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Get Ready for the Eddie Aikau: Video

Monday, December 1st, 2008

eddie aikauThe “Eddie”….the sound of those two words alone carry with them a mystique and level of respect that few other surfing competitions throughout the world come even close to matching. Otherwise known as the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau contest, the Eddie is still, as it has been since it’s inception, the premier big-wave riding event in surfing. And it is now officially open to run whenever Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

The call to run the Eddie hasn’t been made since 2004. That was the year Bruce Irons shocked the surfing world and claimed victory with an incredible winning wave at Waimea Bay. The standards for the Eddie are as high as any with one day of at least 20-foot surf needed for the call to be made. With all of the early swell activity seen on the North Shore already this year, hopes are high that the revered event will end it’s 4-year hiatus.

The names of those invited to participate are listed below. One that stands out is South Africa’s Grant “Twiggy” Baker. Twiggy added his 2008 Red Bull Big Wave Africa victory earlier this year to his stunning win at Mavericks in 2006. A win at Waimea Bay would be huge in securing his spot as one of, if not the premier big-wave surfer in the world right now.

Regardless, there is so much more to the Eddie than just a big-wave surf contest and I strongly recommend those who are unfamiliar with the story of Eddie Aikau to make an effort and seek out as much knowledge as possible regarding one of surfing’s greatest stories.

2008 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Invitees:

1. Andy Irons (Hawaii)
2. Brian Keaulana (Hawaii)
3. Brock Little (Hawaii)
4. Bruce Irons (Hawaii)
5. Carlos Burle (Brazil)
6. Clyde Aikau (Hawaii)
7. Darryl Virostko (California)
8. Grant “Twiggy” Baker (South Africa)
9. Greg Long (California)
10. Ian Walsh (Hawaii)
11. Ibon Amatriain (Spain)
12. Jamie O’Brien (Hawaii)
13. Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)
14. Kelly Slater (Florida)
15. Keone Downing (Hawaii)
16. Makua Rothman (Hawaii)
17. Mark Healey (Hawaii)
18. Michael Ho (Hawaii)
19. Noah Johnson (Hawaii)
20. Peter Mel (California)
21. Ramon Navarro (Chili)
22. Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia)
23. Rusty Keaulana (Hawaii)
24. Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
25. Sunny Garcia (Hawaii)
26. Takayuki Wakita (Japan)
27. Tom Carroll (Australia)
28. Titus Kinimaka (Hawaii

Previous Winners:
1985 – Denton Miyamura (Hawaii)
1986 – Clyde Aikau (Hawaii) – Eddie Aikau’s younger brother
1990 – Keone Downing (Hawaii)
1999 – Noah Johnson (Hawaii)
2000 – Ross Clarke-Jones (Australia)
2002 – Kelly Slater (Florida, USA)
2004 – Bruce Irons (Hawaii, USA)

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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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The State of Pro Surfing in Hawaii

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

clay marzo

It’s been 32 years since the ASP World Tour officially began. And in every year since 1976 there has been at least one Hawai’i surfer in the Top 10 come years end. With only 3 events left for the 2008 year on tour, that streak is in jeopardy of coming to an end.

With a total of 5 world championships making their way back to the islands over the past 31 years, Hawai’i’s professional surfers have always had at least some sort of impact on the world title race. However when Andy Irons unexpectedly skipped out of his 2nd round heat with Jihad Khodr at the Quiksilver Pro France, the Kauai’i surfer tumbled all the way down to no.13 in the overall ASP rankings and left Hawaii without any representation in the current Top 10. That has to be pretty strange for the place that many consider to be the epicenter of the surfing world. Even stranger than that is the real scenario that Hawai’i could go from having 5 surfers on tour in 2008 to a mere 2 on the 2009 Dream Tour.

