Billabong Pro Tahiti: Day 1

Today saw a heap of action at the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti, as the event was finally given the tick of approval to begin with a huge swell and plenty of big rides going down on the opening day of competition. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the day we have all been waiting for was today, with one of the most anticipated events on the World Championship Tour living up to all expectations, with Mother Nature cooperating and putting on a perfect display of conditions for competitors.empty

The excitement started from the very get go, with 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater in the water first, up against Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz and Glenn Hall. With pumping 6-8 foot and the sometimes even bigger conditions, not one competitor of the first heat of the event waited, all paddling in to the Teahupo’o line-up and getting a short barrel under their belts. It was Slater who led after this opening exchange, and continued to stay hungry, paddling into his next one and leaving with the contests first 9 point ride. Hall and Zietz did not throw the white towel in early, but were unable to catch the 11 time World Champion and were both knocked to the elimination Round 2.

“Right when we pulled up I saw a couple of bombs,” said Slater. “I was excited to get in the heat and get going. It was nice to get out there and get a little lineup. I’m so excited that I’m shaking. I’ve got to calm down. It’s going to be a good week.”

The excitement was far from over as Heat 2 hit the water. The crowd roared as local French Polynesian Michel Bourez paddled into position, up against Australian Matt ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson and Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro. The Tahitian was eager to prove who was boss, and finally took the lead over Monteiro after following two heavy wipe-outs. Wilkinson posted a score of 6.00 with a nice forehand barrel, though couldn’t catch the local and was pushed to Round 2 with Raoni Monteiro.

“I was really stressed out there because it’s kind of big and I didn’t surf during the free surf,” Bourez said afterward. “I didn’t realize how big it was going to be.”Wilko1

Taj Burrow hit the water next with American Brett Simpson and fellow Aussie Adam Melling. Taj struck first, though was unable to escape the heavy barrel, as Simpson and Melling did almost immediately after. It was Taj to come back laughing though, as he suprised spectators and judges with the deepest take off of the contest, resulting in a huge barrel and clean exit, scoring a 6.83. Melling followed, though wasn’t so lucky and snapped his board. Simpson continued to chase Burrow and came close, though it was the Australian tour veteran who advanced directly to Round 3.

“Today is so beautiful and I wanted it so bad,” Burrow said. “It feels nice to spread out and take your time and figure out where you want to be.”Taj

Heat 4 was up as reigning World Champion Mick Fanning hit the Teahupo’o line-up with Mitch Coleborn and Alejo Muniz. With the swell continuing to rise, Fanning was eager to push the competition to new heights. He begun by scoring a 8.83 with a huge long tube, then followed up with a mid range score of 6.00, giving him an early lead over the other two surfers. Muniz and Coleborn eventually struck, though it was short lived as Fanning fired back with an explosive 9.03, putting the others in a combination situation. Within the last 5 minutes, the reigning World Champion locked in for another 9 point ride, finishing on a near perfect score of 18.16. Fanning advanced directly to Round 3, pushing Coleborn and Muniz to elimination in Round 2.

“This morning I saw some really big thick west ones and I got tumbled,” Fanning said. “It’s straightened up a bit and conditions are just flawless. You can’t ask for anything better. It’s so clean and perfect.”

Heat 5 saw an all Australian heat, as 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson came up against defending event champion Adrian Buchan and veteran ripper Nathan Hedge. Hedge finished runner up in the trials, proving himself worthy of a Wildcard position for this contest, something he lived up to right away as he drove through the opening barrel of the heat, locking in a score of 9.27 and taking the lead early. Parkinson and Buchan answered soon after, locking in score in the 9′s for themselves and making the atmosphere explode with interest. It was Buchan who showed his pure display of brilliance and proved to the crowd why he won the event in 2013. When asked about his high score of 9.97, Adrian said “It felt wrong taking off, I got a good pump in, for some reason I just hung on. It lifted me backwards and forwards, and I got a big projection off the foam ball. I was just shocked when I came out.”Parko1

Current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina hit the water next with other wildcard nominee and local charger Taumata Puhetini and Mitch Crews. It was quite a quiet heat until the 21 minute mark when all three surfers had a wave score locked in and were looking for another when Mother Nature answered. The wildcard began showing his local knowledge through a display of smooth rides at his home break over the next few minutes before Medina sat in one of the bigger waves of the competition, holding his arms high as the Tahitian monster barrelled over him. Medina and the wildcard battled it out toward the end, though it was the World Number 1 who progressed through to Round 3.

Miguel Pupo, Dion Atkinson and Adriano de Souza were to battle it out next in Heat 7 of Round 1. Pupo did not muck around, catching three waves within the first 10 minutes, taking the lead over the other surfers for the first fifteen minutes. Atkinson wowed spectators and judges in a big barrel following one by Pupo, as his foot slipped off and he regained composure and exited the tube cleanly for a 8.33. This stroke of luck saw Atkinson take the lead and send the Brazilians to Round 2 for elimination.

It’s been a long week waiting for this swell,” Atkinson said. “It’s pretty perfect and those are the best waves I’ve had out there by a mile. It’s good fun on your backhand and I’m stoked I got some scores.”

Everyone knows how good C.J. Hobgood can be at this wave, and it was his turn to prove it in Heat 8 against Nat Young and Tiago Pires. Young however, was the one to assert his lead early, taking two waves with one rewarding him with a high score of 9.67. C.J. struggled to find his place in the line up, having to pull off a few monster bombs that hit the reef, though gave a late comeback attempt with a score of 8.27, which unfortunately was not enough to overtake Young for the win. C.J. will have to try once again with Pires in Round 2 as Young advances to Round 3 directly.

