Friday, October 18, 2013

Ottz Nails it in Portugal

Kai Otten has just nailed his maiden World Tour event at Supertubos in Portugal. He took on the newly crowned ASP Rookie of the Year Nat Young in a wave starved final and found enough scoring waves to secure the win of the  Rip Curl Pro.

Kai has been on the tour since 2007 and was actually Rookie of the Year in his first year but the results have not come easy. Over the past 12 months things has come together for the goofy footer, a new sponsorship with Reef and a new quiver of Al Merrick's under his feet. There have been a lot of close heats over the past 12 months too, very frustrating for Kai but last night in Portugal that was all forgotten  when he held the trophy above his head and was drenched in champagne.

“It’s the weirdest feeling ever, I just can’t comprehend it,” an ecstatic Otton said. “I really want to dedicate it to my Granddad, he passed away the year I qualified and never saw me on tour so this is for him. It seems like this event was a little bit of a grind, every heat the tide changed so dramatically you never really knew what was going to happen!”

Kai had forced the 2013 World Tilte race to hawaii when he kncoked out ratings laeader Mick Fanning in the quater finals.  The World Title could have been warpped up at the Rip Curl Pro but Kai's win and Mick's loss meant that for the second year running it's going to be a two horse race at Pipe with between kelly Slater , who is going for his 12th and Mick Fanning as ratings leader going for his 3rd. A nail biting finish is guaranteed.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters is final stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour, Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater remain in contention for the World Title. Following Fanning’s fifth place in Portugal, Slater must win the Pipe Masters to surpass Fanning for the ASP World Title. If Slater is to win the event, Fanning must place 3rd or better to claim the title for himself. 

Kai, who now sits at No. 7 on the ASP WCT rankings following the victory, has been one of the most consistent surfers in 2013 and his road to victory in Portugal saw the Australian take on the world’s best surfers. The goofy-footer was unstoppable on the final day of competition, defeating Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence  two-time ASP World Champion and current rankings leader Mick Fanning and reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson en route to the final.

“One of the things that has changed for me this year is my girlfriend being pregnant, I’m pretty excited about that,” siad Kai after the win. “It’s unbelievable, it’s the next chapter I’m really looking forward to. It’s amazing to have all of the support, all my home town of Tathra, my Mom and Dad who supported me all of my career. To get here is kind of a pinnacle for me.”

The win has been a long time coming but it is fully deserved. 

Kai pulling in at Teahupoo earlier this year. photo:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Big News from the new Association of Surfing Professionals

Big news for pro surfing today with the new ASP making the first of what is probably many announcements about coverage of the 2014 professional surfing. Professional Surf League is the name that is covering the Men's and Women's ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) events plus the ASP Big Wave World Tour
Joel Parkinson cruises through a perfect wave at Teahupoo. Photo:

Here's the Press release from the ASP:

LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Tuesday, October 15, 2013) – Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International is pleased to announce media/distribution agreements with ESPN, YouTube and Facebook across the linear broadcast, digital and social media spectrums. Each agreement will commence in 2014 to help celebrate and grow the sport of surfing worldwide. Today’s announcements mark the first national and global media deals in the history of professional surfing.
ASP events enhanced by the media deals include the 26 elite tour events across men’s, women’s and big wave arenas in Australia, Brazil, Fiji, Indonesia, Tahiti, USA, France, Portugal, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Spain and Mexico. Since 1976, ASP has annually crowned the undisputed world surfing champions in a sport that hosts more than 120 million fans worldwide as well as the recently-identified number one sport fan for sponsor consideration and loyalty in the U.S., according to findings by global research firm Repucom.
“Professional surfing is a truly global sport which demands media distribution partners with significant reach. Our newly announced partners have tremendous presence in the innovative media arena and, together, they build the foundation for the ASP media platform,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “I personally believe surfing is one of the most dramatic and dynamic sports on the planet and it’s an honor to work with tremendously inspirational athletes in bringing their feats and stories to the public.”
“I find it very fitting that the rebirth of professional surfing in 2014 will be broadcast within the ESPN family of networks and back on ABC as they were the first to support surfing on television back in 1962,” Speaker continued.
ESPN teams up with ASP as the exclusive U.S. domestic broadcaster for professional surfing in 2014 as part of a three-year agreement to showcase the sport’s elite events. The rights deal will allow surfing fans to see highlight shows immediately following the events.
“ESPN is thrilled to be working with the ASP as the U.S. domestic broadcast partner for professional surfing,” Tim Reed, ESPN Global X senior director, Content Strategy and Sports & Competition, said. “We look forward to showcasing the excitement, energy and incredible skills of professional surfers touring the world under the ASP banner. The talent and experience that is being aggregated at the ASP make this a very exciting time for professional surfing as well as a great opportunity for ESPN to extend its X Games brand into professional surfing.”

