Hopefully, you’re not still reading this post come New Year’s day! Needless to say, it’s been an action packed year, and it seems like there was a potential highlight every week. So, I’ve tried to keep things short and only include the things that came to me off the top of my head in a little last minute alcohol fueled brainstorming session! Apparently, I’ve failed miserably… at keeping things short, anyway!
Innersection, the surf contest for surfers who don’t surf contests knows no rhyme or reason. Why they awarded the 2012 winner in mid-spring is beyond me. Albee Layer didn’t care either, just so long as the check for $100,000 didn’t bounce.
My full take on the matter, here.
Garrett of Nazaré
You’re right. Garret McNamara surfed his “90-footer” in Nazaré, Portugal in late November, 2011. As we know though, size matters, and the controversy as to how big Garret’s bomb actually was, wasn’t resolved until he won the Biggest Wave category at the Billabong XXL Awards and the Guinness Book of World Records entered him in officially at 78 feet sometime in early 2012.
Here’s ESPN’s opinion on the momentous occasion.
The Condor Claims the Crown
Pete Mel has had plenty of ups and downs over the course of his career and throughout his life. The highest of his highs came this year, now that he’s completely clean and sober, being crowned champion of the Big Wave World Tour!
Taj Goes for the Goldy
At the start of the year Taj was one of two Australians laying claim to the title of ‘most talented surfer to have never won the ASP World Title’. After his decimation of the field at the Quiky Pro on the Gold Coast, his legions of fans were hoping against hope that this would finally be his year. Wins at the Super Bank and Steamer Lane have had to suffice as consolation prizes.
The Blast Heard Round the World
Even though Mick Fanning won the thing, Kelly Slater’s Frontside 360 no grab air in the final at Bell’s Beach is what people were talking about and what people will still remember in 10 years time. They’ll have even forgotten that this was the first of many close heats in 2012 where the judging panel was far from seeing eye to eye with spectators on the beach and on the internet.
John John Cometh in Rio
It was only a matter of time before John John Florence won his first contest. Funnily enough, most pundits wouldn’t have expected the heir apparent to Kelly Slater to take his first WCT event win in sloppy Brazilian beach breaks. Maybe the overhead spitting tubes that blessed the event had John John feeling right at home?
Shea Lopez summed it up nicely in a piece for Surfer.
As summer kicked into full swing, the crazy characters at …lost enterprises released the surprisingly well produced War(d) Stories series. Anything involving one of the most talented, and off the wall human beings ever to set foot on a surfboard had to be worth watching.
However, intentionally or not, the only evidence it ever existed is the teaser. All 10 or so episodes seem to have gone missing in cyberspace. I’m not that surprised!
I’ll Just Sit in the Boat and Watch
Following in the footsteps of last year’s Code Red swell in Tahiti, a paddle in session for the ages went down at the inaugural edition of the Volcom Fiji Pro at the world renowned reef pass know as Cloudbreak. The contest was controversially called off as one of the largest rideable swells in the history of the sport focused itself on the Fijian archipelago where the world’s best big wave riders were waiting in the wings… ready, willing and able. The rest is history.
A Day in the Life
Surfing is quite possibly one of the greatest things ever invented. Here and Now by Taylor Steele and his band of merry pranksters, filmmakers and friends tells us why. All the footage was shot, all over the world, in one single day.
If you’d like to hear more about it, you can right here, right now.
Hiding in Plain Sight
There was plenty of sick surf this summer, but the best of it (the one day in Fiji aside) seemed to focus on a little strip of beach tucked away somewhere in Mainland Mexico… Greg Long and Oscar Moncada were the stars of the show.
Happy Gilmore Smiles Again
When Steph Gilmore handed the ASP World Champion trophy to Carissa Moore last year, she told her it was only a loan. She wasn’t kidding.
The whole story here as told to EpicTV by the press release from the Roxy Pro website.
Nate and Chippa Go Technicolor
Chromatic was my favorite film released this year. Probably because Nathan Fletcher and Chippa Wilson are two of my favorite surfers. For more reasons why, you can click here.
