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Hurley: New Title Sponsor for U.S. Open of Surfing

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

us open of surfing

Formerly the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’neill, it will now be known as the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing as Hurley has just signed on as the new title sponsor.

IMG is pleased to announce that Hurley has signed on as title sponsor to the world’s largest professional surfing competition, the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing… …”Hurley brings a fresh perspective to an already rich U.S. Open of Surfing heritage,” said James Leitz, Vice President of IMG Action Sports. “With the 50th anniversary of competitive surfing in Huntington Beach as a backdrop, the 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing ushers in a new era for the event and its lifestyle components. Together, IMG and Hurley will take this authentic surfing event to new and exciting heights for the participants and the community.”

It’s a pretty far stretch to call the U.S. Open an “authentic surfing event.” Since acquiring the U.S. Open of Surfing back in ‘01, IMG it has pretty much turned it into a zoo. I don’t even think the main focus is on the surfing anymore. It seems like it’s more about herding a few hundred thousand people to the beach to see all the sponsor banners that line the beach and peer. Combine that with the fashion shows, FMX/BMX/Skate demos, and all the other mindless entertainment going on and you hardly have any focus left on the actual surfing.

If you really want to make a significant change the U.S. Open of Surfing, move it somewhere else. You could sign Playboy on as the title sponsor and that still wouldn’t make up for the boring Huntington Beach ankle snappers. You need actual waves to make a surf event exciting.

Posted in Surfing | 2 Comments »

CJ Hobgood Wins O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Sunset Beach put it’s best face forward for nearly the entire second leg of the Vans Triple Crown, so much so that many are calling this one of the all-time great events ever held at Sunset. As amazing as the conditions were throughout, the performances unleashed by the competitors were even more remarkable. And while guys like Jordy Smith, Dusty Payne, Tom Whitaker, and Joel Parkinson surfed the burly right-hander with as much style, power, and grace as humanly possible, it was the performance of goofy-foot surfer C.J. Hobgood that ended up standing above all as the 2001 ASP world champion pulled out an unexpected victory yesterday on his way to winning the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing.

cj hobgood oneill world cup of surfing

With the win, Hobgood became the first goofy-footer in 11 years to win at Sunset Beach. It goes without saying, C.J. was through the roof following his performance at a firing Sunset. “It’s perfect size and really clean. There was probably one or two sets a heat that were too big,” Hobgood said. “Just some macking nuts waves out there. “My usual experience out at Sunset is just getting worked pretty much. This ranks up there with my WCT wins and everything else because I never totally pictured myself winning this contest so it ranks that much higher.”

With O’Neill’s own Jordy Smith just completely blowing up throughout much of the final day, no one really saw C.J. coming. Jordy surfed at such an amazingly high level throughout that it almost seemed pointless to run the final. But what Sunset giveth, it taketh away. Jordy injured his leg and snapped his board in the final heat; Hobgood pounced on the opportunity to take over.”That just shows you what Sunset can do. You just roll the dice, go out and sometimes Mother Nature is good to you and other times it just beats you down. “There’s four guys out there, but you never really see your competitors the whole time. It’s Man versus Nature out there and that’s what makes Sunset so challenging and appealing.”

marcus hickman

Congratulation’s C.J. Hobgood, winner of the 2008 O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach!

1st- CJ Hobgood (US) 15.00 (8.5 and 6.5) $15, 000
2nd- Tom Whitaker (Aus) 12.67 (7.67 and 5.00) $7,500
3rd- Marcus Hickman (HI) 8.33 (6.33 and 2.00) $4,500
4th- Jordy Smith (Zaf) 2.86 (1.73 and 1.13) $4,400

H1: CJ Hobgood (US), Marcus Hickman (HI), Dusty Payne (HI), Mick Fanning (Aus)
H2: Jordy Smith (Zaf), Tom Whitaker (Aus), Joel Parkinson (Aus), Ian Walsh (HI)