Respective international linear broadcast deals will be finalized and announced in the coming weeks.
The ASP YouTube channel, along with the rebuilt ASP website which will embed this content via the YouTube player, will exclusively provide fans with more than 3,000 hours of programming, including 26 live streamed events annually across the men’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the women’s ASP WCT and the ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). For the first time in the sport’s history, the ASP YouTube channel will enable fans around the world to go to one global destination to view surfing digitally.
“ASP is committed to putting the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves,” said Claude Ruibal, Global Head of Sports Content, YouTube. "We're committed to delivering the world's best viewing and interactive experience to amplify these incredible performances, turning the ASP YouTube channel to a daily destination for a world of surfing fans.”
Facebook will serve as the primary social platform partner for ASP with the relationship focusing on fan engagement. Repucom research findings showed the number one sport fan using social media throughout the world are surfing fans, including a characteristic of being six times more likely to engage in social media than the general public. The ASP will use Facebook to engage its rapidly-growing global fan base around surfing, both via broadcasts and connecting fans to the athletes themselves.
"We will be working closely with Facebook and Instagram as the primary social platforms to enhance our broadcast programming – bringing the tribe of surfing fans from around the world closer to the action they love, the athletes they follow and the sponsor brands they support,” Speaker said.
With the start of the 2014 season, fans will experience the future of professional surfing with the convergence of the production, marketing, media, social and sponsorship initiatives under the ASP banner for the first time in the sport’s history. The 2013 season is serving as a transitional year, with new management building programs and partnerships for the rebirth of professional surfing in 2014 when a new look, tone and feel as well as consistent and top-of-class programming will showcase the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves. To see a preview of the new ASP, go to
The 2013 ASP World Championship Tour is currently in Portugal for the Rip Curl Pro which runs through October 20, 2013.
For more information, log onto

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Australian Surfing Awards - Hall of Fame

Hi from Gold Coast,
Stephanie Gilmore being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Photo:

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with two big awards ceremonies and the hype surrounding the first WCT events of the year, the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro’s here on the Gold Coast.

This gallery is all about the  50 year Anniversary of Surfing Australia and the Australian Surfing Awards which incorporate the Hall of Fame Awards It was a black tie function held in the Darling Harbor region of Sydney attended by Australia's surfing royalty, politicians and leading industry figures.
Mark Richards and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan. Photo

Four times World Champion Mark Richards was named Australia’s Most Influential Surfer 1963-2013. The  Top 10, in order of votes received from the public and the Hall of Fame members, was: Mark Richards, Simon Anderson, Nat Young, Michael ‘MP’ Peterson, Midget Farrelly, Tom Carroll, Layne Beachley, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew, Mark Occhilupo and Bob McTavish.

Five times Women’s World Surfing Champion, Stephanie Gilmore was inducted into the Hall of Fame as well as receiving the award as Female Surfer if the Year while 2012 World Surfing Champion Joel Parkinson was the Male Surfer of the Year.

I was honored to take out the Nikon Surf Photo of the Year award with a shot of Mark Healey’s surfboard stuck in the lip of the a Cloudbreak monster shot during that massive swell last June. It’s the second time in four years that I’ve received the Award and I can tell you I was stoked.

Peter 'Joli Wilson-The proud owner of a new Nikon D4. Photo by mrsjoli

Here’s the list of awards handed out during the night:


Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee: Stephanie Gilmore
Australia’s Most Influential Surfer 1963-2013: Mark Richards
Male Surfer of the Year: Joel Parkinson
Female Surfer of the Year: Stephanie Gilmore
Rising Star: Jack Freestone
Waterman of the Year: Jamie Mitchell
ASB Surfing Spirit Award: Misfit Aid
Peter Troy Lifestyle Award: Bob Smith
Surf Culture Award: The Reef - by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Tura New Music
Simon Anderson Club Award: Kirra Surfriders Club
Nikon Surf Movie of the Year: Storm Surfers 3D
Nikon Surf Photo of the Year: Peter ‘Joli’ Wilson

The Boys Get Busy.