“It’s a really difficult wave,” Young said after the heat. “It’s a lot of timing and positioning. Whether you’re goofy or natural, you have a better chance of winning if your takeoff is smart.”natyoung

Heat 9 saw Californian ripper Kolohe Andino up against Freddy Patacchia and Aritz Aranburu. Aranburu proved his skills learnt from Spain’s infamous left hander, Munduka, and overtook Andino for the lead around the halfway mark. Both Patacchia and Aranburu could not match the antics of Andino and were pushed to Round 2 as the American advanced.

I think everyone’s intimidated, even if they don’t admit it,” said Andino. “We saw Kevin Bourez get messed up the other day and it was half this size. With that said, I still would have been pissed if I lost this heat. It’s important to avoid that Round 2. I’m stoked that I dodged that and survived.”

Josh Kerr, Julian Wilson and Jadson Andre met next in Heat 10 of Round 1. Andre opened the heat, dropping into an insane bomb and standing tall for the spectators to see before Wilson followed suit, also clocking in a good score and take the lead with a 7.17. Kerr finally struck after 18 minutes of sitting and waiting, locking in a 7.93. It was Jadson Andre who in the final minutes took the lead yet again with an amazing deep barrel ride and clean exit, resulting in a 9.17.

“I was watching every heat and I didn’t know if it would be a high scoring heat or a medium one,” Andre said. “I just tried to get waves and saw Kerrsey and Julian getting bombs. I’ve been training here a lot and I was just lucky to get a wave. I am stoked to get that first heat win, but I really need a big result here and prove I can hang with the top guys.”

Heat 11 saw the destruction of Travis Logie and Bede Durbidge, as Owen Wright conquered, despite not exiting a tube. It was Burbidge who led the heat with only a 5.40, until Wright pulled into a bomb and although he did not make the wave, he pulled the necessary scores needed to pass Durbidge for the win.

“I think it was a pretty big set, it’s hard to tell because there was so much water behind it,” said Wright of his wipe-out during the heat. “I just went for it. As soon as I got to my feet, I looked up and it was a straight close-out… I enjoyed the pounding afterwards.”

Kai Otton, the exciting John John Florence and powerhouse Jordy Smith battled it out next in the Teahupo’o line up, all set to finish Round 1 with a bang. Jordy and Kai traded small scores while Florence waited for the big tubes he is so well known for.  With 16 minutes to go, Florence took one of the steepest drops of the event so far, grabbing rail and dragging stabilising for a huge tube and an impressive score of 8.83. Kai struck back, almost mirroring Florence’s attempt and rewarding himself with a score in the 9′s, though remained in second position. Jordy was caught inside and eventually picked up by the brave Tahitian Water Patrol. He was unable to catch the scores of both other surfers and joined Florence for elimination Round 2.

“The two days we had practice was all John talk. I think the whole world was talking about him so I was pretty nervous coming up against him,” admitted Otton.jordy

Round 2 began with the prediction of running up to four heats. The two man heats of elimination Round 2 begun with Joel Parkinson up against wildcard local Tuamata Puhetini. There was no waiting for the wildcard as he locked in two scores early on in the heat after back to back barrels. Parko waited over ten minutes before locking in his first worthy ride as he locked in two scores of 7.40 and a 9.00 to take the lead. Puhetini pushed himself to his limits at his local playground, though came up second best after a second one made it apparent he was unable to continue. We will keep you updated on his condition.

Heat 2 of Round 2 then saw runner up wildcard and all round charger Nathan Hedge up against the one and only Adriano de Souza. The Brazilian scored best after the opening exchange, though Hedge showed nothing but determination to once again prove himself in at the world famous reef break. Hedge mucked around with some smaller waves, though eventually blew everyone away with an absolute killer barrel, riding it deeper than ever and clocking in with the contest’s first 10 point ride. Hedge will now advance through to Round 3 as Adriano de Souza is sent packing earlier than he would have wished.8-19-2014 5-16-13 PM

Tune in tomorrow as we bring you the most up to date action news from Stop # 7 of the ASP World Championship Tour, the 2014 Billabong Pro Tahiti! For more action from day one, check out the incredible highlights below!

*Imagery by ASP, Pat Stacy, Kirstin Scholtz, Tim McKenna, Unknown

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JAY ADAMS – GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN

Over the weekend the surfing and skateboarding communities farewelled a beloved pioneer as original Dogtown Z-Boy Jay Adams passed away from heart attack, while on a surfing holiday over the border in Mexico. Adams help transform skateboarding to what it is today, from the flats to the pools, bringing his dangerous, raw surf vibe to the sport along with a group of friends from Los Angeles. The Z-Boys help carve the way for skateboarding today, being some of the first to shred empty backyard pools back in the 1970’s. If it weren’t for these guys, there would be no Tony Hawk or the other household names we all know today.ja3Before the Z-Boys, skateboarding was a much different sport. If you’ve seen the documentary or movie on the Lords of Dogtown, you’ll know that before the pools and ramps, skateboarding was much more like ballet or gymnastics. Rather than build speed and skate more like surfing, skateboarders would do different manoeuvres while staying in the one spot. This all officially changed when the Zephyr team arrived at a skateboarding competition in Del Mar, south of the group’s home of Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Though other crews had already been tearing apart the pools and street spots for years, it was the Z-Boys who displayed their surfer approach, forever cementing the style to skateboarding and changing the sport forever.JA6Jay was always known as a skateboarder, though surfing was a huge part of his life. He travelling all over the world chasing waves and was known to charge in Hawaii and Mexico, continuously pushing the limits even at the age of 53. Although he had troubles with drugs and law earlier in his life, Adams turned all of that around toward his later years, becoming a Christian and visiting schools to inform kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. ja5JA7

‘You don’t quit Skateboarding because you get old. You get old because you quit Skateboarding‘ - Jay AdamsJA1Jay will forever be remembered all over the world as one of the original Z-Boys of Venice Beach. Our thoughts go out to Jay’s family and friends during this difficult time.  True legends never die and although he is gone, he will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace.

