Archive for September, 2010
September 28th, 2010
Autumn – not summer – is the time to hit the beach as the UK enters prime surfing season.
With storm-watchers’ predictions of an especially active hurricane season proving accurate so far, 2010 looks set to be a great year to be a North Atlantic surfer.
Here are our tips for surfers of all abilities.
Above: Fionn Crow Howieson at Porthleven, February 2009. Photo: Tony Plant/Wavefinder.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Gentle waves and an abundance of surf schools make this beautiful North Cornish beach a great place for novices to take their first steps on a surfboard. A gentle but consistent surf experience, the shallow, shelving beach knocks much of the power out of the swell to create spilling waves perfect for learners. The outer sand banks can produce nice big peaks on larger swells at low tide. One of the more accessible and consistent waves in the area so can get busy in summer.
Llangennith, Gower Peninsula, Wales
The first part of the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower peninsula is home to waves that match the scenery. Llangennith, at northern tip of the expansive Rhossili Bay, is generally the indicator spot for the Gower, picking up the most swell in the area. It’s a huge beach that is popular with all surfers, offering plenty of peaks in most conditions, with plenty of space for surf schools.
This vast beach stretches for three miles from Putsborough at the south end up to the village of Woolacombe. Putsborough is usually an incredibly easy spot for beginners across a never-ending beach with huge tidal range. Prevailing south-westerly winds are blocked or even offshore at the bottom end of the beach; a plus on a windy summer afternoon although the swell doesn’t always get in here. Woolacombe’s super-mellow beach break works on all tides. The sand just about disappears at high tide when the northern end gets a respectable right-hand peak. Crowds are well absorbed and it’s quieter than Putsborough or Croyde.
BEST FOR INTERMEDIATES
The UK’s surfing capital attracts everyone from die-hard surfers to families and stag and hen parties. Fistral Beach is the spot to head for with waves at all stages of the tide. When it’s too big or blowy at Fistral, look around the headland to Newquay Bay where sheltered waves can be found at Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne beaches. After dark the town’s 40 plus bars and clubs come to life. Nearby Watergate Bay has seen Prince William and the Sunday Night Project’s Justin Lee Collins grace its waves.
Home to a passionate and welcoming surfing community, Newcastle has been the training ground for British champions Gabe Davies and Sam Lamiroy. The cold North Sea dishes up some quality beachbreak surf at Longsands Beach, a bustling but mellow beachbreak. It can be easily blown out, but with good offshore winds this competition venue can get epic – and it’s the most reliable spot around.
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
‘Fresh West’ picks up the most swell in Pembrokeshire with several sandbar peaks on the main beach and reefs. It’s very consistent, so therefore gets very busy, but the strong rip currents keep the surfers spread out over the various peaks on the rocks (check the south end). Access is sometimes limited by the MOD – the beach is just off a big army firing range!
BEST FOR EXPERTS
It’s a long way from anywhere, but the slate reef at Thurso East can lay claim to being one of Europe’s best waves. The drive and the cold water put off all but the hardiest surfers, but those who make the trip invariably return with tales of fast, tubing waves. For experts only. Spring sees an international field of pro surfers in attendance for a world qualifying tour competition, but the warmest water temperatures and guaranteed swell make September the prime time to visit.
The reef at Porthleven is home to a splendid but fickle wave. Known for its hollow rights over a flat rock shelf, it gets sucky at low to mid tide when gaping wide barrels are possible. For the wave to be at its best requires a very big west or solid/big southwest swell, and rarely breaks in summer. It can get awesome, but word spreads fast and quickly gets crowded when the waves are good.
Arguably the best beachbreak in the country, Croyde Bay is home to a consistent, powerful wave. Shapely sand peaks can be found across the bay at all stages of the tide, but low provides much faster, steeper walls and barrels. Peaks north of the stream are generally better. The reef at the north end is a quality rare right, but is only surfable on very high tides with a big swell – definitely for experienced surfers only.
September 16th, 2010
Just north of the San Onofre State Beach, adjacent to the train trestle is one of the world’s best surfing arenas. Breaks run continuously from San Mateo Point to San Onofre State Beach.
