Jordy Smith: his hair is long

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be showcasing the top surfers of the ASP World Championship Tour. The first event of the surfing season will take place from February 26 through March 9, at Snapper Rocks.

Mobility is the keyword, just in case waves decide to move to another Queensland surf spot. Jordy Smith, 23, has been testing new equipment and is mentally and physically prepared for taking on the world’s best.

"I really enjoyed spending Christmas and New Year at home," Smith said. "It's been eight years since I last spent the holidays in South Africa. So I made the best of it down in Cape Town with my mates and Blake, my filmer from the USA, and also spent time with my family in Durban."

"I have being testing a bunch of boards, just feeling them out regarding different thicknesses, as I have lost eight kilograms this summer working out, surfing and training with my friends." Smith said. "I have put a lot of time in spinning, jogging, core work and just eating right. Cape Town offers so many different surf breaks at this time of the year, so I have been spending time surfing them up and down the coast and capturing great footage for my new movie."

Taj Burrow, 32, has moved from strength-to-strength in the off season, scoring excellent surf in a variety of locales.

"I've had such a good start to 2011," Burrow said. "I've started training earlier and harder than any other year and I've also scored the best waves of my life! A trip to P-Pass and a freak cyclone swell in Western Australia have me grinning from ear to ear! Can't wait to jump in the water at Snapper. I'm so excited about surfing right now!"

Defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, Burrow is looking forward to repeat the achievement. "I want to win contests for sure," Burrow said. "I want to surf fast and loose and do a lot more airs in my heats. Snapper is amazing, so happy to have taken down the event last year. It's such a high performance wave. I love it when the sand is packed in there and the bank is groomed for getting piped and doing wild turns!"

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be broadcasted live on free-to-air television on One HD for the first time in the history of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.

Chuck Patterson: from snow to high waters

Chuck Patterson is a fearless waterman. The former pro skier has re-lit the new surfing concept started Mike Douglas and Cody Townsend: wave skiing.

In the latest big swell, Patterson headed to Maui to test himself. The result is absolutely amazing, as he took the huge waves of Jaws with a couple of skis and the helping hand from tow-surfers.

The final result is absolutely incredible, as it combines the skills of mountain skiing with the authenticity of surfing waves. "I had a good idea that it was possible, but it really made a big difference having a solid background in skiing and big-wave tow-in surfing to really push it in big waves," Patterson told the Ski Channel.

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Wipe-out: having fear is natural, don't worry | Photo: Ben Margot

Surf fear. Who hasn't experienced it yet? Every surfer dreams of surfing a giant 30-foot wave in Hawaii, Jaws, Mavericks, Todos Santos, or Teahupoo, but fear is a very powerful thing, and can sometimes simply drive you away from the things you might dream of.

Experiencing fear is normal. When you have a fear of something, your body and mind protect yourself from what it perceives as a danger or menace. Fear is a healthy, natural instinct of defense and survival. There are many fears associated with surfing and wave sports.

The most common surf fear is that of wave height. Many fear to ride big waves for three commonly cited reasons: the wipeout from the top of a giant wall of water; the chance of hitting a reef or a rocky bottom; and drowning, or the loss of breath.

A smaller proportion of surfers report other fears associated with the sport; including fear of sharks, storms, lightning, currents and localism and being hit by surfboards.

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