Imagery: Glen E. Friedman, Kent Sherwood, Unknown

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SKELETON BAY FIRES, AGAIN!

We all know Skeleton Bay as one of the longest, most perfect waves on the planet. The perfect sandbar allows the swell lines to grind right along the bay, with surfers experiencing one of the most mechanical and mesmerising breaks ever seen and ridden.

Namibia lies on the west coast of Africa, with the Skeleton Bay break towards the southern end of the country. Since exploding onto the surfing scene within the last few years, the region now see’s surfers from all over the world travelling there to score a slice of perfection. That’s exactly what happened to Koa Smith recently on a journey to the now famous coastline, and boy did it live up to expectations.

Get ready to watch one of the best barrels ever captured on a GoPro. It’s crazy to think a wave that long and perfect, along with a sandy bottom exists!

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CONTEST NEWS

Though the Billabong Pro Tahiti is only around the corner, surfers all around the world have been competing in other contests, eager to perform and make a name for themselves in the competitive surfing scene. The past few days has seen contests all over the globe, though stand out action was no doubt obvious from the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang on the beautiful island of Bali, and also the trials for two wildcard seats in none other than the Billabong Pro Tahiti, scheduled to start this Friday the 15th of August.

The Rip Curl Cup saw epic conditions on the final day of competition, with swells reeling in at the solid 6-8 foot mark, some say the best waves in the events 11 year history. Surfers from all over the world competed in this event, though it was none other than the local knowledge of the Balinese surfers that helped progress them into the Final, knocking out surfing big wigs Chris Ward and Jacob Wilcox. Garut Widiarta and cousin Raditya Rondi paddled out in the afternoon glare to battle it out in the perfect conditions, both eager to win at their homebreak. The pair both scored long, amazing barrel rides, though it was Garut Widiarta who walked away with the victory after making barrels that were quite honestly, just ludicrous. Bali winbali2The event certainly lived up to its name of the ‘Ultimate Tuberiding Contest’, with huge spectator turn outs only making the contest a little more interesting and creating the typical surf contest feel and atmosphere. After a long run of runner up placings, the win for Garut Widiarta is a huge accomplishment and has certainly proved to surfers everywhere what the Indonesian standard has grown to.bali5In other contest news, Australian charger Nathan Hedge will once again be appearing on the ASP World Tour. Nathan came in at runner up at the Air Tahiti Nui Billabong Trials, winning a wildcard position for the Billabong Pro Tahiti, scheduled to start this Friday the 15th of August. Hedge and 31 other surfers battled it out for the two wildcard spots, the other going to Tuamata Puhetini. Puhetini won the trails in 2010, and seems like a dangerous contender in the ASP event. The famous Tahitian reef break of Teahupo’o delivered the goods, with solid 6-8 foot swell lines and long, grinding, perfect tubes for competitors.

“The surf was fantastic today!” Puhetini said. “I can’t believe I won it again, everyone was surfing very well. I won the Trials in 2010 and it was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to taking on the best guys out there in the Billabong Pro.”Tahitiwin“It was a day for the Tahitians with Tuamata taking the win,” Hedge said. “I’m really stoked to have made the Final. I got some of the best waves of my life today, it’s like a dream.”HedgeyTahitiWith conditions set to continue to grow and improve, Nathan Hedge and Tuamata Puhetini will now face off with World Number 1 and 2 Gabriel Medina and Joel Parkinson in Round 1 of Stop #7 at the infamous Tahitian reef break, Teahupo’o.

All competitors at the trails did not leave unscathed however, with Kevin Bourez, younger brother of world number 5 Michel, unfortunately having to pull from the competition, despite being a favourite to take the wildcard spot. The French Polynesian went over the falls in his Round 1 efforts, resulting in multiple head fractures and reef cuts to the face. The Bourez presence did not disappear as Kevin did in the ambulance, with him still taking the heat despite his heavy wipe out. An unfortunate circumstance, though that’s what can happen at Teahupo’o. We wish Kevin a speedy recovery and can’t wait to see him pull out his usual bags of tricks next year.

SurfStitch would also like to congratulate Garut Widiarta, Tuamata Puhetini and Nathan Hedge on their results. Be sure to stay tuned right here on the SurfStitch Blog as we bring you all the latest updates in the surfing world, including all the action from the Billabong Pro Tahiti!

*All Imagery by Rip Curl/ASP

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VANS U.S. OPEN WRAP UP

The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing has finished up, with new champions being crowned in all areas of competition. From men’s and women’s surfing (including longboarding), to skate and even BMX events, Vans have outdone themselves yet again with another successful and very entertaining event for 2014. The waves unfortunately stayed rather small for the event, though this did not stop some great technical and exciting surfing being produced from all competitors. The invitational Van Doren skateboarding and BMX events also went off with a huge boom, with competitors and spectators all impressed with the contest arena, all taking it to the next level and throwing huge airs and giving the crowds what they wanted to see.contest1

The main event was in the women’s surfing, which on World Championship Tour (WCT) status, saw the best 17 women surfers in the world battle it out for a chance to take home the title. After finishing runner up a number of times through the 2014 season, it was finally time for Tyler Wright to shine, as she took out Stop #6 of 10 of the Women’s WCT at the famous Huntington Beach Pier in California. Wright reigned over 5 time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore in the Final, linking manoeuvres from outside to in, dominating through her technical surfing abilities. Though locking in a strong score in the 9′s, Gilmore was unable to match the scores Wright had scraped together, falling short of her U.S. Open campaign goals. The win moves Wright up the rankings, now seated at #4 on the Women’s World Championship Tour.