Too Cool for School
Dear Suburbia, was everyone else’s favorite film released this year. Probably because Dane Reynolds, John John Florence and Kolohe Andino star in it. For more of my worthless opinion on it, can click here… or not.
John John Strikes Again!
Take a handful of the world’s best aerialists, put them on a boat in Indonesia for a week or two, and tell them that the guy who sticks the best air of the trip wins $50,000 and this is what you get. It’s called the Kustom Air Strike and it was pretty rad. John John won.
North Shore in the South West
There are not many contests that Kelly Slater hasn’t won. The Quik Pro France was one of them until this year. But when Hawaiian style surf hits French shores, it kind of gets Kelly’s competitive juices flowing, and since Hossegor’s marquee spot of La Gravière did a very passable impression of Backdoor and Pipeline, it wasn’t too hard to get the monkey off his back.
More from me on the joys of all things French can be had here.
Final Day Highlights
The Whole Story
What Was the Score From the Russian Judge?
If the judges had copped a bit of flack for a few controversial heats up to this point in the year, it was nothing compared to the pile of scrap metal they had thrown at them by 99.9% of the Brazilian surfing community (and a fairly large contingent of international surf pundits too) when Gabriel Medina lost to Julian Wilson in the final of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
If you’re really interested you can find a lot of hateful (yet incredibly creative) memes concerning the result using the internet search engine of your choice. For a rather level headed response to the brouhaha with a slight Australian bias, peruse Nick Carroll’s piece from Surfing Life.
Better Than LSD
Bending Colours is brought to you by Red Bull and Kai Neville, so it lives up to the hype. When Kai came out with Dear Suburbia, a lot of people were scratching their heads wondering why one of his golden boys didn’t feature in it at all. Well, it turns out Jordy and Kai hadn’t had a lovers’ quarrel, but instead were off having a sneaky tryst on their own, and the occasional ménage à trios with Julian Wilson…
Here‘s what Stu Nettle from Swellnet has to say about it all… except the bit about the ménage à trios.
The Making of
Albee Damned, Again!
No, Albee Layer didn’t win Innersection again. He hasn’t even entered this year, and voting is still open for final edits anyway! What he has done is pull the first ever Alley-Oop 360 on a surfboard… and guys are losing it! Surfers can be so dumb sometimes! The board spins 360°, people! Yes, it’s an insane, never been done before on a surfboard aerial, but it’s not a double rotation, it’s not a 720… Hell, it’s not even a 540 unless you count the revert after he touches back down on the water! Go watch some some vert skating or snowboarders riding pipe. Then come back and let’s talk.
Paddle In Pe’ahi
Another thing Albee did with his friends was score a sick paddle session at Pe’ahi, the break on Maui otherwise know as Jaws. Lots of guys took major gas. Lots of guys got the rides of their lives. Shane Dorian quite simply cemented his reputation as baddest ass mofo to ever stand up on a surfboard.
The Isle, Episode 7
Gabriel Medina may have lost the Final in Portugal to Julian Wilson, and he may have lost the ASP Rookie of the Year award to John John Florence, but he did something that neither of them has ever done… a backflip! And he’s stuck 3 of them this season on the North Shore alone. Only two other surfers in history can claim to have stuck that trick: Tim Curran and Flynn Novak. So, Gaby’s got that going for him!
Seabass Seals the Deal
Kauai boy, Sebastian Zietz, dominated the Vans Triple Crown competition on the North Shore of Hawaii this winter. He won $100,000 dollars cash, a $30,000 dollar Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a $10,000 dollar diamond studded Nixon watch. And he doesn’t even care, ’cause he qualified for the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour! That is something he does care about… very, very much.
Bridesmaid No More
All the #GoParko stuff paid off really bore fruit. The fifth time is the charm apparently. I mean, how much would it hurt to be the 5-time runner up to the ASP World Title? It would suck! About frickin’ time, I reckon, mate!
Here are a few words from our new World Champ thanks to the chaps with the all access surf star passes over at Surfline!
Happy holidays, surfers! May your cups runneth over and your barrels be hollow and deep!