Billy Stairmand wavepool

Novelty: Albee Layer Wins WavePool contest!

Completes metamorphosis from goose to swan! Wins Red Bull Unleashed at Surf Snowdonia, Wales!

Earlier today, the Red Bull Unleashed event at the Surf Snowdonia wavepool in Wales ran its length. All things considered, it was a good-natured event and well furnished with non-WSL surfers.

These surfers included Jack Freestone, Mitch Crews, Ian Crane, Evan Geiselman, Zeke Lau, Kalani David, US Open winner Hiroto Arai, Kalani David and Albee Layer.

Let me tell you the result: the Hawaiian Albee Layer is no longer a goose but a swan!

In mostly identical two-ish foot waves, Albee worked a surprise act that showed his manifest intention to leave the judges (Pipe Master Jake Paterson, World number two Brad Gerlach and Alain Riou, the Tahitian once beaten by a girl in a heat) gasping.

Let’s dip into the press release, momentarily.

“Layer was consistently the fan favourite, picking up on the nuances of the tricky waves early on and mixing up his manoeuvres to keep the crowd and judges entertained. His musical selections were as sharp as his surfing, and between his 80s metal and pop shuvits it was clear from the early rounds that Layer was the man to beat, despite being one of the bigger surfers in the draw. Aside from Layer and Jack Freestone the WaveGarden proved to be the domain of the lighter surfer this week, and Stairmand, Crane, Mitch Crews, Kai Hing, Ian Gouveia and Hiroto Arai were but a few of the fleet- footed ninjas who left their mark on Surf Snowdonia this week.

“In the semi finals Layer had to come from 2-0 down to beat Crews 3-2 on his final wave, in what will be remembered as the best duel of the event. In the second semi final Stairmand accounted for Freestone 3-0, before rolling on to the ultimate duel with Layer, who carried the momentum of his epic win over Crews into a 3-1 defeat of Stairmand.

“Sprayed with champagne on the podium, Layer, who notoriously does not compete, couldn’t help but beam with pride. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here,” said the Maui local, “but it’s been incredible. Surfing so close to so many people, music playing, heaps of energy in the air, to get the win is crazy. If more events were like this, I’d do them!”

Albee Layer and Billy Stairmand
Event winner Albee Layer was overcome by love for…everyone… and loved Billy Stairmand, if briefly, like a brother.

Can you feel the vibrations?

We’ll take a little more of the press release to explain the event.

“As opposed to traditional half hour heats, there are no second chances at Red Bull Unleashed, every wave counts and falling is a curse. “It’s cool!” said keen spectator Jordy Smith, “you both have an equal opportunity, and there’s no two ways about it, the best surfer always wins. You can’t afford to fall so you really have to walk the fine line between pushing it to the limit and pushing it too far.”

“Throw in an audience 10-feet away and a DJ pumping out the surfer’s chosen tracks, and you have a stadium-worthy spectacle. “The crowd’s right above you, as close as you can possibly get to someone on a wave,” said Smith, “some guys thrive off it, other don’t. It’s an arena for those who can feed off the energy of the crowd.”



Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 1

Semi Finals
SF1. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 0

SF2. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 2

Quarter Finals
QF1. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 1

QF2. Jack Freestone (AUS) 3 def. Kai Hing (AUS) 1

QF3. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def. Jayce Robinson (GBR) 1

QF4. Mitch Crews (AUS) 3 def. Ian Crane (AUS) 1

Round One
H1. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 3 def. Alan Stokes (GBR) 0

H2. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 3 def. Leo Fioravanti (ITA) 1

H3. Jack Freestone (AUS) 3 def. Evan Geiselman 0

H4. Kai Hing (AUS) 3 def. Kalani David (HAW) 0

H5. Jayce Robinson (GBR) 3 def. Hiroto Arai (JPN) 0

H6. Albee Layer (HAW) 3 def Ian Gouveia (BRA) 2

H7. Ian Crane (AUS) 3 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 2

H8. Mitch Crews (AUS) 3 def. Reubyn Ash (GBR) 1

Goals: To be a surf expert on Fox News!

