeks and one thing is for sure, it has been fantastic! Two hours North of the Gold Coast saw no difference, with the points of Noosa firing with perfect mechanical waves, delivering the goods to local and travelling surfers for days on end.

Get ready to watch Noosa’s best longboarders have more fun than ever out in the line-up, as Keahi de Aboitiz brings us this new clip shot with, you guessed it, a drone.

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Cape Fear: Done And Dusted

While it was not the swell or conditions we had been anticipating, Red Bull Cape Fear at the infamous ‘Ours’ break in Sydney went ahead in 4-6 foot conditions on Sunday. The invite-only competition saw 16 of the world’s best big wave surfers take on one of the heaviest waves in the world. Each battle was man-on-man, with the winner of every 40-minute event taking home a cool $10,000 (not too bad for getting barreled a few times and sharing the break with only one other fellow surfer!) Then again, some of us would be asking for a lot more to face off with those heavy right-handers that break onto a barnacle infested rock slab in only a few feet of water! After months of waiting, Contest Director and Cape Fear competitor, Mark Mathews made the call for the competition to be held on Sunday, which just happened to be the very last day of the already extended waiting period. With huge swells hitting the break on the Saturday, it was unfortunate they didn’t hang around. Despite the lack of the 10-12 foot swell the competitors were hoping for, there was no shortage of barrels and wipe-outs.Cape5Cape3It was an Australian clean sweep over the American competitors with Richie Vas, Kirk Flintoff, Koby Abberton and Jesse Polock claiming victories at their local break. Laurie Towner and Dean Morrison also proved unstoppable at the grinding right-hander slab.

One of the more memorable moments was Koby Abberton taking a fall on the rocks before entering the water. He was swept off the shelf and into the water in front of the audience, judges and other fellow surfers. The comic embarrassment was soon laughed off and he cruised to victory over good friend, Bruce Irons.

Abberton aside, there were plenty more positive highlights throughout the day. Ryan ‘Hippo’ Hipwood’s opening wave was without a doubt one of the best. Jamie O’Brien also pushed the boundaries by taking off switch foot – something he is known for at his home break at Pipeline.
Cape2cape0We are excited to see the Cape Fear competition return next year with the same group of big name surfers and hopefully some new faces too! We’re already praying for bigger swells, so the full potential of Cape Fear can be experienced by all!

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After many months of anticipation and excitement, the call has been made to hold the Red Bull Cape Fear competition this Sunday, the 31st August. As the waiting period comes to an end, local hero and big wave charger Mark Mathews officially made the call to hold the competition this weekend, as a big swell is forecast to hit the rock shelf at the break on Sydney’s southern wave, known as ‘Ours’.ShortyThe wave, which sits off the edge of Botany Bay in Sydney, will see a 8-10 foot swell unload on its rock shelf bottom over the weekend, perfect for the Cape Fear competition. The event hosted by Red Bull invites 14 of the worlds best big wave chargers to take on the wave of Cape Fear. The wave has a sharp rock and reef bottom and breaks only meters away from a cliff face adding to the danger and intensity, aspects that these guys are all well aware of.

“There’s no wave in the world from six to 10 feet that is heavier or more dangerous” Mathews says. “Deep water swell pitch on a super shallow ledge that’s covered with razorblade barnacles and then it breaks only 10-15 metres from the cliff face. If you fall off and don’t hit the bottom, chances are you’re going to get washed in to that cliff face. There are plenty of dangers and only few willing to navigate them.CapefearThe competing surfers will battle the reef break in two formats. Tow-in assistance from a jet-ski will be one element of competition, while paddle in is another. With only 1 day of competition, will it be the local lads who prove who’s boss? Or an international name? Only time will tell!

The wave itself only comes to life three or four time a year, making the event just a little more special for spectators and surfers alike. As the call has now been made, the invited surfers from around the globe will descend on Sydney’s southern beaches for a chance to ride some of the heaviest waves in the world. Some popular names include Jamie O’Brien, Ryan Hipwood, Bruce Irons and a collection of local surfers, including Bra Boy Koby Abberton.

After all that excitement at the Billabong Pro Tahiti over the past week, it’s time for Australia to once again prove how good our waves are! Stay up to date with the Red Bull Cape Fear competition here on the SurfStitch Blog to ensure you miss none of the action!

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’d know about the amazing waves the Gold Coast has seen since Monday. With the return of the ten second plus barrel rides off the Superbank and other nearby point breaks, adrenaline has been running high amongst visiting and local surfers. You know, the unique excitement that only comes when paddling into a perfect wave out in the line-up to battling the ups and downs of the crazy crowd.

Despite the GC’s reputation, It hasn’t been all about the point breaks. The beaches down the coast have also been producing the goods, with next to know one out to bump shoulders with. To score a perfect a-framing peak with a bunch of buddies is a pretty rare occasion at the Gold Coast. However, the past week has proved it’s not impossible!

