FANNING WINS RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH 2014

Mick Fanning has once again won the title at Bells Beach. Late yesterday afternoon, Fanning drew tour veteran Taj Burrow in an all Aussie final, and claimed his third victory at the historic event. The sun was shining and the cool air did not deter spectators as both surfers put on a spectacular display of competitive surfing, tearing apart the long walls of the new contest area, Winkipop.

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Mick Fanning rings the prestigious Bell for the third time – photo by ASP

For those not aware, Winkipop is down the beach from Bells. It provides long right hand walls with open faces, without all the complication and sectioning out like that of the Bowl or Rincon. Fanning and Burrow wowed spectators and judges through their impressive display of powerful turns and ability to race the open the walls of Winki. After a slow start, it was Mick to open the Final with an explosive 8.83. Like usual, Mick’s power and drive were extremely evident as he tore the face apart through a series of hacks, cutbacks and controlled turns. Fanning continued to backup scores with another 8.00 to further add to his campaign.

Taj saw no intimidation and also delivered, backing up with a near perfect score of 9.63 inside the last 15 minutes. This was the highest score of the Final, and Burrow was eager to obtain another under his belt and on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Western Australian, a second wave was not able to deliver the same result as his first, as he only managed to gain a 3.83. Both competitors continued to try scrape for any wave possible towards the end, though by the sound of the buzzer and end of the 35 minute Final, it was Mick Fanning finishing victorious. The Final concluded with Fanning on 16.83, to Burrows 13.46.

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Winkipop on Finals day – Photo by ASP

‘We got to surf everywhere at this event which was awesome, we got to surf the Bowl, Rincon and to finish at Winkipop. It’s always been my dream to surf a Heat at Winkipop’ said Fanning. ‘With the calibre of surfers on Tour at the moment there’s never an easy Heat and it keeps it so exciting.’

Mick continued, ‘After that result (13th) in Margaret River I went home and worked really hard and I’m so pleased that the hard work paid off. Congratulations to Taj, I’ve never been so nervous for nine minutes of my life, he surfed amazingly.”

Although frustrated and disappointed after coming so close to the win, Taj Burrow tried to look at the brighter side of the situation and stay positive. ‘I had a good Final with Mick but it was rough losing knowing I needed a 7 because I felt like there were so many opportunities to get one, but that’s the way it goes. Taj, who won the Bells Title in 2007 continued with There’s nothing better than ringing that Bell. It’s such an iconic event and I’m glad to have my name on the Bell. I’d love to have it on there a second time but I’ll take this result, put it in the bank and carry on to the next event.” 

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Taj Burrow in the Final – Photo by ASP

Though many controversies have arisen lately regarding judging criteria, both surfers proved that they earned their places in the Final of the respected Bells Beach event. Mick was able to defeat young gun Julian Wilson in the Semifinals, while Taj managed to progress and knock out Hawaiian John John Florence in his Semi. Taj also conquered the reigns over event defending champion Adriano de Souza in the Quarterfinals, causing upset to the Brazilian.

All in all, stop number 3 and last Australian event of the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour was a terrific contest, with many stand out performances. From John John’s first perfect 10 of competition for 2014, to Carissa taking out the Women’s event earlier on this same day, Bells always delivers the goods and is up there with one of the most entertaining, prestigious events on the tour.

SurfStitch would like to congratulate Mick Fanning on the third Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach victory, as well as Taj Burrow for his great runner-up effort. We all now look forward to the next stop of the Tour in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil starting May 7 -18. Keep up to date with all the latest news and results here on the SurfStitch blog, or watch live at aspworldtour.com.

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Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Update

Monday saw an amazing day of competition with pumping waves and some standout performances at the Bells Beach arena. Many great names came head to head to provide some great competitive surfing entertainment, with some of the biggest manoeuvres of the year so far going down in one metre clean conditions. A competition which first saw 36 male competitors was reduced to only 12 after a great day of rivalry. Round 3 saw many big names eliminated, while winners would meet in Round 4. Round 4 saw winners then advance directly into the Quarterfinals, while 2nd and 3rd place would have to battle it out to remain in competition through Round 5.

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The Bells line-up for Round 3 and 4 – photo by ASP

Heat 1 of Round 4 saw defending Bells Beach title holder Adriano De Souza up against tour veteran Taj Burrow and Adam Melling. Though De Souza won the event last year, it was Taj who really shined and was able to advance directly to the Quarterfinals, through experience and expertise in the Bells line-up“I love Bells, it feels great to be through to the Quarterfinals”, said Taj Burrow.

Heat 2 of Round 4 saw Hawaiian John John Florence up against 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater and current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina. This was a much anticipated Heat and though many eyes were on Medina and Slater, it was Florence who opened his campaign with an explosive complete aerial 360 just after taking off on a solid Bells wall. He then went on to complete the wave through a series of cutbacks and a layback turn, securing the first perfect 10 in 2014 Tour competition and a spot in the Quarterfinals. “It feels so good to win and I’m really happy. I was pretty nervous going into the Heat, it was scary to come up against Kelly and Gabriel” said John John. Furthermore, it might have been a strong wake up call to Medina, as the air was performed right in front of him as he duck dived, that indeed the World Title is still up for grabs for anyone of the competitors. Mick Fanning also went on to support Florence, stating “John John’s air was truly amazing and he deserves to get the first Perfect 10 of the year.”.

