Josh Kerr: back to the winning pace

Josh Kerr (Tweed Heads, AUS), 26, won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada over Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 22, in peaky two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at North Chesterman Beach in Tofino, British Columbia.

Surfers competing in the ASP 6-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada are out to capitalize on the valuable ratings points on offer to help them qualify for the prestigious ASP World Tour.

Kerr quietly navigated through the early rounds of O’Neill Cold Water Classic competition and was extremely patient in his bout against Geiselman and his careful wave-selection in the inconsistent conditions saw the progressive Australian take out his second major ASP victory of the 2010 season.

“It wasn’t the best final, but we’re up here in Canada surfing, so it’s all good,” Kerr said. “I never really felt like I had a cracking heat this whole event, but things just kept going my way. It’s my first time here and it’s a beautiful place so I’m stoked to have won.”

Kerr’s path to the final was no easy task, as the talented natural-footer topped Australian prodigy Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), 22, and defending event champion Peter Devries (Tofino, BC), 27, before defeating Geiselman in the final.

“It was great surfing against Eric (Geiselman),” Kerr said. “He’s one of the best up-and-coming surfers around and I’ve respected him for years. I have so much respect for Julian (Wilson) and Pete (Devries) too. I’ve seen him in videos and know how good of a surfer he is. For a guy that does about one comp a year he knows how to do them well.”

Geiselman looked unstoppable throughout the final day of competition, blasting the highest heat-total of the day, a 16.34 out of 20 in his Quarterfinals matchup against Mitch Coleborn (Sunny Coast, AUS), 22, before launching the event’s highest single wave score, a 9.10 out of 10 for a massive kerrupt flip in his Semifinals bout against Shaun Cansdell (AUS), 27, but was unable to find the scores needed to top Kerr for the win.

“It would have been nice to have won, but I’m stoked to get a result,” Geiselman said. “I haven’t really had one this year, so to make the Final is great. I’ve had the best time ever up here in Canada and this is a great way to start the remainder of the year.”

Cansdell was another top performer throughout the O’Neill Cold Water Classic’s entirety, and his equal 3rd place finish establishes him as the frontrunner for the additional $50,000 for this year’s O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series champion.

“I’m really stoked to get a 3rd in this event,” Cansdell said. ”Obviously I’m a bit disappointed to not have made the final but I’m just so stoked to get a result, especially at the tail end of the year with the Cold Water Series. Hopefully I can get a result in Santa Cruz as well.”

Wilson, who was hungry for a win at this year’s ASP 6-Star event, was in lethal form throughout the final day’s action, but was unable to find a rhythm against eventual event winner, Kerr, and finished equal 3rd overall.

“Obviously I wanted to win this event, but a 3rd is nothing to be disappointed about,” Wilson said. “I was focusing too much on trying to do airs out there. I had a wave where I probably could have got the score if I had done turns, but I was looking for an air. Hopefully I can move on from this event and post a good result going into Santa Cruz.”

O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada Final Result:

1 – Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.10
2 – Eric Geiselman (USA) 10.20

Duck Diving: this one is easy

Have you ever felt like a small animal in front of a giant mountain of water ready to fall on you? Well, duck-diving might be the antidote to that feeling when you experience it for real out in the water. But how can we assure the perfect duck-dive for a 10-foot breaking wave?

The secret lies in both practice and momentum; knowing the right time for starting your emergency procedure. First of all, make sure you paddle towards the oncoming wave. Yes, you should really gain speed and should not wait for it to come.

Push the rails downwards, with your both hands, sinking the nose of your surfboard as deeply as possible. Take a deep and calm breath and submerge. As soon as you enter the water, press your board with your knee or foot to make the surfboard flow under the rolling wave.

At the same time, try to redirect the nose of your surfboard to the surface, where you think it's safe to emerge. As soon as possible, start paddling out as fast as you can, so you don't get "sucked" by the opposite energy carried by the wave.

Duck-diving is harder for the lightest bodies because skinny surfers tend to find keeping stability underwater with a buoyant board harder than average-sized and heavy athletes do. Nevertheless, training can improve anyone's duck-diving skills against the scariest water foam monsters.

Kelly Slater: now, he might start loving Portugal

Kelly Slater has conquered the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, in Peniche. The 9-time world champion beat South African Jordy Smith, in a crazy European final. He is now very near the 10th title.

It was the clash of leaders, surfed in three-to-five foot waves and sunny blue skies of Supertubos. Watch the final highlights.

“I was trying to stay busy but neither of us could get a solid wave. I actually nearly ended up reaching my wave maximum out there so I kind of had to slow down and try to wait for waves that mattered. Jordy (Smith) has all the talent in the world and he’s capable of getting a score at any time. It wasn’t over until the horn blew”, said Slater.

Several thousands of spectators held their breath, as Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith fought one of the most nervous finals of the last WCT years. Slater surfed 13 waves to score a total of 13.33 points.

The last one remaining in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title, Smith acknowledges the tall feat that lies ahead and is philosophical when discussing the remainder of the season.

“I’ve had a blast here in Portugal,” Smith said. “We’ve had some really fun waves. I was stoked to be in the Final with Kelly (Slater). I’m stoked to be in the race still with him. He’s someone I’ve looked up to my whole life and it’s an honor to be up there in the rankings next to him. I’m looking forward to the next event and hope we get some more fun wedges.”

Nevertheless, the race for the Dream Tour title is still on. The surfing circus now heads to Somewhere in Puerto Rico for the Rip Curl Search.

The 2010 ASP World Tour ends in Hawaii with the Triple Crown of Surfing.

Final:

Kelly Slater USA
Jordy Smith ZAF