A recap of the week in surf news hosted by Natalie Rose.
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International is pleased to announce the acquisition of the global Big Wave World Tour (BWWT), with arrangements for support in 2013 and formal sanctioning commencing in 2014.
Currently servicing six international big wave events in Pichilemu/Chile, Punta Hermosa/Peru, Lincoln City/Oregon, Half Moon Bay/California, Baja California/Mexico and Punta Galea/Spain the new-found arrangement between the ASP and the BWWT will allow for top ASP surfers such as 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, Hawaiian phenom John John Florence (HAW), 20, amongst others to join respected BWWT surfers like Greg Long (USA), 28, Grant Baker (ZAF), 40, and Carlos Burle (BRA), 45, in competition with waves in the 25-foot-and-above range.
Kelly Slater has dressed his kimono and returned to the tatami. The 11-time world surfing champion has challenged Flavio Canto, a Brazilian judoka champion, for a jiu-jitsu combat. It’s an old passion. Kelly Slater has a special connection with martial arts, since he was a just another little Floridian kid.
“When I was eight or nine, I met a guy called Don Dragon Wilson, who had been a world kickboxing champion. Me and my brother enrolled in his academy and did karate for a while”, tells Slater. Slater always felt attracted by martial arts and only stopped training because of surfing. “I’ve only learned more about jiu-jitsu when I visited Brazil for the first time, in 1982. I met and became friends with many people of the Gracie family. Rickson used to surf in California and we exchanged surfboards for jiu-jitsu classes”, adds the Floridian.
At 41, Kelly Slater is old enough to be the father of some of his competitors on the Surfing World Tour. But the 11-time world champion — dubbed “King Kelly” — is far from washed up. At a time when his friends are settled down with families, the original surfing pin-up boy is still scoring perfect 10s on the international circuit. “Friends that were on tour with me 20 years ago, 10 years ago, are now family guys married with kids,” he said. “They say ‘I can’t believe you’re still doing it, that you’re looking for waves every day. But I want to surf better tomorrow. I want to surf better in 10 years. When I’m 50 I want to be a better surfer than I am now — for me it’s a lifelong journey.”
“Surfing is my religion, if I have one,” he said. “The barrel [the hollow of a breaking wave] is really the ultimate ride for any surfer. It’s the eye of the storm. Some guys say it’s like being in the womb. “For me it’s sort of like time slows down. You become hyper aware of a lot of different things — the way the wave is breaking, timing, putting yourself in the right part of the barrel. It takes all of your mental capacity to do it just right.”
Sunbathers flocking to Southern California beaches are used to feeding the meter or paying a parking attendant. Not so along the less developed north coast where it’s customary to ditch cars on the shoulder of Highway 1 to surf, swim or picnic.
That sandy line that long defined the state’s disparate beach culture may soon fade.
In search of new revenue, the state parks system is eyeing parking fees for parts of the Northern California shoreline where none existed or considering hiking rates to visit popular beaches south of Los Angeles during peak periods.
Out of California’s 1,100 miles of beach, a third is controlled by the state Department of Parks and Recreation. Officials say they’re under legislative orders to seek new sources of revenue and that a revamp of the parking payment structure is necessary to keep beaches open and to fund deferred maintenance.
Laird Hamilton It’s Okay If Lance Armstrong Cheated
Surfing legend Laird Hamilton thinks it’s BS that Lance Armstrong got stripped of his Tour de France titles, but not because he thinks doping is wrong, but because everyone was doing it. Hamilton took the unusual position when our our photog bumped into him yesterday in Malibu saying he believes that if everyone is cheating in a sport, then it’s “still an even playing field, it’s still the best guy wins.”
Hamilton also said he thinks the public coming down on athletes who are found to be cheating isn’t right, saying, “I think it’s a little bit of hypocrisy that we think these athletes are sterile people that are eating dry toast and then they’re performing at these high levels. Rocket ships need rocket fuel to go to space. Athletes need the fuel they need to do what they need to do and let’s be realistic about that.”
Laird Hamilton Jet Ski ‘Clowns’ RUINED MY SURFING SPOT!!!
Laird Hamilton’s latest surfin’ safari was a TOTAL DISASTER … all because greedy jet skiers have overrun and RUINED the Tahitian spot he made famous … the surfing icon tells TMZ. “They are so much more concerned with catching the next wave than with other surfers,” the 49-year-old big-wave pioneer said. “The chaos of the jet skis’ movement has a circus-like aspect. Some behaviors were borderline clownish.” Laird recalls several near-collisions at his famed spot off of Teahupo’o this week … even a few wipeouts caused by wave-grubbing jet skiers thrusting themselves in front of boarders. “I watched a few surfers go down hard,” he said.
He’s also taking issue with the number of wave-riders taking crazy risks just to capture video … “They’re all wearing a bunch of cameras, taking off on waves they have NO chance of making,” Laird told us. “They drop in just so they can have a photo of themselves … ‘Wow, look at me!'” For the uninitiated … back in 2000, Laird became a major name in surfing after dropping into a dangerous monster wave at the Teahupo’o break … forever cementing it as a go-to spot for big-wave surfers. The irony — he was only able to do it by being towed in … by a jet ski.