Alejo Muniz, Carissa Moore Take Vans US Open Titles

hb-south-pier

Vans US Open of Surfing

After a week of competition in front of a packed beach at Huntington Beach Pier Brazilian surfer Alejo Muniz has won the Vans US Open of Surfing, taking home a huge purse prize of $100,000 and a healthy amount of ASP Tour points as the Men’s 2013 World Championship Tour hits the halfway mark. Muniz beat local Orange County surfer Kolohe Andino in the finals in peaky one-to-three foot waves with progressive surfing and key wave selection.

Muniz’s two-wave-total included a combined 8.43, attacking the wave with frontside turns, and a 7.80 on his backside speeding towards the pier. Andino scored a 7.77 but couldn’t find another strong score to match Muniz. The Brazilian natural footer also defeated Australian Mitch Crews, an awesome feat as Crews’ progressive surfing set the bar in each of his heats, pushing the score set higher and challenging his match-ups to go bigger with more power. But ultimately it was Muniz who would claim The Open title in front of the massive crowd in Huntington Beach.

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe it,” Muniz said. “Today marks the four-year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing and I’d like to dedicate this win to him. This is the biggest win of my career and it’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever surfed in front of. I was putting everything in to this event and the work paid off. I think I surfed smart all week and it’s been amazing.” The win in Huntington moves Muniz up in the world rankings from No. 24 to No. 15.

“Congratulations to Alejo,” said runner-up Andino, who took down Bede Durbidge in the semifinals. “He surfed amazing all week. It would have been nice to win, but I just couldn’t find a second wave and I’m happy that I made the final.”11-times ASP World Champion Kelly Slater fell early in the contest to Michael Bourez in Round 24. Neither US Open title defender, Julian Wilson or Lakey Peterson made it through to the quarterfinals this year.

Carissa Moore (HAW)

Carissa Moore (HAW)

For the women’s event it was Carissa Moore who would take The Open title and move to the world No. 1 spot, bumping Tyler Wright to No. 2. Moore defeated local surfer Courtney Conlogue in the finals with a strong two wave total of 8.17 and 7.83. Conlogue caught two waves in the last five minutes of the heat but could not find the scores to secure the win.
“To be honest I’m a little shocked right now because I thought Courtney (Conlogue) won when the crowd erupted on that last wave,” Moore said. “I was definitely nervous at the end of that heat. It’s such an honor to win this event in front of this big crowd. I feel amazing!”

Conlogue was on fire throughout her heats in front of a hometown crowd at The Open. She took out Wright in the semifinals and now sits third in world rankings with two events left on the ASP Women’s WCT Tour this year. This will be Moore’s third ASP win of the 2013 season and the first event for the Women’s WCT Tour since May, after Roxy Pro Biarritz was postponed due to lack of waves.
“It was definitely an amazing heat and Carissa (Moore), she’s been surfing really well,” Conlogue said. “With everyone screaming and the crowd on the pier I definitely wanted to win. I was trying to be progressive and surfing the best that I could.”

The world’s largest surfing competition is over, but not without a fight. The Open drew some unwanted attention as the eight-day festival ended with a riot on Main St. across from the Huntington Beach Pier as police tried to disperse the crowd. Property was damaged, including the storefront of EasyRider Bike & Skate Shop.

The Men’s World Championship Tour heads to Teahupoo for the Billabong Pro while the Women’s WCT heads back to France with hope of better waves in Biarritz.


VANS US OPEN OF SURFING MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.23
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.54

VANS US OPEN OF SURFING WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.00
2 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.27

By: Jenna Goldberg
Photo credit: ASP/ROWLAND

This Year’s ASP Title Race: Who’s Going to Win It?

jon-jon-jacks-surfboards-team-riderYou probably saw Kelly Slater win the Hurley Pro Trestles last week, or at least heard the news. If you watched the event, you saw some of the best surfing we’ve ever seen in competition—giant air reverses weren’t even getting out of the mediocre score range, if that’s any clue.

But perhaps more importantly, the Hurley Pro Trestles set the stage for the end-of-the-season world title race. Going into the final four events, we now have a pretty clear picture of what the race looks like, at least by the numbers.

Quick refresher on the scoring system for the world-title race: first place gets 10,000 points, second gets 8,000, third gets 6,500, etc. There are ten events, but only your top eight scores get counted—you in effect get to drop two scores. If you look at the current ASP rankings, the low scores haven’t been dropped yet, so those rankings might not give you the best idea of what the race actually looks like.

Consider Kelly Slater. He sat out Brazil with a dubious injury, and fizzled out early in Fiji. He thus sits in third place in the rankings. But if you drop those two scores—which Kelly likely will at the end of year—he has a total of 33,200 points. If you drop Mick Fanning’s lowest scores, he has a total of 33,000. So even though Kelly sits in third place on the rankings, he actually has a slight advantage in points over first-place Mick Fanning right now.

