The buzz around the ASP WCT for 2014 has gone from dead quiet to blowing the lid off in the space of the last week. After much rumblings about ZoSea taking over last year, the whole 2014 tour just seemed to fall off the radar. But it's sure made up for it.
First up, Samsung Galaxy get announced as the title sponsor for the whole tour. Interesting. But not spectacular. But who woulda guessed the bombshell that got dropped this week. JBay is back! After a 3 year hiatus the world's best right point break gets to strut it's stuff for the world's best surfers. The news was accompanied by much whooping and hollering, and rightly so. Hard to beat sitting on the beach & watching guys like Jordy, Parko, Kelly and the young guns just tear those perfect walls apart.
But amidst all the fanfare of us all thinking they're bloody wonderful for bringing the CT back to our shores, it transpires that Oakley told them to fly a kite for the Bali Pro at Kerama's. The ASP is changing brands premium prices for naming rights at new events on tour (like Bali) and is giving the stalwarts like Bells, Snapper and France big discounts.
So with Oakley no longer on board to take the naming rights for Bali cos it felt it was being ripped off, it became a lil easier to think about reverting back to Jbay for the July slot (the Bali Pro came about to replace Jbay when it fell away in 2011). Of course, it's still flipping awesome that they did make the call to come back to JBay...but one wonders if this woulda been the case had Oakley stayed committed to Bali?
That's all hypothetical now, as thanks to the nod from JBU, the local council and Surfing South Africa we're back in the game. And ain't that schweeeet!
Let's just hope the Jbay Open can secure a sponsor who'll make it a really flagship event. And time is running short. Times not only ticking for JBay, of the 21 events in the men's and women's WCT, only 12 have naming rights sponsors. Despite Samsung ponying up half the cash per event, it still costs $1 million bucks a pop to stick your name to one. Gotto have a biggish piggy bank for that.
And no-one has really seemed to work out yet how ZoSea make their money back in all this. Cos other than getting bucks from Samsung and naming sponsors...where's the money coming from? Let's just hope they don't decide to start toying with pay-per-view for webcasts.
So what sorta changes are on the cards for this year? New commentary team, same judges. Turns out we're stuck with the same judging panel, though a specialist priority judge will be part of every WCT in 2014. Turns out he'll be an important guy - cos thankfully the priority rule is seeing a major revamp.
Thankfully it'll see the end of priority blocking - that whole doff practice of just staying glued to a guys ass for the last 5 minutes of a heat so he can't catch a wave and hence maybe beat you. From now on, they'll effectively only get to use it once. But the new priority rule is phrased so trickily that ASP Commissioner Kieran Perrow will have his work cut out for him when he tried to explain it to the surfers for the upcoming event at Snapper.
No doubt it'll see it's fair share of controversy cos it sounds like there's some room for interpretation. You know they're expecting kak when they've planned to have a special judge at each event just for that!
Good to see that the ASP's drug policy now leaves no margin for error. No professional surfer can be in any doubt about the policy or the drugs involved: a full list of banned substances is included in the rulebook. Testing will be carried out at random and while the ASP will not reveal on whom and when, the organization is committed to making public any positive testing and penalties that result. Who knows, one of the best surfers on the planet might still be around today had they had this in place when he was on tour?
Last of the significant changes to the rule book is the injury wild-card situation. Owen Wright is the first guy to get a very early Christmas present. He gets a gift seeding at 13th, even though he dropped out before halfway last year. The new rule change gives a high ranked injury wildcard a boost toward his earlier ranking (so Owen was ranked 10th at the end of 2012, when he suffered his back injury). Sure is gonna be a lot easier draw from 13th than from 35th.
Let's just hope the dust settles, and 2014 brings us stellar surfing in epic conditions. Bring it oooooon!
5th Trial- Dredging East Beach Port Alfred
By Gregg Clarke
Joef! Things are getting tight going into the last trial! Okes are gunning for those last remaining spots in the EP team with the 25th SA longboard champs around the corner and set to be the biggest showdown to date!
Lets get to it….
Saturday saw a moderate east blowing (which to my amazement doesn’t really affect East Beach), with some chunky 4ft waves coming through. Im sure all who surfed the trial will agree it was some of the best waves we’ve had so far with some high 8’s being scored. There were even barrels on offer for those willing to take off on the outside sets and pull in to those dredgy 4ft suckers! Lots of fun!
Winners in Junior Divisions:
U14 Boys: Kye Macgregor
U16 Boys: Tom Radford
U18 Boys: Peter Coffey
1st) Gregg Clarke
2nd) Jamie Morris
3rd) Brian Doep
4th) Dave Leverington
1st) Magreet Wibblelink
2nd) Kerry Viljoen
Ballies (some grey others not yet):
Greg Betts (new comer to EP longboarding), smashed his heat to get a solid first and making the Grand Masters division very interesting going into the last trial at Hullets.