Cotton’s: Lined up left-hander, good in big south to southwest swells. Breaks over cobblestone and sand bottom on any tide, but lower is hollower. Holds 2-12ft plus, all levels.
Upper Trestles (Uppers): Superb quality, long (mostly) right-hand cobblestone point wave. Works best on a wrapped northwest to west winter swell at higher tides, when there will be multi-second barrels firing down the beach towards San Mateo Creek. It’ll work well on south swell too though. Any tide is OK, 2-10ft plus. All levels. Best in winter … generally. Crowded with mini-tankers.
Lowers: Left and right cobblestone peak. Long rights in winter swells from NW, awesome fast peak left and rights in summer south swells. Generally both left and rights have 3 sections, with the first (outside) being more hollow. Rights are often longer/lined up, and longer than Uppers. Lefts punchy with good channel to paddle back from. Any tide is OK, but low tide plus summer swell and morning offshore = hollow green barrels at high speed. 2-15ft, very crowded. Usually better than Uppers in summer, and vice versa for winter.
Down from here in Middles: Mellow right-left summer peak, needing northeast winds and any swell. All tides, although low is better as it can be a mush-burger at the best of times. If your surfing isn’t working here, either get a new board or a coach.
September 10th, 2010
The UCI season may be over but it’s certainly not the end of the mountain bike season. Eyes will now be focussed towards a sandstone ridge in the brutal landscape near Virgin, Utah for the 2010 Red Bull Rampage. Below are highlights from the 2008 event, but keep a check on the Red Bull Rampage official site for more news.
In 2008 Red Bull Rampage returned triumphantly after four years of silence. Although a rain delay kept many anxious, the mountain bike gods unleashed the glorious sun to scorch the barren Utah terrain.
More daredevil than athlete, Thomas Vanderham, stuck a no-hander over a 59-foot canyon gap and took home best trick. However, it was 17 year old Brandon Semenuk that took home the prize of 10,000 dollars and bragging rights.
September 9th, 2010
On its day, Freshwater West is one of the best waves in all of the UK and can hold waves up to 6ft. Works best with swell from the west and an east/northeasterly wind.
It picks up the most swell in Pembrokeshire, with several sandbar peaks on the main beach and reefs. Very consistent, therefore gets very busy. When it gets too big here, most people head off elsewhere in the area. There are very strong rips so watch out (a few swimmers have drowned here in the past, so take the warnings seriously). There are various peaks on the rocks (check the south end). It’s just off a big army firing range! Intermediate / advanced surfers only.
September 7th, 2010
A charity that supports people living with multiple sclerosis is looking for skiers and snowboarders to sign up for its upcoming Monster Ski event, which will take place in Tignes, France from 3-7 February 2011.
Monster Ski is an exhilarating ski and snowboarding challenge, organised exclusively for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. If you’re confident on a red run and want a ski trip that challenges and thrills, then Monster Ski is for you! Be part of this fast, exciting downhill adventure that will see you skiing the height of Mount Everest every day in one of Europe’s premier resorts.
Monster Ski is an endurance challenge to ski 90,000 vertical feet over 3 days. It might sound daunting, but if you are a confident and capable skier or snowboarder, with a good level of fitness, it should be within your grasp. This charity event offers you a unique way to experience the expansive Espace Killy ski area, whilst being part of something really special to benefit people living with a difficult life-long condition.
Located below the towering Grand Motte, Tignes is a high altitude haven with links to Val d’Isère. Due to its altitude, Tignes has a very reliable snow record with snow-sure slopes and superb glacier skiing. It costs just £150 to register for Monster Ski and each participant will be required to raise a minimum of £1,700 in sponsorship for the MS Trust. Included in this price are flights & transfers, accommodation (half board), a 3 day lift pass and ski guides.
Previous Monster Ski events in Colorado, Engelberg and Whistler have raised over £250,000 to support the MS Trust’s vital work. This is your chance to put your passion to a good cause and help people living with MS today. The Monster Ski experience will leave you with a real sense of achievement and great memories that will stay with you forever.
“I’ve just about recovered from the Monster Ski challenge! What a fantastic week… Fantastic place, fantastic friends, fantastic charity.” Keith, Monster Ski Whistler 2010
For more information about Monster Ski, please contact Laura Percival at the MS Trust on 01462 476707 or download a registration pack from: www.mstrust.org.uk/monsterski
- MS is usually diagnosed in young adults. It is a complex and unpredictable life-long condition that attacks a person’s central nervous system, often leading to physical and cognitive disability. We currently know neither cause nor cure.
- The MS Trust is working to enable people with MS to live their lives to the full by providing evidence-based information; educating health professionals about multiple sclerosis; and funding research to help people living with MS now.
- In January 2008 18 people took part in Monster Ski in Colorado; 16 people took part in Engelberg, Switzerland in January 2009; 15 people took part in Whistler in April 2010. Case studies are available on request.
- More information about Monster Ski can be found at www.mstrust.org.uk/monsterski, including the Monster Ski blog and photos from previous events on Flickr.
- Monster Ski is run by Ski Independence, the UK’s leading independent ski tour operator. Visit their website at www.ski-i.com.
- Contact Laura Percival, Fundraising Officer for further details or photos on 01462 476707 or [email protected]
September 6th, 2010
Congratulations to Australia’s Sam Hill and the Britain’s Tracy Moseley on winning the UCI DH World Championships over the weekend out in Mont St Anne, Canada.
Australia’s Sam Hill took gold at the downhill world championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, yesterday – surprising himself, as well as those who had tipped World Cup frontrunners Greg Minnaar (South Africa) and Gee Atherton (Great Britain) for the rainbow stripes.
It marks an astonishing return to form for Hill, who won the 2006 and 2007 world champs but had a disappointing World Cup season this year due to injury.
Canada’s Steve Smith made home fans proud by earning a silver medal, and Minnaar finished third. Atherton came in fifth behind American Aaron Gwin.
“I don’t know what it is, but this is where I do well,” said Hill of Mont-Sainte-Anne, where he won World Cup rounds in 2007 and 2009. “It’s where I first raced the World Cup in 2001, and I’m always excited to come back.”
Hill said that during the week’s training, he had doubts about how well he would do. He was coming off two serious injuries that hurt him this season. “I’ve been sitting on the couch, and I didn’t have the confidence,” he said. “This morning’s practice kind of bummed me out. I was really sloppy.”
Hill had reconstructive knee surgery in February, but made it back to competition in time for the World Cup despite feeling weak in training. In the second World Cup, he snapped three ligaments in his shoulder.
“I wanted to do well last weekend in Windham and ended up in 13th, which wasn’t a great confidence builder,” he said. “To come back from all that and be able to win today is really great. I still get a bit of pain when I ride. I’ll take some time off now and get fully healthy.”
In the Elite Women’s DH event, Great Britain’s Tracy Moseley finally won the rainbow stripes she has been chasing for the past 13 years at the women’s downhill world championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, yesterday.
“I’ve had a long career and I’ve been trying to win this for many years,” said a delighted Moseley, “and I’ve finally got this white jersey on my shoulders.”
She finished ahead of two Frenchwomen – 2010 World Cup winner Sabrina Jonnier and last year’s world champion Emmeline Ragot.
“I’ve been the sole Brit among the French riders for most of the year with Rach (Atherton) out for injury,” said Moseley. “I’ve been the one to have to fight the French. I knew Sabrina is really good on this track, we’ve been racing together since 1997. It’s no surprise for me to find myself amongst these two.
“Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of my favourite courses, but you never know until you actually get to the race. This morning I tried to put all thoughts away. This season I’ve not been racing as well as I’ve been practising. My biggest goal today was to put together my perfect race run – to be able to walk away and not feel like I could have done any better.”
Special mention goes to Lewis Buchanan (coached by Chris Ball) who finished just over nine seconds behind Troy Brosnan in the Junior Men’s DH. “I started off pretty confident and knew what I had to do,” he said. “I clipped a rock with my pedal up in the top section. It was hard to concentrate, but I tried to put that in the back of my mind and pedal, although I was quite off the pace.”
Still, Buchanan managed to work himself up from fifth at an early split to third by the end. “I focused on getting smooth lines and building speed,” he said. “This is probably one of the fastest courses we had all year and one of the roughest.”
All three medallists are first-year juniors and will return next year to race each other again.