Here are some of our favourite shots from the past week. It’s nothing but sunshine and perfect waves! Life on the coast doesn’t sound too bad, does it?!Corey1jye2Corey4Corey2Phil2jye1jye3SS1cody3cody1corey3cody2

Imagery:Jye McDonald, Corey Wyatt, Phil Gallagher, Cody Black, Sean Scott

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Billabong Pro Tahiti: Final Day

Congratulations to Gabriel Medina who has won the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti! Again, securing his top of the ladder position!

Mother Nature invited the competitors with a huge 10 foot swell at Teahupo’o, for all to show their barrel riding skills to the world. Gabriel remains safe at the top of the ladder, leading over Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson and Michel Bourez. The win is yet another valuable stepping stone in his World Title campaign. It’s the third event Medina has taken in the 2014 season and the opportunity to become to first Brazilian ASP World Champion is on the horizon. medina2“I don’t really know what to say,” said Medina after his win. “Before the Final I went home to talk to my mom, and the words she said inspired me: ‘No one is bigger than God.’ And I trust in God. I think that was him, I am so blessed to have these conditions at Chopes. I’m so happy right now.

“Kelly is a legend of surfing,” Medina continued. “When I fell off, I thought I had lost that heat. But I thank God. This is the best feeling ever. The waves were perfect and big. This feeling is amazing. I don’t know how to describe it. I love surfing, I love what I’m doing right now.

“I want to thank ASP to put this event on here, I love this wave now more. Thanks to the water patrol to keep us safe. I’m really happy to be part of this.”ASPfinalsmedina10542428_737215159677584_8799730863388920740_oThe final day of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti presented nothing but epic waves and some stand out performances as the final heats were held. The day commenced with Round 4, with many amazing waves and surprising big name upsets. Although Round 4 is a ‘no losers’ round, the results can still have a major influence on overall results.ASPfinalsThe end of Round 4 saw Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan advance over Michel Bourez and Tiago Pires, Gabriel Medina overcome Bede Durbidge and Kolohe Andino, John John absolutely kill it against Brett Simpson and Kai Otton, with Kelly Slater also advancing over inform Owen Wright and Dion Atkinson.

As Round 5 begun, it was obvious which four surfers were in it to win it. Making stand-out appearances the entire competition was Hawaiian John John Florence, Floridian Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina, and our own Aussie charger Owen Wright.ASPfinalskellyQuarterfinal 1 saw Bede Durbidge take on fellow Aussie Adrian Buchan. It was a close heat for the entire 30 minutes, though Durbidge rose victorious over his fellow countryman. “I’m just getting more and more comfortable and wanting the bigger ones every time I paddled back out,” Durbidge said. “I caught a big flogging and after that I thought well that’s the worst it could be so I might as well go for it now.”

This was followed by Medina taking on Kolohe Andino in Quarterfinal 2. The Brazilian and the Californian went head to head as the huge sets continued to roll in, the conditions proving so perfect that both could pick and chose exactly which wave they wanted.

“I had my strategy and worked it so I’m pretty stoked,” Medina said.

Dion Atkinson really proved himself this competition, especially in Quarterfinal 3 when he took on the infamous John John Florence. Both surfers gave it everything they had, charging the bigger sets and looking comfortable when doing so. Though Atkinson got probably some of the best waves in his life including a score of 10, he could not beat the near perfect combination score posted by the Hawaiian.ASPAtkinsonKelly took on Owen Wright in Quaterfinal 4 but proved too strong for the Australian, with near perfect scores thanks to big, deep barrel rides. Semi Final 1 saw Bede Durbidge meet World Number 1 Gabriel Medina for yet another spectacular display of surfing. Durbidge had been pushing the limits the entire competition, evident when he took a wipe-out in an earlier heat. Both surfers managed to take the huge drops make the amazing tubes, though it was the young Brazilian phenomenon who stole the stage and progressed through to the Final.

We all had almost wished it was Semi Final 2 that was the Final, as John John Florence took on 11 time world champion Kelly Slater in the 10-12 foot conditions. The pair pushed each other beyond belief, making late take-offs and pulling into some of the heaviest waves the contest had seen. It was an amazing show of courage and competitiveness watching the new take on the old, with spectacular surfing from both. John Johns final score was just shy of Slater’s, as Kelly advanced through to meet Medina in the Final of the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti. Florence left the contest with 10 nine point rides, and a perfect 10.ASPfinalsJJThough getting knocked in the Quarterfinals, it was still all smiles for Owen Wright as he took home the prestigious Andy Irons Award. The award focuses on and is given to the surfer who best represents everything about Andy Irons. From charging, to the relaxed, easy going attitude, Wright proved to be a great choice and indeed the man for this amazing award.ASPfinalsOWEN3SurfStitch would like to again congratulate Gabriel Medina for taking out the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti! What an outstanding performance from all the top competitors, putting on a great display of surfing and pushing the limits of the sport to the next level! We now all wait in excitement for Stop #8 of the ASP World Championship Tour at Trestles in California!

