Kelly Slater 

Reigning and nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, will begin his campaign for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title at the Quiksilver Pro presented by LG Mobile.

Event No. 1 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro will be held at the Gold Coast’s Snapper Rocks from February 28 through March 11, 2009. The Quiksilver Trials and Roxy Trials will take place on February 27, 2009.

Slater, who in past seasons has been reluctant to commit to a full year of competition, has announced his intentions for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and has acknowledged the allure of a possible 10th ASP World Title.

“I commit to where I am,” Slater said. “I’ll be on the Gold Coast for sure. I’m pretty excited about some new equipment and am ready to surf, I think. No. 10 is alluring and is there for the attempt, but I’ll let everyone else worry about the pressure of it as well as I can.”

Despite the Floridian’s dominance on last year’s ASP Dream Tour, Slater admits that the acquisition of ASP World Title No. 10 will be no easy feat, especially considering the hunger and talent of returning ASP Top 45 rippers.

“I’m not sure whether Dane (Reynolds) and Jordy (Smith) will pull straight up to that level to start this year or not, but I know that Parko’s always hungry and Mick (Fanning) goes without saying,” Slater said. “C.J. (Hobgood) got a taste of it last year again and will come out firing for sure. Taj (Burrow) will be hungry, but I wonder how his focus will be after a couple of really great seasons and not quite the results that his surfing shows all the time – he’s always one of the best at Snapper. Bede (Durbidge) will quietly execute more people and Bobby (Martinez) is going to be the hungriest, starting the year without a main sponsor.”

In addition to the returning stars on this year’s ASP World Tour, a new crop of fresh faces will be joining the best surfers on the planet as they traverse the globe tearing apart the best waves in the world.

“I think Kerr could show some big things, but he was never able to capitalize on a great start the other year and never really backed it up when the time came,” Slater said. “I don’t expect him to make the same mistakes this time. Nathaniel Curran could quietly take a few people out. I’m really interested to see Barca and what he will do. He’s finally made the tour and I don’t know if people outside of Hawaii know how good he is yet, especially guys on the World Tour. For all of them, it’s a transition from four-man to two-man, and it’s a different field with more experience. Rookies need a good start to get out of tough seeding position as well – the first three events are key to a guy requalifying.”

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Owen Wright 

The ASP Grade-3 Billabong Pro Junior Coffs Harbour was run and won today in epic conditions, as Owen Wright (Lennox Head, NSW) claimed his third straight event on the 2009 ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series.

As conditions rapidly increased overnight with the arrival of a fresh 3-4m swell, competitors were greeted with solid, rugged, storm-like peaks as they battled at Coffs Harbour Jetty.

However, as the swell, rainsqualls and wind abated, what was left was near-perfect four-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves­ which were welcomed with open arms by competitors and officials alike.

None moreso than Wright, who dominated the Final defeating, Garrett Parkes(Lennox Head, NSW), Perth Standlick (Bondi, NSW) and Davey Cathels (North Narrabeen, NSW), who finished second, third and fourth respectively.

Wright, who now holds a massive lead on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior ratings after three straight victories, was in super-human form once again, accruing a combined heat total of 17.00 (out of a possible 20).

“It feels great,” Wright said. “To win again is a dream. I’ve just got some really good momentum at the moment and hopefully it can continue onwards.”

High scores dominated the day’s competition as the finest junior surfers in Australasia pushed the boundaries of competitive surfing.

Wright locked in a virtually perfect 9.90 (out of a possible 10) in his Semifinal, Standlick followed suit with a 9-point ride, whilst Dean Bowen (Gerroa, NSW) added an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) only to be eliminated.

While the second Semifinal saw event standout Parkes awarded the highest accolade in surfing ­ a perfect 10 after combining a mind-blowing barrel with a radical combination of turns. Only to be followed up by a 8.65 (out of a possible 10) to Cathels a mere two minutes later.

“The standard of surfing was so high throughout the Final and the Semis, all the guys were ripping,” Wright said. “To beat guys like Davey, Perth and Garrett is awesome. Having grown-up with these guys, to finally get a result over them is a good feeling.”

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Plymouth 

The project is part of the Surf Science and Technology degree at the University of Plymouth, UK and involves looking into the performance of an environmental surfboard in comparison to an industry standard Polyurethane Fibreglass board, which has been the dominant materials for surfboard construction for far too long.

The production of its materials and the production itself has a huge environmental impact; surfing guilty secret, which has been kept very quiet. However in this age of carbon footprints and rising oil prices, it makes sense to adopt ‘greener’ materials.

They are many surfboards currently available that market themselves as being greener than the PU/fibreglass, however this isn’t hard considering the environmental damage of the petrochemicals and styrene involved in the production of surfboards, whereas the ‘green’ board will be manufactured using 40% plant based foam blank, 98% UV Bio resin and Bamboo weave matting, even the leash is 50% recycled, I am using a bio-plastic leash plug and hand shaped Bamboo fins, which will be waxed with one of the many environmental waxes.

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