“It’s been a long event and really enjoyable for me,” said Tyler Wright. “I wouldn’t be here without my team and they mean the world to me. All the girls have been ripping this entire event and it’s been wonderful to see. I felt really relaxed and comfortable and everything has gone really well for me this week and I loved it.”Untitled-2

Though many would think this could be a huge game changer in the overall rankings, Stephanie does not seem to worried. “When you do your throwaways I guess I’m in a good spot,” said Gilmore. “You can’t really calculate too much right now. More than anything, I’m excited for the rest of the year and to be able to surf Trestles, France, Portugal and finish the year off in Honolua Bay.” Steph1

Though being seen as almost its own event in surfing all together, the main surfing event for the men was a Qualifying Series (QS) Prime event, in which surfers battle it out to collect points and try to gain a lucky spot on the following years World Championship Tour. Filipe Toledo continued his impressive display of surfing, winning the event against fellow Brazilian Willian Cardoso in the Final. By throwing together a 8.73 and another strong score, Toledo used his terrific aerial skills to beat his fellow countryman, both however, stoked to see Brazil taking the top results as they flew their nations flag high with pride. Filipe takes home $100,000 in prize money and can now add his name to the honourable list of U.S. Open champions. Local favourite Brett Simpson was a popular nomination when people were asked who would take out the event for this year. The American perhaps cracked under pressure from the huge crowds and was knocked in Semi Final 2, by none other than Toledo, the event champion.

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“I’m super stoked and excited,” said Toledo. “It was an amazing heat against Willian (Cardoso). He’s been surfing really well the whole competition. I just turned my game to the air game so I could do what I love to do and it worked. I had to surf though a lot of pain with my ankle (following a sprain in Africa) and just put it out of my mind. I felt comfortable in these conditions. I won the junior in 2011 and was just feeling confident throughout the week.”Toledo3

Australian Matt Banting also claimed another win for the 2014 season, winning the Junior surfing event after a great 9 point ride. Banting competed in both the Junior event and the main event, though was eliminated in Quaterfinal 3. Hawaiian super shredder Bailey Nagy also won the Women’s Junior event, and reigning champion Justin Quintal won the longboard event, the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational. All in all, an absolute great event showcasing all types of surfing, something we all love!

21 year old Raven Tershy took the Van Doren Invitational Skateboarding event, after a long day of all competitors putting their bodies on the line to win the prestigious event. Tershy tore apart the concrete bowl built specifically for this event, impressing judges and spectators alike and thankfully can now add the win to his already impressive resume. Tershy combined his vert skills with street, as he displayed a series of long grinds and slides, with big airs and the inclusion of impressive flip tricks. Gary Young won the BMX invitational event, also producing huge airs and impressive combinations of some of the hardest tricks in the book.

Untitled-12Untitled-3*Imagery by Brandon Means/Justin Kosman/Michael Lallande

SurfStitch would like to congratulate all competitors on their great results, particularly those lucky enough to take out their chosen events! It is exciting to think what is to come from these athletes next! Either way, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing will never disappoint.

Need a new pair of Vans? Sure you do. Shop all Vans here now!

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VANS US OPEN OF SURFING 2014

This past weekend saw huge crowds draw to the famous area of Huntington Beach, California as the Vans US Open of Surfing returned home for 2014. Nicknamed ‘Surf City’, the area has been the stomping ground for surfing in the United States since blowing up with attention in 1914. The famous beach and pier landmarks have hosted this great event since 1994 and a win here proves to be a sign of pure success, with many going on to make long standing surfing careers. Americans and others from all over the globe flock to the Orange County beach every Summer with the event seeing more and more stand out performances each year, helping shape some of today’s best surfers.vanscrowdUSopenwinners

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the US Open of Surfing and also 100 years of surfing in Huntington Beach. This year sees the event host a Women’s World Championship Tour event, Mens QS series event, Pro Juniors and a few extra fun elements, such as the famous expression sessions. Competitors in all areas of competition are specifically invited individually, another honour that comes with competing at the event.

This year, the men’s surfing event will see many world famous World Tour participants including Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson and Kai Otton. Up and comers from all over the world will be also looking to make stand-out appearances to push their surfing careers which always makes for some exciting action. The latest forecasts reveal that around 2-3 foot of swell is expected for the start of competition, with cooperating winds and increasing swell through the days into the start of this week. Let’s hope for spectacular conditions so we can see how the world’s best mix up world class reef and point breaks with the beach break at Huntington!vansbede VansSurfMattBanting

Don’t let the name fool you, the Vans US Open of Surfing is more than a surf contest. As record numbers of spectators continue to participate every year, skateboarding and BMX events are also a part of all the action. Some of the world’s best skateboarders will be going head to head in the prestigious event battling for their share of a $135,000 prize pool. For the first time in years, the skate event in the US Open of Surfing has been switched to an all concrete bowl, taking inspiration from the legendary Skatepark du Prado bowl in Marseilles, France. The main event will feature riders such as reigning Van Doren champion Ben Hatchell, X-Games gold medallist Curren Caples and world known bowl enthusiast Pedro Barros, with women’s events also being held. The BMX event also features 40 of the worlds best riders. Competitors from all over will be competing for $30,000 prize money, and of course, the great honour that goes with winning the Van Doren Invitational. Live concerts previously played a large role in the event, though have been cut back to keep surfing as the main attraction.vans skate1vansskate3

Whether it’s watching the main events, meeting the competitors or looking over to see Steve Van Doren himself flipping sausages for the crowds, it’s obvious that when Vans host an event, they host it right. Perfect combinations of different competitions, good music, good food and all round good times are just some of the factors that separate Vans events from the rest, and the 2014 US Open of Surfing will be, yet again, another prime example of their expertise.

