Women’s 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – Round 1 Wrap Up

Yesterday saw the women open the first round of stop three of ten on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT). The 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach opened with 3-4 foot cold water waves, an excited crowd and some standout performances. The ladies were able to get through the entire Round 1 at the legendary wave of Rincon, with all competitors proving hungry for the win and the opportunity to ring the world renowned ‘Bell of Bells Beach.’


The Bells Beach playing field – photo by ASP

First to the water were American Courtney Conlogue and Hawaiians Malia Manuel and Alessa Quizon. After all the great efforts in Western Australia over the past few weeks, all the women were keen to once again prove themselves in cold water conditions. It was Alessa Quizon who paddled into the first wave of the event, completing a few small turns and placing first scores on the board. Though Quizon may have opened the event, it was Malia and Conlogue who stood out to onlookers, with both exchanging strong scores and battling for firstplace to advance to Round 3. Courtney Conlogue advanced by combining a 6.83 and an 8.17 through an array of turns, impressing crowds and judges.


Courtney Conlogue performs a big turn off the top in the first heat of competition – photo by ASP

I’m starving for a win right now. I want to ring that Bell. I want to bang it till it’s dented. It’ll remember me.” – Courtney Conlogue

Heat 2 saw former bell ringer and Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons take on Coco Ho and Alana Blanchard, both from Hawaii. Ho gave it her all, combining turns and powerful hacks, though it was Fitzgibbons who’s knowledge prevailed, pushing both Hawaiians to round 2 and advancing to Round 3.

Heat 3 saw WCT Rookie Dimity Stoyle meet current equal World Number 1 Carissa Moore and fellow Aussie Zoe Clarke. All looked comfortable in the conditions, with Carissa full of confidence since winning the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro two weeks ago. It was the rookie who stole the show however, opening her campaign with a combination of great scores and powerful manoeuvres. Stoyle sat on a combined score of 15.76, a score of which the World Number 1 or Zoe Clarke could simply not match. This saw Dimity Stoyle advance to Round 3, and cause the first surprising result for the contest.


Dimity Stoyle in Heat 3, bettering current World Number 1 and Zoe Clarke – photo by ASP

Nikki Van Dijk, Tyler Wright and Pauline Ado would face off in Heat 4 with conditions still holding up and providing some open faces and manoeuvrable sections. Though all Rip Curl team mates, this did not stop all the women going head to head to take out the heat, all eager to move the next round and miss early elimination. As inconsistency began to occur, Van Dijk used her local knowledge to her advantage, picking off the best possible waves and mixing it up through a display of powerful turns and long cutbacks. She was able to finish on 14.84 and take out the heat, pushing fellow Aussie Tyler Wright and France’s Pauline Ado into the second round.

Five time World Champion and current equal World Number 1 Stephanie Gilmore faced off French shredder Johanne Defay and fellow Aussie Laura Enever in Heat 5 of Round 1. Gilmore would face off with the two rookies as conditions continued to slow down to everyone’s frustration and disappointment. Defay opened the campaign by tearing apart what was possible in the slow afternoon conditions, causing concern to Enever and Gilmore. Eventually Stephanie found form, completing several good scores and obtaining a mix of good scores. In the end, Enever and Defay could not match the current World Number 1, as Gilmore advanced to Round 3. The two rookies were pushed to the elimination heats of Round 2.


Stephanie Gilmore at Bells – Photo by Surfline

The final heat of the day saw South African Bianca Buitendag meet American Lakey Peterson and New Zealand’s Paige Hareb. Buitendag has had some stand out performances so far this year, and this heat only added to the list. Though Peterson and Hareb managed to scrape together some small combination scores, it was Buitendag’s back hand grovel skills that got the scores needed to advance through to Round 3.

Today sees a lay day in competition as the inconsistent conditions continued through the remainder of yesterday afternoon and last night. The competition is not scheduled to have too much down time, however the swell is predicted to rise again for Saturday and the Easter Weekend. Keep up to date with the 2014 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach here on the SurfStitch blog, or get all your live video action at http://www.aspworldtour.com

Happy Easter from everyone here at SurfStitch!

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Michel Bourez Wins Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2014

Tahitian Michel Bourez has claimed the win at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, stop number 2 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT). Bourez blitzed his way through all heats, tearing apart the right hand open faces at Margaret River’s Main Break and eliminating some of the sport’s biggest names. This is the Tahitians first WCT event win, and his emotions continue to run high coming into the next stop at Bells Beach, scheduled to start tomorrow.


Michel Bourez beats Josh Kerr and claims victory at Margaret River – Photo by ASP

The Final Day of competition saw overcast skies and the remaining competitors face off in 3-5 foot conditions at Margaret’s Main Break. The day was scheduled to hold the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals, with a winner crowned by the end of the day. Spectators observed from the beach and online viewers tuned in from all over the world to watch once again, a great day of surfing with many standout performances all across the board.

Quarter Final 1 was first in the water, seeing Aussie Bede Durbidge face off against the in form Jordy Smith. Though Smith has been pleasing audiences with his explosive surfing over the past week, it was Durbidge who managed to overpower the South African and take the win with a 15.30, to Smith’s 14.00. This saw Bede advance and Smith get knocked out. “Jordy and I surf very similar. We both try to use our power and our big frames” said Bede. “I know I can still do it, and it’s good to be winning heats. I just want to keep going now.” Although not overwhelmed by the result, Jordy seemed content after having such a bad result on the Gold Coast a few weeks earlier.

Quarter Final 2 followed and saw danger man Gabriel Medina versus air fanatic Josh Kerr. Kerr has a lot of experience in the South-West corner of Western Australia and Medina is leading the rankings, which when combined create a great heat of surfing. The crowds watched on in anguish as the two went head to head. It was Kerr who would get the result needed to advance, knocking out current world number 1 Gabriel Medina and advancing to the next round.