What do you dream of doing?

I’ve got goals, one of which is positioning myself as a media expert on surfing. Being the guy Fox News uses when they need someone to go off half-cocked, yammering on about vaguely racist subjects with no basis in reality seems like it would be fun as tits. Probably pays pretty well too.

My problem is my filter, or rather, lack of one. Since I have no real incentive to keep my thoughts private I occasionally hear something come out of my mouth which, really, would have been best left unsaid. Fortunately most people don’t take me very seriously, and since I’ve more or less effectively branded myself as a creative type I feel like there’s some expectation of half wit insanity.

But I need more practice. I swear too much, I’ve got a terrible tendency to make unconsciously anti-semitic remarks (and I adore the chosen people), I’m easily riled but have hard time sustaining that fervor for longer than a few minutes. I also lack a bullshit doctorate to give my opinions weight, and you just cant buy them online as easily as you once could.

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed for a podcast about surfing, which fits my end game to a tee, and I lept at the chance. I think I’ve got a beautiful, resonant, mellifluous voice, if a tad nasal, and I’ve been told many times throughout my life that I’ve got a face made for radio.

It was a perfect fit.

And I could plug Beach Grit, cross promotion galore!

Go here.

Mick Fanning wins Trestles
A poor student of surf technique will call Mick Fanning boring, or predictable. He ain't. There's a thousand variables in the movement of his feet, his board, his torso. It's a beautiful thing to watch. Who else can conjure that kinda speed out of a sliver of fibreglass. | Photo: WSL

Pillage: Mick Fanning wins Hurley Pro!

It's murder at Lower Trestles!

In conditions described by Peter Mel as “rough around the edges” Mick Fanning, three-times world champ, four come December, exposed the little waves of Lower Trestles to grave violence. He beat Adriano De Souza in the final and now swipes the yellow jersey off Adriano’s little back.

Here’s a taste of his finals jam.

A poor student of surf technique will call Mick Fanning boring, or predictable. He ain’t. There’s a thousand variables in the movement of his feet, his board, his torso. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Who else can conjure that kinda speed out of a sliver of fibreglass in crummy two-footers?

“A flow clinic from Mick Fanning! Always organic!” said the commentator Ross Williams. “The last line in the judging criteria is speed, power, flow. Cross that out and write Mick Fanning’s name.”

Mick now plans to go to Europe “and put a few more nails in.”

And he will.

Watch Mick v Gabriel, in their semi final.

Watch Adriano v Filipe, in their semi final.

Oh! And watch the most theatrical interference claim in history! Here!

Carissa Moore Trestles
Carissa has her technique dialled better than anyone on tour. | Photo: WSL

Does Carissa Have the Best Technique on Tour?

The two-time world champ wins the Swatch event, leads tour. And there's a reason… 

A few minutes ago, Carissa Moore won the Swatch contest at Trestles, easily beating the South African Bianca Buitentag. She leads the gals going into Portugal, a contest that starts  in four days.

(Watch the final here)

What’s the secret to her dazzling success? Fitness? Boards? How about a flawless, almost-men’s WSL level technique.

Technique matters. It’s the difference between being a game changer and a numbers maker. Between top three or better in the world and shuffling orbits on the qualifying series.

It’s the difference of an eighth of an inch in foot placement, the ability to be able to shift around your board in response to curves in the wave, to the subtlety of the rocker in your board and the shape of the rail line.

And Carissa Moore? The two-timer from Honolulu? She’s got her technique dialled better than anyone on tour. Stephane Gilmore is close, but with style in her mind, she’ll ride a little forward if necessary to find the aesthetic she’s chasing.

Carissa, like Kelly Slater, finds her own style in the perfection of her technique. That only in the purity of her function will form follow.

Watch her in motion, here, in her semi-final against Dimity Stoyle.

