Rafael Velarde: the man and the mountain

The waiting period for the Billabong Pico Alto Invitacional is set for July 12th to August 11th, 2010.

The Pico Alto event will be the second event on this season Big Wave World Tour after the Quiksilver Ceremonial in Chile.

Invited to the event are the top 12 local chargers and the top 12 of the 2009/2010 Big Wave World Tour.

Last year event was held on July 4th and 5th and won by Californian Greg Long in 15 to 18 foot surf on the fame right hander point break.

After a second place finish at the Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos in Chile, Peruvian local Gabreil Villaran is heading to the event with great momentum (he also had the Best Wave Award at the Todos Santos Big Wave Event in February 2010) and as one of the favorites.

With all finalists getting points going toward the Big Wave World Tour ranking, the pressure is high on all invitees to do good, impress the judges and reach the final.

A good results by a local surfer at Pico Alto will give him a chance to be part of the ranked top international surfers and be invited to all the events on the Tour for the 2011/2012 season.

SUP: good for traveling abroad

Four of the UK’s best Stand Up Paddle-boarders have just set a new World record for crossing the English Channel. With a relay team and a solo paddler taking on the challenge together to support Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaigns, the conditions were great for the 21-mile crossing with light winds and the sun shining, and we are delighted to claim a brand-new World record.

As the first ever relay SUP team to attempt the famous crossing, we are confident that the riders have set an outstanding benchmark World record of 5 hours and 38 minutes.

The relay team included 2009 UK stand up paddleboarding champion Jock Patterson, Matt Argyle, Chairman of the British Stand Up Paddle Association (BSUPA) and ranked 2nd in the UK for stand up paddle boarding, and Simon Bassett, BSUPA head coach.

Welsh longboarding champion Elliot Dudley, who is also SAS’s South Wales Representative, set a magnificent solo time of 5 hours and 38 minutes, which may also stand as a new World-record, it being the first ever official solo Channel crossing by SUP.

Stand-up paddleboarding has become extremely popular amongst recreational water users across the UK and this will be the first official attempt of its kind. The current record was set by a prone paddleboarder, the USA’s Michael O’Shaughnessy in 2006 in 5 hours and 9 minutes.

The event was organised by SAS with the support of BSUPA, and the paddlers raised almost £10,000 in sponsorship money to support SASs campaigns to protect surfers, waveriders, waves and beaches around the UK.

Hugo Tagholm, SAS’s Executive Director, says: “I am thrilled that the riders have completed this massive challenge in support of SAS’s ongoing campaigns to protect the UK’s beaches and seas for all to enjoy. Well done to them all for setting such fantastic new World-records, which we hope the Guinness Book of Records will endorse as soon as possible. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the riders for all their efforts and for contributing so much to our campaigns against marine pollution.”

Source: Surfers Against Sewage

Corey Ziems: big in Australia

Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld) today clinched his maiden Queensland Championship Circuit (QCC) crown after finishing second at the Coolum and Alex Surf Sunshine Coast Pro presented by O’Neil.

The result was enough for Ziems to secure the prestigious Queensland Open Men’s surfing title and in doing so, book a spot in the trials of the 2011 ASP Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

Ziems was one of the standout competitors of the event, signalling his intentions early on the final day of competition, securing the XXXX Summer Bright Lager Wave of the Weekend after posting the highest individual wave score of the entire competition with a 9.27 (out of a possible 10).

Coolum Beach (Sunshine Coast, Queensland) provided an ideal setting to host the fourth and final event of the series, with the 0.5m beach break conditions providing the perfect platform for Queensland’s finest Open competitors to showcase their amazing surfing prowess.

Billed as a head-to-head showdown between Ziems and young-gun Thomas Woods (Burleigh Heads, Qld), the competition lived up to all the pre-event hype, producing yet another nail-biting finish to the Queensland Championship Circuit with the winner based on a competitors best three-of-four results.

However, in the end, Ziems edged out Woods by 120 ratings points (2590 to 2470) in the overall series.

Worth noting is the fact that if Ziems had of finished third in today’s final rather than his second place, Woods would have secured the series by 10 points.

“I’m absolutely wrapped to win the series and gain that spot in the trials of next year’s Quiksilver Pro,” Ziems said.

“I had a real battle with Thomas (Woods) in the semi-finals and after that I knew I had to place high in the final to take the overall series win, so I just went out there and gave it my all,” he said.

However, Ziems and Woods (who both qualify for the 2011 Quiksilver Pro Trials) weren’t the only competitors on the beach celebrating today, with Matt Jones (Yamba, NSW) toppling Ziems and a host of other QCC stars to win the Coolum and Alex Surf Sunshine Coast Pro presented by O’Neil.

Jones proved too strong in the event’s final for Ziems, Blake Wilson (Maroochydore, Qld) and Noah Lane (Rainbow Beach/Burleigh Heads, Qld) who finished second to fourth respectively.

Jones scored a combined two-wave heat total of 14.67 (out of a possible 20) in the final, including a 6.60 ride on the final siren, which gave him the victory over Ziems by the slightest of margins (14.67 to Ziems’ 14.50).

2010 Queensland Championship Circuit Results:

1st Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld) – 2590 Points
2nd Thomas Woods (Burleigh Heads, Qld) – 2470 Points
3rd Chris Bennetts (Main Beach, Qld) – 1955 Points

Coolum & Alex Surf – Sunshine Coast Pro Results:

1st Matt Jones (Yamba, NSW)
2nd Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld)
3rd Blake Wilson (Maroochydore, Qld)
4th Noah Lane (Rainbow Beach / Burleigh Heads, Qld)

Past Champions

2010: Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld)
2009: Nick Vasiceck (Coolangatta, Qld)
2008: Shaun Gossmann (Snapper Rocks, Qld)
2007: Trevor Tripcony (Yaroomba, Qld)
2006: Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba, Qld)
2005: Damon Harvey (Coolangatta, Qld)
2004: Samba Mann (Tweed Heads, NSW)
2003: Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba, Qld)
2002: Mark Richardson (Currumbin, Qld)
2001: Trevor Tripcony (Yaroomba, Qld)
2000: Jye Gofton (Coolangatta, Qld)
1999: Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba, Qld)
1998: Mark Richardson (Currumbin, Qld)