Ian Walsh turns big. | Photo: WSL

Victory: Ian Walsh wins Sunset!

After winning it 10 years ago! Mr. Sunset Jr.!

The North Shore season is officially underway and is it not the most wonderful time of the surfing year? Such drama! Such beauty! Even for the most die-hard “I-hate-surf-competition” minded, the contests that take place on the North Shore from November through January feel necessary and the arenas feel built for the spectacle.

The first event, the Hawaiian Island Creation Sunset Pro, has just wrapped and won by Maui stand out Ian Walsh. He also won it ten years ago and told Maui Now News, “For this win, it’s hard to explain. It feels so good. You have a goal you’re working for, and to finally be there and stand on the podium and hold a check above your head, it’s hard to put into words. Originally when I won this event 10 years ago, I wanted that feeling back again. You get a little taste and then every event you want to do it again. With surfing there’s so many ups and downs with what the waves do, and the psychology, and how the whole heat plays out.”

His victory slots him in to the the Vans Triple Crown and Haleiwa in ten short days.

Australian Jack Robinson was also in the final. That boy has a very bright future. Will he knock John John off his perch too soon?

Watch the final day highlights here!


Aitor ‘Gallo’ Francesena, here, is blind. Absurd, no?

Spark: Blind surfer rips Wave Pool!

How the hell?

You can’t put fight in a man’s guts if there’s no fight in him. You got it or you don’t.

In this two-minute short we see the Basque surfer Aitor “Gallo” Francesena, whose eyeballs got wiped three years ago from one of those genetic disease you hear about and pray to god never happens to you, surfing the Wavegarden in Spain.

Gallo starts slow, someone has to paddle him into a wave, but soon, human intervention is gone and he’s working the waves like a billy goat, surfing with passion and a timing that suggests it was imprinted on his brain; a habit that never deserts a man.

If you’re a sentimental kinda guy or gal, you’ll lose control of the tear ducts.

“If you could open up my head thousands of love hearts would fly away,” says Gallo.

2015 Video Test Series Nº 3: Blind Surfer Rides Wavegarden from wavegarden on Vimeo.


Which one of these two is most popular? Wrong! (Unless you said Dane.) | Photo: Quiksilver

Unexpected: Dane smashes Ando!

An unplanned popularity contest yields startling results!

Last night, semi-drunk and bored, I posted Official: Dane Reynolds Leaves Quik! onto our little website and it almost broke due to a flood of traffic. It surprised me because I posted it as “rumor” three weeks ago and thought, “Get it? Rumor?” And also “Who even fucking cares anyway?”

Apparently everyone.

And I had an even juicier rumor in my pocket. Craig Anderson, the Craig Anderson, wanted to follow him out the door and maybe hustle his own line somewhere. Oh we would hit Kim Kardashian levels of online fame! Oh we would proverbially break the proverbial Internet!

But do you want to know what happened? A virtual shrug. And this surprised me even more. I thought, in my perpetually semi-drunk and also semi-retired from surf reporting (thanks Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell! Purchase here!) state, that Craig Anderson was the boy that everyone wanted. The Rob Machado that would live forever. The style emulated across seven seas. The man who put the hypto in krypto. The Craig Anderson.

Apparently I was wrong.

Does this surprise you? Dane Reynolds ain’t exactly in his prime. Craig Anderson, it could be argued, is. And so why the extra love on something completely unsurprising? Is Dane a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon? Is Craig not?

Help me! Help me, help you!


Photo by Justin Jay/@justinjayphoto | Photo: Justin Jay/@justinjayphoto

Candid: John John Florence’s Reddit AMA

Sometimes the best interviews are the dumbest… 

I’m always kind of annoyed when I see an online article titled “X things we learned from so-and-so’s Reddit AMA.” So lazy, literally just scraping content to steal page views.  Shameful, really.

But guess what, suckas?

I’m about to do the same thing!  Our fave tow-headed super freak John John Florence did an AMA today and my creativity tank is running on empty at the mo’, so I’m gonna call it “curation” and hop on the bandwagon.

The hypocrisy is so thick I can taste it.

/u/HockeyCannon: What do you think of your father writing a memoir?

I don’t know if I like it very much so I don’t think about it, haha.

/u/BlasphemousFish: Do surf groupies exist?

Surf groupies? I believe they do exist. I’ve seen some before. Haha, one or two.

 

/u/KangCradJamin: What’s the most common misconception of surfing? Or being a professional surfer.

 

Most common misconception…hmm…I don’t know, it’s probably that picture you see in your head of that guy with long hair down at the beach smokin’ weed, haha. I guess that would be it.

