XXL Ride of the Year Exposed: April 3rd Show Synopsis
Top Five Stories, April 3rd, 2011: courtesy of Matthew Marbach – Matthew tirelessly writes these show summary and we appreciate his efforts here. Misspellings… forgive us! (thanks Matthew!)
1) Kelly Slater can rip on anything. Somewhere, nestled amongst the vast expanse of photos on Facebook, you can find videographic evidence that Kelly Slater rips, and can rip on anything. The footage shows Kelly arriving at a perfect Southern Australian beach break, where he quickly commences to snap his board in the heavy surf. One of the Gudauskas brothers (who have been aptly formed into one entity known as ‘the Gudauskas’) gives Kelly his Mini-Sim, a 5’6” squaretail with two hideous looking sidefins, almost resembling a boogie board, except for the hardness and density of the foam, and Kelly proceeds to shred the break to bits. Apparently functionality means little to the most decorated surfer in history, “He paddled out on a completely different shape and controls it perfectly. There’s not one displaced rail, he’s holding the line on that back fin of this big squaretail thing – and those fins don’t look like they help the board go faster…”
2) “Ultimate Boarder Surfing”. The second stage of the Ultimate Boarder Surfing Competition takes place at Seaside Reef, April 6-9. The competition features a mesh of the three major boarding sports, snow, surf, and skate. Participants in the contest will compete in three different events, beginning with the snowboard competition, which has already taken place in Mammoth, then moving onto the surfing portion, and finishing with the skateboarding competition. The winner will have to perform well in all three arenas in order to take home a victory. The contest also features team events, in which different members of a given team are chosen to compete in their specific field of expertise.
3) A special tour featuring the surf movie Melali:the Drifter Sessions, with musical guests Rob Machado and John Swift, will kick off Tuesday night April 5th , at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, Ca, followed by dates in Santa Ana, San Francisco, New York, DC, Virginia, Carolina and Florida. The schedule is for the upcoming month, with the last public date being May 8th. Melali is a pure surfing movie; a sort of branch off of Machado’s hit The Drifter, featuring all the extra footage that wasn’t used in the original film – the entire score will be performed live by Machado, Swift, and company. Support the guys and watch some great surfing.
4) Meteorologists are calling for a very active 2011 hurricane season in the Atlantic. Predictions state that we could see fifteen named tropical storms, eight of which reach hurricane force, and three of which will obtain enough force to cause heavy damages were they to make landfall. This could bode well for the Quiksilver New York, which will be held during the hurricane season and has direct access to the swell produced in the mid-Atlantic.
5) The Billabong XXL ride of the year award will be given out to one of five videos submitted of big wave riding. The winner of the award receives $50,000 as well as a Toyota Tacoma. The first video features Michael Brennan at Shipstern’s Bluff being towed into a twenty foot barrel, negotiating the notorious bubble that forms as it closes out, air-dropping fifteen back onto the face while still in the tube, and fighting off a front-rail pearl to emerge victorious. This wave is mean, nasty, and highly critical.
The second video shows Danilo Couto paddling into Jaws on his backside. Just as he transitions to his feet at the peak of the wave, you can see the his board flutter with the wind as it goes airborne – he maintains his composure, resetting his fins into the face and beginning his decent down the liquid avalanche. The inside section of the wave also proves to be critical forcing him to reset his rail twice as he narrowly escapes the spitting barrel by choosing his high line precisely. Of course, Jaws is known to be one of the biggest waves on the planet and you can see it’s full potential in this clip; it seems to dwarf the Shipstern’s wave in size, although the wave itself may not be considered as critical. The most compelling difference in the video is the fact that Couto paddles in to this monstrer – making it first XXL submission from Jaws to feature a paddler.
The third video comes from Mark Healey surfing Phantoms, an outer reef on the North Shore. The video was shot shortly after the cutoff date for the previous Billabong XXL award. The wave that is surfed is huge, no doubt, but because of the way it was filmed and lit, it will have a difficult time contending for the XXL award. You can barely make out a silhouetted figure as he drops into a huge set wave, and after ten seconds of dark, grainy film, you assume Healey made the wave as you see the tiny figure pulling out the back.
The next submission comes from Mullaghmore Head in Ireland. Benjamin Sanchis of France is towed in deep on this Teahupoo type left located on the island’s west coast. The dark, cloudy beach and slight wind-chop create hazardous conditions for Sanchez as he drops into a thick barrel, sticks the tube, and pulls out like a stoked grom. It isn’t groundbreaking footage, except that it was filmed in Ireland, but the wave itself and the way it is surfed resembles so many old Teahupoo submissions that the chances of it receiving the award are slim to none. This is Billabong throwing a bone to Ireland and Sanchis for the incredible wave they have discovered and surfed, but unfortunately it is not in a class that will win the award.
The final video is at Cloudbreak, featuring David Scard, and has enough production quality to stand next to the Shipsterns wave. It is a paddle-in wave filmed from up close, features a great set of dynamic colors and images, and is the longest wave submitted. Cloudbreak is known as a highly critical wave, and Scard surfs it expertly, staying high after the drop-in to get into upper barrel, driving the rail hard, and relaxing a bit as the barrel burps open and reveals its twenty foot cavern. You can hear the hoots from the water well before Scard has even exited the barrel, and by the time he is released, the entire scene on the Fijian reef is estatic with congratulations.
With the official call: Bassy claims Brennan at Shipsterns and Baldy goes with the pizzazz and style displayed by Scard at Cloudbreak. Keep an eye out for updates and check out the videos on youtube.