11 time World Champion Kelly Slater met Joel Parkinson in Quarter Final 3. Both have had a great deal of experience surfing in these cold waters and it was evident in this heat. Slater struck first with a rapid display of manoeuvres on the right hander. Parko answered well with an array of scores, but came 0.10 shy of taking the win, a devastating upset. “I like surfing against Joel,” Kelly said. “It’s fun. I don’t go out there having to wonder what he’s going to do. I always feel like Joel’s going to put in a good heat, and that forces me to just have to surf better.” Quarter 4 saw event winner Michel Bourez face off with American Nat Young. Young struggled with the choice of equipment changing boards twice, leaving the door open for Hurley team mate Bourez to take the win and advance to the Semi Finals.

Semi Final 1 was an all Aussie affair, with Bede Durbidge coming up against Josh Kerr. Both competitors were hungry and traded first and second positions throughout the entire heat. Kerr detonated first with a show of scores, a 5.50 and an 8.83. Bede however, was not intimidated, locking in a 7.07 and a 7.80. These scores were eventually deemed as not good enough, as Josh Kerr managed to scrape into one last final wave and secure his name in the Final of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro for the second year in a row.


Josh Kerr flying high in Semi Final 1 – Photo by ASP

Semi Final 2 was a match up of the great Kelly Slater and Tahitian power surfer Michel Bourez. Whoever would win this heat would face Josh Kerr in the Final and have a shot at winning the entire event. Bourez almost struggled to find his rhythm as Slater locked in some valuable scores through a display of controlled, powerful turns. It was the dying minutes yet again which then saw retaliation, with Michel smashing the open faces and scoring a 9.37, the highest score of the day. This wave was a key component, and pushed Bourez into the Final of the competition, meeting Josh Kerr and eliminating Slater completely. “I didn’t underestimate Michel before the heat because I know this is a wave that really suits his style.” said Slater. “You’d think he’d be a good tube rider, but his best results have come in turns.”

So there it was, Australian aerial master Josh Kerr battling against Tahitian power surfer Michel Bourez, in an all-in Final with both hoping to be crowned winner and take home their first WCT career win. Though many had great anticipation for the final to be held at the infamous right hand slab ‘The Box’, Margaret’s Main Break would be the wave to present victory, providing much better conditions. Bourez was given the option of postponing the heat for 30 minutes time for a well-deserved rest period, a decision he declined due to worries about the strengthening onshore winds. Kerr is known for his skills in onshore, messy conditions and this was a door Michel Bourez did not want to open. As said, both competitors have never won a WCT event, and this heat would determine and give name to ‘the best guy to have never’ title.

The pair took to the water, with Margaret Rivers Main Break continuing to produce a great 3-5 foot of swell, a perfect playground for competition. After a long, uneventful few minutes, Michel Bourez opened the scoreboard with two consecutive waves scoring a 6.33 and a 7.57, pleasing judges and all spectators. Kerr fired back, attacking the right handers with full force and completing several big turns, also wowing onlookers as the battle continued. Kerr’s scores were evidently not enough, as Bourez continued to build his campaign with an 8.33 through his attacking forehand surfing. The siren sounded and the results were written, Tahitian Michel Bourez had just won the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro and his first ASP WCT career win. “It’s such a good feeling to win, it’s a dream come true. Making the Final here and surfing against such an amazing person was wonderful,” said Michel Bourez.It’s a long year and there are still nine contests to go so I need to focus on the next one and relax. I can’t wait for Bells now, I have always liked that wave.”


Michel Bourez during the Final of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Photo by ASP

Kerr was undoubtedly upset and disappointed with this result, coming so close to a win at Margaret River two years in a row, particularly with this year being on WCT status. “It was a rough heat but I wanted to put a show on for everyone. It hurt last year getting runner up and it hurts even more this year”, said Kerr. “I made a few errors at the start of the heat by falling on the inside and I definitely didn’t choose the right waves” he continued. “I’m happy we have a WCT event here and it was great to surf at The Box. I’m going to take the year event by event and I’m excited to move on to the next one.”. Though coming runner up at the event two years in a row, Josh Kerr still did not go home completely empty handed, winning the Go Pro Challenge (a sub event) and a sweet $10,000 in cash.


Josh Kerr congratulating Michel Bourez on the win – photo by ASP

Stop number 3 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour is scheduled to start tomorrow at Bells Beach, Victoria. The forecast is looking promising as the World’s best 34 men and 17 women surfers travel back across country to compete in the last competition in Australian waters for 2014. At this stage, the World Title is still up for grabs for any of the competitors, which in turn will drive all harder, pushing their own limits of performance. The top contenders at this stage include World Number 1 Gabriel Medina, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Kelly Slater, with Michel Bourez also becoming an immediate threat thanks to this great result in Margaret River.

Surfstitch congratulate Michel Bourez on the victory at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, and all the other surfers on their amazing efforts. Stay tuned for all the latest news and results from the ASP World Tour and for all the action from day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach here on the SurfStitch blog or on the ASP official website http://www.aspworldtour.com/

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Hawaiian Carissa Moore has defended her event title, facing off with Tyler Wright in the final day of Women’s competition at the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Moore and Wright would battle it out in powerful 4-6 foot conditions at the Margaret River Main Break, keeping spectators, including thousands of online viewers, on the edge of their seats.


Carissa Moore wins the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro for 2014 – Photo by ASP

ASP Head Judge Rich Porta detailed, “We’re looking for power, we’re looking for unique lines and of course innovation where opportunity presents itself.”. This was the morning announcement as conditions were checked for competition, and the women certainly did not disappoint. The day saw many amazing heats go down, with some exciting and surprising results. Semi Final 1 saw 5 times ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore face off with Carissa Moore. This only ended in disappointment for Gilmore as the Hawaiian threw out a display of forehand manoeuvres, securing both a 7.50 and an 8.33. Though it was close, Stephanie was unable to regather first place as the heat finished with Moore scoring 15.83 to Gilmore’s 12.67, knocking the World Champ from the competition.


