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Archive for February, 2015

Smith and Buitendag launch their World Surf League campaigns in Australia next week

February 19th, 2015 No comments
Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action during his victory at Trestles in California last year, his fourth Championship Tour career title Image: WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action during his victory at Trestles in California last year, his fourth Championship Tour career title Image: WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

South Africans Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag have joined the world’s best surfers who are converging on Australia’s Gold Coast for the opening events of the elite 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) season.

The US $525 000 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast for men and the $262 500 Roxy Pro Gold Coast for women will be held from February 28 to March 11 in Coolangatta, Queensland, with the renowned hollow tubes of Snapper Rocks the headquarters for the events which run concurrently.

The WSL (formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)) Samsung Galaxy CT features the Top 34 male and Top 17 female surfers on the planet as they compete on an international, 20-event tour in the hunt for the undisputed world surfing crown. The unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing is accessible LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Smith ended the 2014 season in 7th place on the rankings after a stellar last third of the year that saw the Durban raised 27 year-old claim his fourth career CT event title at Trestles near his new home in San Clemente, California in September. He went on to finish 3rd in France and runner-up in Portugal, both in October, climbing seven places in six weeks.

Touted as a potential WSL World Champion ever since finishing runner-up to Kelly Slater (USA) in the 2010 season, just his second on the elite tour, Smith will be going all out to kickstart his 2015 campaign with a great result at the opening event where 50% of the winners over the past decade have gone on to clinch that year’s world title.

Buitendag, who finished her second season amongst the world’s top 17 ranked women also ranked No. 7, will be hoping to go one better than her sensational runner-up finish to eventual 2014 Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) at Snapper Rocks last year.

The 21 year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape, like Smith the tallest competitor on tour, will be determined to win her first CT event and break into the top 5 in the world this year.

Gabriel Medina (BRA), reigning WSL Champion and defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, posted an historic victory last season by edging out an international field of extraordinary talent to claim the world surfing crown – the first Brazilian ever to do so and also the first goofy-foot surfer (rides with right foot in front) since Marc Occhilupo (AUS) in 1999.

Mick Fanning (AUS) and Kelly Slater (USA), three-time and 11-time world champions respectively, put on a spirited battle for the crown in 2014, sending the title race to the final event of the season at Pipeline in Hawaii. Although Fanning, 33, narrowly missed out on a fourth title, the lightning-fast Australian will enjoy the benefit of commencing the 2015 season at home on the Gold Coast. Slater, who recently turned 43, continues to redefine high performance with every heat as well as further cement his legacy as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Others with potential claims on the 2015 crown include Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence, arguably the world’s standout performer over the last six months, along with 2012 champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Tahiti’s Michel Bourez, the winner of two events last year.

The men’s rookie class for the 2015 season includes Matt Banting (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW) and Ricardo Christie (NZL) with returning CT surfers Dusty Payne (HAW) and Glenn Hall (IRL) rejoining the world’s elite after a brief hiatus.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning six-time world champion, solidified her dynasty with a juggernaut performance in 2014, getting closer to the all-time female title-holder record of seven, set by Layne Beachley (AUS) in 2006. The Gold Coast local commenced last year’s run with a hometown win at the season opener at Snapper Rocks and will look to do the same at the 2015 Roxy Pro Gold Coast.

Tyler Wright (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) turned the 2014 women’s title race into the most exciting and hard-fought in the sport’s history and will be challenging Gilmore for the No. 1 spot.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Ricardo Christie (ZAF)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), TBD
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), TBD
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kai Otton (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Coco Ho (HAW)

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

John John Florence wins Volcom Pipe Pro in Hawaii :: SA’s Dale Staples finishes 25th

February 4th, 2015 No comments
John John Florence (HAW) exits a deep tube at Backdoor Pipeline on his way to his fourth victory in five years at the Volcom Pipe Pro on Monday.  Image: Reed / Volcom

John John Florence (HAW) exits a deep tube at Backdoor Pipeline on his way to his fourth victory in five years at the Volcom Pipe Pro on Monday.  Image: Reed / Volcom

PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, February 2, 2015): John John Florence (HAW) secured his fourth Volcom Pipe Pro title in five years on Monday, defeating Mason Ho (HAW), Kelly Slater (USA) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in highly technical 2.0 to 2.5 metre (6-to-8 foot) waves at Backdoor Pipeline.

South Africa’s Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) finished equal 25th in the 112 man field in his first competitive appearance of 2015 in the World Surf League (WSL) Qualification Series (QS) 3000 rated event. Staples won his opening heat and then advanced to the last 32 in second place behind Slater before being eliminated, pocketing US $1 000 and 555 ranking points

Florence, 22, had the 35-minute Final in the bag within the first seven minutes, posting excellent scores of 9.2 and 8.43 (each out 10) for the highest heat tally of the entire event – 17.63 out of 20. Florence and 11-time world champion Slater, 42, the only surfer to have interrupted Florence’s streak by winning here last year, had been the pair to beat here from the outset, pushing each other round after round and exchanging the highest wave and heat scores along the way.

