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Extremehorizon Surfing Blog

Extremehorizon surf blog providing: regular surfing news, updates, stories, surf pictures, product reviews, surfer interviews and anything from the world of actions sports which is begging to be blogged!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

What kit do we really need? :Top 10 surfer accessories

Theres a massive choice of surfer accessories and toys available on the market today, from the sublime to the ridiculous (perhaps Surfer Monopoly for the latter?), but what constitutes a useful item required by a surfer to live a fuller life? Firstly we aren't going to include the obvious items into our top 10, because, when breaking it down to the absolute, all we need is wax and a surfboard, without these we ain't going anywhere. Then the next step up the chain is a wetsuit and leash which are a must for certain conditions. Without these items theres no point going to the beach. What we are looking at is the peripheral stuff that although isn't an absolute must, but will make a surfers life much easier. Heres goes:

1. Access to the internet: Years ago surf forecasting was a matter of seeing if a pine cone was open or closed and occasionally checking out the pressure charts in the newspaper or on TV. Forecasting a classic day was more hit and miss but a certain level of understanding weather patterns brought its rewards. Now all we have to do is log on to the web and its all there, swell heights, swell period, wind speed and direction, tide times, air and sea temps and theres even some websites that add all this together and provide star ratings to tell us how good its going to be and remove the necessity to even think for ourselves. Its a bit souless I guess but useful nonetheless. Then theres info on where and when to surf. The internet now seems to list every surf break on the planet with details on how to get there, where to park, where to sit in the line up etc...again its pretty souless but the info is out there.
2. Tide timetable: The world over the tide state affects our surfing experience to varying extents and catching the tide right can mean the difference between an epic or a crap session.
3. Fins: Theres a massive choice of fins available these days and choosing the right ones can make a big difference to your surfing
4. Keypod: Most of us use a car to get to the beach and for years we've had the dilema of where to leave car keys when surfing and for years we've just hidden them someone on or near the car. This has given rise to endless key mishap related stories, so the use of a Keypod key safe is a real bonus. Lock your keys in it and attach it to something secure. Alternatively use a waterproof pouch and take a key with you.
5. Changing Mat: There are a range of changing mats available but the Northcore C-Mat is one of the better ones. Open it up into a large flat circle and stand on it when getting changed so that none of the crap from the carpark ends up on your wetsuit, your feet are protected (useful in a gravel carpark or on frosty/snowy days) and your wet gear is kept safe and away from everything else when the bag is closed.
6. Board bags: A good board bag means that you can travel and it limits the risk of your mate smashing your board when chucking it in the van or when a grumpy baggage handler throws it into a aircraft hold.
7. A Car: Unless you are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a surf break, then access to one of these things is damn useful. Ideally though get a diesel and run it on bio-fuel
8. Aircraft: I'm not saying buy one of these but by using one we can experience the joys of travel and surfing in amazing locations. It goes without saying that flying isn't eco friendly so try and offset all flights by using a CO2 offsetting scheme.
9. Sunblock: Obviously only necessary closer to the equator or during summer, but without it we'd all be burnt to a crisp and be scratching mysterious skin growths.
10. Lockjaw board lock: When going surfing theres going to be times when you need to leave your surfboard unattended, so lock it up with a board lock otherwise some little scally with look after it for you. No board, no surf

You may agree, disagree or think other items should be added but in the end its down to personal preference....happy surfing :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Aussie Bede Durbridge is Triple crown champ

Australian Bede Durbidge secured his second Foster’s ASP World Tour win and the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing Series title with a victory at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, the 10th and final event on the 2007 Foster’s ASP World Tour, today.

Durbidge posted 16.67 points out of 20.00 to finish first in the four-man final over Dean Morrison (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) respectively. The new ASP ‘Dual Heats’ format was used from Round 2 through the Quarterfinals and conditions at Pipeline, Backdoor and Off the Wall – the breaks within the contest zone today –were small and in the three-foot (one metre) range.

“I'm absolutely over the moon right now,” Durbidge said. “Obviously the conditions weren't classic Pipeline, but the competition was still pretty intense. We had the new dual heat format and a lot of guys were on the bubble for qualification so there were a lot of hungry guys out there in this event. I've just tried to keep a cool head all season whether it be with sponsors or freesurfing or heats and that was really my approach out there today. 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."

Durbidge, who started the season unsponsored and financing his own way around the world, won US$40,000 in cash, a limited edition $25,000 Chevy Colorado truck and a custom $10,000 Nixon watch today. He is the first Australian to win the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title since Mike Rommesle did so in 1997. With the exception of American Kelly Slater who claimed the Triple Crown Title in 1998, a Hawaiian has taken top honors ever since.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Occy Retires from Pro-Tour

Occhilupo, who at age 41 is the oldest full-time competitor on tour, was 17 when he finished 16th in the world in 1983. The following year, he was rated No. 3 and the year after he would win at Pipeline. However, too much too soon would prove to be near-fatal for Occhilupo who battled demons and dropped off the tour in 1987. A decade of failed attempts to regain his winning form went by before a rejuvenated and focused Occhilupo retook the ASP World Tour by storm in 1997 and finished runner-up to Kelly Slater. In 1999, Occhilupo won three of his 12 World Tour victories to post one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history by winning the ASP World Title at the age of 33.

”I really love competing and I’ll definitely miss that as much as my friends I’ve made on tour,” Occhilupo said. “It’s just been such a good ride, it’s been about 15 years on and off, but the time I took off and then came back and won my World Title, that was probably the best. No regrets, it’s been sensational and just to have all my friends on the beach today, I know they probably had to get up early to make it down here this morning, but they’re all there so that’s something that I’ll treasure and remember forever.”

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Stephanie Gilmore crowned 2007 ASP World Champion

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) has just made ASP History as the first-ever surfer to claim the ASP World Title in their rookie season, having bested fellow contenders Sofia Mulanovich (PER) and Silvana Lima (BRA) in Round 3 competition today at the Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay.

The 19-year old from Coolangatta, Australia, blitzed past opponent Rochelle Ballard (HAW) with a stunning performance to advance through to the Quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Maui after rival Mulanovich went down to wildcard Keala Kennelly (HAW) in a surprise Round 3 elimination.

“Surprisingly, I did quite well to not watch Sofia’s heat at all, and I didn’t even know that Keala (Kennelly) had won until right before my heat was about to start,” Gilmore said. “That was interesting. I guess it was awesome for me. I was stoked. It pretty much just fired me up when I heard that, and then the next wave I got barreled.”

With Mulanovich eliminated, and following her phenomenal win over the veteran Ballard, Gilmore needed fellow rookie Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) to defeat remaining contender Silvana Lima (BRA) in the final heat of the day to seal the ASP Women’s World Title.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Europe's first artificial surf reef at Boscombe gets greenlight

Europe’s first artificial surf reef at Boscombe got the green light today. The Marine and Fisheries Agency has granted Bournemouth Borough Council a special environment licence to begin construction of the project. The Council is on course to start construction in spring 2008, with the reef anticipated to be completed in time for the October 2008 swell.

MFA chief executive, Nigel Gooding said: “We are delighted to be able to issue a licence under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. “A number of complex issues to ensure the protection of the marine environment had to be considered. The MFA had to take into account the potential impact of the reef on local fishermen and any possible danger to navigation. All the issues have been resolved,” he said.

The Borough has also approved the reef in its statutory capacity as the Coastal Protection Authority. Specialist construction material for the reef will be ordered, including the ecologically sound geo-textile bags from Australia and the webbing base from New Zealand. Roger Brown, Head of Leisure Services at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Christmas has come early to Bournemouth. This is the fantastic news that everyone has been waiting for.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Pipe Masters Kicks off in Hawaii

Defending Billabong Pipeline Masters champion Andy Irons (Hawaii) bolted out of the gates with a blistering performance in the opening heat of the competition today. Making the most of the morning's clean waves of six- to eight-feet, a combination of solid scores earned at both Backdoor and Pipe netted him the highest heat score of the day: 17.5 out of a maximum 20 points.

"It's always good to be at Pipeline with three other guys out," said Irons. "Even though it's 4-feet, it's a pleasure to be out there. It's the end of the year, it's the last event, it's Pipeline and there's so much hype. It's one of the best waves in the world."

"It would be really nice to have big Pipe and Backdoor," said Kelly Slater. "I think when it's bigger it opens up the field a little more. When it's smaller like this it becomes easier for the tour guys." Current Vans Triple Crown Series ratings leader Bede Durbidge (Australia) continued his stellar run with a first round heat win against local Fred Patacchia, former world champion Mark Occhilupo (Australia), and Daniel Wills (Australia).

The men's Billabong Pipeline Masters runs concurrently with the women's Billabong Pro Maui, held at Honolua Bay, Maui. That event was postponed today due to small surf. These two events will wrap up the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for 2007 and determine this year's Series champions. The women's Billabong Pro Maui will also determine the 2007 ASP women's world champion.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Assist Al Gore to get the World's governments to address Global Warming

In seven days 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore is going to address the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Surfersvillage and Earthwave have signed his petition showing their support for the important call for a visionary treaty to address the climate crisis. We hope you will too.

The world's elected leaders must take the steps necessary to solve global warming. It's not too late. We have the opportunity now to improve the Earth's future for our children, and their children. If we don't act, we will only have ourselves to blame. Please spend one minute of your time to sign the petition today.

We encourage you to forward this page to everyone in your address book. The Climate Crisis is the greatest threat the planet has ever faced!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Laird Hamilton rescues friend in 80ft Hawaiian surf

WAILUKU, Maui — Ever in search of the 100-foot wave, extreme surfing star Laird Hamilton came to the aid of a fellow surfer off Maui. Brett Lickle, who was rescued by Hamilton, said of his dramatic rescue "the most intense thing I've been through."

Lickle said Hamilton stripped naked so he could tie his surf trunks into a tourniquet after Lickle suffered a huge gash on his leg in a wipeout on what he said was an 80-foot ocean wave. Lickle, 47, was recovering Wednesday at home in Haiku.