Unless someone further down the rankings makes an amazing late-season run—which can always happen—it looks like a three-horse race between Kelly, Mick, and Joel Parkinson, with John John Florence within striking range. If you drop the two lowest scores, Joel’s less than 3,000 points behind Kelly and Mick, and John John’s 3,600 points behind him.

The numbers might look close, but it seems like this would be a tough one for Joel to win, since, despite his consistency, he hasn’t yet won an event. It’d be hard for Joel to pull ahead of Mick or Kelly without a 10,000-point win or two—because whoever wins the title will probably win at least one more event, if not two or more. It’d be different for Joel if he only had one guy to catch, but he can’t really count on both Kelly and Mick fizzling out at the end of the year. A series of second places will probably earn Joel just that: second place.

We might be biased, but John John might have a chance at this thing. Not only has he improved over the season—after starting with a thirteenth and a ninth he hasn’t placed worse than fifth—but he’s shown that he’s capable of winning events. Plus, Pipeline is the last stop of the tour, and John John might’ve surfed there more than anyone else (despite being one of the youngest surfers on tour). So if he can stay within striking range over the European leg and at Santa Cruz, we could see John John make a big move at Pipe. If we could dream up the perfect scenario, we’d have the title race come down to Kelly and John John at Pipe—could anything be better than that?

The waiting period for the France event starts on September 28. After that, we’ll probably have an even clearer picture of the title race. We suspect, though, that it’ll be a close one, and it’ll be fun to watch.

The Billabong Tahiti Pro So Far

tahiti pro 2012

Tahiti pro 2012

The first two rounds of the Billabong Tahiti Pro happened so long ago—almost a week now—that they seem more like qualifiers than the actual contest. But with the official Surfline forecast showing a promising swell for this weekend, it looks like there’s a chance of finishing up the contest in some pretty good to great waves. Here’s a look back on what happened in those first two rounds and what to expect when the contest resumes.

One third of the field was eliminated in round two, and the biggest surprise is probably Jordy Smith’s quick exit. Actually, it’s probably not that surprising—after Jordy’s injury in Tahiti last year he’s had trouble finding a competitive rhythm. It could be the lingering effect of the injury, it could be complacency, or it could be that the new kids on the WT (mainly John John and Gabriel Medina) are making the tour all that much more competitive. Whatever the cause, it’ll be interesting to see how Jordy fares on the back half of the tour.

The waves in some of the round-two heats were inconsistent with long lulls, and that’s what undid Jack’s team rider Pat Gudauskas. In his heat against Michel Bourez, Pat only managed a total heat score of 3.4. If you’ve seen Pat surf, you’d probably guess that the only way he’d get a score that low is if he was riding a chunk of sheetrock or if he didn’t get any waves. In this case, it was the latter. He waited the better part of the heat for a decent wave, but the only wave that came was a shoulder-high crumbler without a barrel—and it wasn’t enough to get much of a score, no matter what Pat did with it.

If the competition continues to see heats like Pat’s without many scoring opportunities, it probably won’t come down to who’s the best tube rider or who’s willing to take off on the heaviest wave. It’s more likely that success will come to the savviest competitors. Typically the tour veterans have an edge when it comes to competitive strategy, but some of the younger guys—Gabriel Medina in particular—have shown a knack for knowing how to win even when the waves don’t cooperate. So if the surf is inconsistent, the drama might be less about deep barrels and more about priority and positioning (and maybe even some hassling), which is still fun to watch, in its own way.

But the forecast shows that the waves should be okay by Tahitian standards—that is, hollow and overhead—so if the weather cooperates and the swell stays consistent, hopefully the rest of the contest will be decided on the waves. Strategy and savviness are an important part of surfing—ever try to catch a wave at Lowers on a summer afternoon?—but at Teahupoo it’s way more fun seeing who can take off deepest on the biggest bomb.

Neff East Vs. West Surf Shop Showdown

east_vs_west

Neff East Vs. West Surf Shop Showdown

Biggie vs. Tupac. Right vs. left. Chick-fil-A vs. In N Out. For ages we’ve battled over which coast is the best. But here’s where we settle it once and for all—the Neff East vs. West Surf Shop Showdown!

Neff East Vs. West Surf Shop Showdown Schedule
RD 1 Tuesday, August 21: SurfRide (West) vs. Heritage (East)
RD 2 Thursday, August 23: Jack’s Surfboards (West) vs. Sweetwater (East)
RD 3 Tuesday August 28: Town & Country (West) vs. IWS Deerfield (East)
RD 4 Thursday August 30: NorCal Surf Shop (West) vs. Inlet Outlet Surf Shop (East)
RD 5 Tuesday September 4: Spyder (West) vs. Catalyst (East)

You will decide the winner for each round, then we’ll team up with ya’ll to determine the grand prize winning team that will head home with $5,000 cash money!