Carissa Moore in Semi Final 1 – Photo by ASP

Semi Final 2 was a battle between the Aussies with Tyler Wright facing off with Sally Fitzgibbons. The vibe from the beach was very enthusiastic, as Sally got out to an early lead, tearing apart the open right handers of Margaret’s Main Break. Her performance however was not strong enough for Tyler Wright, who destroyed sections with an amazing display of powerful surfing. The heat concluded with Tyler scoring 15.83, to Fitzgibbons 12.67, eliminating Sally from competition. This now saw Wright, like Carissa Moore, advance to their first Final of the year and also an exact rematch from the 2013 event where the two had previously met.

As the wind picked up, Wright opened the Final on the grinding right hander with a mid-range score, acquiring first points on the board. Carissa fought back conversely with an explosive display of forehand turns, impressing judges and resulting in a 7.50. Both Wright and Moore were trading first and second positions for some time throughout the heat, before Wright secured an 8.00 to regain the lead. It was the final few minutes, however which would decide the winner of competition. An exchange of waves saw Carissa gain a 6.87 to Wrights 6.10, then an immediate back up with highest score of the heat, an 8.23. This ensured victory for the Hawaiian and saw her take home her second consecutive Margaret River Pro Title. “It’s a very challenging wave here at Margaret River and I’m constantly learning so I’m thankful to be able to win here again. I love this place and I love Western Australia”, said Carissa. “It feels good to be up there at the top of the rankings with Stephanie and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the events unfold.”.


1st Place Carissa Moore (left), with runner up Tyler Wright – Photo ASP

Many may have thought this same result 2 years in a row would cause an upset between the two finalists, though this is not the case. “Carissa just nailed it, she’s so strong and she’s the coolest human.”, said Tyler. This year sees 10 events on the women’s World Tour, the most ever held. Bells Beach is the third and next stop of the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, with all the competitors hungry for a win as they have another chance to prove themselves to each other and to the world. We here at SurfStitch congratulate Carissa Moore on her win, and all the other female competitors on their efforts. Stay tuned for the latest action from the men’s competition, as we wait to see who will be crowned champion in the next coming days.

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Slater’s Split Confirmed

After all the confusion over the past few days regarding the biggest news in surfing, Kelly Slater has officially confirmed the split from Quiksilver and put the rumours to rest of any sick April Fool’s joke. I mean seriously, what a day to drop the news, right?  Slater gave confirmation after his Round 1 heat yesterday at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, where Pete Mel held an emotional interview with the world’s greatest ever surfer. It was the first time Kelly had the chance to open up and speak to audiences directly, instead of the heartfelt social media posts so many had read only a few days earlier. Although emotional, Kelly stayed calm and collected and went into further detail of the departure from Quiksilver, almost making everything to do with the ASP event behind him feel irrelevant as the world listened on.

It’s been a long time planning. Not necessarily to leave Quik, but just the way things worked out. That’s just business sometimes.” opened Slater. There have been all sorts of rumours spread around the internet the last few days, some focusing on the situation in a negative manner, suggesting ideas that “Kelly was fired!’ or ‘Quiksilver are broke!’

Not True.

These ideas may have spread due to Quiksilver gaining a new CEO around a year ago, who was determined to get the number back up and try change the direction of the brand. The CEO, Andy Mooney, told ASB Magazine a month ago that, “I think we need to be selective in the athletes that we develop marketing programs around… For me great brands are the cumulative effect of great products… so my focus has been on the product side of this business…then focusing more on aligning our athletes around product marketing, as opposed to lifestyle per se.”.

Slater continued on, ensuring fans that ‘It’s all good feelings and everybody’s been real supportive of me, and they understand it.” The 11 time World Champion seemed upset, yet excited about the changes in life and the new door that is opening for him. At 42, and dominating the surf scene for over the past 20 years, Kelly is ready to break out and follow other dreams and collaborations, which this new opportunity will provide.


Kelly Slater’s touching and informative interview yesterday with Pete Mel – Photo by ASP

“There’s nothing bad involved with it. Just certain circumstances happened that wouldn’t allow for two things to be in the one area. I’m really excited and happy for this future opportunity”, he continued. As the rumours suggested, Kelly has started new business relationships with multinational company Kering, who are responsible for Gucci, Balenciaga and other high end brands. Kering also own sport brands Puma and Volcom, and this is thought to be the source of where these new negotiations and ideas came into play. Volcom was founded and is still run by ex Quiksilver employee Richard Woolcott, whom has kept a close relationship with Slater over all these years and is said to be one of the ‘key individuals’ Kelly thanked through his online post.

The gratitude and warm feelings Kelly felt for Quiksilver was strongly evident as he continued explaining the details of these new major decisions. They’ve really given me most of what I have in my life, in terms of opportunities and a lot of my friendships.’ He also made it clear that ‘things change, though feelings and your relationships with people don’t have to.”

The interview concluded with the official confirmation and why he had decided on April Fool’s Day to tell the world the important news. It turns out it was all a big coincidence, all to do with the end date of a contract and how the issue had to be addressed before he was seen with no sponsor stickers during the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. said Slater. “My contract was signed April 1, five years ago, and that’s why it ran out on that day. I wasn’t trying to mess with anybody. It just was the way it was. And I was gonna surf this contest without logos, so that’s why we had to talk about it.”


Slater before his Round 1 Heat yesterday, stickerless for the first time in almost 24 years – Photo by ASP

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for everyone the last few days, though no one has felt the ride more than Kelly himself.  All we can do now is sit back and watch Slater’s newfound opportunity unfold; no doubt whatever he puts his mind to it will be extremely impressive. The prospects are limitless with what he wants to do, combining clean living, responsibility and style. We here at SurfStitch wish Kelly the very best for his future endeavours and are all excited to see what concepts he has in store. To see the interview yourself, watch direct from the ASP World Tour Website and click here.

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Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Mens Round 1 Wrap Up

Yesterday saw the southern coastline of Western Australia light up for the first day of the 2014 ASP Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. The main break of Surfers Point produced clean, predominantly right hand 4-6 foot waves for both the top men and women to compete in. The sun was shining and the crowds were out in full force as we all watched on to see competitors go head to head in Round 1.


