Malibu: protected forever | Photo: Bill Parr

Malibu kicked off with a moving sunrise blessing led by Chumash leader Mati Waya and a paddle-out ceremony by about a hundred surfers on their boards, Malibu’s legendary Surfrider Beach was enshrined on Saturday as the first World Surfing Reserve.

The designation establishes and celebrates the unique value of the Malibu coastal environment and aims to enhance efforts to maintain the pristine nature of the area for future generations.

As the wording of a resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles states, in part, Malibu was chosen for the honor because of the stellar quality of its waves, the seminal role it played in the birth of modern surf culture, the rich biological characteristics of its surrounding area, and the strong community support of the area.

Already the world’s most famous surfing beach, the WSR designation cements Malibu’s significance for what has become a global tribe of millions of surfers and hundreds of millions of ocean lovers.

The name Malibu is an anglicized version of the original Chumash village, which occupied the area for hundreds or thousands of years prior to European contact in the 16th century. The Chumash were an ocean-oriented people, and there has been speculation that they may have ridden the waves here in their small tomol fishing canoes.

A local Chumash leader and founder of the Wishtoyo Foundation, Mati Waiya’s traditional sunrise ceremony honored and blessed the day’s activities. The subsequent paddle-out and surfer circle in the water at First Point was led by the Local Stewardship Council of the new Malibu World Surfing Reserve.

World Surfing Reserves is a program founded by Save The Waves Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting surfing areas throughout the world. The program has been substantially influenced by National Surfing Reserves Australia, which has already dedicated eleven beaches as National Surfing Reserves. The WSR initiative is also recognized and supported by the International Surfing Association, which is recognized in turn by the International Olympic Committee.

The Malibu World Surfing Reserve is endorsed by the California Coastal Commission, Los Angeles County, and the City of Malibu, as well as local nonprofits – Surfrider Foundation West LA/Malibu, Santa Monica Baykeeper, and Heal the Bay, among others.

Saturday’s commemoration also featured the installation of a bronze sculpture, titled “Unknown Surfer, Unknown Artist, Unknown Donor” – which beautifully represents the spirit of the event, which Malibu Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner characterized as, “not about any individual or commercial interest. This is about the wave, the place, and the community of Malibu.”

It is anticipated that Malibu is the first of what will become a global network of World Surfing Reserves. Other nominees include Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Manly Beach in Australia, Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, Fernando de Noronha in Brazil, and dozens more.

Matt Wilkinson: brand new star

The world’s best surfers battled shifting four-to-six foot (2 metre) rights and lefts at Supertubos as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal commenced competition with the opening nine heats of Round 1.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal got underway this afternoon in front of capacity crowds numbering over 40,000 on the beach and the hundreds of thousands online.

Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, punctuated the day’s action, posting the highest heat total of the event, a 16.57 out of a possible 20, in the final heat of the day.

“It’s definitely not a walk in the park out there,” Payne said. “It’s hard work out there. I got both of my good scores on my backhand, I think it was easier to jam in two turns on my backhand. Stoked to get through though. I’m loving Portugal. The people are really nice and I hope it cleans up tomorrow.”

Tom Whitaker (AUS), 31, posted the highest single-wave score of the day, a 9.50 out of a possible 10, for two monstrous backhand bashes on a lumpy lefthander. The score, combined with an earlier 5.17, was enough to relegate former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, Kelly Slater (USA), 38, and Bruno Santos (BRA), 27, to Round 2 of competition.

“Any kind of lip you could see you had to hit it,” Whitaker said. “That one had a pretty good line on it and I was lucky that it pushed me out in front at the end. Any time you draw Kelly (Slater), you have to put up big numbers and he’s capable of getting 7s or 8s at any moment in any conditions.”

Currently serving as the replacement surfer for an injured Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, Whitaker’s motivation may differ from those hunting the ASP World Title, but the stylish natural-footer remains hungry for results amongst the world’s elite.

“I want to win an event before I hang up my competitive career,” Whitaker said. “I feel like my surfing is still at this level and I’m looking forward to a few more opportunities here. I have to give a shout out to Joel Parkinson, who I heard had his first surf the other day. I hope he rebounds quickly and I look forward to sharing some waves with him in Hawaii.”

Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Portugal Champion, survived today’s trying conditions, favoring his backhand to advance directly through to Round 3.

“It’s a big washing machine,” Fanning said. “I don’t think it matters what you ride out there, you just have to hang on. The Portuguese people turn out in the numbers and they’re really cool. They’re just stoked on surfing and that’s what we’re excited about.”

Following a win at the last event in France, Fanning is currently ranked No. 3 on the ASP World Title Race rankings, well within striking distance of the leader position in the hunt for the 2010 crown.

“Kelly Slater has been on such a roll,” Fanning said. “I pretty much just need to win events and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not concerned with what he’s doing at the moment. I’m focusing on putting wins on my scorecard.”

Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, current ASP World No. 20, lead the Round 1 European charge today at Supertubos, threading a challenging barrel in the dying moments of the heat to edge out Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, and Dean Morrison (AUS), 29.

“It’s very difficult out there this morning,” Flores said. “It’s similar to Round 1 in France last week. It’s big and unorganized and hard to line up. I was able to find a tricky little barrel there at the end so I’m stoked. It’s hard though.”

Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, scored a major upset today, relegating Portuguese superstar Tiago Pires (PRT), 30, and compatriot Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28, to Round 2 with some inspired backhand surfing.

“It was a super tough heat,” Wilkinson said. “Having Tiago in a heat over here was always going to be tough. There are tens of thousands of people cheering for him as we’re running down to the water and I just felt a little bit obscure. I love the crowd here though. They’re a super passionate crew and they want to see their local boy do well.”

Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 9.60, Luke Munro (AUS) 7.43, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4.23
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.10, Dane Reynolds (USA) 8.00, Dean Morrison (AUS) 5.50
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.17, Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.33, Brett Simpson (USA) 3.73
Heat 4: Gabe Kling (USA) 14.94, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.07, Adam Melling (AUS) 6.70
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.67, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 12.10, Daniel Ross (AUS) 8.73
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 14.67, Kelly Slater (USA)13.10, Bruno Santos (BRA) 3.03
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.66, Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.00, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.30
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.40, Roy Powers (HAW) 6.14, Chris Davidson (AUS) 5.26
Heat 9: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.57C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.57

Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Bobby Martinez (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Andy Irons (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)

Sol Pereira-Ryan: a bright future ahead

Four elite Queensland junior surfers today provided a glimpse into the future of Australian surfing after being crowned state champions at the 2010 Rush Surf State Junior Surfing Titles!

2010 Rush Surf State Junior Surfing Champions:

U/18 Boys: Sol Pereira-Ryan (Snapper Rocks, Qld)
U/16 Boys: Kai Hing (Wurtulla, Qld)
U/18 Girls: Amiya Doyle (Coolangatta, Qld)
U/16 Girls: Naomi McCarthy (Currumbin, Qld)

In a building one-mere swell, the right-hand pointbreak waves at Alexandra Headland’s The Bluff (Sunshine Coast, Qld) provided an ideal platform for the series’ concluding showdown.

Relishing in the conditions, Sol Pereira-Ryan (Snapper Rocks, Qld) looked right at home on his forehand, with the progressive natural-footer (left foot forward stance) locking up his maiden state-crown in empathic style – backing up his win in the first event of the series with another convincing victory today.

With a combined two-wave heat total of 16.97 (out of a possible 20) including a telling 8.97 ride (out of a possible 10) Pereira-Ryan defeated Hayden Welch (Currumbin, Qld – 13.17), Josh Sherwell (Alexandra Headland, Qld – 13.16) and Nick Edgerton (Wurtulla, Qld – 10.24) who finished second to fourth respectively.

Pereira-Ryan said that winning a state title was always a goal of his, but to finally achieve the feat was a dream come true.

“So many good surfers have won Queensland state titles, so to have my name alongside some of the past series champions is a surreal feeling,” said Pereira-Ryan.

“With the Australian (Junior Surfing) Titles just over a month away, this is a great way to prepare for taking on the other state’s best juniors,” he said.

Kai Hing (Wurtulla, Qld) proved too strong for his rivals in the final of the U/16 Boys division posting an imposing combined two-wave heat total of 15.50 (out of a possible 20) to outscore Hayden Cervi (Sunrise Beach, Qld – 11.90), Harry Bryant (Sunshine Beach, Qld – 8.27) and Luke Hynd (Burleigh Heads, Qld – 5.66) who finished second to fourth respectively.

Backing up her victory at last month’s Gold Coast series opener, Amiya Doyle (Coolangatta, Qld) capped of her remarkable campaign by winning the U/18 Girls overall title with a second place finish today behind Mooloolaba’s Keely Andrew.

Posting a combined two-wave heat total of 14.90 (out of a possible 20) in the final, Andrew just edged out Doyle for the win who finished on 14.67 points, with Bridget McCulloch (Alexandra Headland, Qld - 14.16) and Sophie Callister (Noosaville, Qld – 12.84) finishing third and fourth respectively.

Meanwhile, Naomi McCarthy (Currumbin, Qld) again out-pointed her opponents in U/16 Girls division claiming consecutive event wins to convincingly claim the overall series title in her respective division.

The Queensland Junior Surfing Team will now prepare to do battle with the other sates when the Australian Junior Surfing Titles kick-off in November at Victoria’s Phillip Island.

Queensland Junior Surfing Teams:

U/18 Boys:
1. Sol Pereira-Ryan (Snapper Rocks, Qld) – State Champion
2. Hayden Welch (Currumbin, Qld)
3. Josh Sherwell (Alexandra Headland, Qld) – Equal Third
3. Hamish Whillans (Burleigh Heads, Qld) – Equal Third

U/16 Boys:
1. Kai Hing (Wurtulla, Qld) – State Champion
2. Hayden Cervi (Sunrise Beach, Qld)
3. Harry Bryant (Sunshine Beach, Qld)
4. Luke Hynd (Burleigh Heads, Qld)

U/18 Girls:
1. Amiya Doyle (Coolangatta, Qld)
2. Keely Andrew (Mooloolaba, Qld)
3. Bridget McCulloch (Alexandra Headland, Qld)
4. Brodie Doyle (Coolangatta, Qld)

U/16 Girls:
1. Naomi McCarthy (Currumbin, Qld)
2. Isabella Nichols (Coolum Beach, Qld)