Wrap Up: Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro

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

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

*All imagery ASP

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Hurley Pro Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*All imagery by ASP

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Hurley Pro: Our Picks For The Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Win a trip to Vanuatu!

SurfStitch has teamed up with Vanuatu Tourism, Air Vanuatu and Surfside Vanuatu to offer one lucky winner and mate a one week trip to paradise. Only a short flight from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne – Vanuatu is so close but feels like a world away!

Don’t miss your chance to have the holiday of a lifetime and enter now: http://competitions.surfstitch.com/FB_Vanuatu_Comp_Tile_21

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Billabong Pro Tahiti: Final Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Imagery by ASP, Billabong

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Billabong Pro Tahiti Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*All imagery by ASP

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Nyjah Huston wins Street League Super Crown

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

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

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

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

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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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Ryan Sheckler has defended his title at the Dew Tour Skate Streetstyle event for the third year in a row. Downtown Portland, Oregon shut down as fourteen skateboarders took to the tactical downhill course, all competitors giving it their all. The course consisted of rails, ramps and other odd set ups, including shipping containers, to push the riders to their potential and ultimately crown the deserving winner. Shecklerwin1

Each skater got three attempts at completing their best chosen run of the downhill course. With every competitor being one of the best street skateboarders in the world and them all pushing each other to their limits, you can only imagine the absolutely incredible and technical tricks that were going down. The good vibes continued to flow as it got down to the final three competitors including Alec Majerus, Curren Caples and of course, Ryan Sheckler himself.

Alec was first to complete his final run, opening with a huge nollie feeble grind down the first 10 stair handrail. He managed to continue to keep his feet on the board throughout the run, taking pole position as the other two skateboarders sat at the top of the course ready for their turn. Caples, who we all know has been making a name for himself lately in the skateboarding scene, was next and he also unleashed a whole bag of tricks against his fellow competitors and friends. Caples stayed strong though toward the bottom fell, opening the door for the Sheckler parade to come bursting in. Though falling on similar runs earlier, this was the two time defending champion’s time to shine once again. That he did, completing his run without a fault with an awesome display of perfectly executed manoeuvres that would see him once again take home the title. Sheckler flew through the course and displayed nothing but skill as he linked together tricks we all can only imagine about. From huge kickflip indy grabs, to lip slides, a tweaked 360 air and a huge backside tail slide on the final shipping container, Sheckler proved yet again that he is up there with the best in the world.

‘I really like this contest and the whole idea of it’ Sheckler said after winning and signing autographs. ‘When you are a little kid all you want to do is bomb hills, so to have a downhill contest with a bunch of gnarly ramps on it it just spoke to me, I love skating this event!’

Watch Ryan Sheckler’s final run and be blown away!

Congratulations to Ryan Sheckler from the whole SurfStitch team! Let’s see if anyone can stop him from taking the title four years straight in 2015! Like what you saw? Browse our huge range of skate products here.

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The Winter Wednesday Competition has finished for this year, with the final winner drawn today at 4pm. Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who entered, we at SurfStitch are completely over the moon with the amount of entries and creative answers recieved. As much as we would love to send you all to the snow for the day, unfortunately there can only be one winner. The final winner of the Winter Wednesday Competition is:

Simone Harethredbo1

Congratulations Simone! Thanks for entering!

Didn’t win this time around? Never fear, simply stay tuned on SurfStitch and our Facebook page for all the latest competitions. One again thank you to all who entered, and another congratulations to all this years winners!

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