Hurricane Earl: surfers, get ready and respect the ocean

US East Coast surfers are excited about the swell conditions promised by the Hurricane Earl.

The storm is bringing 135-mph winds and huge waves to the Caribbean region and to the US coast, near of Florida. Check the Wave Forecast for the US East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center believes Hurricane Earl will turn to the north, far from the coast. Some clean wave conditions might greet surfers living near these regions.

Waves are expected to reach 7 feet. Surfing and swimming at beaches must respect the lifeguard's orders.

Please do not put your life in danger and do not go surfing alone.

Red Bull Illume Overall Winner: surfer Peter Mendria by the eye of Chris Burkhard

The 24-year-old professional photographer’s image of surfer Peter Mendria riding waves on Chile’s West Coast in golden sunlight was named Overall Winner of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2010, the world’s biggest action and adventure sports photography competition with 22,764 photos submitted to the contest by nearly 5000 photographers.

“I’m overjoyed, it’s hard to put into words being able to be nominated and to win this award in front of all your piers and people I respect, I’m truly blessed.” said Chris Burkard.

Red Bull Illume Energy Winner: Stuart Gibson capture a very intense second

American windsurfer Robby Naish and Red Bull Cliff Diving World Champion Orlando Duque (COL) were among the guests and Irish TV star Sile Seoige hosted the ceremony while Red Bull Illume Judge Eileen Ryan of USA Today presented Burkard with the Winner’s trophy.

Burkard was presented with a €30,000 of Leica equipment including a S2 camera and lenses plus 20 SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro flash memory cards and Lowepro ProRunner x450 AW camera bag.

Red Bull Illume Close-Up Winner: Nathan Smith shoots the perfect still

The ten category winners, who receive SanDisk flash memory cards and a Lowpro camera bag are:

Experimental - Daniel Grund (GER)
New Creativity – Eric Berger (CAN)
SanDisk Sequence - Miguel Lopez-Virgen (MEX)
Energy - Stuart Gibson (AUS)
Illumination – Chris Burkhard (USA)
Playground – Tim Korbmacher (GER)
Culture – Vincent Perraud (FRA)
Spirit – Adam Kokot (POL)
Wings – Marcel Lämmerhirt (GER)
Close up – Nathan Smith (AUS)

Nathan Smith was also named Athletes’ Choice winner.

The top 50 images will continue to be displayed on the lightboxes free to the public at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, until September 11, 2010 before embarking on a world tour.

Fabio Gouveia: a Brazilian legend

The Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship had big waves breaking at Santa Catalina for the third day in a row today. A total of 20 heats were held with all the divisions hitting the water.

With the start of the repercharge rounds, countries saw their first athletes leaving the event. Out of the 108 surfers that started the contest, there are now 99 still in contention and only 32 remain in the winners bracket.

Team South Africa was looking unbeatable yesterday but had it first surfer falling to the repercharge rounds. Still, the Springboks National Team have more competitors in the winners bracket than any other team. Australia is next with six surfers and Brazil with five.

The day kicked off with the best performance of the contest so far. Grand Master Chris Brooks (AUS) surfed clean and strong to score an 8.83 and 7.67, reaching a combined total of 16.50 on his Round 2 match-up. Brazilian Junior Maciel placed second while former ISA Grand Masters World Champion Magoo de la Rosa (PER) suffered a shocking defeat after placing third. He will now compete in the “do or die” repercharge.

Brooks commented, “I didn’t realize the scores were that high but I’m pretty happy about it. Is very exciting I got the highest combination so far. The judging criteria asked for big maneuvers so I tried to get a couple of turns out the back. I don’t think South Africa is the team to beat as we are only a heat behind them, I think it´s neck to neck and I wouldn’t say they’re absolutely killing it.”

In the same round, former ISA Open World Champion, Fabio Gouveia from Brazil along with Peruvian standout Carlos Velarde, caused the South African casualty, by defeating Andre Malherbe. The copper medalist of the 2008 edition of the event will now surf in the repercharge rounds. With the Winner Bracket Round 2 of Grand Kahunas (over 50) and Women Masters (over 35) being held today, there are eight surfers that are now one step away to make it to the big final.

Defending World Champion Heather Clark (RSA), Rocío Larrañaga (PER), Patricia Rossi (TAH) and Andrea Lopes (BRA) in the Women’s division along with World Champion Chris Knutsen (RSA), Kenneth Myer (PAN), Thierry Samsoube (FRA) and Javier Huarcaya (PER) in the Grand Kahunas will compete in the winners bracket final. Those who place in the top two spots will have a place in the podium.

Clark was again the best Women Master, posting a combined score of 15.66, showing why she is the defending World Champion. “I was extremely nervous because I know Andrea Lopes from previous years and she’s a really good competitor. I tried to get a first wave fast so I could relax, once I did that, I got into a bit of a rhythm and I made it through,” said Clark.

The day ended with the intense rounds of the repercharge. New Zealand, Guatemala, Uruguay, Germany, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Jamaica lost at least one athlete today.

Peruvian Raúl Villa, a repercharge competitor who made it through in first place, said, regarding how he manages this stage of the event, “I actually don’t think I am in the repercharge, I just go out and surf the best I can. When you are riding for your country you need to perform at a 150 percent and that’s what I do.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday September 1st,the competition will start at 6:30 am. The following heats will take place:
Grand Masters Reperchage 1
Kahunas Reperchage 2
Masters Reperchage 2
Grand Masters Reperchage 2