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Occy: Surfing’s New Voice?

Monday, December 15th, 2008


One of the pleasant surprises resulting from Mark Occhilupo’s retirement from competitive surfing this year has been his presence as a color commentator at Billabong sponsored WCT events. The webcast audiences for ‘CT events have grown in large numbers over the past few years and Occy’s silky smooth and unbelievably witty style is turning out to be pure gold in the commentary booth. Most of the commentators used in the various events have been……okay. But no one brings flavor, knowledge, and slick humor to the people the way the world champ does.

Scott Bass from Surfer put these Occy-ism’s together coming out of the Pipeline Masters-

“Santa Claus is more of a legend than Gerry and Rory, isn’t he?”
(this was as a Santa-suit laden Garrett McNamara SUP’d around Pipe as legends Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell went about their Masters expression session.)

“That’s a bit of a tongue twister isn’t it, ‘Rory Russell replica boards, hmmm yeah, don’t try that with crackers in your mouth.’”

“Dave Rastovich, there he is off in the jungle, cutting down trees and making surfboards. Rasta doesn’t cut down lots of trees, mind you. He only cuts down the tree that’ll make a good surfboard.”

“What was that stingray thinking? I hope he’s alright! That stingray had a bad wipeout.”
(An ASP cameraman captured a shot of a stingray leaping out of the water just in front of a bottom-turning Kelly Slater. The stingray looked like it was about to go for a ride in the wall of white water.)

The classic end to Occy’s brilliance came when word came that Joel Parkinson had in fact clinched the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. An overjoyed Occy called Joel up live on the webcast with a cellphone, congratulated his mate on the accomplishment, and then proceeded to place the cell phone against the microphone so Parko could say a few things to those watching online. It didn’t work, but it didn’t matter. Occy once again lefty us with some of that pure Occy gold.

Hopefully someone on the ASP is taking note. Finding a way to make Mark Occhilupo a full-time commentator for all of their events needs to be somewhere on their 2009 to-do list.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Sunset Beach Heaving for O’Neill World Cup of Surfing

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

The prestigious Sunset Beach has a way of separating the men from the boys. And that’s exactly what the famous North Shore right-hander is doing for the early rounds of the 2008 O’Neill World Cup of Surfing.

sunset beach

The scene at Sunset today was heavy. A building swell was adding to the already 7-10 ft. waves that were rolling through the wind and the rain. It was the type of Sunset that leaves many of the contestants wondering why in the hell they even signed up for this event in the first place. And that’s just how the Occy’s, Bruce’s, Sunny’s, and Kamalei Alexander’s of the world like it.

Those four, along with a couple of young hawaiian upstarts in the form of Dusty Payne and Torry Meister, stood out from the rest today as the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown got moving. The first two rounds of the event are now in the books and Rd. 3 will likely get the call tomorrow morning. Forecasters expect the swell to continue building throughout the night. If the weather clears up, we could be looking at an epic Sunset tomorrow. With some juicy heats on tap and everyone scratching for points in the final WQS 6-star event of the year, here is to hoping Mother Nature cooperates.

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Triple Crown Underway: Haleiwa on Fire (Video)

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

reef hawaiian pro

A high surf advisory was issued by the National Weather Service at this morning for the north-facing shores of Oahu. Sounds like a perfect time to get the ball rolling on the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the first leg of the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

“The Reef Hawaiian Pro sets the tone for the rest of the Triple Crown events to follow,” says Randy Rarick, Director of the Vans Triple Crown. “Both the Men and Women who do well at Haleiwa, put their stamp on the start of the North Shore competitive season and are destined to have their names etched in the record books.”

And for the surfers who already have their names firmly engraved in the record books Mr. Rarick speaks of, Haleiwa and the Vans Triple Crown overall serve as the perfect chance to remind everyone else that they are still forces to be reckoned with as far as competitive surfing goes. As I write this, Triple Crown legend Mark Occhilupo is just putting the finishing touches on an absolutely stellar opening heat. Although looking a little more filled out in his retirement days, Occy and the North Shore is clearly still as potent a combination as any. While Occy can surf the Triple Crown pressure free, another Triple Crown legend, Sunny Garcia, is actually searching for valuable WQS points at Haleiwa in hopes of making back to the Dream Tour. Sunny currently sits at 20th on the ‘QS. Although that’s a bit outside where he needs to be come years end (top 15 make it), Sunny’s gotta be loving the position he’s in on his quest to return.

The webcast is looking super smooth and there is sure to loads of incredible surfing to watch as the event progresses. You can catch all the live action here so be sure to tune in. As always, 5ones will keep you posted on all of the happenings at the Reef Hawaiian Pro and Vans Triple Crown.