In the incident Monday at a tow-in surf spot called Outer Spreks, Lickle says he was cut by the fin of a board on the Honda AquaTrax watercraft he and Hamilton had used to get to the spot where the waves were breaking. He says he was trying to stay ahead of the monster wave, but it crashed down on him.

Hamilton is among extreme surfers who have pioneered in the riding of superwaves that ordinary surfers don't tackle. He and fellow big-waver Dave Kalama premiered a short film, "All Aboard the Crazy Train," on tow-in surfing in 2005, warning that it wasn't a sport for the inexperienced. Hamilton also was among surfers performing in feature-length films highlighting the sport, "Step Into Liquid" and "Riding Giants."

The outer reef off Spreckelsville is a big challenge for big-wave surfers. "If ever you're going to find a 100-footer, it's there," said Lickle. He and Hamilton had surfed the area in the morning and then returned in the afternoon when the accident occurred. He said only one other tow-in team was on the waves at the time.

Lickle said he was trying to outrun the looming water wall in the watercraft when it caught him. Hamilton was in tow. "I'm in big trouble," he said he told himself. After the wave crashed down on them, he reunited with Hamilton about three quarters of a mile offshore. One fear, Lickle said, was the blood from his wound would attract tiger sharks that hover around the Maui shoreline.

He said that after tying the tourniquet, Hamilton swam "like a bat out of hell" for about a half mile to recover the watercraft. Surfers said ocean conditions on Monday created waves of historic size. "There were the biggest waves that any of us have seen," said Buzzy Kerbox, another Maui big-wave surfer who saw the Outer Spreks waves but chose to taken on another surf spot.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Giant Spanish waves qualify for entry into Billabong XXL

Last weekend's big swell that struck Ireland and delivered the biggest waves on record, also saw Spain produce several BillabongXXL entries. Ibon Amatriain and Adur Letamendia surfed some Iberian monsters at Playa Gris, in Northern Spain. The photo here taken by David Gonzalez shows just how massive the swell was.

Ibon Amatriain an Invitee to the 2007/2008 Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, in Memory of Eddie Aikau attended the event opening ceremonies in Hawaii last Friday, and immediatley afterwards jumped on a flight back to Spain in time to catch this outstanding Atlantic swell, and record his XXL entries

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Rochelle Ballard retires from World tour

After over a decade and a half of competing amongst the best female surfers on the planet, Hawaiian powerhouse and all round nice lady, Rochelle Ballard will be surfing in her last event on the ASP Women’s World Tour, the Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay from December 8-20, 2007.

The legendary veteran has had a star-studded career, finishing 2nd in 2004 as well as developing into one of the premier female big wave surfers on the planet. After a solid season in Hawaii already, look for Rochelle to punctuate her career with an impressive showing in Maui.

Her career highlights include a 2nd place on the ASP world tour in 2004

Pic: Matt Strathern

Monday, 3 December 2007

Surfers ride the biggest swell to hit the UK and Ireland in years

It look like the lads nailed it as Ireland was battered this weekend by the largest ocean swells ever predicted by the Marine Institute’s weather buoys (14 metres). The group of four surfers braved the stormy conditions to successfully take on the biggest waves ever ridden in the British and Irish Isles, off Mullaghmore Head, south Donegal Bay, Ireland. Duncan Scott (Newquay, Cornwall, UK), Alistair Mennie (Portrush, N.Ireland), Gabe Davies (Newcastle, UK) and Ritchie Fitzgerald (Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland) motored out at first light on two jetskis to await the arrival of the massive, storm-driven swells.

With manageable winds forecasted for early Sat morning, ahead of the arrival of the full brunt of the storm, the surfers had a fleeting window for tide, wind and swell to coincide favourably. The session produced what appears to be the biggest ridden surf ever recorded in the British and Irish Isles. It was, for these surfers at least, the ‘perfect storm.’

‘You could wait years for another opportunity like this. None of us have ever seen a more promising forecast to tow into some of the biggest waves of our lives,’ commented Portrush’s Mennie. The surfers had been watching the internet weather and swell forecasts for days in anticipation of the swell’s arrival.

Pic: Kelly Allen

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Record size waves predicted for West Coast Ireland today


Massive waves are set to batter the western shores of the British and Irish Isles this weekend, and a small group of dedicated surfers are ready to take up the challenge of riding the biggest swells forecasted in recent years.

Swell forecasters are predicting the arrival of powerful swells peaking Saturday afternoon of 38 feet (12.5m) high. There is an 18- second wave interval between the crest of successive waves, a daunting measure of the power behind these swells, generated by a 960 mb low-pressure system out in the Atlantic west of Ireland.

Once the swell comes out of deep water off Mullagmore Head, Donegal Bay, onto a shallow reef shelf, the waves can double in size as the wave crest is forced upwards by the changing seafloor contours, making waves heights greater then 55ft faces likely for the surfers.

The four surfers who are looking forward to the oceanic equivalent of summiting Mount Everest are Duncan Scott (Newquay, UK), Alistair Mennie (Portrush, IE), Gabe Davies (Newcastle, UK) and Ritchie Fitzgerald (Bundoran, IE.)

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