A strong side-offshore wind presented major challenges in the form of wave face chop in the Final and Ho posted the first score with a beautiful barrel ride for 8.6 points. But Florence, who lives right on the beach in front of Pipeline, read the conditions and rising swell lines with ease, tapping into his lifetime of local knowledge to leave his challengers chasing him.

By the end of the heat, Slater found himself in a rare combination situation, needing to replace both the scores he was carrying to catch Florence. Zietz met a similar end. Ho found one last tube but, needing a 9.04 for victory, he fell short with a 7.3.

“This morning it was really fun, the wind was pretty clean and just really long, little barrels,” said Florence. “Then the wind picked up and started putting this chop in it and it made it really, really difficult out there. But it was so fun. It was just whoever was in the spot for the good double ups.

“Getting two scores in the beginning of a heat that’s 35 minutes long, you sit for so long… like, oh my God, I’ve got 20 minutes here to just think about it (laughs)!

“Going into this year, it’s going to be a fun one. I come in with a lot of confidence out of last year, knowing I can make the heats and do really good. I’m just going to go into this year thinking the same kind of thing and hopefully it comes down to the end of the year out here at Pipe. It would be awesome. That’s my dream – to win a world title out here at Pipe. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Slater posted the only perfect 10 point ride of the event in this morning’s Quarterfinal for a super long, deep and weaving barrel ride. It earned him the “Electric Perfect 10” Award of the competition. He also won the inaugural Todd Chesser Hard Charger Sportsmanship Award, in honour of a much-loved North Shore big wave rider who passed away charging big waves on Feb. 13, 1997.

As members of the World Surf League’s (WSL) elite Top 34 ranked surfers, Florence, Slater and Zietz now turn their attention to the start of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour that gets underway in Australia on February 28. The World Title will be decided in December at the Pipe Masters.

The action on the WSL Qualification Series moves to Australia for back-to-back WSL QS6000 events: the Hurley Australian Open (Sydney, 9-15 Feb) and the Burton Automotive Pro (Newcastle, 16-22 Feb)

For all the highlights from the Volcom Pipe Pro, check out VolcomPipePro.com

Results of the Volcom Pipe Pro:
Final:
1st – John John Florence (HAW) 17.63 (9.2, 8.43) – $16,000 – 3000 QS rankings points
2nd – Mason Ho (HAW) 15.9 (8.6, 7.3) – $10,000 – 2250 pts
3rd – Kelly Slater (Florida, USA) 0.0 (6.7, 2.3) – $4,750 – 1680 pts
4th – Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.47 (7.0, 1.47) – $4,250 – 1580 pts

Semi Finals:
H1: JJ Florence (HAW) 13.4; S Zietz (HAW) 13.33; E Lau (HAW) 12.8; I Walsh (HAW) 7.63
H2: K Slater (USA) 8.76; M Ho (HAW); K Andino (USA) 2.6; M Ohno (JPN) 1.9

Quarter Finals:
H1: S Zietz (HAW) 12.1; E Lau (HAW) 10.9; A Aranburu (ESP) 7.9; I Gouveia (BRA)
H2: JJ Florence (HAW) 14.83; I Walsh (HAW) 13.2; K David (HAW) 4.47; M Bruneau (HAW) 4.1
H3: K Slater (USA) 17.33; K Andino (USA) 15.1; H Gaskell (HAW) 6.07; B Toth (PRI) 2.7
H4: M Ho (HAW) 8.6; M Ohno (JPN) 6.4; CJ Hobgood (USA) 5.97; K Jaquias (HAW) 5.73

Round 4:
H1: E Lau (HAW) 13.77; K David (HAW) 6.57; S Murakami (JPN) 3.67; G Gillette (HAW) 3.56
H2: S Zietz (HAW) 12.26; I Walsh (HAW) 12.1; H Bettero (BRA) 2.83; N Florence (HAW) 1.96
H3: M Bruneau (HAW) 12.57; A Aranburu (ESP) 6.5; J O’Brien (Haw) 6.2; S Moniz (HAW) 4.37
H4: JJ Florence (HAW); I Gouveia (BRA) 10.86; NM McGonagle (CRI) 10.43; D Payne (HAW) 3.36
H5: K Slater (USA) 15.6; K Jaquias (HAW); J Mendes (BRA) 5.54; B Kemper (HAW) 4.44
H6: H Gaskell (HAW) 9.0; M Ho (HAW) 5.74; W Dantas (BRA) 4.56; D Staples (ZAF) 3.84
H7: M Ohno (JPN) 8.83; B Toth (PRI) 8.27; B Stack (USA) 8.13; M Padaca (HAW) 7.67
H8: CJ Hobgood (USA) 11.1; K Andino (USA) 10.33; C Ward (USA) 8.0; L Silveira (BRA) 5.8

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za