I want you to watch how she opens her shoulders on those top turns (spray!), how a familiarity with the boards of her shaper Matt Biolos allows her to surf as if the board was an extension of her feet (note how she’ll delay her bottom turn to allow the wave to hit the bank a little harder, to curve, so she can attack… exactly… in the pocket).

Shane Beschen, the former sparring partner of Kelly Slater (same age, once scored three 10s on three waves in a World Tour heat, still the highest-scoring heat in history) knows it. He’s been working on Carissa’s air game (trampolines, video sessions at Trestles) and he’s seen her refine her technique to such a point, she can hammer a move that’ll give her a heat, at will. All she needs in the waves.

“There was a moment at the US Open at Huntington Beach,” says Shane. “And she was in the semis and losing to Sally Fitzgibbons. The waves were really bad and it was high tide and it had stopped breaking on the outside. It came down to one wave. Carissa caught it, there was nothing to hit on the outside and she barely had enough momentum to get to the shore. But, when she got there, she did this huge throw-tail. A proper throw-tail. She threw half the board out of the water and stomped it clean. You see very few things like that in women’s surfing. The crowd went wild. I was super psyched but I didn’t know how the judges were going to react. No moves on the outside? But she scored a nine.”

Technique? Yeah, it matters.

Shane Dorian and Jamie O'Brien

Movie: Who is JOB 5.O Season Finale!

Board swaps, cruelty to best friend, pussy eating, usual… 

Born into loving, motherless poverty in a beachfront rental at Pipe, Jamie O’Brien’s life has always been a work of extremes.

And in this, the final episode of Who is JOB 5.0, we see, and here I dip into the press release:

“Jamie and friends surf the best swells of the year from Tahiti to Mexico including the biggest South swell in more than a decade. Shopping carts, water-skis, rafts, and the infamous Supsquatch are just part of the best quiver ever assembled by a rag tag surf bunch affectionately known as #TeamGrom.”


But how extreme? How motherless? How poverty?

Listed below, are 10 things y’mebs don’t know about JOB.

1. He’s Motherless. Jamie’s mom left baby J and dad Mick to seek her emotional fortune back on the mainland. Australian-born Mick, a lifeguard, scraped every cent he had from his seasonal lifeguard work to keep his son, and him, on the beach at Pipe.

2. He’s concerned about age. “You know what freaks me out? That it ain’t a joke that I’m actually halfway to 60!”

3. Three Red Bulls a day, mostly. “I become very energised. I just do it. My fridge is pretty much empty. There are so many scavengers coming and going around my house. And, all that’s in the fridge is Red Bull, so when they’re hungry, I tell ’em to grab a Red Bull. I grab one, go surf, then have a food attack and eat poke, drink some more.”

4. He was John John Florence’s principal tormentor as a child. “Jamie used to tease John and throw poop at the kids,” says John John’s mom, Alex.

Jamie says, “It was all in good measure.”

5. Jamie wasn’t all bad to John John. “He’s the reason John started contests in the first place. John was four and Jamie went out there in the heat and pushed him into his waves,” says Alex Florence.

6. Speaking of John John. “He’s alongside Dane and Kelly as the best surfer in the world. His surfing is so good. John is 21 and charging Jaws. John is always going to be that one steep ahead. He surfs more than anyone alive. He surfs all day long. He wakes up in the dark and surfs until dark.”

7. His heart remains loveless. “The chicks are all savages here on the North Shore. There’s no love around here.”

8. He refuses to believe his hair is red not blond: “I ain’t red. Cheyne Magnusson’s all red. Easy, brag.”

9. His win at the Pipe Masters in 2004 drives him a little nuts. “It’s a long time ago now. It pisses me off.”

10. His beachfront rental at Pipe was glorious, but his new house 20 yards back is even better. “At our beach house at Pipe I was so sick and tired of these rats and cockroaches. That was the dream pad on the beach, now I’m 20 feet from the beach. But, this place is clean and nice and not a rundown beach house. That thing was savage. ”