For more information on the Vans US Open of Surfing 2014, visit their official website here or browse our extensive range of Vans products on SurfStitch. Check out the teaser video for this year’s competition, without a doubt this will make you want to get over to Surf City for next year’s event! Keep up to date here on the SurfStitch Blog with all the latest action and results from this year’s Vans US Open of Surfing.


*All imagery by Vans

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MICK TAKES JBAY IN COOLIE KIDS FINAL

In fine form the entire competition, reigning World Champion Mick Fanning has taken out the J-Bay Open 2014 in an explosive Final again fellow Cooly Kid and good friend Joel Parkinson. After days of postponing, officials and surfers finally awoke to what they had been waiting for, solid swell lines, cooperating winds and great shape. The pair battled it out in a solid 6-8 foot swell at Jeffreys Bay, throwing on their game faces and going head to head in an impressive display of competitive surfing.Jbayfinaldaymickjbayfinaldaymick2Jbayfinaldaymick3

The much anticipated final day of the J-Bay Open started with Round 5 with some surprising results. The day begun with Josh Kerr taking on Adriano de Souza in the early, cross shore conditions. Though Kerr battled hard and surfed well, he was unable to complete crucial turns and exits on the long, grinding J-Bay walls. De Souza also struggled at some stages, though scored some mid range scores early, eventually proving enough to advance, knocking Kerr from competition.

“I was really excited because I’ve been watching this forecast the last few days,” said De Souza. “As soon as I woke up this morning, I saw beautiful waves, beautiful lines, because this is J-Bay. Every competitor in the world has luck, today was my lucky day.”

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Taj Burrow took on Californian Kolohe Andino in Heat 2 of Round 5. Burrow was first to strike, paddling into a solid bomb and working the open faces through Supertubes. A opening score of 7.00 helped Burrow with his combination scores, as Andino struggled to match the Aussie veterans early performance. As the final minutes approached, Andino was still in need of a 7.86, a score which he was unable to find and was sent home, with Taj advancing through to the Quarterfinals.

Gabriel Medina next took on Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood. With conditions improving and the swell on the rise, the pair struggled to lock in a worthy score by half way through the Heat. C.J. eventually managed to scrape into a larger set, belting out backhand manourvres and a barrel, though slipped on his final turn. This perhaps was the wave that cost Hobgood his advancement, unable to find another wave and score of just 5.25 to overtake Medina and advance.

“It was a huge opportunity for me. Apples to apples, I felt like I needed a special wave, but I don’t think that was the case. Sometimes I have trouble finishing waves out here. But the flip side is, the waves are pumping, I’m a fan of surfing, and I’m grateful to be here.” said C.J.JbayfinaldayMedina

Reigning World Champion Mick Fanning met Hawaiian Fred Patacchia in Heat 4 of Round 5. Solid sets rolled in instantly after the hooter sounded, allowing both surfers to attack the J-Bay line up. Fanning in typical form smashed the open faces of the long right hander, with his opening ride notching a 7.50. Though Patacchia managed to obtain some mid range scores, he was unable to match Fanning’s performance, with Mick advancing with a combination score of 15.67

“This is what we live for, epic J-Bay,” Fanning said. “For me surfing out there is just having fun. I was trying to channel a bit of Tom Curren from the Search days.”

The Quarterfinals began instantly after the conclusion of Round 5 with Joel Parkinson meeting Adriano de Souza. Parkinson did not waste any time, tearing apart the long open walls and posting a strong mid score of 6.83. De Souza found his form around the 20 minute mark, posting a mid score in the 5′s and enough to take the lead from Parko. Joel soon answered, pushing his board to its limits through a series of forehand manoeuvres for a 7.67, stealing the lead and proving too strong for the Brazilian.

An all Aussie Heat for Quarterfinal 2 saw an in-form Matt Wilkinson battle Taj Burrow for a spot in the Semi Finals. With some great surfing from both competitors and high scores being posted left, right and centre, the two went head to head for the entire Heat, impressing judges and spectators alike. Though Taj managed to post a score in the 9′s, Wilkinson proved too strong with his great backhand attack, being rewarded with his best performance on tour this year and a spot in the Semi Finals.JbayfinaldaywilkoJbayfinaldaytaj

Current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina next came up against Australian Owen Wright. Excitement began as the two backhand surfers hit the empty Jeffreys Bay line up, everyone ready to see what the two could produce. Wright struck almost instantaneously, posting two mid range scores to begin his campaign. Medina was chasing Wright from the get go, as the two competitors went crazy on the fast and perfect solid walls of water. Wright managed to scrape together a strong combination score of 17.40, and although Gabriel was only a point behind, he could not match the Owen’s collected final scores.

Mick Fanning had surfed well the entire competition, and it was unfortunately Alejo Muniz who had to feel the World Champions wrath next in Quarterfinal 4. Although opening the scoreboard, Fanning soon left the Brazilian behind with an array of strong scores thanks to a powerful forehand attack. Although defeated, the result is still Alejo’s best result on Tour to date, which is surely something to be proud of.jbayfinaldayalejo

Then there were 4. The all Aussie Semi Finals began with Parko meeting Wilkinson, and Fanning taking on Owen Wright. Joel won J-Bay in 2009 and began strong yet again, posting a 6 and then a high score in the 8′s for good start to his campaign. All thought it was over for Wilkinson, who surprised everyone and dropped a 9.77 in the final minutes. Though posting this strong score was like a light at the end of the tunnel, Matt was unable to back up and Parko moved to the Final. Owen Wright also came off second best to the powerhouse performance that is Mick Fanning. Though no doubt burnt out from the days competition, the two struggled to find composure early on, with Mick being pinched on a barrel, allowing for Wright to take an early lead. Both eventually found their feet, though it was Mick Fanning who stole the show, linking together turns and cutbacks with barrels and anything else that could be thrown into the line-up. This now made for a close friend and Coolie kid Final between Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning.