Opening day of the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Photo by ASP

Men’s was first in the water, with Heat 1 seeing Brazilian Felipe Toledo, Nat Young and Spain’s Aritz Aranburo come head to head, ready to impress judges and all spectators. Toledo got ahead through great combinations and aggressive carves, defeating ASP Rookie of the Year Nat Young and Aranudo, advancing through to Round 3.

Heat 2 saw some great surfing go down and saw South African Jordy Smith, Raoni Monteiro and Sebastian Zietz out in the line-up. The heat was postponed and forced to restart after the first 10 minutes due to swell inconsistency, with competitors not putting a score on the board. Jordy eventually opened his campaign whole heartedly, producing the first big scores of the competition. With his rhythm found, he scored an 8.33 and continued to dominate the heat by following up with more powerful carves, much different surfing from his Round 2 knockout a few weeks ago at Snapper Rocks. “I’d like to better my result at Snapper (Rocks),” said Smith. “It’s a long year ahead and I’m sure that many of the tops guys will have bad results at some point. Hopefully my result at the Gold Coast was my bad one out of the way and I can look forward to a good year ahead.”

Local legend of the Margaret River region Taj Burrow managed to scrape through in the final minutes and steal the win over Brett Simpson and Fred Patacchia in Heat 3, though it was a very slow heat with not many big scores going down. Heat 4 saw an all Aussie line-up in the water, with Adam Melling, Joel Parkinson and Mitch Coleborn trying to make the most of the inconsistent conditions. Although having a knee injury, Melling was able to gain a 7.67 and advanced to Round 3, leaving his fellow countrymen behind.

Eyes were on Kelly Slater all morning as the unconfirmed rumours of the split with Quiksilver was on everyone’s mind. Slater emerged ready for his Round 1 Heat 5 encounter with no evident Quiksilver logos on his nose or wetsuit and met Australians Yadin Nicol and Bede Durbidge. Though eyes may have been on Kelly, it was trials winner Yadin Nicol who exploded on the scene, opening with big, powerful turns and taking advantage of both right and left handers. On his pink board of fury, Nicol took out the heat and pushed Slater and Durbidge to Round 2.


Yadin Nicol on his way to victory in Heat 5 – Photo by ASP

Heat 6 saw 3 times World Champion Mick Fanning meet other Australians Nathan Hedge and Matt Wilkinson. All surfers bought a great mix of surfing to the table, though it was Fanning who treated the clean right handers like his own backyard and dominated the heat, progressing the Round 3.

Although only catching 3 waves, it was Julian Wilson who destroyed Heat 7 finishing on a final score of 16.00. Wilson met Frenchman Jeremy Flores and Dion Atkinson, coming out on top through displays of powerful cutbacks, carves and floaters.

Brazillian Miguel Pupo took out a very slow Heat 8 over fellow goofy footers C.J. Hobgood and Travis Logie, and it was Australian Josh Kerr who became victorious in Heat 9. Kerr was supposed to meet both Adrian Buchan and Alejio Muniz, though Muniz was absent due to an ankle injury, prompting a man on man heat. A former winner of the event, Kerr looked comfortable and bested his opponent, succeeding to Round 3. By Heat 10 the conditions had started to deteriorate, with the waves becoming choppy and onshore winds getting stronger out of the south west. Jadson Andre from Brazil conquered over Owen Wright and Adriano de Souza and in Heat 11 Kai Otton defeated Mitch Crews and Tahitian Michel Bourez.

Heat 12 was a very exciting on the other hand, with the young guns coming together for some explosive moves and some very entertaining surfing. Current ASP World Number 1 Gabriel Medina met Hawaiian John John Florence and America’s Kohole Andino and all three wowed audiences through their technical surfing abilities. It was John John who started first engaging with some big opening manoeuvres, though Medina did not back down and threw out a massive backhand 360 aerial, cementing it in everyone’s minds why he is currently at the top of the ladder. “I started doing airs because I saw John John (Florence) going for it. That’s how competition works, we are all pushing each other to raise the level. It feels good to be the Rankings leader, there is pressure but I’m feeling great.” said the current Men’s World Number 1.


Gabriel Medina huge 360 aerial in Heat 12 – Photo by ASP

The waves have again produced today with the Women’s Round 2 being held this morning. Although a little smaller, there are still some great contestable waves which no doubt will have some stand out performances. A decision will be held later today regarding the contestability of the waves for Men’s Round 2 to begin.

Keep up to date with all the latest recaps, news and results on the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro here on the SurfStitch blog or watch it live at aspworldtour.com.

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Monday saw the announcement that is playing mind games with everyone in the surfing community. Kelly Slater, 11 time World Champion and some say the best surfer ever, has reportedly split from Quiksilver after 23 years of sponsorship. However, is it also such a convenience that the news dropped just before April 1st, also known as April Fool’s Day?

The King of Surfing and face of Quiksilver for over the past two decades is supposedly said to be starting his own apparel company and a new business venture with The Kering Group. Never heard of them you say? The Kering Group are responsible for many high end brands including Gucci and Balenciaga, however also play a role in surfing with Volcom being another of their focus brands. They concentrate on Luxury and Sport and Lifestyle products and state to be a ‘world leader in apparel and accessories.’


Slater at the 2014 ASP World Surfing Awards – photo from ASP.

It’s interesting to consider what directions and ideas Kelly will be developing if this exciting news be true. He is known to be really into living healthy and would be a perfect ambassador for products both clean and environmentally friendly. In the statement below, Kelly describes his excitement of the news to follow and support his loves of ‘clean living, responsibility and style.’

Slater took to his social media accounts and alerted the world with the following statement.

‘There is little I can say that would give the credit due or cover the debt of gratitude I feel on a personal and professional level to Quiksilver. As a brand and on a human level, they have been a part of my life, career, and personal relationships for more than 23 years now, well over half my life. They’ve supported me through good times and bad, personal hardships and competitive triumphs, and never wavered in backing my choices and desires in all that time.

