Mick Fanning's latest 'discovery' of a fast, hollow right hand pointbreak set the net on fire. While it looks an awful lot like Ben Bourgeois' Caribbean dream, Mick and those he was with are keeping their mouths shut. All we know is that he's in trunks, it's a sandbottom point and he looks really, really happy. And it got me wondering...where is left to explore? Where do we think the most potential lies for a lonely, perfect wave?
2016 was a crazy year for the WCT Title Race. Party guys Wilko and Seabass took comps. Slater slumped. John John grabbed his first world title. Somehow the overall level rose even higher. All in all, the year belonged to the young guns. But what will the 2017 race for the title look like? Read on for thoughts on the contenders and the dark horses alike.
You didn’t need her, but dammit, you wanted her. You did from the moment you walked in and saw her across the room. Then you got your hands on her and knew she was the one. It’s crazy how that happens, right? I mean, there had been others over the years-many in fact-and you had fun with all of them. But none made you feel like she did when you just held her.
Ireland. I don’t like going anywhere twice and the Emerald Isle has pulled me back five times now. It’s the crazy history around every corner. The spectacular beauty built on constant changes in the weather and a landscape that morphs into something altogether different around every bend. It’s the people, as warm as they were twenty years ago, before the euro and the marketing and the intense levels of tourism. And yes, it’s the surf. Even though it’s as fickle as it is perfect.
One warm day in September, I was walking down 8th Avenue in NYC, heading to Penn Station for a train home. I was near Port Authority--not the most beautiful place in the world, to say the least—and I was lost in the long day and what the rest of the week held in store. The sidewalk was packed with commuters, lost tourists, guys hawking ‘designer’ watches, students and homeless. Everyone was just going where they needed to go and few seemed inspired by much, if anything at all.
The 2015 world title race is the closest it has been in a long time. Who shall rise victorious when everything is on the line? These are the defining moments that shall determine who is crowned champion.
In early September, I had a super fun session at a firing A-frame in Central Jersey, trading waves with a cool guy named Nikko. It was just the two of us and we quickly fell into an easy conversation about surfing, jobs, trips etc. I couldn't help but notice the board Nikko was riding and from the nose, thought it was a single-fin, given its classic lines. When I asked, his eyes got big and he said, 'no, no, no, check this out', slid off, flipped it over and ran his hands along this funky asymmetrical tail. 'Woah' was all I could muster. I'd seen them before and was a big fan of Carl Ekstrom (legendary shaper who is the asymmetrical king), but this board was just beautiful. Nikko went into the design and how the shaper-- NJ's own D. Cal (Dan Callaghan)--had made it specifically for him. It wasn't Nikko's first from the shaper and he was clearly stoked on the design. I decided then and there to reach out to Dan himself.
I first noticed Maddie Peterson when she was mid-heat at the Belmar Pro. I’d wandered downto the water’s edge to chat it up with The Surfer’s View’s, Derek Cicero, when Maddie drove off the bottom of a waist high A frame and gouged a power hack that was one of the most stylish I’d seen all day. ‘Woah’, I said. ‘Yeah, she rips,’ Derek said. And with just those few words, we both knew we had some work to do on our top turns.
December 8th kicks off one of the best title showdowns we’ve had in years, with Kelly Slater, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning all vying for the World Championship. The chips are stacked against Slater and Fanning, given Medina’s commanding lead, but the two former, multiple-time world champs are never out until the fat fish sings. So, given that both Slater and Fanning have had solid showings at Pipe (an understatement for Slater, I know), I say we toss the scenarios out the window and just look at these three as though they’re on a level playing field.
As if Kelly Slater isn’t already the best surfer on the WCT, he rolled up to the 2nd stop on the world tour—the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia—with a coach in hand.