Dave Macgregor scored the best wave of the day with a 9.5, very close to a perfect score, with some great top to bottom surfing and a good mix of old school surfing as well. This made it almost impossible for anyone to catch him. In second place was former SA longboard champ Drew Macdonald.
Both Martin Haines and Gavin “seamonkey” Seaman won their respective divisions with some critical floaters and classic turns.
Probably the funnest final we’ve had this year! Really heavy take off’s with long grinding right handers peeling off the bank, allowed for great new school surfing with even an air thrown in the final! I got the waves and scored a first, with Dave Leverington having a great heat to secure second place. Junior Cuan “vert man” Macgregor decided to enter the open division at his home break to get a third, and pip one or two of the open surfers. Dane van Greneun got a 4th place, pushing him right up the seedings.
It really was a great contest with a good turnout from the EP surfers. I want to again thank the Kowie Boardriders club, for allowing us the chance to surf their local spot. Lastly, well done to local Richard Heny who won his heat in convincing fashion! We hope to see you surfing the full trials next year!
See you all at Hullets next weekend (2nd March)- its gonna be a cracker with waves forecast!!
(Photo's coming soon!)
Nothing like a bit of skinner & skandaal to start the season. Anyone remember Lewis Samuels Power Rankings that used to air on Surfline back in 2007? If you were a pro surfer on tour and you had a weakness Lewis let the world know what is was - in glowing neon lights. Turned out that pro-surfers weren't exactly the tough-skinned variety and more than one ran off crying to their sponsors, who cos they wielded some media clout back in the day over magazines & the surf industry in general, tended to get their way. And Surfline dropped Lewis's Power Rankings like a hot potato.
He then went on to create the terribly witty, yet un-erringly controversial, PostSurf. But finally the pressure of the industry musta got to him cos after 9 hilarious months PostSurf was plucked from our world in 2010. Back to "stay between the lines" surf journalism yet again. Yawn.
Then the new-look ASP thought maybe they should spice things up for 2014. Turns out they still can't manage anything with a bit of heat though. After asking Lewis to resurrect his Power Rankings of the 2014 surfers for their new-look website, they then proceeded to yank them off the site just 3 days later. No doubt lil surfers running off to cry to mommy again. And despite the big brands not having the clout they once did, it seems they still have enough to get the ASP to do their bidding if required.
Part 1 of the Power Ranking aired on Valentines Day. The next day, it had vanished. As had all the facebook & twitter posts that had in anyway been related to it. Blink and you miss it. I did. Now all you get if you're trying to link back to it on the ASP site is a "Page not Found" message.
Luckily for us a blogger called Daynolds copied it and kindly posted the reviews of the 2014 ASP surfers ranked from 18-34, so that the rest of us can still see what the ASP did a 180 degree turn on. Such a pity we didn't get to see Part 1. Who knows, maybe Lewis will leak it out one day....
(just click each pic to see the larger version if you have kak eye-sight)
Finally some news from the ASP about the new-look for the 2014 season. New look cos remember a bunch of ou's called ZoSea are now in charge, having wrested away control of the world surf tour from the old boys club of the established surf brands for the princely sum of zero dollars.
People had started getting a bit nervous about the change when up until a week ago absolutely nothing had been announced about the 2014 tour, so was it going to be same old same old.
But now we have some news. Biggish news too. Samsung Galaxy have just been announced as the title sponsors of the 2014 WCT, which means it's now officially known as the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour.
The sponsorship covers both the mens and womens tours, so 21 events in total. What is means is that Samsung carry the lion's share of the costs of the events, and then secondary sponsors come on board for each individual event. So comp's will still go under the same names as previously, such as the Billabong Pipeline Pro or the Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast, but at least the brands will only be coughing up a fraction of the bucks that it used to cost them to stage the event.
All the webcast, crew and judging costs are picked up by Samsung now, and far as I know it's just the prize money that the brands now put -up, and obviously all the peripheral costs of hosting the event itself.
It also means a standardised commentary team for the webcasts, as opposed to each brand having "their" crew behind the mike.
Mostly it's a really decent looking team, although a few peeps might groan at the inclusion of Joe Turpel. But definitely some guys there that will call a spade a shovel which is great. The core commentary team includes Pat Parnell, Joe Turpel, Ross Williams and Martin Potter, supported by Peter Mel, Rosy Hodge, Todd Kline, Strider Wasilewski and Ronnie Blakey.