Under the tutelage of Bob McKnight, Bruce Raymond, Alan Green, Pierre Agnes and Danny Kwock (and many others), Quiksilver signed me to a 100% sponsorship deal in 1990, finishing up my amateur career and guiding me into my professional life and adulthood. Having their support group around the world allowed me to create a life I only dreamt of as a child…making a documentary (Kelly Slater In Black and White) about the start of my professional career, going on boat trips and small charter planes to remote locations I’d likely never see, taking long car rides and promo tours to places I’d otherwise never visit, doing film trips to tropical islands few people have ever seen, etc. There could have been no better partner for me to have than Quiksilver.

The memories I have of joining the team and becoming like brothers with my heroes and team riders Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones and making lifelong friendships with Stephen Bell and others has fulfilled my life exponentially. There aren’t enough pages or words to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the experiences that have come from this relationship we’ve shared together. So it is with a heavy heart and a lifetime of positive memories that I move in a new chapter of my life.

As I contemplate the amazing opportunities I’ve had in life and the amount of good fortune I’ve encountered along the way, I’m excited to announce today that I’m embarking on a new journey. For years I’ve dreamt of developing a brand that combines my love of clean living, responsibility and style. The inspiration for this brand comes from the people and cultures I encounter in my constant global travels and this is my opportunity to build something the way I have always wanted to.

So I am excited to tell you that I’ve chosen The Kering Group as a partner. They share my values and have the ability to support me in all of my endeavors. I look forward to exploring all of the new opportunities this partnership will provide, but this hasn’t happened by chance, nor has it happened without an incredible amount of work by a few key individuals. As I embark on this new journey, I am sticking to my gut instincts and the belief that your dreams can become reality with the right intentions. I look forward to sharing more about it soon…’

So what are your thoughts? Has Kelly departed from the company he has been so close and faithful to for over 20 years? Quiksilver Founder and Executive Chairman also stated Kelly has been a part of the Quiksilver family for over 20 years. It’s been an incredible journey watching him grow from a young surfer with great potential, to the 11-time World Champion he is today. We wish Kelly all the best as he enters this next phase of his career.”

Slater’s publicist furthermore ensures this is no April Fool’s joke and it has us excited to determine the credibility of this story. To add to all this news, Slater was snapped for the first time yesterday in Margaret River with no token Quiksilver sticker on the nose of his board, something most of us have never seen. With the ASP’s Drug Aware Margaret River Pro starting today, Kelly is again riding a blank Al Merrick board and wearing a wetsuit with no evident logos, adding to the speculation and perhaps realisation that this news could be accurate and no joke.


Kelly Slater yesterday in Margaret River, WA, flying high with no Quiksilver sponsor sticker – photo from Stab Mag.

Keep up to date with this here on the SurfStitch blog as we keep our eyes and ears pinned to find out more. Updates on the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be also available, as competition starts with 4-6 foot, clean, offshore conditions.

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Samsung Galaxy ASP World Tour 2014 Event # 2: Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

The pristine coastline and elaborate wave setups of Australia’s south west coast invites both the top 34 and 17 to once again battle it out and prove to the world and particularly the surfing community what they are capable of. The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro is stop #2 of the men’s and women’s  2014 ASP World Championship Tour and is also the first time in just over 2 decades where both the top men and women surfers have competed at this location on WCT status, exciting audiences from all over the globe. The women’s event was once again added to the tour in 2013, ending a 7 year break and 2014 sees the Men’s event return to the WCT since the early 90’s.

Currently, the contest is set to be held at the main break of Margaret River, also known as ‘Surfers Point’, from the 2nd-13th of April. The waves can hold from anything from small surf to 20 foot, which can test all elements of surfing and provide opportunity for both small and big wave riders.


Early calls have been made indicating popular contenders for the win at Margaret River, obviously including recent winners of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gabriel Medina and Stephanie Gilmore. Last year saw both Dusty Payne and Carissa Moore take home the win, a double victory for the Hawaiians. This year, a total prize pool of $750,000 is up for grabs for competitors, adding to the excitement of the event.


The small town of Margaret River has plenty of other out of water events around town while the contest is stopping by. As well as the towns many great food spots and café’s,  Settlers Tavern will provide crowds with live music and plenty of good times, with the SurfAid Cup, Foam Lust Expo and many more nightly activities taking place to keep all entertained. The region is also known to some of the world’s best vineyards, wildlife and beautiful scenery.

After the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro concludes, the top 34 and 17 will fly back across country to the long, cold water right hand waves of Bells Beach, Victoria. Keep up to date with these events on the SurfStitch blog and let’s hope big clean swells are on order to provide some great entertainment and surfing for all!

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Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Wrap Up – Gold Coast 2014

As we are all now aware, both the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events and the first stop of the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Tour have finished up on the Gold Coast, leaving audiences with some great, yet some say controversial results. The beautiful Gold Coast served up some pumping waves, sunny skies and plenty of social aspects, both in and out of the water over the 12-day waiting period.


Snapper Rocks offers beautiful scenery in general, and to watch the world’s best surfers go head to head, makes it probably one of the best places in the world this time of year. The Men’s WCT event saw local legend and Snapper Rocks expert, 2013 event winner Joel Parkinson dominate heats against rivals, including Brazilian Miguel Pupo in Quarter Final 4, allowing Parkinson to progress through to the Semi Finals. The domination then continued in the 3-4 foot conditions through to the next heat, where he would face another stand out Brazilian surfer, Adriano de Souza. Normally on his game, de Souza was no match for the local and produced only a 9.67 to that of Parkinson’s 18.70. Still considered to some as the new kid on the block, Gabriel Medina also wowed audiences with his performances and ability on his backhand. He met other local star Mick Fanning in Quarter Final 2, and to the surprise of many came out on top producing a 15.83 to Fannings 14.00, perhaps causing some local disappointment.