In reality it’s pretty professional, like in the contest stuff guys really train hard. I don’t train very hard, but other guys do, ha ha.

 

/u/KangCradJamin: Follow up question, totally unrelated. do you smoke weed

I don’t smoke weed.

/u/HayEwe:  What’s your best surfing story?

My scariest one was when me and my friends surfed this big outer reef wave, and it was just us two, and we didn’t really know how big it was, because it was really far how there. We had the new blow-up vests and all that stuff. And so we paddled out, and we were like sitting there and I was like, “I think we’re in the spot right now.” And we paddled over a smaller wave, it then there was like maybe a 20 foot wave breaking behind it. I was just looking at it like, “We’re not in the spot right now!” It landed on us, and I was underwater for a while and I was trying to stay calm. Finally I was like, “Okay, I’ve gotta go up.” So I pulled my vest, and it blew up, and I slowly started going up. And then right as we got to the surface, another wave hit me and I just went straight back down. I was just like, “Oh no, this is really scary.” And then I was kind of getting rolled with the wave, because my vest was blown up. Yeah, it was just a long time underwater. Two waves. Really kind of scary moment, because we had no water safety or anything.

One of the best moments? Probably at the same wave, like a year later. It was just me and my friends. We were on jet skis, and we do step-offs off the jet skis. We’d go in pairs, my friend was driving and then I’d just step off the side of the jet ski and get these huge waves on little tiny boards. We surfed it for like 6 hours that day. Me and like five of my friends, and we were just taking turns getting the biggest, best waves of our lives. And just screaming the whole time. So yeah, that was cool.

/u/kfinnegan15:  Where was your favorite spot to film for the movie? [A Blue Moon]

My favorite spot to film for the movie was probably South Africa. That place was just one of my favorite places in general, and to be able to go and film with the equipment we had was kind of something I had dreamed about for a while because I had been there a lot. So I was like, wow, if we could capture this, and something amazing… it would be really cool.

It’s just very vast. You’re in the middle of nowhere and everywhere you look pretty much you’re like, wow… that’s crazy. Yeah, vast would be the word.

The first trip we had like 20 people with us which was a huge crew. It was the biggest crew of the whole movie and then after that we slimmed it down to what we needed. That one just kind of had everything thrown at it and it made it so it didn’t work so well. Then we lessened up the crew for the next trip and it made everything go more streamlined and better.

/u/TuskenCam:  What is the best meal to tuck into after a big day on the water?

My favorite meal to eat after surfing all day is pasta. I love pasta! And it makes me really full, and I sleep really good after eating pasta.

/u/JaredsFatPants:  I’m a total kook that lives on the north shore. Wanna surf inside Pua’ena with me sometime?

Sure, maybe! Haha

/u/bhotep: What’s your favorite non-surfing film? And why is it still Point Break?

So it can be any movie? My favorite non-surfing film would probably be Interstellar. A great movie, I’ve watched it probably five or six times. And another movie would be Rush, it’s about Formula 1 drivers, don’t know if you guys have seen that — it’s one of my favorite movies as well.

Point Break is not one my favorite movies, haha. But it’s a cool movie – I’m excited to see the next one!

/u/CheddarCheesasaurus:  whos your favorite shaper? How important is it to understand how to pick out the best board for my surfing/body type?

My shaper I have now, Jon Pyzel. He’s from Hawaii and lives down the street from me, and he’s shaped my board pretty much my whole life.

As for picking a board – it’s a personal preference kind of thing. There’s so many things that go into a surf board — the waves that you’re riding, and, like you said, the size of a human you are… I don’t think about the boards too much, to be honest! I just get boards and tell them how I want to change it and they change it to that, but it’s hard for me to explain how to tell someone what kind of board to ride, it’s such a personal thing.

The changes I ask for vary from big waves boards to small wave boards, all the boards are so different for such different kinds of waves: changing the shape of the tail, changing the concave in the bottom of the board, how much lift you’re getting out of it, how fast the board goes down the line…

When you add things, like, “Okay, I want my board to go really fast across flat sections,” then it’s going to make the board stiffer. So you lose things when you add things, and it’s kind of finding the happy medium. You’re really happy when you finally find a good board for certain kinds of waves!

Small waves are the hardest, but when you find a good small wave board if feels amazing, and I won’t ride it until I have a heat because I’ll just end up breaking it. My boards last probably two weeks, haha. Yeah, they don’t last very long. The other winter I broke 38 boards. I surf a lot, and the waves we surf in Hawaii like to break your boards.

/u/Joplinger:  What’s your pre-contest routine?

