Pro Surfing 2006

Gary Kewley
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Friday - March 03, 2006
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Fred Patacchia, 2005 ASP Men’s Rookie of the Year, at the Fosters ASP Champions of the World Awards

Fred Patacchia, 2005 ASP Men’s
Rookie of the Year, at the
Fosters ASP Champions of the
World Awards

Aloha, surfers!

Wow, this week two significant events have kicked off. First, the Foster ASP World Tour in Australia and, second, the T&C Surf Women’s Pipeline Pro.

Let’s start at Snapper Rocks in the land Down Under. The contest is called the Quiksilver Pro, and we can’t wait because this starts it all for pro surfing 2006! Massive crowds have already turned out for the trial rounds, and spectators have had their heads spun by the searing performances.

Just wait till the main event! Contest director Rod Brooks ran surfers through to the end of that first round. Winning was 20-year-old Ben Dunn, hailing from New South Wales. He gets a slot into the opening event. Now he’ll face Andy Irons in the main deal - quite an honor for Dunn, and he’s confident: “I’m really looking forward to taking them on.”

Kelly Slater will let this event determine if he’s going to go for an eighth world title. Just the thought of this makes me stutter or mistype. I mean, come on, he’s going out of the galaxy!

Kelly hasn’t won on the Gold Coast since 1998, however, and he hasn’t been surfing much nor showing up for all the media hype. Does he still have the intrinsic desire to go “all the way”?

“I got really excited a couple weeks ago ... about fully applying myself again this year, and that’s what I expect to do here this week,” said Slater. “But my life is changing and I’m toward the backside of my career. I’m trying to figure out if this is what makes me most happy.”

Listen to this guy. He’s so human, yet surfs like an alien from Planet Surfazoid.

The ladies are going for it as well in the Roxy Pro. Just in case you didn’t know, Quiksilver and Roxy are the same amazing surf company. The three women most hounded by the press were No. 1 Chelsea Georgeson (Australia) and No. 2 Sofia Mulanovich (Peru), plus last year’s event winner, Stephanie Gilmore (Australia). “It’s going to be a different experience having to defend the top spot,” said Georgeson. And regarding going up against local surfer Gilmore: “She lives and surfs here every day, she’s an amazing surfer at Snapper. I’m definitely going to go all out to beat her.”

This should be a wonderful and wet cat fight. These girls know how to fight (in the water with their surfing).

OK, now let’s get back home, shall we? How about straight to Pipeline? The girls are back in town for the second annual T&C Women’s Pipeline Championships presented by Tony Volkswagen. This event will be held on the best two to three days from March 1 to 14. You’ll get 110 of the best barreling female board surfers and body boarders. It is an ASP Sanctioned and International Bodyboarding Association regional event. And, it’s what women want: good waves, clean conditions and “mana” (strength and power) to perform radically yet safely at the Pipeline! You don’t wanna miss the show. Call 596-SURF, 638-RUSH or visit SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM to know when to go! Now the contest is also very much about the bodyboarders. In fact, they’re the girls who pioneered first and pushed the limits most. Last year’s winner was Australia’s Kira Llewellyn, and she’ll have to bravely defend her title against the international and local talent. There are more than a half dozen countries in town: Peru, Brazil, Japan, Chile, Australia, Venezuela and Puerto Rico!

Contest director “Banzai Betty” Depolito states, “We have the best wave in the world we’re working with, and it’s a really good viewing wave, too. You can sit on the beach and see everything that’s going on - even paddle interferences can easily be seen and the contestants can hear the audience applause. It really makes it exciting. It’s something you don’t get at other venues ... plus, the wave itself, you know ... this is Pipeline. This is not a wave for every girl ... or boy.”

You can log on to her site at BANZAIBETTY.COM for the scoops, etc. And I want to say mahalo to the many companies that support our awesome surfer girls: Cholos, Surf N Sea, Lucy Love, Seaductive, XCel, Enza, XS Energy Drink, Grind TV, Gath Helmets (very recommended) ... we appreciate you!

See you next weekend and in the lineup!

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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