This resulted in an Australian vs. Brazilian, Regular vs. Goofy footer Final, with large support for both surfers being outstandingly evident from the beach. The Gold Coast had produced great waves and weather for the event thus far, with the men’s Final offering 3-5 foot walls and punchy sections. The atmosphere in the air was incredible, as all supporters knew it came down to this one last heat, 35 minutes and a winner would be crowned. Parkinson started out straight away from behind the rock producing a 9 point ride and backing up with a 6.5, proving to himself and the crowd that he wanted the back to back victory of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro and to keep it here on the Gold Coast. Gabriel Medina was sort to be struggling to get a solid score on the board, however within the final minutes impressed the judges with a great wave, resulting in a 8.50. He then managed to scrape into another with little time remaining and steal first place from Parkinson, whom looked to be already celebrating. The final scores for both surfers ended in 16.27 for Parkinson and 16.33 for Medina, meaning the Brazilian had snatched the title by a painful and narrow .06.


The eruptions of the Brazillian supporters on the sand were colossal, as Gabriel Medina had now made history being the first Brazilian surfer to take out the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast, stealing and securing the win over local Joel Parkinson, something not a lot of people thought could be done. Supporters surrounded Medina as he approached the beach, putting him up on their shoulders and waving the Brazilian flag in exhilaration. Some think the score should have been held in Parkinson’s favour, however in the end it was Medina who produced the goods and came out on top, regardless of margin. The Brazilians win also put Goofy footers back on the map at Snapper Rocks, as a win had not been seen since Australian Mick Lowe took out the same event in 2004.

Other standout performances in the Quiksilver Pro included Taj Burrow knocking out American big wig CJ Hobgood, with Burrows score of 15.00 to Hobgood’s 12.46 in the first Quarter Final. Brazilian Adriano de Souza also knocked out surfing legend Kelly Slater in Quarter Final 3 with a 16.53 to that of Slater’s 12.17.

Local surf sensation Stephanie Gilmore has proven herself at the perfect mechanical right hander of Snapper Rocks in the past, and this event was no different. Gilmore dominated heats and secured the title of the Roxy Pro against South African Bianca Buitendag, claiming her 5th event title and setting herself up perfectly for the start of the 2014 Tour. Gilmore left Buitendag behind after claiming back to back scores of 8.80 and 6.33 in perfect 3-5 foot warm water waves cooperating with light winds.

The Roxy Pro saw all the competitors make standout performances, including American Lakey Peterson, Australian Sally Fitzgibbons, Hawaiian Carissa Moore and many more impressing judges and the local crowd with their exciting surfing. Quarter Final 1 saw Gilmore eliminate American Courtney Conlogue with scores of 15.43 to 13.50. Quarter Final 4 caused a little bit of local upset when Sally Fitzgibbons was eliminated by Californian Lakey Peterson. Fitzgibbons was the 2013 runner up of the same event and was thought to be a popular contender for the 2014 title. Semi Final 1 saw Gilmore meet Hawaiian Carissa Moore, with both previous World Champions going head to head like no tomorrow. It was Gilmore who out shined the Hawaiian however, putting together great turns and barrel riding to progress to the Final in her own backyard. South African Bianca Buitendag come head to head with Californian Lakey Peterson in Semi Final 2. Buitenberg produced two back to back rides resulting in a 15.90, which was too much of a struggle for Peterson to come back from resulting in defeat.

The Roxy Pro Final saw local surfing icon Stephanie Gilmore now meet South African goofy footer Bianca Buitendag. Both had surfed strong through all their previous heats and this was the time to shine in the 3-5 foot clean walls of Snapper Rocks. Again, both surfers threw out aggressive turns and showed the wave who was boss, though it was Gilmore who took out the event with a score of 15.80, to that of South African Bianca Buitendag whom only managed a 10.47. This event became the locals 5th Roxy Pro title.


All in all both events were a huge success. The Gold Coast produced amazing waves and weather yet again, safeguarding its position on the tour for years to come. The event brings a great atmosphere to the city, with Coolangatta especially offering many out of the water happenings for everyone to enjoy. A great event for the family, for friends and even just yourself!

We here at Surf Stitch would like to congratulate both Stephanie Gilmore and Gabriel Medina on their wins and all the other surfers on their efforts and performances. We all can’t wait to see you all next year and see what the rest of 2014 has in store!


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Surf Cassette – An Honest Short Film

We are all used to the hype that surrounds a Taylor Steele or Kai Neville Feature Film release; all the surf forums light up with anticipation, teasers drop incrementally online to stoke and maintain the grommet froth, the stab.com comment feeds get heated and before we know it we are all glued to either the TV or the computer screen watching the action.

Now, for me, winding back to my grommet days, a surf flick was something that could be used to kill a good portion of time. I would whack in the cassette tape, grab a snack, and kick back for at least an hour to surfing mixed with punk rock soundtracks. Sadly, the last 10 years has seen that hour plus wind back to increasingly be less than 30 minutes. Surf movies are getting shorter, and the amount of fluffy stuff in them is getting longer. Don’t get me wrong, I love a quick fix, in fact,  life is so busy these days a quick fix is generally all I have time for when it comes to surf movies, but I still get saddened when I over prepare myself for the occasion.

What I want in a surf movie is honesty, good old fashioned “This is what you’re going to get.” honesty, and when I stumble across a surf movie that I know is going to deliver this, I get excited – and last week I got excited.

An email came across my desk brining to my attention a surf film project that had grown out of two mates hanging around Byron Bay  filming and editing and having a genuinely hell time with a bunch of artistic and spirited free surfers.

Josh Simpson and Jack Lynch knew after a few days of filming that they were sitting on enough juice to give the project a more substantial platform than a web edit and a share amongst mates – so they decided to inject some love and time and money and come up with “Surf Cassette” – a short film featuring:

  • Ozzie Wright
  • Otis Carey
  • Jack Lynch
  • Ellis Ericson
  • Jared Mell
  • Carl Gonsalves

Now when you add “Short Film”, two young creative lads and the above list of personalities, I know exactly what I’m going to get. I’m going to get an incredibly good way to spend my lunch break, the perfect flick to watch while enjoying beverages with buddies or the perfect way to spend my evening your evening on the 22nd March at the world premiere at the Wild Things Gallery in Manly.

