- 09 December 2009 | Surfing
After the success of the World Surfing Games in Costa Rica this past August, José Ureña, President of the Federacion de Surf de Costa Rica proudly announced the kick off of the Circuito Nacional DayStar 2009-2010, presented by LimeCoral.
The date of this nationwide surf tournament will take place December 19 in Jaco Beach and is the first of seven weekends at different beaches around the country and includes a return to the Caribbean after many years away from that vibrant coast.
In addition to the schedule addomg the exciting beach of Cocles in Limón in its third event, competitors will travel to Esterillos in the second date of the season. The six first dates will be 4 Star contests, leaving the Gran Final DayStar in La Curva, Playa Hermosa, to conclude the Circuito Nacional with 5 Stars.
By doing it this way, the Circuito will present a tremendous challenge for the potential new champion: Of the total of seven dates, the best four of those will be counted in total points by competitors towards rankings for the crown. This way, for this season, the possibilities of a good final showing will be thrilling for the athletes—and spectators—offering more possibilities of overcoming lower ranking points at the end in Playa Hermosa.
- 09 December 2009 | Surfing
With a building El Niño weather condition, surfers throughout the Hawaiian Islands have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of extra-large surf - and over the last two days the Pacific Ocean delivered the biggest waves seen there in years.
At famous breaks like Waimea Bay on Oahu and Jaws in Maui, the world's top big wave riders challenged the mammoth swell, spawned by an intense low pressure system which formed northwest of the Islands over the weekend.
At Waimea Bay, thousands of spectators jammed traffic on Kamehameha Highway as locals and tourists alike stopped to see surfers paddling in to towering 30 to 40 foot breakers on a gray and ominous day. Meanwhile, big wave riders and onlookers in Maui were treated to a beautiful sunny day with even larger surf, well suited to tow-in surfing using jet-powered watercraft in waves reaching the 50-foot mark.
Sean Collins, head forecaster for Surfline.com, said this swell ranks in the top five biggest ever experienced on Oahu's North Shore, comparable to historic El Niño-fueled episodes in 1998 and 1969.
- 09 December 2009 | Surfing
After 25 years with most of those spent waiting, Waimea Bay delivered an event of legendary proportions today at the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau, Fueled by Monster Energy.
It was 25 years to the day since the first "Eddie" was held and waves of up to 50 feet poured in to Oahu’s North Shore as if on cue. With younger brother Clyde still in the lineup, at age 60, joined by the contemporary top guns of big wave riding, a packed arena celebrated every gutsy ride in brilliant sunshine befitting of a tribute to local hero Eddie Aikau.
When all was said and done, it was California’s Greg Long, 26, (San Clemente) who made a late charge in the final heat of the day to claim the $55,000 winner’s purse.
Long committed to an unbelievable never-say-die attack, securing all four of his top scores - several of them death-defying and one of them a perfect 100-point ride, in macking 40- to 50-foot waves. It was the high point of his career to-date - pretty incredible given that he only rode Waimea for the first time this week.
"I’m so happy just to be here, invited into the biggest event of big waves in the world with all my heroes, I’m so excited," said Long.
"It’s a dream come true for me. Riding big waves is my passion and I’ve been following The Eddie since I knew exactly what it was, I was probably 12-years-old just getting into surfing. Since then, I’ve had every single poster from Brock Little to Bruce Irons on my wall. I look to those guys for inspiration and to be standing up here with Sunny (Garcia) and Kelly Slater is a dream come true for me. I never would have thought that this is my first year surfing the event and to come away with a victory is really a childhood dream become real.
"I’m still standing here in awe and I want to go check the scores to make sure someone isn’t going to come here and take this away.
"It really is about the wave and celebrating the ocean. It’s what we do: go out there and ride big waves. The respect and camaraderie in the lineup you don’t find in too many places in the world, and this event really encapsulates everything that’s great about surfing: the friendships you make in the water and looking out for one another."
The Monster Drop Award, for the most hellacious-but-successful takeoff of the contest, went to Chile’s Ramon Navarro, who also finished fifth overall.
This is his first time as an invitee into the event. Navarro’s winning wave was one of the last of the competition a huge, seemingly endless on his backhand, followed by a detonation of whitewater that he emerged from and then stuck with all the way to the beach. He earned a perfect 100 points.
Navarro first came in 2004 to surf Waimea with an invitation from good friend and fellow contestant today, Kohl Christensen. He baked empanadas and sold them to pay his rent and learn the ropes. Today was pay day. Navarro won $10,000 for the Monster Drop Award, and $2,000 for fifth place. It was a great result for someone who almost didn’t surf today after his pregnant wife was accidentally injured on the beach.
"This is a dream for me," said Navarro. "I want to say thank you to Kohl Christensen, Dusty Middleton and all the crew because those are the guys that invited me here and taught me how to surf The Bay. I appreciate everything from these guys."
Nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Florida, USA), who won here back in January of 2002, placed second after leading the score board from the first second heat of the day. Long turned the tables on him in the final hour of competition.
All Slater could do was look on in as much disbelief as the frenzied crowd who were at that point ready to celebrate with anyone. Slater earned $10,000. Third was Hawaii’s Sunny Garcia, earning $3,000. Fourth was defending Eddie champion Bruce Irons (Kauai), $3,000.
Navarro’s buddy Christensen can lay claim to the most devastating wipeout of the day that remains burned in every mind here today. He also posted several solid scores, but a wipeout like his is as unforgettable as a win. The call to wait for today and the ensuing result was mind-boggling, especially since many were questioning not running yesterday in 40-foot surf.
By afternoon, all concerned were stunned that 79-year-old contest director and big wave icon George Downing had kept his cool so well and timed it perfectly for a second peak in swell energy. The past 48 hours of massive surf is the largest sustained episode to hit the Hawaiian Islands in 40 years.
From the moment the event was d "on" at dawn, to the final gut-wrenching wipeouts that came with the peaking swell of afternoon, the air was filled with salt spray and adrenaline. Not a square foot of sand or lava rock was empty as a capacity crowd of over 50,000 packed the natural amphitheater of Waimea Bay to experience the pairing of Mother Nature and the men who ride her mountainous surf.
The insane wipeouts that ped like dominoes, the hairball air s and perfect scores, the 28 surfers of the event who put their lives on the line in honor of Aikau today - it all made for the greatest day of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau’s history.
Waimea Bay’s best known big-wave rider and first life-guard, Eddie Aikau, was smiling down on his successors today. Along with the surfers, he would have admired Hawaiian Water Patrol for keeping the lineup and the surfers safe all day yesterday and today. There is no greater collection of guardian angels of the sea than the lifeguards of the North Shore.