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If a Surfing Contest Happens and Nobody Shows Up….(Video)

Monday, September 29th, 2008

….is it still a contest? Here are the first round heat draws as the holding period for the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka gets set to open tomorrow. For whatever the reason, it looks like some of the fellas on tour decided to take a break from this one.

billabong pro mundaka

(1st & 2nd advance to Round 2; 3rd finishes =33rd)
Heat 1: Kai Otton, Heitor Alves, Aritz Aranburu
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores, Michael Campbell, Ricky Basnett
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan, Pancho Sullivan, Nic Muscroft
Heat 4: CJ Hobgood, Roy Powers, Manoa Drollet
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez, Ben Dunn, Gabe Kling
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza, Jordy Smith, Tim Boal
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson, Tim Reyes, Mark Occhilupo
Heat 8: Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox, Reubyn Ash
Heat 9: Taj Burrow, Damien Hobgood, Marco San Segundo
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge, Tom Whitaker, Hodei Collazo
Heat 11: Luke Stedman, Jay Thompson, Daniel Ross
Heat 12: Chris Ward, Rodrigo Dornelles, Jihad Khodr
Heat 13: Dayyan Neve, Mikael Picon, Leonardo Neves
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds, Tiago Pires, Travis Logie
Heat 15: Fred Patacchia, Daniel Wills, Ben Bourgeois
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow, Royden Bryson, Luke Munro

No Mick, No A.I., No Bruce, No Neco, No Dean-o. Both Neco Padaratz and Dean Morrison are out do to injury. There has been no word on why Mick Fanning won’t be participating in the action in Spain. That is also the case with the Irons brothers, although Bruce stated in France that he was “over it”, and his surfing at the event fully backed that up, Andy no-showed his second round heat at the recent Quik Pro and apparently will not be taking part in Mundaka. With this being a Billabong event and Irons being one of, if not the biggest names to surf for them, him not appearing at the Billabong Pro raises some questions as to why.

Hopefully all is well for the 3x world champion. It’s a shame, when Andy and Mundaka coexist in top form it’s an incredible thing to see-

With both Mick and Andy out of the event, Billabong is left with Kelly Slater, C.J. Hobgood, and the almighty Occy as the only world champions taking part at the Pro Mundaka. Perhaps everyone is just conceding to Kelly, which would be sad. Or maybe there are circumstances around these no-shows that we don’t know about. Whatever the case, the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka is going to be without a few very familiar faces.

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Mark Occhilupo: The Legend Continues

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Mark OcchilupoWhen the legendary career of Australia’s surf legend Mark Occhilupo came to a close following last years Pipeline Masters, it felt like a void would be left on the ASP Tour that would be impossible to fill. Occy’s meteoric rise at such a young age, his cameo as himself in the 1987 surf-classic North Shore, his well documented life-struggles, and his perseverance that led to his eventual world championship in 1999 made him a figure that many of us could relate to. There was no doubt about it when Occy retired, the ASP was losing a surfer and a personality that is simply one of the all-time classics.

I was curious to see how Occhilupo would handle his retirement from a tour he has been a part of for over two decades. True to Occy-style, it appears he has settled in quite nicely and is giving back to a sport and an organization that he as well as many of us are extremely passionate about.

He has been at each of the three 2008 WCT events held to this point and is becoming a big brother and voice of reason for many of the worlds best surfers. He spent the Billabong Pro Tahiti staying in a house with Joel Parkinson and the Irons brothers, as well as floating in the Teahupoo channel during their heats to handle their caddy duties. Andy Irons was quick to mention Occy’s calming advice when A.I. was struggling to get things going in the early going, even offering up his own board to Andy in a later heat when the swell was on the downswing. Considering the T-3, T-5, and T-5 results put up by Parko, Bruce, and Andy respectively, Occy is clearly handling this role quite nicely and the boys couldn’t appear to be more stoked to have the super-caddy by their side.

Although Mark Occhilupo’s days as a surfer on the WCT are officially behind him, I have a feeling his presence will continue being felt throughout the surfing world for decades to come. He is relishing this opportunity to give back to the next generation of surfers and has a passion for this sport that is unmatched and immeasurable. Cheers Occy! We’re glad you haven’t gone far.

Mark Occhilupo

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Occy Retires, Durbidge Seals Triple Crown with Pipe Masters Win

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Cheers to Australia’s Bede Durbidge for winning the 2007 Billabong Pipeline Masters, clinching the Van Triple Crown of Surfing title in the process. In a contest that saw the legendary career of surf legend and Australian-icon Mark Occhilupo come to an end, fellow country-man Durbidge pulled off the victory by throwing down a near-perfect 9.5 ride early on in the final heat and never looked back. In the process, the 24 yr. old up-and-comer from Queensland, unsponsored and financing his own way around the world, won himself over 75,000 dollars in cah and prizes with his victories. That will go down as the biggest single-day gain in the history of professional surfing.

With this years world title already being wrapped up by Mick Fanning in Florianopolis, Brazil, the small and inconsistent surf did nothing to help give the Pipe Masters contest the drama and intensity that has made it the premier event of the year in the surf world. Maybe it was only fitting that today’s final was held at a break known as ‘Off the Wall’, which is located about 100 yards down the beach from the most famous wave in the world in three-foot surf.

The lack of waves was probably the culprit for the scarcity of local Pipe riders in the final heats. But even the lack of typical Pipe Masters conditions couldn’t keep top surfers like Bruce Irons and Fred Patacchia, both of whom were on the bubble for making next years tour, from qualifying to surf full-time on the 2008 ASP world tour next year.

So a big ‘Congratulations’ goes out to Durbidge, who I am sure we will be hearing a lot more from in the coming years. And here is to hoping that 2008 brings back the mind-blowing barrels that has made Pipeline the legendary break that it is today.

bede durbidgebillabongMark Occhilupo

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

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