We were lucky enough to catch up with the two forces behind the Short Film, and they were kind enough to take the time to answer our questions. So take a read, and then check out the trailer at the end of the interview – then make sure you put aside some dollars to buy a T-Shirt to ensure the lads have the opportunity to break even and get straight onto their next little adventure.

Dan from SurfStitch: So tell us a little more about how the project came to be? We tried to do a little research but the project has a mysterious air about it (code for we couldn’t find a thing!).

Josh Simpson: It only came about recently. Jack and I had been doing some filming, and I had been doing a bunch of filming in Byron the month before so I thought it would be cool to make something out of it. Since then I’ve done a few trips for the movie and have been filming around the northern beaches a lot with Ozzie and Otis. The film is low budget, we are going to give away free DVD’s. That way if people don’t like it they can’t really complain haha. I did this project for fun. Hopefully we can break even on t-shirt sales.

Jack Lynch: I decided to spend some time in Sydney at the end of January, and try pull together a stall of sorts for the world log riding day. One of the ideas we had was to play a movie on the day. Josh had been in byron and then we shot a bunch when I first got to Sydney so we just decided to make something of it. Then it just kinda snowballed into a full project with merch and everything.

Dan: There are some pretty epic personalities in the film – was it the first time you had worked with a lot of those guys?

Josh: I’ve worked with all the guys in the movie before, which is cool. I’m still trying to get some more people involved last minute so hopefully i can get some footage together and add a few more surfers that I haven’t worked with much before. I didn’t plan to work with anyone particular on the film, just whoever was in front of me on the day shredding is in the movie.

Jack: Yeah most of us have all spent a fair bit of time with each other before, so that kind of just flowed into who is in the film.

Dan: Who do you felt brought out the best in you creatively?

Josh: Jack has helped me a lot with the film. We’e been throwing ideas around since I started working on it. He’s organised all the t-shirts and merch for the movie. Ozzie is always a huge inspiration as well. He’s been my favourite surfer since I was young and he always has really good ideas.

Jack: Well Josh is a creative mad man when it comes to making his films and always trying to push in a different direction to what is out there at the moment. I have been working on the tees, merch and a few other parts of the whole project. But we both agree on the creative vibe that we are trying to show people from the project. The tees, and few other bits and bobs all work in around Josh’s creativity in his movie making.

Dan: Did any of the surfers blow your mind performance wise, more than you were expecting?

Josh: Otis blew my mind on one trip we did to the south coast. He did one of the craziest airs i’ve ever seen. I got a few grand worth of camera gear stolen on that trip from my car. Luckily they didn’t steal my hi-8 camera which all the footage was on!

Jack: Yeah Otis for sure, Josh sent me some clips from that trip and they are pretty damm good. Otis is a legend and its so good to see him pushing new levels.

Dan: So what’s next? How long does this project linger for before your creativity needs another canvas?

Josh: This project is going to be done in a couple of weeks. It’s still pretty far from being done edit wise. So I’m going to lock myself in for a couple of days of editing. But I’m already looking forward to starting some new projects. I have some trips coming later in the year that I’m really looking forward to. Nothing concrete yet but we’ll see what comes out of it.

Jack: Well we show the whole project on the 22nd of March in Manly then maybe a another showing someplace else if we can pull it off. Josh and I are pretty close friends so we are always thinking of what we can do to make surfing a lot more creative and fun.

Sit back and enjoy the preview clip shown below – and maybe even grab a snack, clear the schedule and sit back and watch just like the good old days.


Photos from the amazing Mr Henry Cousins.

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Hypto Krypto for Prime Minister – they need your help!

I like to think of myself as being reasonably attached to the surfing barometer, actively educating myself on anything I expect to be big, or fashionable, or innovative or in demand. Not because I want to jump on a bandwagon, but because I like knowing things and being able to engage in conversation with most people on most things and have a genuine contribution to the conversation. My first experience with Hayden Cox, the magic man behind Haydenshapes is a perfect example of this.

I can still remember the first time I ever saw a Haydenshapes Surfboard. It was at North Narrabeen, and there was a young kid surfing and he was ripping. Now I’m not trying to imply that he was ripping because of the board, but it gave the board immediate credibility – more than enough for me to take notice and do a little research into the brand – who was HS?

My research led me to a young man of equal age, living in the same part of the world, shaping boards from Mona Vale. It was a Thursday afternoon, I was a walk off the street customer with no idea what board I wanted, or more importantly needed. Hayden greeted me immediately with a smile, and after I moved passed my jealously at his Hollywood charisma and looks, it became immediately clear was I was dealing with someone who had an undeniable desire to develop beyond a surfboard shaper and into a craftsman.

He told me firsthand about the young grommet who was prepared to sacrifice his high school holidays to work for free in a Mona Vale shaping bay to learn the craft, he told me about all his favourite local waves to surf, he told me about his Friday night at the local pub, in fact we talked about everything other than surfboards…but then something clicked. I picked up a board and asked a question about the rocker, and everything changed. Hayden was in the zone, he was in his element, he looked at the surfboard like it was Christmas morning. It was clear that board was destined for someone just like me, a guy who walked in without knowing what he wanted, and would in 2-4 weeks return and pick up exactly the board he needed. It was as if Hayden could actually see the first wave that board would ride, how the water would flow over it, how it would turn,  how it would hold in a pocket and how that customer would feel packing it back of the car after its first session.

I was sold, plus I had a brand new man crush. I bought my very first HS on the spot. I wish I got him to sign it.

Now the surfboard shaping world is a melting pot of ideas and opinions and new technologies and large personalities. And what I most respect about Hayden is that it has always been about the craft. You won’t read fiery Instagram updates, or opinionated magazines interviews. His boards do the talking, and right now the Hayden Shapes Musical is reaching fever pitch.. One board in particular, a design which Hayden himself may very well say best defines his success as a shaper to date is the Hypto Krypto. If you think you haven’t seen one of these boards around, I can almost guarantee you are mistaken. These boards are as we speak bringing stoke to people such as Craig Anderson and Creed McTaggart, they are bringing stoke to that local ripper you were sure was destined for bigger things, the weekend warriors you try to avoid and fathers, brothers, uncles, aunties and anyone who only gets to surf once a fortnight. My point is this board design has found a way to appeal to all of us. And if you somehow have avoided seeing one of these beautiful creatures, you most certainly would not have missed one of the million attempts from other shapers to replicate the design that first hit our shelves 6 years ago.