Martin, Ross, Strider and Ronnie will revel in being able to call it like they see it now they're freed from sponsor obligations. Cool to see Saffa Rosy Hodge getting a slot too - although some of the shorter guys on tour will no doubt be intimidated by getting interviewed by a chick who towers over them!
Haven't seen any announcements yet about the judging panel, so going to have to wait and see whether the same crew of judges stays in place for this year - they took a fair bit of flack last year about some sketchy decisions.
The 11-event mens WCT kicks off on 1 March at Snapper Rocks.
Bring it on!
Is this Jordy's year!?
Go check out the new look ASP website here.
Props to local surf club CYOH for getting second spot in the Billabong Interclub champs this weekend, as well as some other awesome accolades:
Official press release:
The JBU Surf Club win the 2014 Billabong SA Interclub Championships
The Jeffrey’s Bay based JBU Surf Club were popular winners of the 2014 Billabong SA Interclub Championships which took place hot and sometimes humid conditions and highly contestable 2-4 foot surf at Kitchen Windows in Jeffrey’s Bay at the weekend.
Twelve teams representing eleven Surf Clubs from all parts of the South African coast participated in the second annual Interclub Surfing Championships. The event was sponsored by Billabong, supported by Sport and Recreation South Africa, presented by Surfing South Africa and hosted by the J Bay Boardriders who are members of Eastern Province Surfing Council.
The JBU were the first team to enter the 2014 Interclub Championships and started as sixth in this year’s tournament but as the new champions will not only be seeded first next year but will also get to host the event as the venue of their choice.
The JBU team of Manager Koffie Jacobs, Coach and surfer Shannon Ainslie, Kelvin Zehmke, Rewaldo Abersalie, Joshe Faulkner and Jelaine Hermitte made a slow start to the event on Day One, coming second to the West Coast Boardriders in Round One but Day Two was a different story as the JBU dominated each round they competed in.
Their 171.2 point score in the final was 7 points higher than the total scored by the winning team in 2013 and just over 6 points higher this year’s second placed CYOH Surf Club from Port Elizabeth.
Last year’s hosts, the West Coast Boardriders had looked in fine form from Round one but slipped up in the final. Not only did their team members fail to find the high scoring waves but one of their surfers was also penalized for an “interference” and they had to settle for third place for the second year in a row. Their score was 126.8 just 1.7 points ahead of the fourth placed J Bay Boardriders Club’s B Team.
J Bay Boardriders A team, the 2013 champions and the Kowie Boardriders from Port Alfred were both eliminated in the semi finals.
The full results of the tournament and pictures will be posted on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za on Monday February 17th.
At a well supported award ceremony held on the beach at Kitchen Windows, Surfing South Africa Vice President presented the South African Interclub Trophy and gold, silver, bronze and copper medals to the team members that competed in the finals.
He also presented the Spirit Award to the CYOH Surf Club as acknowledgement of their great team spirit throughout the event.
In addition a valuable gift hamper donated by the sponsors made up of Billabong, Da Kine and Von Zipper products was raffled to raise funds for South African surfer Simon Nicholson’s wife Jess who is fighting cancer. The raffle raised R1550 and in a wonderful gesture the Natural Energy Surf Club added R3000 to the kitty. The money will be paid across to the jesswellsoon fund to help Jess cover her enormous medical costs. Private donations can be made by going to www.gofundme.com/jessgetwellsoon
In winning the 2014 championships the JBU Surf Club earned the right to host the 2015 Billabong SA Interclub Championships at a venue of their choice next year. They will also be the top seeds at the 2015 South African Interclub Championships.
The 2014 Billabong Interclub Championships is a Surfing South Africa event made possible by the support received from Sport and Recreation South Africa.
Surfing South Africa (SSA) is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by Sport and Recreation South Africa.
Jeffrey’s Bay to host the 2014 Billabong South African Interclub Championships this weekend.
Twelve teams representing eleven surf clubs from all parts of South Africa will be in action at Kitchen Windows in Jeffrey’s Bay this weekend where the second annual Billabong SA Interclub Championships is scheduled to take place.
The Billabong SA Interclub Championships is presented by Surfing South Africa, supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and hosted by the J Bay Boardriders Surf Club who won the tournament in Yserfontein on the West Coast of Cape Town last February.
In winning the event in February 2013 the J Bay Boardriders earned the right to chose their “stadium” for this year’s and enter two teams into the contest.
The Eastern Cape is well represented by a total of seven surf clubs. These are made up of the J Bay Boardriders, the JBU and the J Bay Surf Club, all of whom draw their membership from the Jeffrey’s Bay community, the powerful CYOH Surf Club and fellow Port Elizabeth clubs Sunset, the oldest surf club in South Africa, and the newly formed Gravitas Surf Club. The Kowie Boardriders Club from Port Alfred will be joining their Eastern Cape counterparts at the event for the first time.