September 4th, 2010
TEAHUPOO, Taiarapu/Tahiti (Friday, September 3, 2010) – Andy Irons (HAW), 32, past three-time ASP World Champion, has won the Billabong Pro Tahiti, besting C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, in an explosive Final clash in three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves at Teahupoo.
The fifth stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti culminated in climactic fashion today, on the final day of the waiting period.
The emphatic victory marks Irons’ 20th at the elite level of competition, and the Hawaiian was emotional when regarding his first win in over three years (won Rip Curl Pro Search Chile 2007).
“I did it!” Irons exclaimed. “I surf because I have to put my jersey on some time. I took a lot of losses, but I put in the hard work too. I dedicate this win 100% to my wife, Lindy, she is everything to me and without her, I’d be nothing. I really, really like competing because I love to win and I feel on top of the world today. I surf because I love to win. I love this feeling.”
Irons, who bested reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, lethal rookie Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 24, and past nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 38, en route to the Final, opened up with a massive, freefall wipeout before utilizing his unparalleled backhand tube-riding skills to net a 14.67 out of a possible 20 and collect the win.
“He (Hobgood) paddled me inside and caught the first wave,” Irons said. “The next wave was better and I just fell out of the sky. I thought my board was going to break. It has two buckles on it already. I just went after it out there. C.J. is so dangerous here. I knew he would be getting tens or twos, and I was lucky it was twos today.”
With today’s victory, Irons moves from No. 18 to No. 7 on the ASP World Title Race rankings, a monumental feat that sees the powerful Hawaiian well inside the ASP Top 10.
“I feel like I’m back,” Irons said. “I have to thank ASP for giving me the wildcard back here. My whole dream was to come back and just win one contest, and I’ve done that now. I want more. And to win at Teahupoo, it’s my favourite wave in the world. It’s a very special win.
Hobgood, one of the premiere tuberiders in the world, was unable to find his way out of multiple barrels in the Final bout against Irons and was reflective in terms Runner-Up finish in Tahiti.
“I had good waves that I could have got the score on and I tried a little harder than I had to,” Hobgood said. “My highest score was only an 8 through every heat leading up to this one and I hadn’t had a breakout performance. No one to blame but myself. I’m stoked all the same though. After the heat, I told Andy ‘there’s a lot of people pulling for you, including myself.’ It’s emotional and you take what you can from it.”
Today’s finish at the Billabong Pro Tahiti vaults the past ASP World Champion (2001) from No. 22 to No. 15 in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title heading into the next tour stop in Southern California.
“I’ve been in four finals out here and I don’t remember the years I got second,” Hobgood said. “Still, it’s a huge result for me, and I had the opportunity out there. I finally got the monkey off my back this season and I hope I can build on this moving forward.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, posted the best result of his young career, finishing Equal 3rd at the Billabong Pro Tahiti before going down to Hobgood in the Semifinals. The result jumps the young natural-footer from 24th to 19th on the ASP World Title Race rankings, an excellent position heading into Lower Trestles and home to Europe.
“I had priority the last five minutes and a set came that was my chance, but it wasn’t the wave I needed,” Flores said. “The barrel was really small inside. C.J. (Hobgood) is an excellent surfer and he’s very smart. He surfed a smart heat. Still though, it’s great for me, and I’m excited for the next event.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, past nine-time ASP World Champion, looked the form surfer of the day, scoring the event’s first and only Perfect 10 in the Quarterfinals for an incredible freefall layback barrel.
“It’s been a while (since getting a 10),” Slater said. “That was probably the best wave of the day. I looked at the first one, and I was surprised Ace (Adrian Buchan) went on the first one. The second one usually sucks out more and is more hollow. I was a little bit far back when I was paddling, and when I turned around to go, the wind was pushing me back. So I really had to overcompensate once I got to the bottom and finally set my edge. It was a good one though.”
Despite the Semifinal loss to Irons, Slater moves from 3rd to 2nd on the ASP World Title Race rankings, a mere 250 points behind frontrunner Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22.
“I’m up there pretty close,” Slater said. “Going all the way to J-Bay and getting 17th makes me wish I had stayed home. You lose confidence and waste time on planes. That’s the way it goes – you have good events and bad events. This one has been pretty good though. The waves haven’t been good, but we’ve seen a lot of cool things. We’ve seen the young guys really step up and we’ve seen Andy (Irons) come back and put one together.”