H1: CJ Hobgood (US), Dusty Payne (HI), Yadin Nicol (Aus), Rhys Bombaci (Aus)
H2: Mick Fanning (Aus), Marcus Hickman (HI), David Weare (SAf), Torrey Meister (HI)
H3: Jordy Smith (SAf), Joel Parkinson (Aus), Kamalei Alexander (HI), Bede Durbidge (Aus)
H4: Tom Whitaker (Aus), Ian Walsh (HI), Greg Emslie (SAf), Dion Atkinson (Aus)

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Webcast Puts Sunset’s Majesty on Display For All

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

“Well I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fucking big” -Josh Kerr-

kai otton

You know when Pancho Sullivan comes out of the water shaking his head in disbelief, Sunset is out of control. By no means was Pancho alone in his Sunset struggles today, another surfer with plenty of North Shore and big-wave experience, Love Hodel, found himself in the unenviable position of having his back pinned against the reef with his board pushing down on top of him. Many of the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing competitors looked like they were just trying to stay alive today as Sunset unleashed it’s fury on the field. It was big, really big. Wave face heights were in the 20- to 30-foot range and completely dwarfed competitors and water safety officials alike.

Still, heat after heat, each surfer paddled out and battled at one of the world’s gnarliest waves. And the beauty of it all is that it was available for all to see via webcast. While viewing an event like this doesn’t compare to seeing it live, it’s huge for surfers and fans alike to have an awesome scene like this transmitted throughout the world. The surfers put it all on the line today and I found myself unable to pull away from the computer, just sitting there watching in complete amazement.

The webcasts being used aren’t perfect, but there is plenty of progress being made and that has me stoked beyond belief for the future. It was one of the ultimate tests of man vs. nature today, and technology is allowing these surfing warriors to get the recognition and respect that they deserve.
With that being said, it’s likely that the final rounds of the O’Neill event will be held tomorrow. The forecast is calling for stellar conditions as a slight drop in the swell will leave Sunset in great shape. Contestants and fans can expect gorgeous, contestable 16- to 20-foot wave face heights as a winner is decided in the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss a single second of tomorrow’s action.

Posted in Surfing | 2 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.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Possible Wednesday Start for O’Neill World Cup of Surfing

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

oneill world cup of of surfingFresh off a smoking Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing may very well get the action going on it’s second leg as the Wednesday forecast is looking juicy for the O’Neill World Cup of Surfng at Sunset Beach. The holding period for the event technically opened up on Monday, but with swells set to roll in on the back half of this week, event organizers haven’t been under a whole lot of pressure to get things moving.

The North Shore’s own Makua Rothman comes in to the O’Neill World Cup as the defending champion and will no doubt be a heavy favorite as the event gets underway. With Sunset being a completely different, heavy, and just an overall gnarly wave altogether, the doors are always open for surfers with local knowledge to swoop in and snatch a win.

Our friends at Wetsand will be hosting the webcast. And as always, we will keep you posted with fresh updates as the action at Sunset starts moving.

Posted in Surfing | No Comments »

Young Nat’s O’Neill Cold Water Classic Win

Monday, October 27th, 2008

nat young

One might think sharing a name with one of surfing’s legendary figures would put pressure on a surfer each time he paddles out. And while that might be the case for some, 17 yr. old Nat Young seems to be doing just fine dealing with the added expectation of carrying such a prestigious name. The kid from Santa Cruz just took down a loaded field of surfers to win the 2008 O’Neill Coldwater Classic.

Pressure doesn’t seem to affect the tiny towhead too much, Young found himself behind or excruciatingly close to the other surfers throughout most of the event. “It’s been a long day,” Young said. “I’ve been in my wetsuit since about 7 a.m. and I squeaked through a couple of heats and made the Final and everyone was surfing so good.” And although things got tight, the Steamer Lane local just kept plugging away with endless flare and style on his way to a well-deserved victory. “I’m super excited,” Young said. “I lost in the junior’s and just wanted to do good in this. Just making the Final in this was good, and to win it…”

With a stacked crew of Santa Cruz locals taking part in the Classic, it’s not much of a surprise that bragging rights for the event are now back in S.C. after Jordy Smith’s ‘07 win at Steamer. Bud Freitas, Josh Loya, Jason Collins and the rest all figured to be around at the end, but it was the little guy who came up big when it mattered most.

Congratulations Nat Young, the 2008 O’Neill Coldwater Classic champion!

O’Neill Cold Water Classic Results:
1 – Nat Young (USA) 13.87
2 – Chris Waring (USA) 13.84
3 – Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.93
4 – Sean Moody (HAW) 11.94

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WQS Top 20: O’Neill’s Cold Water Classic On Tap

Monday, October 6th, 2008

asp world tour logoWith only two more events on the ASP World Tour remaining following the completion of the Billabong Pro Mundaka, the picture is becoming clearer for many of the WQS hopefuls. The Top 27 from the ‘08 World Tour and the Top 15 ASP WQS surfers, plus three wildcards, will make up the Dream Tour Top 45 for 2009.

Of note for the month of October on the WQS is the ever-popular O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz. The 4-star event at California’s legendary Steamer Lane will get underway in just a couple of weeks. O’Neill has bumped the overall prize money for the Cold Water Classic to a cool $80,000. That’s up $5,000 from last years event, one that saw their own Jordy Smith come away with the victory and join the likes of Tom Curren, Bobby Martinez, Taylor Knox, Martin Potter, Joel Parkinson as past winners of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

Stay tuned…

The current ASP WQS Top 20 rankings:
1.Curran,Nathaniel USA 13200
2.Davidson,Chris AUS 12525
3.Boal,Tim FRA 11888
4.Gudauskas,Patrick USA 11438
5.Kerr,Josh AUS 11325
6.Weare,David ZAF 10675
7.Nicol,Yadin AUS 10500
8.Courtney,Drew AUS 10475
9.Lipke,Marlon DEU 10375
10.Henrique,Pedro BRA 10263
11.Bettero,Hizunome BRA 10150
12.Khodr,Jihad BRA 9888
13.Pires,Tiago PRT 9663
14.Paulino,Pablo BRA 9600
15.Bourez,Michel PYF 9600
16.MacDonald,Phillip AUS 9450
17.Emslie,Greg ZAF 9375
18.Sedley,Leigh AUS 9375
19.Gossmann,Shaun AUS 9363
20.Garcia,Sunny HAW 9350

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O’Neill Cold Water Classic Grows: Canada Gets 1st ASP Event

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Jordy Cold Water ClassicThe success of O’Neill’s highly unique Cold Water series continues to grow. With the expansion of the current two-event format to a five-event explosion set to go off in 2009, the Cold Water Classic series is opening up the doors for surfing in several atypical locations, all areas which will likely feature spectacular waves in chilly, challenging conditions. “We wanted to provide a unique and challenging experience for the world’s best surfers,” Bernhard Ritzer, O’Neill Global Event Manager, said. “The Cold Water Classic series is the perfect extension of our existing events – it remains true to our spirit and innovation and adventure, pushing the boundaries and exploring the limits. The CWC series events will take us to incredible and unique locations around the world, where we will let the cold know that we’re not afraid.”

O’Neill’s desire to let the cold know who’s boss next year comes in the form of adding stops in Tasmania, Cape Town, and Nova Scotia, Canada to the already existing stops in Scotland and Santa Cruz. The events held in Santa Cruz and Scotland have been super popular among surfers and this expansion will only go to further interest in the Cold Water Classic series.

The Cold Water Classic series is now set up to kick-off the 2009 year in Tasmania next March. May brings the already existing and highly successful Highland Open event in Scotland. The tour then moves onto Cape Town in June, Canada in October, and then is concluded November in Santa Cruz where the ASP WQS 6-Star event will see the crowning of the Cold Water Classic series king.

The Nova Scotia, Canada stop is exciting for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s not just Canada, it’s Canada in October. There is some serious cold going on there at that time and the possibility of holding the event with snow falling is very real.