My pre-contest routine? I’ve been working on it more and more lately. I kind of started doing more warm ups just to get my body moving. Jump roping and stuff like that, but I would say I pick 2 or 3 songs before each event that I like at that time and just listen to them on repeat and it helps keep my mind off the surfing and the heat and over-thinking it and think about the songs more.

I think I was listening to Eazy-E songs at the last event, but I’m not like a full rap person. My base in music is Pink Floyd and Talking Heads and Sabbath and Zeppelin and all those bands, but Eazy-E was a good one for the last event.

/u/Mister-Duke:  What is the lineup at Pipe and other heavy breaks like? How do you determine the pecking order with so many great surfers in the lineup?

The line up at Pipe… there’s not really any lineup like that in the world because of the amount of people that are out there and the fact of how scary the wave is in itself.

Pipe has a pretty solid pecking order, like you know who’s up next and a lot of people don’t like it, but in a way it kind of needs to be organized like that because if they don’t, people are going to get hurt, people are going to be dropping in on other people. It’s not really a wave you can just go in front of someone on, you know, you could end up really hurting someone and possibly killing someone.

/u/lambkeeper:  Who do you think is going to win the WSL tour?  And do you ever do night surfing?

Hmm, it’s pretty hard to say right now coming into the last contest, but I would say…it looks like Mick Fanning, most likely.

Yes! I do do night surfing. We did it actually this summer and it was a full moon and we surfed in front of my house for like 3 hours. It was really cool.

It was one of the times I’ve had that sharky feeling, ha. At first it’s pretty dark, or well, it’s bright but it’s kinda hard to see and then your eyes adjust and it’s surreal.

With the white moonlight on the sand and then the water, it’s just so crazy the way the water reflects. It looks like a fluorescent light or something and it’s definitely a really cool experience.

He’s still answering questions as I type this (not mine, though), head on over to check it out for yourself.  As for me, I feel dirty, I’m gonna go take a long shower, the length of which has absolutely nothing to do with the photos I just saw which are purportedly of Anastasia Ashley’s vagina.


Adriano De Souza will win Pipe (and title)!

ADS will be Brazil's second surfing world champion and first-ever Pipe Master!

Is there anything better than the title coming down to Pipe? Such a singular wave, so close to shore, all that power slamming into the inside bowl.

The greatest show on Earth. Really.

Not so much fun if you live on the North Shore. Constant gridlock during the waiting period. Basically the reason I ruined my shoulder. Hopped the bus to the beachpark with a pair of flippers on a lay day, got humbled real bad by a slightly overhead wave. No car, no phone, my wife had to drive out from Bishop Street to get me to the ER. Might make for a solidly frivolous suit, should the WSL fail to learn the meaning of fair use and we need some future leverage.

Pipe’s got a lot to look forward to. Always the local drama, never enough wildcards. The contest only exists in its current form because of a series of variances the Parks Dept has no right issuing. Bunch of people pretty upset with that.

Last year’s application claimed the Triple Crown, of which  Pipe is a part, provides a billion dollars, with a b, worth of exposure for Hawaii. It must be nice to just make shit up and have it taken as truth.  Who am I kidding, I know it is. I do it myself, occasionally.

Derek sent me the world title race breakdown (scroll to bottom), which I assume is true. It’s not that I can’t do the math, it’s that I’m too lazy. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like it matters.

 

Smart money’s on Mick, he’s been here before. But my heart goes out to sweet Adriano. Love to hate him, but no one works harder.

I just realized, I’ve never seen ADS free surf. That’s crazy.

I adore an underdog, and so de Souza’s my boy, and here’s how I see it playing out…

A series of unreal semi early season swells blow the sand off the reef, epic sessions go down as the circus trickles into town. Lei Lei’s sees our sport’s best and brightest dining on overpriced mediocrity masquerading as quality. The Surfer Bar continues to be lame, but guys go because they’re horny and that’s where the trim is. Instagram explodes with lifestyle shots and asses and quivers and pictures of poke.

Swell hype spreads, it’ll be insane on the 14th.

Lay day, hype, lay day, hype.

The contest runs on Wednesday at glorified Gums. ADS works his way through the early rounds.  Swell finally shows, but it’s a day late. No contests on Sunday!

Fanning goes out in round three, then heavy trades and rain show up for work.

Perrow plays chicken with the waiting period. A bump shows and they’re in the water!  Six foot, windy, whompy backwash.

But, “There’s some gems out there, Joe!

It’ll be a Llama/de Souza final, and Adriano will put on a majestic display of tactical hassling. Poor Filipe won’t withstand.

And so the season closes.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.