Highlights from the Billabong Pro Tahiti will be available via http://www.billabongpro.com/tahiti10/
The next stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour will be the Hurley Pro Trestles in Southern California from September 12 – 18, 2010.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
September 2nd, 2010
From Orlando, take Hwy 50 to I-95 and head south. Turn off on the 192 to Indialantic then south on A1A for about 30 mins to the North Jetty at the Inlet.
Sebastian Inlet has the potential to be Florida’s best wave, but conditions have to be right. An often great right peels off the northern jetty edge over sand bottom with a few stray boulders. In big swells at any tide, it is possible to get a fast, grinding, double overhead barrel with a thick lip and real power. Always crowded with aggressive wired-in locals. It likes a lower tide with highs creating back-offs and brutal back-wash. The next section of the wave keeps firing towards the beach, and with more north in the swell, can incorporate quality lefts. More peaks up the beach, in particular an often closed out but sometimes great left-hander on winter swells. Shifty peaks though and it often simple does not look like the same place you see in the magazines.
Way off the end of the south jetty is an off-shore sandbar, Monster Hole. It is thus named after the men in grey that frequent the area, particularly after heavy rains. Not all fishermen like to see surfers around, and are only too happy to throw fish entrails into the water on their way home, making this a feeding zone. N-NE swells and low incoming tides get huge lefts working. These run for yards and yards, and the more north the swell, the more lined up they are. It is a long paddle out there in greeny brown water, and not seeing the bottom merely adds to the sensation that you’re out of your element. The sweep pulls you off target when it’s big, so rubber-arms are common. More east/southeast swell get the rights happeneing. These can be good and fast, or just plain old bumpy. Scary, isolated spot, full of sharks with very strong currents. Can handle anything from 3-15ft if swell is north. Advanced. Semi consistent.
Here’s more info on surf spots in the USA & Hawaii.
September 1st, 2010
Little can be written about Steve Peat that hasn’t been said already. As the 2009 UCI Downhill World Champion, Peaty took the season by storm, also taking the title for the most World Cup wins – at a total of 17 no less. From his humble beginnings in Sheffield, UK, Steve has become one of the most inspirational mountain bikers of all time. Adding three World Cup series wins, two European championship golds, eight Lisbon downtown wins and 50 World Cup podiums to his X Games gold medal and eight British National titles he is probably the most celebrated downhiller of all time. Married with two sons, Steve is now Dr Peat after receiving an honorary doctorate in 2009 from Sheffield Hallam University. A living legend.
September 1st, 2010
After days of sitting around waiting for the swell to come in, the Billabong Pro Tahiti is now through Round 2 and well into Round 3. Upsets, tight heats and the cut off were the main topics of conversation at the end of the day. Having eliminated Taj Burrow in Round 2, Manoa Drollet went and dumped World #1 Jordy Smith out of the competition in Round 3.
“He (Smith) was sitting on priority and he only needed a small wave at one point,” Drollet said. “He waited forever and he didn’t catch anything. I have a good knowledge here. I’ve been doing water patrol so I’ve been watching the event and analyzing the guys’ strategies a lot. I managed to get scores and get back in the lead there towards the end. I was expecting Jordy (Smith) to come back with a 9 at anytime.”
Despite the loss, Smith remained gracious in defeat and positive as he transitions to the next event in California.
“It was pretty tough out there,” Smith said. “Wave-starved a bit and difficult to find the right one. I got an average one in the beginning and the cut my hand on the reef. Some heats go like that. You live and learn, and I’m looking forward to the next one at Trestles.”
And in the next heat Kelly Slater pulled out a squeaker against Heiarii Williams, winning by a slim 0.09! The win moves Slater up to #2 in the ASP World Rankings.
The end of Day 9 also led to the dropping of 12 surfers from the WCT, as tour slims down to just 34 surfers … the Top 32 plus 2 wildcards. The guys dropped so far are Drew Courtney (AUS), Neco Padaratz (BRA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Mick Campbell (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Blake Thornton (AUS), Dean Morrison (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Nate Yeomans (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS).