The low-key champ from Down Under
Friday - December 21, 2007
Aloha, surfers and beachgoers, As the men hunted for waves, the women had gathered all their crowned champions.
Yes, the women finished first. It all went down at Maui’s Honolua Bay during the Billabong Pro last Thursday and Friday, Dec. 13 and 14.Winning the world title was 19-year-old Australian Stephanie Gilmore in her maiden season! That’s a women’s world record. In fact, only Kelly Slater won his first full-time ASP season in 1992, but he did most of 1991. So he wasn’t exactly fresh off the boat, or on the board ... so to speak. Gilmore also pulled off another record in 2005 by becoming the youngest (17 years old) surfer to win a major tour event: the Roxy Pro Gold Coast in Australia. This year she won four of the eight events. She’s simply amazing and here for the long haul.
“It’s been such an incredible year for me,“Gilmore said.“Everything from traveling with my friends to winning events to claiming the title on Maui, it’s all been so much fun. I can’t believe it. To finish the year with another win, I’m just over the moon.” -aspworldtour.com
Then Hawaii’s very own super talent Megan Abubo showed the surfing world that local knowledge, big-wave prowess and perseverance pay off - she won the 2007 Vans Triple Crown! She even did this with a severe stomach injury at the Roxy Pro Sunset Beach just prior - one tough cookie. Abubo won $10,000 as well as a brand-new Chevy truck!
“Wow, I’m super stoked that Vans puts on the Triple Crown,” Abubo said.“It’s such a good thing for women’s surfing, to allow us to showcase our talents in the big waves of Hawaii. I am so happy right now; I don’t really have words to describe it. It’s been a long time since a Hawaiian has taken the Vans Triple Crown, and I am honored to bring it back to the Islands.” -aspworldtour.com
Then on Monday, Dec. 17, we crowned the new Pipeline master and Triple Crown champ. Both prestigious titles went to one man - a guy known to slip under the radar: Australian Bede Durbidge. He’s super low key and likeable, and lets his surfing do the talking.
Durbidge is one of the world tour’s most feared competitors - right up there with Slater and Irons (his favorite surfers).
He’s 24, tall (6-foot-1) and lanky (180 pounds) and obviously brimming with confidence, drive and talent.
Durbidge hails from the Gold Coast of Australia and surfs spots at Currumbin. He loves aerials and tubes - and you should see his smooth, radical carves. These are the cutting edge criteria required to do well on the Foster’s ASP World Tour.
It’s been 10 years since Australia won a Triple Crown! (Mike Rommelse, 1997)
“I’m absolutely over the moon right now,” Durbidge said. “Obviously the conditions weren’t classic Pipeline, but the competition was still pretty intense ... I’m absolutely stoked. It’s a great way for me to finish the season, and I’m looking to go even better in 2008 ... Winning the Triple Crown has been a dream of mine for a long, long time and I’ve always felt like proving yourself in Hawaii is right up there with winning the World Title.” - aspworldtour.com
You can read more on this man with the difficult name at BEDEDURBIDGE.COM. Expect to see and hear more from him in 2008. He wants a world title, and will keep 2008 on its toes.
So the 2007 Vans Triple Crown is done and with it the ASP World Tour. Lotsa pros are boarding planes this weekend to be with family and friends for the holidays.
It’s a time to reflect and rejuvenate.
One thing’s for sure, 2008 will be one of the most interesting tours in years as the land Down Under takes over. Or will the good ol’ U.S.A. take back the titles? It’s been about a decade of American domination. In Australia, surfing is as big as football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis - their surf stars are as big as our American sports stars. This helps with motivation and focus when a whole nation is backing you. It’s the Aussie Pride, and it’s powerful.
It will be a treat to see our nations compete - ‘08 will be great!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
GQ, dropping In 4 U!
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