On top of the likelihood of the event being held in miserably cold weather (at least for anyone not named Malloy), seeing Canada receive it’s first professional ASP event ever will no doubt draw interest to O’Neill’s series. The number of ultra-stoked surfers who hail from Canada always surprises me and having their country receive it’s first ASP stop ever will only elevate that number and continue to help Canada’s burgeoning surf community to grow.

Good on ya O’Neill for continuing to think outside the box!

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

O’Neill Going Back to Basics with SuperFreak/RuOne?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

o’neill superfreak ruoneAs many do in their high-school years, a couple of my best friends and myself decided to take over the world in the form of a start-up clothing company. We actually did really well considering we started the whole project off with limited resources somewhere in the neighborhood of $650. Our marketing skills were obviously somewhat limited, but we were bound and determined to get our name out and simply would not be denied.

We used part of our initial “investment” and had a few thousand stickers printed up in order to put our name out for all to see. After seeing that O’Neill is using a similar – obviously more large-scale strategy – with their recently launched SuperFreak/RuOne online contest, I took a trip back in time to the days where no object within 100 mile radius was immune from the branding method used by a few ultra-dedicated teenagers looking to become moguls at an early age.

Basically whoever prints off the SuperFreak/RuOne creative, found on the O’Neill site, and slaps it in or on the most random and crazy location wins. Entries are to uploaded and submitted online. At the end of the contest surfing phenom Jordy Smith will review and personally hand pick the grand prize winner who will receive a brand new autographed Jordy Smith surfboard, signature boardshort, along with a bountiful apparel package.

O’Neill makes it clear they aren’t looking for entries that deface public property or that will be considered vandalism. My past experience with this technique is that there is really no way to avoid it. Depending on the participation in this contest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the SuperFreak/RuOne image in some very unexpected places. We think placing one (or more) on the Cardiff Kook would do well.

O’Neilljordy smith

Posted in Brands, Surfing | 2 Comments »

AMPH: Progressing the Sport of Surfing

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

amphI’m not exactly sure why new apparel startup Amph (short for amphibian) was quietly going along with their business while planning for a stealth launch. Just as the ASR Blog mentioned, I was just recently alerted to Amph through a press release.

It doesn’t really make sense to me that a new company, who has obvious ties to O’neill, would sit out the two biggest trade shows our industry has to offer. None-the-less, Amph is here and after digging around a bit it seems like a fairly interesting model that is poised to progress the sport of surfing.

Pushing the sport of surfing in the name of Amph are Charly Martin, Christophe Allary, Hugo Savalli and Justin Mujica. The four surfers form part of The Amph Program – dedicated to breaking the boundaries of surfing with radical and progressive tricks. With no rules or limitations, the riders will be pushing themselves on the best waves around the world in order to bring something fresh to the sport.

Now here is what I really like about the Amph model, and it’s really a whole other post in itself but I’ll touch on it briefly here. Sponsoring progressive surfers and putting no rules or limitations on them. This is a good move as I see this as the obvious direction that surfing is headed.

I hate to say it because I love surfing for what it is, but you can’t deny that the sport is evolving rapidly. In the last 10 years it’s happened to other sports in our industry, such as skiing and motocross. They both took on serious freestyle movements that refreshed these sports. Surfing is now poised to take on a similar progressive transformation.

With the anticipation of what surfers such as Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith (not to mention the countless others who aren’t in quite the big spotlight like Jamie O’Brien) are bringing to the table, one can’t help but notice the difference in surfing between the new generation and the old. It’s way more exciting and progressive and you can tell which style the kids prefer. I’m getting ahead of myself though…

Back on the topic of Amph. They are set to launch and should be in stores this coming month. No word yet on which stores will carry this line but I’d imagine they will come out in force as they have O’neill backing them. Will Amph play a role in progressing the sport of surfing? Not really, but it sounds like they’ll be right there to support it.


Posted in Brands, Surfing | No Comments »

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