“Thank You SURFER Magazine”

7 12 2011

Last night I was up a little late, because last night I was running on Hawaii time.  The SURFER Magazine poll Awards went down and for the second year in a row they took place in the home of surfing on the North Shore of Oahu.  The awards are an annual reminder of whose opinions matter most in the world of surf, the fans.  Not the writers, or the judges or the bloggers or the surfers, the fans matter because without that base of people who follow surfing, whatever reason their’s might be there would be no industry.

The awards covered all aspects of the sport recognizing everyone from the best in freesurfing to the contest superheros we watch on tour.  As well there was a few tiny surfboards handed out for the film side of things and major achievements like the new “Andy Irons Break Through Award” which went to John John Florence and the “Lifetime Achievement Award” that saw SURFER founder John Severson recognized for his contribution to the lifestyle.

The thing I love most about surfing is it’s diversity.  By it’s very nature it is more freeing than other sports and therefore more free to interpret for the audience who takes it in.  Whether you want to see Kelly Slater win another world title as determined by judges with a predetermined set of rules and a potentially alternate agenda, or if you just love seeing Dane Reynolds piss around in head-high surf the sport is yours to enjoy.  And on this night all aspects of the game were recognized.

There were a few highlights from the night, Rabbit Kekai partying like he was 19, not 91 or the multiple curse words used on live TV were just a few.  Add to that the fact that there was a large amount of female surfers dressed to the 9’s and a handful of different liquor sponsors and just like that, we had ourselves a party!

But there was a plan for the night, and the show had to go on despite the fact that everyone in attendance would have been happy to just get crushed and watch wipe-outs all night.  The crowd eventually filtered in and the night got started with what seemed like an impromptu intro from Hawaii native Freddy P, and action sports emcee extraordinaire Sal “Al Makelela” Masekela.  All jokes aside, the awards themselves were pretty awesome.

For starters the night kicked off with Alex Gray winning the award for best barrel and accepting with a heartfelt tribute to his brother.

After that we got into the actual SURFER poll which breaks down the top surfers in the world as voted by the fans online, with social media and in the magazine itself.  The bottom of the list for the men was one of the most touching things I have ever watched as the Irons’ brother Bruce and Andy finished 10 and 9 respectively, with Bruce accepting both awards.  Of course this included the classic Bruce “I don’t give a F+CK! attititude”.

Then, just as I thought I was in for a touching night of speeches, tears and thank-yous, we got into the fun stuff, like Dane Reynolds making multiple appearances on stage and hot surfer chicks accepting awards and complaining about not being able to surf a contest on the North Shore…AND SO THEY SHOULD DAMMIT!  The surfers finished being counted and the drinks continued to flow.

The dancing went on late into the night and surf celebrity Bethany Hamilton even dropped a hint that she was looking to Dance With The Stars.  I won’t say I told you so if it happens, but you did hear it here first.

Here are the list of top pros and a nice little video paying tribute to the father of SURFER John Severson.  God I love this sport!

Men’s Top 10

10. Bruce Irons
9. Andy Irons
8. Jordy Smith
7. Joel Parkinson
6. Mick Fanning
5. Taj Burrow
4. Julian Wilson
3. Owen Wright
2. Dane Reynolds
1. Kelly Slater


Women’s Top 5

5. Sally Fitzgibbons
4. Alana Blanchard
3. Stephanie Gilmore
2. Coco Ho
1. Carissa Moore


-t





Andy Irons : A Year Later

2 11 2011

Very few things, other than stubbing my toe can bring me to tears.  Of those few things the primary one is when monumental things happen in the world of action sports.  Good things like watching Tony Hawk pull his 900, or viewing That’s It That’s All for the 100th time.  But last year the surf world was struck by something the very opposite of those heart-warming and memorable moments.  The sudden death of Andy AI Irons took the global community by total surprise and they are still struggling to come to terms with it 12-months later.

After leaving an event in tropical conditions with suspected Dengue Fever, Irons died in a Texas hotel room, alone and without immediate explanation.  As it would later be revealed, Andy was having continuing trouble dealing with his inner demons, and the struggle ultimately cost him his life.  The list of reasons why this event was tragic is a lengthy one with everything from his new marriage, expected son, resurgence in the surf world and more positive mindset all being things that should have kept him going.

The other side of it was the poor manner with which the ASP handled the events.  Hiding things, masking the details of Andy’s situation and changing the tune of their story multiple times over the the course of the past months.  But at the end of the day the reasons, happy or sad to talk about this are now non-issues.  The fact of the matter is that one of the most loved and talented surfers the sport has ever seen is no longer with us and the pain that comes with the loss of life is magnified by the truth that he had an immensely positive impact on our world.

My heart continues to go out to those closest to him.  That obviously includes the surfers and people involved in AI’s professional life but more importantly to his family, his wife Lyndie, his son Andy, brother Bruce and parents Phil and Danielle.  Regardless of how much the surf media talks about his life as a surfer who changed the game, the day he lost his struggle impacted those people infinitely more than any of us outside of that group.

That is not to say that Andy didn’t have an amazing impact on a countless number of people, including myself who will use today to pay tribute for what he did for all of us.  So here is my tribute, a simple thank you to AI, a condolence to his family and a few images that will remind us all of the surfer and the man that we said good-bye to one year ago.

Gone, Never forgotten.  Mahalo AI

-t





King Kelly Can Clinch : ASP World Tour Heads To SF

26 10 2011

There are two stops left on the ASP world tour, San Francisco this coming week and the world’s most popular surf contest in December on the North Shore.  The winter in Hawaii is watched by a shit ton of people to begin with, but a surf contest in San Fran can definitely not say the same thing.  Well, except this year.

Kelly Slater, 10x world champion and ambassador to the entire non-surfing world is poised to hold off Aussie rock star Owen Wright and take home his record 11th ASP title.  Kelly needs only a 9th place finish, which is equal to making the 5th round of the event something Kelly does in his sleep.  But here is the real question; while Kelly winning this unprecedented championship is a great thing, are the likely sloppy waves that will seen in the Bay Area the place for it to happen?

If Kelly took an early exit from the event and Owen had a strong showing, it would move the title race to Oahu and put more eyes on the event than we have seen since the Slater/Irons battle in 2003.

If, sometime in the next 2 weeks Kelly becomes Ke11y I will party like I won the title.  BUT if come December Kelly rides perfect pipe on his way to a title, further cementing his immortality it’ll be a fairy-tale ending to what is likely the greatest career of all time.  Let’s watch some Kelly!





Quiksilver Pro : Andy Irons Tribute

13 10 2011

Surfers around the world mourned the loss of Andy Irons last November, and very few feel any more at peace, almost a year later.

This past week, the Quiksilver Pro France went down and had a lot of media from behind the scenes.  One of the most touching pieces of the event was a memorial the surfers did speaking of Andy and his dominance at the event.

Have a look, and thanks to Quiksilver for the footage.





Franch-Eye’s View

8 12 2010

Photobucket

I am in the midst of one of the happiest times of my life. Hands down, it would be a stretch for things to be going any better at this point. All I see when I hit Facebook is how Jeff is fisting mediocrity on a daily basis, all my boys are doing their thing, getting what’s theirs and action sports is as it should be.

Mark McMorris is clawing his way to the top of the snowboard world, TPR has a new pro model deck and surfing is coming to peace with the passing of one of its most beloved sons AI.

Photobucket

Today marked the start of the first ever “Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory Of Andy Irons”. Although this is not the first running of this contest it is the first since the sudden passing of Andy just over a month ago.

I have struggled with things a little since the events of early November just as anyone does when they lose such a huge influence, but today was different. December 8, 2010 has been on my calendar for a year now and today reminded me why in more ways than one.

Dudes were roaming the beach in AI apparel and there were memorials as far as the eye could see. Needless to say Andy is still on everyone’s mind this winter season and will be for years to come. But their are definitely positives to be thought of as well. With Parko almost a shoo in to take home the Triple Crown today was a day of celebration for sure.

With waves breaking all over the North Shore, like it does this time of year there were no shortage of toys for the best surfers in the world to play with. Bombs were dropping and bangers were thrown to the left, but more often to the right. The best thing at Pipe today might have been Backdoor.

The often less hyped right-hander and it’s buddy Off The Wall played host to some super clean, well-lipped little nugs for the boys to crush from start to finish.

I have been paying lots of attention to the Vans team during the last month or so and they are FIRING! Pat Gudauskas from our favorite city on Earth, San Clamente threw down a ridiculous frontside air on a right and grabbed it with both hands until right before he landed in perfect transition and hung on for one of the best waves of the contest so far.

The holding period started today so we have lots of time to enjoy the famous break and decide some things. One being a Triple Crown champ, another being Kelly’s finish at would could be his last serious contest but potentially the biggest… Who will take home the title at the first ever “Pipe Masters In Memory Of Andy Irons”?





Andy’s Last Part

11 11 2010

The last few clips from TransWorld SURF’s new movie High Five. These are some of Andy’s last shots ever, beginning with one of the most amazing rides ever captured on film. May he rest in peace.





JBay Day 1…. Surfing Is So Awesome

15 07 2010

Photobucket

HEALTHY CROWD AT SUPERTUBES

Today marked the start of my SECOND favorite event on the ASP World Tour. The Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay South Africa.

Although my boy, and regular SJ comment poster Matty Evans thinks I was sleeping all day, rest assured I was keeping up to date while doing laundry and eating Quiznos!

When JBay is firing it is one of the best-looking, cleanest waves on tour. Although it is bigger, and therefore “gnarlier” it is still a close second for me when stacked up again the September venue of Trestles. (Thanks to Mike Haney and Surfride Foundation for that!)

Photobucket

GLAD TO SEE ANDY BACK!

That does not however mean that JBay plays second fiddle to any wave on tour when it comes to awesomeness. And today was a perfect example of why. Perfectly clean, crispy 4-6 footers peeled down the right-handed point break all day setting the stage for absolute gnar-awesome groovy-ness!

And of course my boys were on fire. 9, 9, 9-time ASP World Tour champ Kelly “Greatest Surfer of ALL-TIME” Slater put on a show hacking chunks out of the top of his waves, and getting under the lip like your 2 front teeth. Kelly spent his heat against Damien Hobgood and Shaun Joubert showcasing his skills and walked away on top with a heat score of 15.93.

Photobucket

KING KELLY - GOING FOR 10

Red Bull team rider, current World #2 (behind Kelly) and Oneil Hyperfreak Jordy Smith was also fire today at his hometown point break. Jordy showcased his signature aggressive powerhouse style with clean turns and hard-breaking manoeuvres throughout. No easy feat considering the pressure he must be feeling sitting near the top of the tour and surfing at home.

Photobucket

RED BULL GIVES YOU WIIINGS!

Those 2 weren’t the only ones absolutely fisting the waves at JBay today. Solid mid-teen scores went up in respected heats featuring Jeff’s second favorite Irons brother (Andy), Bobby Martinez, Taj Burrow, former World Champ Mick Fanning and Quiksilver’s Dane Reynolds. Needless to say this is shaping up to be one fantastic freakin’ JBay.

As always keep it stuck on streetjesus.net as when I am not at work, or sleeping you can expect more love towards awesome wave número dos.

Chea!

Also, peep ASP WORLD TOUR and BILLABONGPRO.COM for a shit-ton more!








%d bloggers like this: