Posts Tagged ‘surfers’

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Your help is needed now – the extreme condition of our oceans

June 18, 2009

You might have noticed something new on our sidebar. SocialVibe has created a way of helping good causes and charities, and we have chosen to support a project that is close to our hearts – the protection of our oceans.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit, grassroots, environmental organisation dedicated to protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of surfers in Malibu, California, the organisation has grown exponentially.

So you see, surfers are not just beachbums!

Apart from being avid followers of the surfing life, why choose this particular project?

Well, this is something we’ve ranted about before – but did you know that there is a plastic soup in the middle of the Pacific Ocean –  known as the dead zone? Here’s a depressing, but important short video from StrangeDaysAction spelling out a few facts for us:

Marine scientist Captain Charles Moore of the Agalita Marine Research Foundation describes a dead zone, an oceanic desert, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which he calls: Plastic Soup. This trashbin is a huge – I mean seriously HUGE – deep churning cesspool of plastic bits definitely bigger than the state of Texas, and, some say, even bigger, possibly, than AFRICA ! These plastic bits are ingested daily by marine life. And guess what? Who eats marine life? We do.

Scary stuff hmmm?

Captain Moore has measured 6 pounds of plastic for every 1 pound of plankton. He predicts that, unless we do something, in 30 years there will be 60 pounds of plastic particles for every pound of plankton.

And what eats plankton? Plankton is literally the food of life. It is vitally important in the food chain of all marine life.

And lest you are a bit casual about this topic and shrug your shoulders and say, “well, it’s only the Pacific. It’s not our problem, someone will be able to sort it out in due course…” Don’t be misled – there is a similar cesspool in the Atlantic.

Here’s a photograph from National Geographic of an open-air garbage dump which tarnishes the sapphire coast of Barrow, Alaska. Disgusting, isn’t it.

Photo: Open-air garbage dump along the coast of Barrow, Alaska

And why should we get personally involved? Well, if you windsurf, kitesurf, scuba dive, snorkel, surf, sail, kayak, freedive, deep water solo to name but a few – you should be concerned. It concerns you directly.

This problem is very nearly out of control. We seriously need to do something about it. And we need to do something NOW.

So click on the sidebar please!

Thank you.

And I’ll leave you on an equally miserable note. Here’s a video from seareport01 on the problem in the Pacific…

So come on guys, let’s do our bit to save our oceans…

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Feast your eyes and salivate – a eulogy to surfing

May 16, 2009

There are great surfers in this world, seriously extreme guys (after all, surfing can be an extreme sport), and there are great surfing photographers – seriously extreme photographers, and Bali Strickland must surely fit into the elite of this catagory. Feast your eyes on his video, balistricko,  and then I’ll tell you more…

Strickland has been experimenting with a new super slow-motion German underwater TyphoonHD4 camera that the BBC  Natural History Unit had had  specially modified at a cost of  $100,000. It can film at up to twenty times the frame rate of a standard high definition camera..

The camera required a special housing unit designed and built by German specialist high speed cameraman/technician Rudi Diesel. Until this film, no one had ever tried using this type of camera underwater before. The film shows the awesome power of the waves from underwater and the spiraling vortexes created by these huge waves.

It’s only drawback is that it weighs a TONNE. But apart from that the photography is simply extroadinary.

Now watch this, courtesy of the BBC:

So, here’s where they shot this superb film:

bbc-south-pacific.jpg

They (the BBC) went to the South Pacific Islands with Bali Strickland and Dylan Longbottom, a world class surfer, to film these sequences because it is well known that some of the biggest waves in the world break here.

However, it was not all plain sailing. Confident in the fact that this was one place in the world where the waves were guaranteed … the two weeks they were there gave them almost millpond conditions. They had to return 4 months later to get these fabulous sequences.

Enjoy them, drool over them, and have a wonderful weekend…

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Does Portugal have the best surf in Europe?

May 6, 2009

Many people think it does…

Situated West of Spain, Portugal has a very mild Mediterranean climate. The coastline receives swells from the North, West and South and therefore has a wide variety of waves.

surf

Every year thousands of surfers flock to the Western coast of Portugal, an area often overlooked by mainstream tourism but well known to surfers for its solid surf. The offshore breezes bring swells across the Atlantic seaboard generating ideal sized waves for surfing and there is such a wide variety of waves around the various beaches that all standards of surfing can be satisfied.

Not only that, but it’s fantastically cheap compared to mainstream Europe.  You can hire a villa for as little as €100 a week – you certainly can’t do that in France and you would struggle to do it on the coastline of Spain.

The Algarve, in the south-west of Portugal, is renowned for its pleasant Mediteranean summer climate and its mild winters which makes it a perfect surf-holiday destination. From mellow beach breaks that are ideal for beginners to worldclass point and beach breaks that satisfy any experienced surfer. Since the Algarve is on the southern tip of Portugal it picks up both south and west swells, making it one of the most consistent places to surf in Europe.

During winter the swell size is around the 6ft mark but can get to 15ft or more, offering some challenging surfing. There is surf throughout the summer months and you can expect waves of 3-5ft.  Offshore morning breezes are extremely common.

Portugal is also a very good place to learn to surf with plenty of places offering lessons and packages.

Here’s a tantalising hint of what surfing in Portugal can be like, with thanks to ErrantSurf for the video.

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Maverick’s Big Wave Surf competition has been called off.

April 14, 2009

“Have as much fun as you possibly can, and quit thinking so much” –     Shane McConkey

And why not? Is that not a good motto to live your life by?

Which brings us onto the almost forgotten topic of MAVERICK’s… what happened there? Did the wave happen? was it possible to hold the contest?

As it happens, very sadly the world-renowned Mavericks Surf Contest near Half Moon Bay will not happen this year, making this winter season the fourth that has been skipped since the contest’s creation a decade ago, said contest director Jeff Clark.

The window for the contest closed on Tuesday, 31st March, but Clark said he had extended the permit to use the waters that are a half-mile from Pillar Point Harbor, until 8th April in case a swell materialized.

However, the ocean storms that produce the swells needed for the contest were too weak. The contest organisers are negotiating for the contest window to open earlier next year, possibly as early as 1st November. This year’s contest window opened 1st January, but the months from November to February produce the greatest swells for ideal contest conditions,  which are waves of  roughly 40 foot.

So a quick re-hash on Maverick – the ultimate extreme big wave… what’s all the fuss about?

Jeff Clark, of Jeff Clark Surfboards and the big wave contest organiser, was brought up 100 ft from the sea and watched the wave for years before deciding to challenge it for the first time in 1975. His good friend decided that he’d rather not, but that he would watch closely and call the coast guards if Jeff needed help!

“That first day I managed to get five waves, barely surviving long enough to kick out of one. It was a great confidence boost for me to have gone where no one had gone before, and to ride waves that were more powerful than anything that I had ever imagined,” he said.

“The 1990s in general brought an amazing assault of big-wave surfing. When Mavericks hit the scene everyone questioned it, but now all of the doubts have been put to rest. Mavericks produces the most consistent big waves in the world, has provided California with a big-wave identity all its own, and has produced some of today’s best big-wave riders…

He sums up by adding, “We are now well into the new millennium and it seems that everything in the world is going in the direction of  ‘extreme’, not just in surfing but in all sports. Where it will end I don’t know, but the hunt for better performance and better equipment is really exciting to me. Still, having Mavericks as the testing ground “makes the possibilities endless.”

So, don’t give up on watching this one. It’ll knock your socks off for entertainment value next time it happens…

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I’ve found some more extreme waves…

February 3, 2009

I thought I had fairly comprehensively covered this catagory, but on a subject like this one, I don’t think you ever can. So here are a few more seriously gnarly waves to keep you entertained…

Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia

Desert Point is a beautiful lefthand pointbreak breaking over coral. On a good day, it is one of the longest waves in the world, some say maybe even the best left in the world. This wave is for experts. However, the wave is not guaranteed and there can be long periods of flat spells – and there is very little to do there besides surf! But when it’s good – it’s very very good – long, hollow barreling, warm and consistent.

Drawbacks? the crowds are getting worse every year, you have to guard yourself against maleria, and it is adviseable to take a first aid kit with you as the closest medical access is hours away.

DP Perfection Hiding CF, Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia

The Cave, Ericeira, Portugal

One of Europe’s premiere surfing destinations, Ericeira has a high density of quality surf-spots. Actually, the whole Portuguese coastline is peppered with undiscovered surfing spots, and one of the best things about surfing in this country is that it is easy to escape the crowds and find your own fabulous wave. The Cave stands out as a fine wave with all the ingredients that a dangerous wave should have, including a shallow reef.  It has  been described as Europe’s heaviest wave and is becoming popular with the international surfing aficianados. Thanks to ZonaRad1cal for this video.

Lunada Bay, California, USA

Lunada is a wave for experienced surfers and martial arts experts! Does that sound a bit wierd? Well, apparently the natives aren’t very friendly and the police force less than interested – you have been warned! However, back to the wave… this is a world class wave and perhaps one of the best right handers in California. It is not a particularly dangerous wave but it is a great performance wave at 6ft up to 20ft swells with the length on a normal day being 50 – 150m, but on a good day 150 – 300m. It is on a rocky reef with boulders underneath.

The main drawback to this wave is that it can be very crowded. And then of course we get back to the … locals. There have been reports of slashed tyres, rocks thrown and fist fights. Sounds like a full day out!

Thanks to tfisher29 for this brief video.

El Gringo, Arica, Chili

“You first have to understand the set-up of El Gringo. It is a full slab set-up, a right and left ledger slamming down on a jagged rock reef. Entry and exit is via a narrow, dog-leg keyhole, with surging tides and sets that, on occasion, actually unload into the slot. There’s spiny sea-urchins on the jagged rocks. Razor sharp mussels. And a territorial pack of seals. So when you’re caught on the inside, you’re left crab-walking the jagged guts and praying the sets stop pouring in. Which, in Chile, they don’t. And if you haven’t got a board to assist your outward scramble, you’re pretty much bummed. according to Surfing Magazine.

This is a very dangerous wave as you only have 2ft of water beneath you. It is a left and right reef break which breaks over rock. There is a very big tube/pipeline  to the left – at least a 30ft ride, and a longer ride to the right – about 120ft. During the 2007’s WCT event on Gringos, pro surfers suffered broken boards, battered heads and embedded urchin spines – and these guys know what they are doing, so beware – definitely a wave for expert surfers only. GreenSurfTour posted this video. Needless to say, crowding is not a problem here!

Tarqua Bay, Lagos, Nigeria

Tarqua Bay is considered to be a regional classic and suitable for all surfers. There are virtually no surfers during the week, and the crowds at the weekend are thin. This wave is a right handed break onto a sandy bottom at the entrance to the Lagoon of Iddo in Lagos and is often a fun, wedging peak with a length of 50m. The waves are at the western end of the beach. It’s best to surf this wave between July to October, but any time a solid swell hits, it barrels.

The drawback to this wave is the pollution. 60 million litres of raw sewage and tonnes of industrial waste produced by the 8 million inhabitants of Lagos every year, flows out into the ocean. Other hazards include floating carcasses, rubbish and the occasional mugging on the beach!  Not recommended for travellers but if you happen to be stuck in this part of the world, going surfing is about the only relaxing thing you will find to do. Oh dear…

I cannot find a photograph or a video for this wave… but I would suggest that the only reason it is considered a ‘dangerous’ wave is not because of its force (as it hasn’t much) but because of what might happen to you if you spend too much time in the water!

The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

And I’ll draw this article to a close with a monster.

Surf spot travel photo of The Wedge

This is a wave for advanced surfers only and is considered deadly at all tides. “The Wedge is not a wave — it’s a 20-foot-plus meat grinder dreamed up by the devil himself. It heaves, bends and pulverizes in ways that good little waves aren’t supposed to act.” says Surfline.com

When supplied with a south swell of the proper size and direction, it can produce huge waves as spectacular and intimidating as any in Hawaii, Tahiti or Australia. It is a combination of two waves that merge together, creating a powerful wave which  refracts the swell energy off the jetty and creates a sideways wave that slings across the beach and collides with the next wave in the set. The result is what locals fittingly call a “humping effect,” where the set waves jack, expand and release in unimaginable ways. This wave is the best known bodysurfing wave in the world, but stand-up surfers are less welcome, in fact, throughout the summer, no boards of any kind are allowed in the water except in the early morning and late evening. Thanks to ctowersey1 for this video.

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More on the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships

January 7, 2009

The Billabong ASP Women’s World Junior Championship is over with Pauline Ado being the clear winner. BillabongUSA have posted two great videos on th competition:

The Junior men’s event is not yet over… this is the current situation:

BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIORS (MEN) ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Tamaroa McComb (PYF) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 3: Lincoln Taylor (AUS) vs. Kiron Jabour (HAW)
Heat 4: Granger Larsen (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 5: Maxime Huscenot (REU) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 6: Marc Lacomare (FRA) vs. Jayke Sharp (AUS)
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)
Heat 8: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Kai Barger (HAW)

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ISA World Surfing Games – Day 5

October 16, 2008

Day 5

“At this stage of the event the level of surfing is so high that it comes down to who gets the best waves,” says New Zealand coach Cory Scott.

Costa de Caparica : photo courtesy ISA

A busy day today – the following heats will take place starting at 8:00 a.m.

Open Repercharge 2 and 3
Open Main Event 4
Women Surf Main Event 3
Women Surf Repercharge 2
Bodyboard Men Repercharge 2, 3 and 4
Bodyboard Women Main Event 3
Bodyboard Women Repercharge 2
Longboard Repercharge 2

The main attraction yesterday were the final heats of the repercharge. The Open Men´s Round 2 was held in two foot waves, and the tide finally forced the Contest Director to suspend the final heats of the day.

Here’s a video from  SURFDWV . No surfing, but you can meet some of the contestants…