Hi from Snapper Rocks,

Dane Reynolds blowing the tail out at Rainbow Bay. Photo by

A lay day was called for the Quiksilver Pro and the Roxy Pro here on the Gold Coast today so it’s given me a chance to sit down at the computer and catch up with a bit of photo editing.

The first heats of the year are out of the way in both the Men’s and Women’s WCT with a few surprise results recorded. Parko finished a nail biting 0.03 points behind Matty Wilkinson in their first round heat yesterday while Kelly Slater, riding a tiny five fin board, struggled to get going early before finally getting the board to do what he wanted and nailing the win.

Jody Smith threw his big frame around for a convincing heat win while Gabriel Medina won his heat on a twisted ankle before rushing off to hospital for tests and x-rays.

We’ve got a cyclone (Sandra?) brewing off the mid north coast of Queensland which could send swell our way later this week. Hopefully this time around it will be waves and not the cyclonic weather that have smashed our sand banks, especially at Snapper, and giving us weeks of onshore winds and flooding rains.

I’ve loaded images into this Gallery from the last few days action and lifestyle and will continue to add images as the action unfolds. Tomorrow’s call is at 6.30 am and there is even a chance the heats could run at Kirra after three days at Rainbow Bay and Greenmount.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dane’s about to rock them.

Dane Reynolds scores a wildcard entry into the 2013 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

Dane Reynolds and girlfriend Courtney before a heat at the Quiksilver Pro France where he finished 2nd behind Kelly Slater

The announcement yesterday of Dane Reynolds receiving a wild card entry into next month’s season opening Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast no doubt sent shivers through a lot of the ASP’s new Top 34.

Reynolds didn’t enjoy the grind of touring the world competing in WCT events when he was a member of the Top 34 but he does love competing and it shows when he turns up at an event, competing as a wildcard and goes about winning heats.

He cut a swath through the Quiksilver Pro in France last year, finishing second  to good friend and mentor Kelly Slater and all but ending any hopes that Mick Fanning had of a 2012 World Title along the way.

Dane getting shacked in the beach breaks of Hossegor France.

Reynolds was the Vans Wilds card for the whole of the Vans Triple Crown in Hawaii last season and while he didn’t get close to winning an event like he did in France he certainly caused a few headaches for his fellow competitors along the way. An equal ninth at the Billabong Pipe Masters in testimony to that.
With virtually no ratings points to his name Reynolds will likely draw either the new world champ and hometown hero, Joel Parkinson or the #2 seeded surfer, 11 times world champ Kelly Slater.

“As a wildcard you’re automatically the lowest seed in the contest so you get a really tough draw in the first three rounds which makes it really exciting but really difficult,” he said. “Joel would definitely be a fun heat but I like to surf against Kelly too.”

The draw for the Quiksilver Pro wont be worked out until the results of the Trials are known because the other wildcard will go to the winner who may or may not have a higher seeding points than Reynolds. The Quiksilver Pro Trials will run on March 1st, the day before the beginning of the waiting period for the Quiksilver Pro.

Reynolds is a crowd favorite partly for his enigmatic reputation and also for his devil may care attitude which results in some of the craziest moves ever attempted in contests. he sent the internet into melt down last November when he pulled off an amazing snap to reverse at Haleiwa during the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Fans will be watching via the webcast or flocking to Snapper Rocks to see what he can do this time around.
Dane smacking his way through a heat in the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last November

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Andy Irons Ripping Reunion

Andy driving into a roundhouse cutback at St Pierre
 I'd had a request a few days ago for photos of Reunion Island and the last time I was there was for the first Rip Curl Search in 2005. Mick Fanning won the event which was blessed with amazing waves at St Leu. There were plenty of free surfing going down over the two weeks too. Going through my shots, Andy Irons with three World Titles in a row (2002, 2003 and 2004) was the clear standout taking St Leu and St Pierre apart.
Andy smacking a backside bash at St Leu