Heat 3 saw Joel Parkinson take on South African Jordy Smith and fellow countryman Owen Wright. All competitors came out bursting with great performances on the open walls of Rincon, proving to spectators and judges they are worthy to progress through to the later Rounds. It was Parkinson however, whom through rail precision and mix of cutbacks, airs and turns, was able to advance through directly to the Quarterfinals, pushing Wright and Smith to Round 5. “In most of the events I’ve surfed so far I’ve taken a while to get into the rhythm, but I love the Bell and I’m three Heats away from it”, said Parkinson.

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Joel Parkinson flying high – photo by ASP

Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning came up against fellow Aussie Julian Wilson and Fred Patacchia Jnr. in Round 4, Heat 4. Though Patacchia opened, both he and Julian could not find the rhythm needed to overcome Fanning, who seemed so comfortable and at home in the long right hand conditions. Through a collaboration of powerful manoeuvres, Fanning was able to secure a combination score of 16.34, enough to secure victory and advance to the Quarterfinals. Wilson and Patacchia will now join other 2nd and 3rd place contenders in Round 5 for yet another process of elimination.

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Mick Fanning wowing audiences – photo by ASP

This morning saw the Women’s Final postponed between current world number 1 Carissa Moore and Aussie ripper Tyler Wright for the Men’s Round 5 to begin.

Round 5 Heat 1 was a match-up between the Brazilians. Last year’s winner Adriano De Souza facing off with current ASP world Number 1 Gabriel Medina. Catching a few waves before Medina even got to his feet once, De Souza was able to find his form and secure a few decent scores through an aggressive forehand attack. Medina locked into a few good waves, displaying powerful surfing on his backhand, though it was not enough to come back. So far this year of competition has produced the goods for Gabriel Medina, though today it was not to be.

Heat 2 of Round 5 saw Kelly Slater come up against Adam Melling. Though Melling tried to find his form, it was no match for Slater’s head start and signature stylish approach. This saw Slater advance through to the Quarterfinals and Adam Melling knocked out of competition.

Australian young gun Julian Wilson faced off with an in form Jordy Smith in Heat 3. The two battled it out from start to finish for a position in the Quarterfinals through a display of great surfing, from powerful turns, cutbacks and airs. The crowd was in awe for both competitors, though it was Wilson who took first place and advanced to the Quarterfinals.

Heat 4 of this morning’s Round 5 was between Hawaiian Fred Patacchia Jnr. and Owen Wright. Though hurting his back a year earlier, Wright has come back to inform status and is looking more dangerous than ever. The heat allowed both goofy footers to throw out a display of powerful manoeuvres, though it was Wright to overcome the Hawaiian and advance in competition.

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It’s on! Bells Beach line-up – photo by ASP

The men’s schedule is predicted to keep moving through competition today, perhaps crowning a winner later this afternoon or tomorrow.  The Quarterfinals will again see many big names fight it out for the win, and become one step closer to ringing the famous Bell. Make sure you stay tuned!

Keep up to date with the live stream on aspworldtour.com, or here on the SurfStitch blog!

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

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

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The Bells Beach playing field – photo by ASP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stephanie Gilmore at Bells – Photo by Surfline

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

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

Happy Easter from everyone here at SurfStitch!

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CARISSA MOORE WINS THE 2014 MARGARET RIVER PRO

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

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

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

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Carissa Moore in Semi Final 1 – Photo by ASP

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

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

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

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

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Slater’s Split Confirmed

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

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

Not True.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Mens Round 1 Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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KELLY SLATER QUITS QUIKSILVER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARGS - MOORE

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

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

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

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Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Wrap Up – Gold Coast 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CAPTAIN FIN CO // VANS

With the likes of Dane Reynolds, Noa Deane, Tanner Gudauskas and many more, Captain Fin Co. is a steezy, eclectic, new age take on the classic fin. Jazzy prints, bold colours and contemporary art designs make this brand a mind blowing colour force to be reckoned with. If you’re looking to stand out in the line up, you’re on the right track.

Wave: Mitch King- Photography: Pat Vaughan

If you’re into carving concrete lines and mongo footing down Santa Monica boulevard (or probably just your local neighbourhood) , hitting the slopes or getting real in the surf, Vans has you sorted. Vans have been creating sticky soles and effortless sports attire since March 16th, 1966. Like a wine, getting better with age, they continue to be the forefront of the skate, surf and snow industry with their classic style and simplistic vibes.

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Sometimes it takes two to tango, so Vans and Captain fin co, have done just that and teamed up to create one of the freshest surf/skate collaborations we have seen yet. Check out the Captain Fin Co twist on a classic Vans tee, here. And not to mention, the ultra lightweight, durable Vans/Captain fin co. Costa Mesa Sneaker.. perfect for those arvo sessions in the bowl.

vanscollabVans/Captain Fin Co. – Anchor Tee                        Vans Captain Fin Co. Costa Mesa Shoe     

 

 

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