With the title already in Australian hands, it was now up to the Coolie kids to decide who would add the trophy to their personal collection on home soil. Friendship was left on the sand as both surfers struck instantly as the hooter sounded, Joel taking the first of the exchange. Parkinson destroyed the open faces opting for a strong opening score, before getting pinched on an inside barrel. Making things worse, he came up to watch Fanning tear apart the next wave of the set, getting a double barrel and being rewarded with a 9.00. Joel was not intimated, eventually paddling into a bomb and getting a long barrel and once again being in a position to take the win. Both surfers looked to be enjoying themselves, something different from the 1000+ line up they are used to at their local break Snapper Rocks. Fanning lead the scoreboard with a combination of 17.00, leaving Joel in need of a near perfect score to take the win. After a gruelling battle with his childhood friend, Parkinson eventually opted to come in early, unofficially handing Mick the title for J-Bay 2014.

“I never dreamed that I would get to surf a J-Bay final with Joel,” Fanning said. “Joel is one of my favourite surfers and my best friend, we’ve known each other since we were kids.”

“It was an amazing heat and Mick is such a good tactician,” Parkinson said. “I made a couple of bad decisions and I just didn’t get the right waves. It would’ve been nice to get a win but that was a brilliant day of surfing and it was so wonderful to be part of it.”Jbayfinaldayjoel Jbayfinaldayjoel2

The win now puts Mick at #3 on the World Championship Tour and one step closer to holding onto his World Title. All of us at SurfStitch would like to congratulate Mick Fanning on this great win! A further congratulations to all other competitors on their outstanding efforts and for defying the infamous waters of South Africa!Jbayfinaldaymick4

Bring on Teahupoo! Stop #7 of the ASP World Championship Tour is set to commence August 15-26. Check out the Final Day highlights of the ASP J-Bay Open 2014 below!

*All images by ASP

 

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J-BAY ROUNDS 3 & 4 UPDATE

Plenty of action went down overnight as Round 3 and 4 got under way at the J-Bay Open 2014. With the swell filling in throughout the day and weather conditions holding up, a great day of waves graced the Supertubes line-up, perfect for competition. The day saw many highlights and upsets, with some of the bigger names sent packing from the event.

The day begun with the start of Round 3 where Joel Parkinson met fellow Aussie Adam Melling. Both surfers have been on fire this competition, gaining strong composure and comfort in the earlier Rounds. With the swell still sitting around 4 foot and continuing to build, Melling wasted little time attacking the line up. It was after 8 minutes in when Parko finally struck, living up to his typical form and belting the line up with style and grace for a smooth opening score of 7.00. Melling was chasing Parkinson the entire Heat, needing a 4.83 to best the World Number 5 and despite a late long barrel ride, Adrian was unable to exit allowing Parko to advance.JbayJoel1

Joel Parkinson sitting in the sweet spot – photo by ASP

The level of surfing in all Heats was simply mind blowing, as the remaining competitors continued to battle it out in Round 3. Heat 2 saw Josh Kerr take down Brazilian Miguel Pupo, Taj Burrow overcame fellow countryman Adrian Buchan in Heat 3 and Adriano de Souza continued his strong forehand attack in Heat 4, defeating Hawaiian Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz.

For J-Bay, I really work on flow between turns,” said De Souza. “If you lose your momentum, the rest of the wave is going to be bad. I think that’s really important. Once you get that flow between turns, it’s easier to surf out at J-Bay.”JBayAdriano

 Adriano de Souza knocks out Seabass – photo by ASP

Californian Kolohe Andino met Julian Wilson in Heat 5 of Round 2. The battle of the next generation proved very interesting to watch as both threw everything they had at the long, open walls of Supertubes. Andino proved too much for the Australian, at one time throwing a huge forehand punt, something rarely seen at J-Bay.

Something many weren’t necessarily expecting was the elimination of 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater in Heat 6. Slater dropped to Aussie Matt Wilkinson in an exciting round of competition. Wilkinson lead the first half of the Heat, with Kelly throwing together a terrific combination of turns and snaps to shorten the gap the Australian had created through his powerful backhand attack. Wilko soon answered back to Slater, continuing his campaign to post an impressive 9.33. Kelly, needing a strong combination score, could not match Wilkinson’s performance and was the first major knock out from the 2014 J-Bay Open.

“No one likes their odds against Kelly,” Wilkinson said. “My backhand and my boards are feeling solid, the judges are rewarding my turns and that always feels good. Kelly always gets big scores, so I waited for the biggest waves of the set and it worked out.”Jbaywilko1JbaySlater1

 Wilko and Slater go head to head – Photo’s by ASP

Competition continued with current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina eliminating Aritz Aranburu in Heat 7, with the World Champ gaining a first wave score of 9.43 through powerful backhand manoeuvres. Heat 8 saw Aussie Owen Wright defeat Hawaiian wonder child John John Florence and Freddy Patacchia Jnr. continued his strong campaign in Heat 9, overcoming Nat Young.

Reigning 3 time world Champion Mick Fanning took to the water in Heat 10, facing off with fellow Aussie Kai Otton. Fanning did not muck around, instantly paddling in to  wave that would reward him with  a strong score of 8.50 through his technical forehand approach. Otton eventually fired back with a 7.00, though overall could not catch Fanning as the reigning champion delivered more strong scores in the high 7′s.