Last year’s hosts, the well organized West Coast Boardriders Club, will travel to Jeffrey’s Bay determined to bring the Interclub trophy back to the “weskus” and club chairman Josh “Dutchie” Louw has picked a solid team. Louw is fiercely proud of his club and his team riders and is determined to prove that they are the best club in South Africa.
Other clubs from the Western Cape are Natural Energy from the Strand, the Maties from the University of Stellenbosch and the newly formed 9 Miles Surf Club who are based in the Strandfontein area.
The 2014 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will use the Aloha Cup “tag” format which sees teams of four men and one woman competing against each in a 50 minute heat. All the points scored by each of the surfers count towards the final team score.
Although competition will be fierce in the water the annual Interclub Championships is an extremely social affair once the heats are over. With this in mind the famous Mexican Restaurant will host the social function when the surfing is over for the day on Saturday. All participants at the event are welcome to enjoy what the Mexican has to offer.
Josh Enslin, the Billabong Team & Events Manager is looking forward to the tournament. “ In the spirit of our commitment to roots surfing, we are super stoked to support the 2014 Billabong Interclub Championships. This event offers surf clubs from all parts of South Africa the opportunity to get together with fellow competitors, friends and family. It is a chance for everyone to have a good time while crowning the 2014 SA Club Champions. It is great to partner with Surfing South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and we look forward to staying involved in club surfing well into the future. On behalf of Billabong South Africa our thanks go to defending champions and hosts J Bay Boardriders, the JBU, EP Surfing Council and the Kouga Municipality for their support and assistance. Best of luck to all the participating clubs.”
All Teams are requested to meet at Kitchen Windows in Jeffrey’s Bay at 8am for an 8.30am start.
The names of the team members, the heats and the format will be available on the Surfing South Africa website www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za from Thursday evening.
The 2014 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will be fueled by Red Bull.
Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the recognized governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.
By Gregg Clarke
Stoked! Waves again. Good waves in fact, with sunny skies and a light cross/offshore wind. Pretty much the perfect longboard wave, with waves offering all the sections needed to get within the excellent scoring range. Photos courtesy of Peter Coffey (who clapped his heat!), to follow shortly.
It went down like this….
Legends division was once again won by John Macleod who after much thought has come out of retirement (again), to try win back his SA legends title from previous years. John was also the only surfer to wear booties, while most surfers opted for baggies only. At least his wetsuit was the right way round this time, I kid you not!!
Veterans, one of the most fiercely contested divisions, saw Alan Byram winning with great top to bottom surfing and all round use of the waves. Lippy has been keeping a close eye on Alan, and is currently seeded 2nd.
Grand Kahunas winner- Greg Smith. He is also shaping amazing high performance longboards and traditional logs for those interested, give him a call.
Dave Macgregor smoked the kahunas division scoring a high 9 on one of his waves some saying the wave was a perfect 10! Great surfing from this division, with Drew Macdonald getting a 2nd place.
Craig Cuffs car broke down, much to the delight of his fellow competitors! Craig Sponneck capitalised to win the division. Andrew Scott had a wedding on the previous night….
In the other divisions: Britney Linder still looking like the girl to win the SA u18 girls title, u14 super grom Kye Macgreor is literally the most amped surfer in the world. U16 Alex v Rijsvick won his division again, and so did u18 Peter Coffey. Both on fire at the moment.
Open ladies saw Mia Baard winning, with her classic style of longboard surfing. This division is going to get interesting as we head down to the last remaining trials at East Beach (Port Alfred) and Hullets (St Francis). 3 girls gunning for the number one spot Mia, Hannah and Michelle.
Open mens, I must once again emphasize how tough this division has been this year! The most ever entrants (that I can remember), with some really top guys all gunning for one of the top 6 positions available to make the team. Mike Hill is carrying a frustrating back injury which saw him withdraw from the Senior mens division entirely, and had to settle for a 5th position on the day.
We know Mike will come back strong and wish him a speedy recovery! Dane van Greunen couldn’t stop smiling when he made the final, after a couple of hiccups along the way at this years trials. He just couldn’t get the best waves in the final and had to settle for a solid 4th. I got third (again), but did manage to win the senior mens! Yay for me!
Dean “I snake Gregg Clarke” Simpson finally got pipped for first by Matthew Macleod, who silenced many people who thought his previous 2nd was a fluke. Matt’s really looking consistent and like his older brother cannot be given an inch in a heat, he will punish you. Check out all the previous results and heats below.
See you all at Port Alfred 22 or 23 Feb, East Beach here we come…
DNS = Did not surf