Kelly Slater still ringing Bells in Australia

Gary Kewley
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Friday - March 28, 2008
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Kelly Slater made the new breed aware of his intentions at Bells Beach
Kelly Slater made the new breed aware of his intentions at Bells Beach

Howzit, surfers!

As we near the end of March, we see our wave-swept shorelines reflect the arrival of spring. Surf is up in town and down in country, relatively speaking. Though don’t write off the North Shore just yet ... we still have plenty time to keep it going. The difference is how big - most of the swells now will be well below the advisory level of triple overhead or 15-foot faces (the typical size with winter storms).We also have tons o’ sun and trades in the forecast for the long haul ... God bless Hawaii.

By the time you get your hands and eyes on this issue we will have completed event No. 2 on the Fosters ASP World Tour at Bells Beach, Australia. They’ve been annihilating the right-handers in the Rip Curl Pro. The competition is so exciting this year. The new breed is threatening to bust down the door while the “other” breed still has plenty steel fortification ... especially built for those young intruders.You see, the veterans love the energy and challenge of the new school. They just bring out the best in everyone. For example, Kelly Slater is always searching for new reasons to compete and win. I mean, his motives have to come from higher places to which most of us can’t aspire or relate. So I have a feeling the “kids"are a fresh incentive - or meat, so to speak - for Slater to prove he’s still the greatest after all these years.

Also, it’s really exciting to have Slater at Bells as no one knew for sure if he was going to show up. He seems adept at keeping us guessing. Some think it’s a media ploy, but as far as I’m concerned, with eight world titles Kelly can do whatever he wants, however wants. And it’s not about him needing media attention - trust me on this one.

The world’s best female surfers finished their Rip Curl Pro event (also at Bells) Monday, March 24 (Sunday, March 23, in Hawaiian time scale). There’s someone very special on the tour these days ... she’s new and quickly amassing a potential “legend"status - in just year two on the WCT! She’s already a legendary athlete from where she hails: New South Wales (NSW), Australia. She’s already a record breaker worldwide - the first ever to win the world champ title in her rookie year. Now she’s gone and won Australia’s most prestigious surfing event: The Ripcurl Pro,for the second consecutive year! Meet 20-year-old Stephanie Gilmore ... sweet (and talented) as can be. There was a time when you could easily tell the difference between guys and girls surfing ... but the lines are getting blurred now. Stephanie is leading the new pack.

Back home in the Islands we had some of our very own future surf stars ripping up Kewalo waves last week. Though the surf wasn’t top quality, the performances were. It was three days of 1- to 2-plus average for the 120-plus competitors. This spring break, the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Hawaii Regional Championships was sponsored again by RVCA (surf and skate wear).Surfers vied for a coveted spot in the U.S. Championships coming up in June at Trestles in sunny SoCal. Who are some of the names going up? Two of them are no surprise to anyone: Lahaina’s Granger Larsen and Waianae’s Alessa Quizon ... each winning top honors. For the entire listing of results from our great student surfers,log on at SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM and click the SNN NewsWire link.

What is especially cool about this year is how our local pros participated. Guys like Flynn Novak, Kekoa Cazimero, Rory Parker, Mikala Jones, Jason Shibata, Titus Kinimaka, Dustin Barca, Mikey Bruneau, Makuakai Rothman and Fred Patacchia ... just their presence is a huge inspiration for our aspiring youth. But these guys even helped out with the funding for travel and entry fees! See, Hawaii has much more than beautiful weather ... God bless Hawaii!

GQ, dropping in 4 U!


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