Those hungry dudes Down Under

Gary Kewley
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Friday - December 14, 2007
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Andy Irons in winning form in the 2006 Pipemasters
Andy Irons in winning form in the 2006 Pipemasters

Howzit, surfers!

It’s hard to grasp, but we really are in the final days of the 25th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The final jewel is the Billabong Pipe Masters - a three-day visual feast for spectators ... a barrel fest for competitors. Though the first two events had waves that were too big for Haleiwa and Sunset, the last contest will have to go too small at Pipeline. This doesn’t mean that it won’t be exciting and dangerous, oh no! In fact, when Pipe is under 8 feet it breaks closer to shore, where it’s extremely shallow.When it’s 10-12 feet, it breaks in deeper, safer waters ... if you can call it “safe” at all.

The first days of competition for this final World Champ Tour (WCT) event went on Monday and Tuesday in waves ranging from 4 to 7 feet with good conditions.Tons of tubes were ridden as this is one of the main - if not the main - maneuver the judges look for.

This Foster’s ASP World Tour event also completes the $740,000 Vans Triple Crown. It is the most coveted title next to a world title. At this juncture, it looks as though an Australian (Bede Durbidge or Mick Fanning) may win it, but let’s see what Makua Rothman(Oahu) and Roy Powers (Kauai) have to say about that.

One thing’s for sure,there are two “changing of the guards"happening. One is the newer kids on the block, and secondly, those starving Aussies from Down Under. There’s a pack of new WCT men ready to take over where Kelly Slater is starting to leave off.Plus,the top 10 have had - for years - mostly Australians vying for that elusive top slot. The big problem they used to have was twofold: Slater and Irons. Now, with Mick Fanning busting down the mental barrier with the first Aussie World Champ since 1999, we Americans are likely to see the title slip away for quite some time.

Now,this is only my humble prediction. Can our surf stars - old or new - stop the new surge?

Times are a changing.

The women are looking for a world champ as of this writing over at the Billabong Pro Maui. One of the world’s best waves is Honolua Bay at the upper west side of the Valley Isle, so the ladies are stoked. It looks as though the USA is out of the running for top honors for the 2007 ASP Women’s World Title. It boils down to three talented surfers: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sofia Mulanovich (PER) and Silvana Lima (BRA). All these ladies have proved to be impressive out at Honolua Bay; expect them to keep their campaigns alive in round 2. Log on to SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM to read about it.

As far as the Vans Triple Crown goes for the women, Hawaii is still in the running with Megan Abubo, who won the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa. Her nearest rival is Sofia Mulanovich,who won the Roxy Pro at Sunset. You go, girls!

So how much energy do surfers have left after a day in the water? Thursday night it’s the Heavy Water Magazine and Surf Rider benefit at O Lounge till 4 a.m. Then Friday night it’s the North Shore Lifeguard Association fundraiser/party at Waimea Falls. Let’s not leave out Womens Surf Style Magazine party at Indigo the same night.

See you back here next week ... surf and party safe.

GQ, dropping in 4 U!


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