For all the highlights from the final day of competition at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, check out the clip below!

*Imagery by ASP, Billabong

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Billabong Pro Tahiti Update

With a rising swell and after a weekend of lay days, the Billabong Pro Tahiti was called on this morning, with plenty of action going down in Round 3! The remaining surfers took to the stage once again, all eager to take the title of the event and of course ride some of the most perfect waves on Planet Earth with only one other competitor.Chopes1

Heat 1 of Round 3 saw Taj Burrow meet Tiago Pires in the pumping 8 foot conditions at Teahupo’o. The heat saw a restart and it was soon after the hooter that Pires opened with a solid score of 7.50. Burrow was soon to answer, however only managed to earn a 6.17. The head to head battle continued between the wildcard and tour veteran, though it was Pires who continued to paddle into the better waves, earning himself near perfect scores in the 9′s. Taj was sent packing as Tiago Pires gets ready to face his next challenge at the infamous reef break.

“I love this wave and it’s been a few years since I got a result here,” Pires said. “I was hoping for a good wave and I was pretty selective and it happened. It’s safe to say this is my first good heat of the year so I’m really psyched.”

An all Aussie Heat 2 was ready to tear apart the Tahitian line-up as Adrian Buchan and Josh Kerr hit the water. Both competitors knew what the were after instantly, waiting for the bigger sets. Kerr cracked as Buchan remained patient. This eventually paid off for Buchan as he scrapped into a terrific score of 9.00 in the final 10 minutes, leaving Kerr’s smaller wave selections far behind. Kerr was unfortunately sent packing, while the reigning event champion advances once again.

“I have a couple big days coming up, I’ve been surfing heaps,” said Buchan. “Being defending champ has given me the extra motivation I’ve been struggling to find this year… We’ve got a great forecast. I’m going to enjoy every moment, and try to surf some great heats.”

Local hero Michel Bourez next battled an inform Aritz Aranburu in the sudden death heat of Heat 3, Round 3. It was a close heat all the way through with both surfers exchanging perfect Teahupo’o waves again and again. In the end however, it was local lad Michel Bourez who eliminated Aranburu thanks to his clean exits of the barrel. It was a narrow win with just 0.13 separating first from second, but a win nevertheless. Californian Kolohe Andino took to the perfect waves next against Aussie ripper Mitch Crews. Though the Aussie tried to remain strong, it was Andino who wowed spectators in the pumping conditions. With a combination score of 18.10, Crews simply could not catch the Californian and was sent home.

“I was here for a week before the event started, and you start to trust yourself and trust your line-ups’ said Andino. ”I’m Just trying to push myself. Both my waves I thought were closeouts, but I felt I should go because those are the ones you can get eights and nines.Kolohe

The next heat was one to not miss as tour veteran C.J. Hobgood came up against Bede Durbidge. The waves were pumping and both surfers did not hold back, both accumulating great scores with their barrel riding skills. Durbidge took the lead first, and although it was slight, he maintained the first place position. Hobgood eventually paddled into a screamer in the final moments, getting a long tube ride and forcing a tie, both surfers sitting on 13.10. It was the comparison of the highest single wave score that pushed Durbidge through, as C.J. had to face a painful loss.

“I thought he was going to get a two,” Durbidge said of Hobgood’s last-ditch effort. “He turned a two into a 6.40 so it was a long two minutes waiting for the score to come out. It’s good to make it through. I want to get some big barrels tomorrow. I’m over the moon right now.”

We all know the efforts of wildcard entrant Nathan Hedge have been simply amazing to watch, and Heat 6 of Round 3 brought with it much anticipation and excitement as the Aussie charger faced off with the current World Number 1, Gabriel Medina. The pair lived right up to what the crowd wanted, opening the scores with 9 point rides. Medina was quick to back up with a second score of 8.93, leaving Hedge in need of another high score. A heavy wipe-out perhaps rattled the Australian, as Medina continued to clock scores onto the board, including another 9 point ride. The Brazilian World Champ proved too strong or Hedge, who leaves the competition in Round 3.hedge

Joel Parkinson next faced American Brett Simpson in Heat 7. Being on the tour for several years now, Parko was considered to have a great competitive advantage over Simpson. Although facing a wipe-out early in the Heat, Simpson recovered and was soon to post two high scoring rides, one from a long barrel ride which impressed judges. Parko seemed rattled and tried to fight back in the dying moments, though a wave score of 7.17 could not keep him in competition.