“I just didn’t stop catching waves,” Fanning said. “That’s the way you want to have heats, really.”JbayMick1

 Fanning and his flawless forehand style – Photo by ASP

The next huge upset of the day was the elimination of local and contest favourite Jordy Smith. That’s right, we can’t believe it either. The South African and 2 x event winner was knocked from the event by C.J. Hobgood, causing a huge disappointment to local crowds and supporters. Hobgood started his scores early, having a combined score of 9.50 in the opening minutes. Jordy almost seemed rattled until finally finding form and delivering a series of controlled turns, eventually taking the lead with 8 minutes on the clock remaining. A crucial exchange of waves was next for the pair, both giving it their all. Both surfers drew controlled long lines delivering hacks and snaps, though it was C.J. who bettered from the exchange, as Smith fell on his final manoeuvres and Hobgood was able to exit cleanly. Unluckily for the local crowd, Jordy Smith was eliminated from competition.

The final Heat of Round 3 saw Michel Bourez come up against Alejo Muniz. Muniz opened the scoreboard until Michel took the lead on his third wave with a 5.33. The Heat continued to be quite slow, as both surfers did’nt post scores above the 6.00 mark. Muniz eventually got luck in the final 4 minutes, gaining the best score of the Heat, proving enough for the win and the elimination of the Tahitian.

“I think maybe we weren’t having the heat we were expecting but I’m happy to get through,” Muniz said. “This is a big step for my career and my year so I’m happy to be doing well in J-Bay.”JbayMuniz

 Alejo Muniz comes up with the goods – Photo by ASP

The three man heats of Round 4 begun with Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Josh Kerr. Parko blew his fellow Aussies and natural footers away, using controlled rail work and strong completion of waves to add to his campaign. Though Burrow and Kerr tried to match Parkinson, they were unable to find clean exits from their waves allowing Joel to advance directly to the Quarterfinals.

Heat 2 of Round 4 next saw Matt Wilkinson take on Adriano de Souza and Kolohe Andino. Wilkinson continue to surf amazing, maintaining his confidence from earlier Heats and came out with guns blazing, securing a 7.67 in the opening minutes. Kolohe fought back through a great display of airs and power turns, briefly stealing the lead from the Australian. As de Souza struggled, Wilkinson again fired back through his powerful backhand technique, taking the Heat and advancing through to the Quarterfinals.

The swap from three natural footers to three goofy footers happened for Heat 3, as Gabriel Medina, Freddy Patacchia and Owen Wright hit the Supertubes line-up. The waves were continuing to grind down the point, something all surfers were eager to hit. As Medina and Wright started trying to scrape into any wave possible, Patacchia stayed calm and collected, waiting for the right wave to start his Round 4 efforts. He was instantly rewarded with a high score of 8.17. Wright soon answered to the Hawaiian, putting together a series of carves and long turns, stealing the lead with a 8.67. He then backed up with another score in the 6′s proving too strong for his other competitors.

The final Heat of the day was Heat 4 of Round 4. After a long day of competition, this last Heat saw Mick Fanning, C.J Hobgood and Alejo Muniz come together to battle it out for a spot in the Quarterfinals. With the sun almost setting, Alejo was able to produce the first major score of the Heat, a 7.00 to take the lead over Hobgood and Fanning. Fanning struck back, taking the lead, before Muniz paddled into another set wave, achieving a score high enough to defeat the other competitors.

Tune in later today on the ASP website for the latest on competition status, or check out the SurfStitch Blog for the latest news on the 2014 J-Bay Open! SurfStitch wishes all the remaining competitors good luck in the final stages of the prestigious competition! Check out all the highlights from Rounds 3 and 4 below.

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J-BAY ROUND 2 UPDATE

After several days of waiting, J-Bay started to deliver the goods once again, allowing the ASP J-Bay Open to continue with the remainder of elimination Round 2. With a pumping, clean 3-5 foot of swell, Round 2 Heat 5 was the first in the water to resume the historical event which has seen so many stand out performances over the years.Supers1

Round 2 commences – photo by ASP

Heat 5 of the eliminating Round 2 saw an all Aussie affair, with Bede Durbidge up against Matt Wilkinson. The 35 minute Heat opened with Burbidge smacking the open faces of Supertubes, putting the first scores of 5.00 on the scoreboard. Wilkinson sat patiently waiting for the right wave, eventually warming up at the 10 minute mark. After finding his composure, Wilkinson attacked again this time on a bigger set wave, something he took a huge advantage of. He carved down the line with precision, drawing lines and belting 6 controlled turns for a 7.00 and taking the lead from Bede. The pair soon exchanged waves, this time with Durbidge throwing power into some great forehand manoeuvres, though it was Wilkinson who continued to shine, catching a bigger wave of the set and advancing further with a 8.50. Bede again tried to match Wilkinson’s strong scores, though fell short and was eliminated from competition.

 ”I was in the perfect spot for that one,” Wilkinson said of his high-scoring wave. “I knew if I hit all the sections solidly I’d end up with a massive score and I did. It felt really good.”SupersWilko1

 Wilko belting one off the top – photo by ASP

Heat 6 saw Owen Wright meet Dion Atkinson for another all Aussie Heat. As Dion sat patiently, Owen Wright began his campaign with a 5.67. Atkinson soon followed on a later set, though could not join the dots to lock in anything worthy. An overall slow Heat didn’t see too much action, with Atkinson needing a 7.20 to be saved from elimination. In the final minutes, Dion threw everything he could at one last set wave, with an impressive display of bottom turns and strong hacks. In all, Atkinson could not catch Owen’s early lead and was knocked from competition.

“It was a bit slow that one and I think that’s just how it’s going to go until that tide turns,” Wright said. “When they come through they’re such good waves. They’re perfect.”