‘08 has been anything but a smooth ride for Hawai’s current WCT surfers. Although he hasn’t been the same dominant, intimidating A.I. that we’ve come to know in recent years, Andy had been fairly consistent up until the Trestles event. He went home with a 33rd from the Trestles event, and then followed that result up with his France no-show. Brother Bruce, and current world no. 14, made his overall displeasure with the tour known by announcing his decision to bail on full-time tour status next year. In classic Bruce Irons fashion, the Volcom-rider completely blew minds on his way to winning the “Somewhere in Indo” event, and then went on to blow minds again, although in a very different way, with laying down of scores in the 2+ range during his very brief appearance at the Quik Pro.

Fred Patacchia started off the year with a frustrating leg-injury at the hands of Pipeline and it really took Fred a few events to get back into form. He finished runner-up to Bruce in Indo and, aside from his Trestle’s showing, seems to be riding some decent momentum. He’s currently sitting at no. 18 and will more than likely seal himself a spot on the ‘09 tour in the next couple of events.

Roy Powers and Pancho Sullivan round out the rest of Hawai’i’s pro-surfing contigent. Pancho, at no. 40, will definitely have to climb back on tour via the WQS next year and Roy, at no. 23, is flirting with having to do the same.

The overall future for Hawai’i’s pro’s is actually very bright. Between Clay Marzo, John John Florence, Torry Meister, Mason Ho, and many others, Hawai’i has an absolute slew of up and coming rippers that will most likely compete for the world championship for years to come. However it may be another few years before those guys are actually set to make noise on the Dream Tour. If Roy doesn’t finish in the Top 27, that basically leaves Hawai’i’s tour hopes heaped upon the enigmatic A.I., and a somewhat resurgent Freddy P. Sunny Garcia, currently no. 20 on the WQS tour, has an outside shot of being on the ‘CT next year, but even then you have to wonder about how well he’ll be able to compete with the new breed of surfing that’s taking place on tour.

So while there are still 3 events, and most importantly the Pipeline Masters left for Hawai’i’s current group of pros to make some noise, it’s been an uncharacteristically off year for the state of pro-surfing in Hawai’i. While this seems to be more of an abnormality than a sign of things to come, the possibility of having no surfers in the Top 10 come years end is something that none of us expected at the beginning of the year.

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Blast From the Past: Kelly Takes Out Sunny in Nostalgic Heat at Trestles

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

A combined 9 ASP World Championships and 74 years of age hit the water at Trestles today in a 3rd round heat that saw Kelly Slater take out Sunny Garcia at the Boost Mobile Pro today. Although the heat was the first time Slater and Garcia were paired up during a WCT event at Trestles, seeing the two living legends in the water together today brought back a lot of memories for the two surfers who have dominated the sport for years, as well as the thousands of fans who have followed their storied careers for decades.

kelly slater at trestles

Both surfers spoke very highly of each other before and after the heat that saw Kelly eliminate Sunny by a score of 17.00 to 14.67. Sunny lived up to his promise that he wouldn’t roll over for Slater and would put everything he had into the heat, but even with his impressive performance, it wasn’t enough to unseat the 8x world champ from an event he is very comfortable at. “What can you say? He’s surfing great,” said Garcia upon coming out of the water. “It didn’t help that they informed him yesterday that he(Slater) has a 91% win rate in heats this year.”

As the heat was coming down to it’s closing moments the two legends looked calm and seemed to be enjoying the moment, even appearing to be talking story and shaking hands as the final seconds ticked off the clock. It was a truly nostalgic moment not just for the two world champs, but also for those whose surfing they have influenced for years and years.

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Boost Mobile Pro Running at Trestles, Andy Irons Makes Early Exit

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

joel parkinson

The 2008 Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley is well underway and to this point has been full of spectacular surfing in the 3-5 ft. summer swell at Trestles. The last two days have seen the completion of Rounds 1,2, and the first four heats of Round 3. The current swell is expected to hold tight and build throughout the week. The competition at Lowers is likely to ensue Wednesday morning.

3-x world champion Andy Irons continues his less than stellar year with a surprising Rd. 2 loss to Yadin Nicol. Andy came into the event at Trestles ranked 7th in the current ASP standings but will obviously be taking a slide with this early exit. Andy has had runs of classic A.I. surfing this year but has yet been able to put it together for a whole event.