“He goes as hard as anyone,” Simpson said. “It’s almost like when the waves gets better it’s easier for me to focus on what you need to do.”

The grace of John-John Florence was next up against Sebastian Zietz. The cool, calm and collected attitude of Florence is always a pleasure to watch and he did not disappoint in Heat 8. His first wave involved him standing high and dry in a huge barrel, resulting in a 8.77. He then clocked another score of 9.67, starting strong and leaving Zietz in a tough situation. Zietz eventually found a mid range score of 6.60, though Florence bit back once again with another high score of 9.93. Zietz was eliminated as he simply could not match the near perfect scores from his fellow Hawaiian opponent.

“I just went out there, I didn’t think it would be this big,” said Florence. “To actually be on the spot for a couple sets was really fun. This wave is a crazy takeoff, it almost looks like a closeout. I just started pumping and rode the foamball and hoped for the best.”florence

Nat Young came up against an inform Kai Otton in Heat 9 of Round 3. Otton was determined to win, and this was evident with his perfect 10 ride with one of the deepest barrels of the event. Young was not intimidated and fought back with a score in the 9′s after a steep drop and successful barrel ride. Otton proved too strong for the American as Nat Young was sent packing.

11 Time World Champion Kelly Slater came up next against Jadson Andre in Heat 10. There certainly was no wasting time with the champ, as he clocked in three 9 point rides in the first 10 minutes. Andre simply couldn’t not match the performance of Slater, who in the end put five 9 point rides on the scoreboard, an incredible effort. Andre, who tried to keep up with Slater rode the same amount of waves, though could not compete.

“It’s like a crazy high,” Slater said after the heat win. “I’m trying to quell it right now, and let it simmer. This is probably the best I’ve ever surfed Chopes,” he continued. “It’s just big enough for that outside ledge to go hollow. I would say it’s almost safe out there. … [It's] taller seas, but shorter intervals. Chopes doesn’t like that 18-second interval, and this is 15 or so. This is where it gets beautiful.”Kelly1

It was an all Aussie affair in Heat 11, as Owen Wright and Matt ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson battled for a spot in Round 4. Wright made a name for himself at Teahupo’o when he surfed against Slater in the 2011 Final and though he was not victorious three years ago, the tube riding skills were not forgotten and he was back again to prove it. From the beginning, Wright was evidently giving it his all, making steep drops and exiting cleanly. With a combined score of 17.43, Wilkinson was left struggling for a strong combination score. He paddled into a few waves, though they could not match the performance of his fellow countryman.

With the swell at it’s biggest and best, Mick Fanning took to the line-up for the last heat of the day, up against Dion Atkinson. After a slow first half of the heat, both surfers finally got what they were looking for as an amazing set approached. Dion paddled into the first one, taking the huge drop and controlling his line through the huge barrel for a strong score of 9.50. Fanning attempted to bite back, though instead had a horrible wipe-out. Fanning eventually found a mid scoring wave, though could not match Atkinson’s earlier efforts.

“It feels bloody good,” Atkinson said of his win. “I’m surfing for my survival, and these guys for the title. I’m out there to win it, and I’m stoked I did, and got barreled in the process. I’ve got the lineup more dialled now,” he added. “Took a few days of floggings even though it wasn’t big when I got here. I’m stoked to be putting it together. “mick1

Be sure to stay up to date with all the action from the Billabong Pro Tahiti here on the SurfStitch Blog! With Round 4 scheduled to start tomorrow, we will all be one step closer to finding out who will be crowded champion of the 2014 event! Good luck to the remaining competitors! Until then, check out all the action from Round 3 below.

*All imagery by ASP

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Nyjah Huston wins Street League Super Crown

He’s done it again! Nyjah Huston has made skateboarding history by taking out every event on the Nike Sb Street League Skateboarding circuit, winning the fourth and final Super Crown event in New Jersey. Nyjah has blown the skateboarding world away with his 2014 efforts, and this win solidifies his name further into the skateboarding record books. nyjah32

The course for the final event of the Nike Sb Street League Skateboarding did not disappoint riders or spectators, as the top 8 skaters in the world threw their best bags of tricks into competition. Each competitor was hungry for the win, perhaps to stop the destructive competitive hurricane that is Nyjah Huston. The 20 year old proved too strong for his opponents, again winning the event, this time however on Super Crown status. Huston is the first skateboarder to win all events on the tour, making the title of ‘World Champion’ just that little bit sweeter.Nyjah1

A further congratulations to Runners Up Torey Pudwell and Ishod Wair, also presenting stand out efforts. Australian shredder Shane O’Neill also did well despite not making the top three, winning the Diamond Supply Co. best trick competition.

Congratulations to all competitors of the Nike Sb Street League Skateboarding, we can’t wait to see what is to come in 2015!

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