Now as a thanks to Hayden for bringing all this stoke, the least you can do is vote for the Hypto Krypto in “Surfboard of the Year” Competition hosted by the Surf & Boardsports Industry Association SBIA). Vote Here. We voted, and the reason we voted is because for a board design, untouched for 6 years to only be getting the level of acknowledgement it deserves now is a phenomenal achievement. What does that tell you? It tells us that after 6 years of shifts in popular boards design in the industry that this design has held its spot, is becoming generational while remaining current and fantastic and deserving of a spot in your quiver.

We were fortunate enough to have a chat with my man crush, and speak about all things Haydenshapes and Hypto Krypto. Have a read, then do the right thing and vote…go on…do it…get on the bandwagon.


Dan from SurfStitch: So 2014 has started with a bang, loads of great media stories and some great surfing from your team riders – does 2014 have a special feeling about it  for you?

Hayden Cox: It sure has, I’m so grateful for the positive vibes right now. We have some exciting new models to launch globally this year, some cool collaborations that are in the pipeline, and just some fun days surfing will be in the mix too -­ already had one amazing trip to Mexico this year!

D: So on the media stories, it seems your business successes are now well recognised outside of the surf industry in Australian and globally, how has that satisfaction differed from a write up in a respected surf mag?

H: Editorial pieces whether being within the surf industry or outside are always exciting! It is fun doing pieces outside of the surf industry, because you reach the wider audience, many of whom don’t normally have much knowledge about surfboards and and the business as such. The surboard business is pretty fickle and behind every shaper, there is generally a pretty interesting story attached.

D: Has the business side of things taken you out of the shaping bay much? What’s the split of your time between the office and the bay these days?

H: It has yes, but shaping is still my favourite thing to do… I now run the business with my fiance Danielle, who has a strong background in marketing and branding, but also helps steer the business side of things too. I have only every really worked for myself, so that has really helped develop and grow internally as well as externally. I spend about 25% of my time in the shaping bay, 25% of my time in manufacturing and the rest across the rest of the business.

D: Has it been difficult to look to other shapers for inspiration when the direction you have taken has been so unique? Have there been any shapers that have most influenced the way you see the art of shaping?

H: I am always looking at board design and other shapers. I love what they all do, and definitely get excited about many different boards. I do however get a lot of inspiration from outside of the industry. This comes from just keeping my eyes open to design and innovation when you come across it, or working with engineers, designers and suppliers on various projects.

D: For me growing up as a kid Channel Islands was the only “brand” that I felt crossed country borders and appealed to every surfer. I always looked at them on a rack  and said to myself – imagine if Al actually shaped this himself. And I was thinking, your brand is up there now – everyone knows and respects your craft, so it begs the question; how many boards are you personally shaping these days, and can your average punter get their hands on an original?

H: I personally shape all my team boards, some customers boards and boards for friends and family. My goals as a surfboard designer and manufacturer is to deliver a board of the same quality whether I have personally built the board or not – not just shaping the board, but laminating and sanding it too. I work very closely with my three manufacturing plants to all have the same tools and procedures and methods to build the boards. The replication process and the quality control of this process is key, and I spend a lot of time in setting this process up. We also ship the same set of materials around the world to each manufacturing plant so every customer gets the same board regardless of where it is built. I personally ride a lot of boards that I don’t shape, laminate or sand, and enjoy riding them as much as I would with one of my own creations.

D: So lets get to the point, the Hypto Krypto, it seems to be the board that has gained the most market penetration and social awareness for you. Do you feel it is the design that best represents your quest as a shaper?

H: The Hypto Krypto is a very versatile shape for a large range of surfers ability and needs. You can ride the Hypto Krypto in your local beach breaks, to some of the most amazing point breaks in the world. This versatility has lead this model to gain the most penetration in the market. My quest as a shaper is do design performance surfboards with innovation and quality, for surfers who want to have fun riding waves to the best of their ability.

D: 6 years on from its first launch, has the design changed much since then?

H: Not at all. It hasn’t changed from day dot.

D: Is it safe to say that Craig Ando has been your best Hypto advocate? What is it about his surfing that has made his such a perfect canvas to work with?

H: It has been amazing to watch Craig Anderson do his thing on the Hypto Krypto. He inspires all of us to ride waves with grace, style and performance and the Hypto Krypto allows Ando to approach a wave surfing how he naturally wants to surf. I feel that this model allows most surfers to find that sweet spot easily and just ride a wave without thinking.

D: We see him jump between the futureflex and the PU Hypto – can you easily explain to a punter when he should go one or the other?

H: Ando only rides the Hypto Krypto in FutureFlex. The PU boards that you are seeing him ride are other models, and that is built in our PE technology, which is Polyurethene Core with Epoxy Laminate.

D: Congratulations from everyone at SurfStitch Hayden as we hear the Hypto Krypto, 6 years after creation has been nominated for Surfboard of the year – how does that feel? Is it extra special that it’s happened 6 years after production started, meaning the design is almost reaching that “timeless” status?

H: Thank you! It is great to have so much support from everyone out there from retailers like SurfStitch to customers riding the boards out there every day. It is kinda ironic that a board model that was designed 6 years ago is now reaching it’s potential in the market place.

D: If there was any surfer in the world you could work with on board design outside of your current team, who would it be and why?

H: Kelly :) I bet he would know so much about how a board is designed and how that feels under his feet. That awareness and knowledge is so valuable to improving design.

D: So what’s next for you? Did you think we will ever get to see you back in Australia full time?

H: Of course! I love living over here in LA at this point. It is motivating, exciting and challenging all at the same time. Home though is always home, and the northern beaches as well as the rest of Australia is something special. I will definitely be back at some point, but for now we will be back and forth a lot.

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