Joel Parkinson, Dane Reynolds, and Bede Durbidge are among those already making their way into the 4th round. Round 3 still holds several interesting match-up as current 8x, as well as eventual 9x world champion, Kelly Slater meets up with former world champ Sunny Garcia in the 8th heat. Sunny has been battling his way through the WQS this year in hopes of making it back onto the WCT full-time in 2009. Sunny vowed to make Slater’s year on tour a living hell next year if succeeds in his goal to get back on the Dream Tour. Although the words were given somewhat in jest, it doesn’t take much to get Kelly motivated to go for the kill.

Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 6: Kai Otton (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 7: Roy Powers (HAW), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Sunny Garcia (HAW)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 10: Tim Reyes (USA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 14: Chris Ward (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 15: CJ Hobgood (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 16: Bruce Irons (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)

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WQS Reaches Midway Point Following Mr. Price Pro

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

The ASP WQS Tour hit the midway point following the completion of the Mr. Price Pro, which was held in Durban, South Africa last week. Australia’s Chris Davidson pulled out the big victory with a win over the crowd-favorite, South African Travis Logie. “I’m stoked I made the final and beat the local boy,” Davidson said. “It was tough for Travis surfing little right-handers on his backside so it definitely favored me. I’ve got tens here in the past, but I was the underdog out there today, so it felt good to come home with the win.”

The win puts Davidson at 7th on the WQS standings as the tour gets set to begin the business end of the year with the upcoming U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach on July 18-27. Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA) nabbed a 3rd in Durban and now finds himself once again atop the ‘QS rankings. It’s still early, but with the strong result and subsequent rise in the standings, Gudauskas is looking like a solid bet to end up with a spot on the 2009 Dream Tour. “I’ve never done well in Durban so to get a third today is a great result for me,” Gudauskas said. “I’m really excited to be back at No. 1, it’s a very long season so I just want to continue bettering my results.”

World champion Sunny Garcia’s quest to return to the WCT next year continues on. He has made no secret of his strong desire to make another run on the ‘CT, and with his current 8th place standing the powerful Hawaiian is in a strong position to finish in the top 15 and do exactly that. He has had quite a bit of success at Huntington Beach and is undoubtedly looking forward to the opportunity of solidifying his position with a solid result at the nation’s only ASP WQS 6-Star event.

Current WQS Standings after the 6-Star Mr Price Pro:

1. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9119
2. David Weare (ZAF) 8688
3. Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8650
4. Nathaniel Curran (USA) 8600
5. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8363
6. Drew Courtney (AUS) 8356
7. Chris Davidson (AUS) 8332
8. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 8162
9. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8100
10. Austin Ware (USA) 7838

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Sunny Garcia’s Tour Hopes Hit Setback

Friday, April 4th, 2008

sunny garciaFormer world champion Sunny Garcia had high hopes for the Mark Richards Pro. Garcia was looking to use the 6-star WQS event as a springboard back onto to the elite men’s tour, but after this event those plans will be temporarily put on hold. In his very first heat at the event, The 38-year-old Hawaiian was nudged out of second place by less than a point in a last minute effort by Aussie Nick Riley from Queenscliff in Sydney.

Sunny played it off and was gracious in defeat. With that being said, this result undoubtedly does not sit well with the surfer who spent most of his career near the top.

“I’m a little unhappy that I didn’t make my heat because I did expect to do well,” he said. “Nevertheless, I’m here and I’m having fun. “I’ve got nothing to prove, I’ve got a world title and a triple crown – for me this is just icing on the cake.”

So where does this leave Garcia’s comeback? The tough part for him is that he is trying to get back on a tour that is as loaded and competitive as ever. We all know Sunny is an unbelievably talented surfer, but at the age of 38 and having faced quite a bit of turbulence over recent years he is facing an uphill battle just to even make it back on tour, let alone be considered once again amongst surfing’s elite.

sunny garciawqs

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