Teahupoo: the most beautiful place in the world

The swell has kicked up over night, and with pulsing three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves on offer, the Billabong Pro Tahiti will finally commence with Round 1 hitting the water at 6:30am.

Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti has endured seven, consecutive lay days, but will be well rewarded as the world’s best surfers do battle in clean conditions at Teahupoo.

“It’s been a long wait, but the waves have arrived and we’ll be commencing competition at 6:30am,” Richie Porta, ASP International Head Judge, said. “We plan to utilize all the swell we have available which means a full day today. We aim to complete Round 1 and a portion of Round 2, but will monitor conditions throughout the day.”

In addition to contributing to a red-hot ASP World Title Race, the Billabong Pro Tahiti will also serve as the final event for the world’s best surfers looking to make the midyear cut-off asp the ASP Top 45 is reduced to the Top 34 (Top 32 finishers after five events plus two surfer wildcards).

Up first this morning will be Damien Hobgood (USA), 31, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 25, and Jay Thompson (AUS), 28, in the opening heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Nate Yeomans (USA)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 4: Dane Reynolds (USA), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Tamaroa McComb (PYF)
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Tuamata Puhetini (PYF)
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Andy Irons (HAW), Heiarii Williams (PYF)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW), Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 13: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 14: Michel Bourez (PYF), Dean Morrison (AUS), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Taylor Knox (USA), Luke Munro (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 16: Chris Davidson (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS)

Earthwave: crowd for a good reason

The Earthwave Beach Festival will again host an attempt to challenge the Guinness World Record for the most surfers riding the same wave at Surfers Corner on Muizenberg Beach on the weekend of 25 & 26 September 2010.

The fourth edition of the popular festival that harnesses the huge interest surrounding attempts to break Guinness World Records (GWR) to promote sustainable lifestyle choices, will include a national SA Longboard Surfing (SALSA) event and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) races featuring many of the country’s top performers, alongside plenty of fun beach activities, demonstrations and talks on climate change over the two days.

“We excited about Earthwave 2010 and after setting the Guinness World Record of 110 surfers riding the same wave at Muizenberg last year, we feel that we can raise the record even further,’ says Paul Botha from Kahuna Promotions, the organisers of the festival.

“Earthwave has become a really fun, mass participation event since 2006 with more than 440 surfers of every age and ability paddling out to break the record last year, and three times that many on the beach urging them on,” Botha added. “We’re inviting environmental organisations and companies to join us at the event to raise awareness of climate change and what can be done to reduce our impact on the planet.”

“There’ll be plenty of action in the ocean and on the beach with heaps of give-aways, raffles for worthy causes and competitions like Dig for Gold with prizes worth tens of thousands of Rands. And the whole fiesta ends off with the after-party-of-the-year at the Brass Bell.”

The attempt on the Guinness World Record will be made between 1pm and 2pm on Sunday 26 September, with registration starting at 10am, and the SALSA longboard surfing event and SUP races will start on Saturday 25, with the finals on the Sunday morning.

Earthwave Brazil, where the Guinness World Record of 100 surfers riding the same wave was set in 2008, will also be making another attempt to break the record on Sunday 12 September as part of a three day professional longboarding and SUP event at Quebra Mar near Sao Paulo.

Peter Rangel: a master in disguise

Santa Catalina’s perfect, long and hollow 6 to 10 foot waves marked a great start of the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship. The best Master surfers from 21 countries finally wore the competition jerseys and started moving in the track that leads to the gold medal and a World Championship.

After three days of pouring rain and onshore winds, the sun finally came out, revealing a field of mud throughout the contest venue. In a Woodstock-like environment, surfers, team members and fans weren’t caring too much about the dirt and mud covered clothes. What was important today was the gathering of the worldwide surfing tribe, the spirit of this great annual event, and the incredible display of high performance surfing that was seen in Round 1 of the Master (Over 35) and Grand Master (Over 40) divisions.

Dominican Republic National Team surfer Robert Reid gave a great example of the spirit of this event, “The mud doesn't matter; the waves are incredible and we’re having a great time. With waves like this, it can snow and it wouldn't matter.

Sixteen heats were held with a small break of one hour due to the low tide and dangerously shallow conditions. The usual suspects of Australia, Brazil, Puerto Rico and South Africa were the only countries that had all their surfers making it to the next round through the main event.

Grand Master Andre Malherbe (South Africa) made the best performance of the day, posting a combined score of 15.43, awarded after a sensational display of powerful carving manouevers.

In the same division, 2007 ISA World Masters Champion Magoo de la Rosa (Peru), showed no signs of weakness. His powerful backside looks better than when he was 20, and with single wave scores of 6.83 and 8.17, he made the second best combined score of the day (15.00).

“I’m happy about my performance but I’ve to say it was a tough heat. The tide changes a lot and makes it difficult to find waves, I only grabbed two”, said de la Rosa. “This is a long contest and you’ve to take it step by step, see different strategies with every surfer, every heat. I´m having a great time here, Santa Catalina is a beautiful place and the waves are great.” 

Other highlights in the Grand Masters division, winning their heats with impressive surfing were Glen Pringle (Australia), Fabio Gouveia (Brasil), Juan Ashton (Puerto Rico), Robert Boyle (South Africa), Horacio Ipucha (Argentina) and Chris Brooks (Australia).

On the Masters side, the best surfing was displayed by Dean Hall (AUS) who, after linking several strong moves on his best two waves, posted the highest combined and single wave score of his division (14.33 with a 7.83 and a 6.50). Wayne Monk (RSA) tied Hall, also posting a 7.83 to make it through in first place on his heat.

Former Venezuelan National Champion Sergio Martins defeated Carlos Santos from Brazil, performing precise and clean off the lips and cutbacks. “The waves were amazing, no wind, and there were some barrels," said Martins. This is just the beginning. There are World Champs in the event and the level of surfing is really high. The Venezuelan Team is having a good time. Our motto is, 'Unity, strength and conviction'.”

With a total of 114 heats, 48 hours of contest, the Panama ISA World Masters Surfing Championship has just begun. Tomorrow, day 2 of the event, we will see the first round of Women Masters, Kahunas and Grand Kahunas going to the water as well as the second round of the main event of Masters.