Joel Parkinson enjoys Tahiti 

The 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui is days away from commencing with the world’s best surfers descending upon the tiny town of Teahupoo at ‘the end of the road’ for Stop No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, running from May 9 – 20, 2009.

This year’s event will run the new format, seeding all competitors directly into man-on-man elimination heats, with the Top 16 seeded directly into Round 2 while the remaining surfers battle it out in Round 1.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, current ASP World No. 1, has been in devastating form this season, collecting two wins in two events with an eye on an inaugural ASP World Title. The phenomenal natural-footer has demonstrated incredible focus thus far and is the frontrunner heading into Tahiti.

“The difference this year has been my understanding of what it takes to get the best out of myself and then my desire to do what it takes,” Parkinson said. “Making sure that every day, I am better prepared than what I was the day before and that preparation is specific to each contest that I compete in.”

Parkinson’s recent results at the Billabong Pro Tahiti have been impressive, netting equal 3rd place finishes in 2007 and 2008, establishing himself as a legitimate contender at Teahupoo.

“I do feel like over the years I have become more familiar with the wave and whilst Teahupoo is never predictable, it is reassuring to know that I have done the work here before.” Parkinson said. “I am excited to go back there this year and build on my results from the last two years.”

Despite his excellent results this season and his solid track record at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Parkinson is wary of the many challenges he’ll face as the world’s best surfers angle for a result in Teahupoo’s ledging lefthanders.

“I think everyone will be in the mix for a win,” Parkinson said. “Remember, it is only the third event so everyone is still keen to do well – myself included. But on an individual side of things, the wildcards will be sure to shake things up like they have the first two events. Andy Irons will be challenging for the title. And of course Mick (Fanning) will be a threat because he is the best surfer right now and probably the hungriest.”

Parkinson is seeded directly into Round 2, where he’ll meet one of the advancing surfers from Round 1.

Fred Patacchia (HAW), 27, current ASP World No. 3, has been in sizzling form this season, racking up a 9th and a 3rd in his first two events on the ASP World Tour before collecting an impressive win at the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime 6.0 Lowers Pro in Southern California over the weekend.

“I’ve been really focusing on my backhand surfing,” Patacchia said. “My first couple years on tour, I felt like my backhand attack wasn’t good enough. I’d go into a heat feeling negative and defeated. This year, I’m feeling confident and more prepared. I’ve made some slight changes with my boards and that’s made a big difference. No big plans for Tahiti, just pull in deep and come out. Not much to it.”

Read more...

Rob Machado 

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) will honor surfing icon Rob Machado as Waterman of the Year, surfer and enviro-warrior Dave Rastovich as Environmentalist of the Year, and the incomparable late industry leader Dick Baker with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the association’s annual Waterman’s Weekend environmental fundraiser.
 
The 2009 Waterman’s Weekend will be held August 6-7 and will raise funds for 18 ocean conservation organizations. The weekend begins Thursday, August 6, with the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament at the Monarch Beach Golf Links, and culminates on Friday, August 7, with the 20th Annual Waterman’s Ball and Auction. SIMA is excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Waterman’s Ball by returning the event to The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Calif.
 
“The SIMA Board of Directors and Environmental Fund have selected a very deserving lineup of honorees, and we believe the surf industry will agree that each of these honorees has undoubtedly earned our respect and appreciation,” said Paul Naude, chairman of the Waterman’s Weekend event committee and president of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors. “On behalf of the surf industry, SIMA is proud to honor Rob, Rasta and Dick at this year’s Waterman’s Ball for their unique and powerful influence on the sport, culture and business of surfing.”

Waterman of the Year, Rob Machado, is one of the world’s greatest and most iconic surf stars. Over the course of his career – from contest victories to giving back to his communities and the industry – Rob has helped define the modern era of the sport and embodies the true spirit of surfing.

The goofyfooter exploded onto the WCT circuit in 1993, ranking among the top 10 surfers in the world for 11 consecutive years and raking up 12 WCT victories along the way. In addition to his competitive success, Rob’s recognizable and impeccable style in the water has earned him an international fanbase. Rob’s ‘style’ when he is not surfing is another admirable quality, as seen in his commitment to supporting various charitable causes.

Rob has established The Rob Machado Foundation, which through his annual golf tournament supports various charities dedicated to environmental programs within Southern California. His foundation also works closely with the Cardiff Education Foundation on efforts to green Machado’s hometown’s elementary school district. He has also created the Rob Machado Surf Experience, a highly anticipated surf contest for girls and boys 16 and under in Rob’s hometown of Cardiff-by-the Sea, Calif. 

Rob’s goodwill does not stop on the local-level, as this surf legend has also donated his time for an Indonesian well digging project with the Sumba Foundation, and for the Water Innovation Now (WIN) contest, which gave 500,000 kids the opportunity to come up with innovative ways to conserve our water as a result of Southern California’s water crisis.
 
“From U.S. National Champion, to Pipemaster, to winning three U.S. Opens and 12 WCT victories, Rob’s trophy case is quite full and demonstrates the mark he has made on professional surfing,” stated Naude.  “The truly special thing about Rob, however, is the fact he is loved even more out of the water. His graciousness and genuinely altruistic spirit make him an invaluable ambassador and icon for the surf industry. It is our honor to recognize Rob as Waterman of the Year.”
 
Popular freesurfer and 2009 SIMA Environmentalist of the Year, Dave Rastovich, is a passionate activist and defender of the oceans and waves he surfs. >From fighting to protect dolphins and whales from illegal slaughter, to co-founding the grassroots advocacy group Surfers for Cetaceans, to being the face of some of the surf industry’s prominent environmentally friendly product campaigns, protecting our oceans on multiple levels is a natural part of Rasta’s personal and professional lives. As a surfer, Rasta knows first-hand the effects of a polluted ocean and understands he can serve as a role model for other surfers to do more to protect our environment.

Read more...

Craig Harland 

Surfing Queensland, the governing body for the sport of surfing in Queensland, has received a timely boost, with the appointment of Craig Harland as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Harland replaces Andrew Stark, who served Surfing Queensland for the past eight years, before recently accepting a position with Surfing Australia and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australia.

Harland accepted the role of CEO from his post as Manager of NBN Television, a company in which he has worked for 14 years.

Surfing Queensland President Joe O’Neil says Harland’s selection is a step in the right direction for the not-for-profit sporting organisation, which is based at Burleigh Heads.

“Craig’s media background will certainly increase Surfing Queensland’s portfolio,” he said.

“An avid surfer as well, this highlights his uniqueness in his new position as CEO and he will be an extremely valuable asset to the Surfing Queensland team.”

Harland is equally excited with his appointment.

“I’m looking forward to the new role and challenge ahead,” he said.

“Surfing has always been a passion of mine as a sport and lifestyle, and with my media and advertising management background I have some new strategies which I feel will grow the sport in Queensland. I would like to work closely with the national body as a joint force for the best interest of surfing as a sport at every level.”

Surfing Queensland was established in 1964 to develop the sport of surfing in Queensland. Today, Surfing Queensland is a rapidly expanding sporting association committed to servicing the community at large.

Read more...