Underwater Fiji, surfing at Cloudbreak. Photo by Nate Silver

The Volcom Fiji Pro gets underway soon!

Joel Parkinson: Pipemaster, World Champ

Joel Parkinson finally wins his first World Title despite Kelly Slater putting pressure on him right to the end. Slater pushed hard but got knocked out in the semi-finals leaving an ecstatic and relieved Parko. Parkinson went on to win the Pipemasters. It was his first event win of the year. Pipeline is the ultimate proving ground an Parkinson proved to be a worthy champ. This years competition was the highlight of the year with so much riding on the results of every heat. The Top 34 for next year may have been decided but there is still a whole Hawaiian season ahead of us.

Who is going to win the ASP World Championship Surfing tour this year?

  • Joel Parkinson
  • Kelly Slater
  • Mick Fanning
  • John John Florence?

John Florence making the amazing look easy. John Florence is sitting at 3rd on World Championship Tour. It is even more amazing considering that the rest of the top five surfers are seasoned WCT competitors. Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater have been dominating the top spots for years. While people keep predicting the end of the old-school and the rise of the new wave of talent, those old names keep popping up in the WCT finals. John Florence is the the highest ranked young surfer at this made way point in the year. If he stays up there he will be a favourite to win when it comes down to the Pipe Masters. Can he win the WCT and usher in the new era of pro surfing?

Mr Price Pro Ballito 2012

John John Florence Ballito Mr Price Pro

Pat Gaudaskas and John John Florence were the finalists at last years Mr Price Pro in Ballito, Durban, South Africa. This year Jordy Smith and Travis Logie will be hoping to take the event for their South African buddies. They will have to deal with John John Florence who is on fire at the moment and impressed every one at last years event.

Jordy Smith Mr Price Pro

Once Durban is done and dusted it will be off to J-Bay for the Billabong Pro. Previously one of the favourite events on the world tour, the event will now be open to all the surfers hoping to qualify for the ASP’s Dream Tour. Well if they are surfing J-Bay then they are already surfing the dream tour.

The South African leg of the ASP events is just round the corner. First it will be the Mr Price Pro at Ballito which always proves to be a cracker and then the recently downgraded Billabong Pro at J-Bay. Word on the street is that there will still be a large contingent of ASP top 34 Surfers in the mix so it looks like this year J-Bay will only be wilder. Here is a pic of local J-Bay Remi Petersen about to get barreled at his home break.

Anthony Walsh wins Arica Pro, Chile.

ASP Arica pro Chile

El Gringo. Pic by Sacha Specker.

In recent surfing news, Anthony Walsh beat Eala Stewart in the finals of the Maui and Son’s Arica Pro in Chile. The contest was held at El Gringo, a famously heavy left slab that was the choice for the WCT Rip Curl Search event in 2007. The scores achieved by the finalist were ridiculously high for a final with Walsh scoring 19.45 (including a perfect 10 ride) and Stewart scoring 18.35.

The ASP Nightmare Tour continues

The ASP has been getting a lot of hate recently. A lot of hate. New media has given surfers the chance to vent their real feelings about the ASP. It was getting a bit old. The Volcom Fiji Pro has changed all that. Volcom and the ASP got massive credit for bringing a dream wave back to the dream tour after the ASP and the surf industry received criticism for holding WCT contests in fun but average beachbreaks for a number of events. This year is no exception with Jeffrey’s Bay getting dropped as a venue for the dream tour and Rio and Santa Cruz getting the nod. The bottom line is, the best surfers in the world are not surfing the best waves in the world.

Reef MacIntosh surfing Cloudbreak 2012

Reef MacIntosh free surfing Cloudbreak 2012 during the Volcom Fiji Pro.[/caption]

Enter Cloudbreak 2012. When the Globe WCT Fiji 2008 event was moved from Cloudbreak to Restaurants, free-surfers and those competitors already knocked out took to Cloudbreak. The footage from Cloudbreak that day eclipsed the contest itself. Even the final between Kelly Slater and CJ Hobgood looked lame in comparison to the massively perfect barrels that went down at Cloudbreak. The thing is they were towing in at Cloudbreak.

Since then the size of surfers’ balls have grown exponentially. Surfers charge so much harder now then they did then. So what is stopping Volcom and the ASP from running the event in massive, difficult and mind-blowing perfect waves at Cloudbreak? Why won’t they give us a spectacle? I want to see the some pros caught inside by a set while being comboed by their colleague and then clawing their way into the lead with pure grit, determination and a 10 point barrel as the heat-end siren sounds. 

It seems once again that the ASP don’t give a stuff about what the people want. With epic conditions at Cloudbreak they chose not to run the contest and to leave it to the free-surfers to get all they glory. The swell of the year coincides with the event and they choose to call it off after two heats. It seems as if, after last years debacles, the ASP is taking Oscar Wilde’s words to heart, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” which could be paraphrased as “there is no such thing as bad press”.  Because bad press is what they’re getting. Disappointing the people who like to watch surfers surfing the best waves isn’t going to help their cause.

Quiksilver Saquarema 6* prime in Brazil

The Quiksilver Saquerema WQS 6* prime in Brazil is going to be broadcast live in a few hours. My guess is that either Kolohe Andino or Gabriel Medina will take this one. They are both into the round of 16 and they have both been surfing really well. I’m sure Gabriel Medina will want to make up for his early exit at the Billabong Pro Rio WCT contest. And Kolohe Andino hasn’t posted a good result on the WCT yet this year. May the best surfer win.

Kolohe Andino Surfing Saquarema Pro Brazil

Kolohe Andino surfing at the Quiksilver Saquarema 6* prime in Brazil

Gabriel Medina Surfing the Saquarema Pro Brazil

Gabriel Medina surfing at the Quiksilver Saquarema 6* prime in Brazil