To mix things up, Heat 7 was another all countryman affair, this time with Brazilian and Hurley team mates Filipe Toledo and Alejo Muniz facing off. As the Heat begun, it was clear all friendship was put aside as the pair battled for the opening exchange of waves. After a few waves of small scores, Muniz was first to find a worthy score of 6.00 through an array of turns and precise rail work. Toledo was chasing a 6.83, and waited to the final 2 minutes to try throw something together, catching a smaller wave and putting together a series of carves and turns on the open faces. In all, Toledo was eventually sent packing as his fellow countryman and team mate advanced through to Round 3.

“I kept getting medium size waves and do my best and it paid off,” Muniz said. “Not many Brazilians are on tour and we support each other so it’s hard, but everyone needs to do their own job. I’m really focused on this event and I want to get good results.”SupersMuniz1

 Muniz lining up – photo by ASP

Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood would next meet Tiago Pires in Heat 8 of Round 2. No time was wasted as both surfers exchanged waves immediately, both with strong series of turns, C.J putting on a great backhand performance. Pires took a small lead over Hobgood after this opening exchange, with a score of 8.50. A second exchange then saw Hobgood find his form and draw some high lines, putting together some great combinations and edging a 6.50, enough to steal the lead from Muniz. The pair played tennis with the lead all Heat, with Pires gaining an impressive 8.17 and C.J. answering with a 7.67. The American held onto his slight lead and survived elimination,once again cementing his backhand skills into all of our minds.

“It’s been a couple months since I had a heat,” Hobgood said. “I had Tiago in Fiji and he smoked me. I saw the other guys catching waves to get into rhythm so I just tried to cut a bunch of waves. Tiago was ripping so I’m stoked to make a heat.”SupersCJ

 Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood sitting in the right spot – photo by ASP

Heat 9 was another all Brazilian Heat, with Jadson Andre meeting Miguel Pupo. The pair had scores up in a matter of minutes, with Pupo getting the bigger wave and locking in a nice 6.67 over Andre’s 3.33. Barrels started showing up around the 15 minute mark, with Miguel increasing his lead through an impressive tube ride for a 5.33, then again with a 8.50 through a strong performance of tube rides and vertical snaps. Andre soon struck back with a 8.40, though could not match the performances of his fellow countryman.

“It’s my first time in J-Bay and I’ve already fallen in love with the place,” said Pupo. “It’s a special place for all the surfers because of the history over here. Hopefully I can come here every year. Monday’s conditions look pretty good, so hopefully we get barreled and put on a good show for the South Africans.”

Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz was next up against Jeremy Flores in Heat 10. After a slow first few minutes, waves started flowing through and the pair put on an appealing opening exchange. Flores took the lead first, with a 7.50 over Sebastian’s 6.17. After what seemed like a slow Heat, sets eventually appeared and the pair did not disappoint crowds and judges. Both went head to head and bought themselves some 7 point scores, though Zietz continued to trail. As the final minutes approached, Zietz’s prayers were answered as he paddled into one of the bigger waves of the Heat. He managed to lock in a 6.67, stealing the lead from the Frenchman by only 0.14.

I think it was a pretty fair heat,” said Zietz. “(I was last here) three years ago, it was so good, I couldn’t wait to come back. it’s been a little smaller since then, but the waves are perfect. We’re staying down the beach in front of the point, and I’ve been surfing my brains out.”SupersSeabass

 Seabass not holding back – photo by ASP

Heat 11 saw some great action as Freddy Patacchia battled Travis Logie. The backhand battle was again on as both surfers got to their feet early, putting mid scores on the board to start their campaigns. It was the next wave that wowed spectators, as Patacchia paddled into a perfect J-Bay grinder, putting together three huge hacks off the top and then sitting in a long tube. The wave was the highest score of the day, being scored a 9.93 and leaving Logie in a crucial situation. As Logie looked to find his form with a 7.17, he was once again shut down as Freddy got another set wave and produced a 8.00. The combined score of 17.93 sent Logie packing as he was eliminated from the 2014 J-Bay Open.

“I knew that wave was going to be a gem,” Patacchia said. “I was thinking ‘don’t screw this up Freddy.’ It felt great, it was a perfect J-Bay wave.”SupersFreddy

 Freddy Patacchia after the wave of the day – photo by ASP

The final Heat of the day was another Australian affair, this time seeing Mitch Crews take on Adrian Buchan. It was Crews who began the Heat with a 6.50 with a combination of turns and controlled rail work. Buchan stayed patient and eventually was rewarded, throwing turn after turn and gaining a 6.67 to take the lead. Buchan eventually stayed strong and proved too much for his fellow Aussie, eliminating Crews and advancing through to Round 3.

With a new swell arriving today and increasing until Wednesday, the contest is scheduled to resume once again. Keep up to date here at SurfStitch Blog, or watch live at the official ASP website. If you are on the East Coast of Australia, the call will be made around 4pm. Check out out the highlights from Round 2 below.

 

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The Ripple Effect: The Coolie Kids

Whether you are a surfer or not, chances are you’ve heard of Coolangatta. The small surfing community holds a population of only 5,000, though has produced more surfing World Champions than anywhere else in the world. Is there something in the water? Well no, but chances are its got something to do with that wave or waves down there. All together known as the world famous Superbank, the wave that starts at Snapper Rocks could be the main factor in the ‘Coolie Kids’ success. superbankshiled* Image by Andrew Shield

This new short clip entitled ‘The Ripple Effect’ from our friends at Red Bull shows us the great history of the area, including past and present local ‘Coolie Kids’ who absolutely all tear the wave apart, regardless of their era. That’s right, it goes way back further the modern day faces we are all so used to seeing. Do yourself a favour and jump into the clip below!

http://bit.ly/CoolieKids

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