U.S. Open Recap: The Rise of the Air Reverse

Photo courtesy of surfersvillage.com

Photo courtesy of surfersvillage.com

The best—or craziest, or most crowded, or whatever adjective you choose—week of the year at Huntington has ended, and Julian Wilson walks away with the most prestigious contest win of his young career. There were lots of memorable moments from this year’s comp—anyone see Dane Reynolds’s backside tail-waft snap-things?—but what I might remember most was that this contest was defined by a single move: the air reverse.

I briefly started watching the heats on demand to count how many air reverses were attempted in the pro men’s division throughout the contest, but it just seemed too daunting. So I’m going to make the claim that this year’s U.S. open featured more air-reverse attempts than any previous pro men’s contest. If you want to try to prove me wrong by watching a few hours of heats on demand, go for it. But either way, anyone watching this year’s U.S. Open saw an enormous number of air reverses. As Kelly Slater said from the guest commentator’s tower, “Everyone’s sticking air reverses. It’s literally the new drop in. It’s almost like nothing.”

Let’s back up for a second. Even pro surfers and pro-surfing commentators can get a little loose on their terminology sometimes, but for our purposes here an air reverse is that it’s when a surfer and his board leave the water completely and rotates his tail in the direction they’re moving down the wave and land with their fins forward. If that’s confusing, check out the first four tricks on the U.S. Open highlights video. Those are frontside air reverses, and good ones too. Backside air reverses are the same thing but—you guessed it—when a surfer’s going backside. A lot of times you’ll see surfers continue to spin after they land so that they’re again facing forward, but don’t be fooled—it’s still an air reverse. If the full spin is done in the air, it’s a full-rotation, like this, and it’s generally awesome.

Photo courtesy of stabmag.com

Photo courtesy of stabmag.com

Okay. So now that we’re all brushed up on our terminology: why were there so many air reverses at this year’s U.S. Open? Well, the air-reverse is a cool, crowd-pleasing move and—unlike big barrels or gouging turns—air reverses are one of the few cool, crowd-pleasing moves that can be done on two-to-three-foot onshore semi-closeout beachbreak, a la the Huntington Pier.

And, more importantly, this was a contest, and air reverses are one of the higher scoring moves a surfer can do on a closeout. Some of the heats didn’t offer too many open-faced waves, which means that the surfers either had to settle for low scores or make something happen on a bad wave—and usually that something was an air-reverse. All of the quarterfinal heats were won with the help of an air reverse. Without a reliable air game, you can’t get far in a tournament of less-than-perfect waves.

But an air-game alone didn’t win the contest. Julian Wilson—one of the best air-reversers out there—won his finals heat with traditional turns, four meaty backside snaps on two different waves. He won his quarterfinal against John John with one air reverse and one wave that was just smart competitive surfing—all he needed was a mid-range three, and instead of doing an air reverse he did a small no-rotation air. It was an air Julian would probably be embarrassed of in a free surf, but it got him the score he needed to edge out John John. Julian showed that he had the whole package: smart surfing, top-notch turns, and, yes, a solid air reverse.

Team Etnies Autograph Signing at Jack’s in Huntington Beach

Stop by Jack’s Surfboards in Huntington Beach during the US Open of Surfing, August 4th at 11:00 am to meet Team Etnies. Autograph signing with Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro will all be on hand to sign autographs and do a few giveaways. Get there early! The fist 50 people get a free Etnies hat.

Meet Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro

Meet Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro

U.S. Open of Surfing Hits Jack’s Surfboards in Huntington Beach

infoheader

The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing—the annual concert and massive beach party with a surf comp on the side—is descending on Huntington Beach this week. There’ll be concerts, skate comps, and thousands and thousands of beachgoers, but the real show is still in the water. Here are a few of the things we here at Jack’s Surfboards are looking forward to.

Watching Jack’s Team Riders

We’re used to seeing John John Florence charging at Pipe and South Pacific reefs, but a John John sighting at Huntington Beach is rare indeed. John’s been holding his own on the ASP World Tour this year, and no one would be surprised if he won the U.S. Open.

Team riders Pat and Tanner Gudauskas will also be in the pro men’s mix. They’re SoCal natives and no strangers to Huntington, and we’re hoping their local knowledge and top-notch air abilities will see them deep into the contest. Pat’s been known to throw the occasional rodeo flip, and Tanner rips on waves of any size. Whatever happens, these guys put on a show whenever they’re in the water and are always worth watching.

Junior Men’s Surf Comp

The Pro Men’s events tend to get all the attention, but the Junior Men’s division is where you can see future world champs cut their teeth. So don’t be surprised to see surfing on par—and sometimes even better—than the Pro Men’s division. We’ll be cheering on Jack’s Team riders Jeremy Carter, Derek Peters, and Bobby Okvist. These kids are good, and hungry, and definitely worth watching.

The Best Pros on Everyday Waves

The official forecast for the event predicts contestable waves for the start of the event, with a south swell filling in toward the end of the week. “Contestable” at Huntington Beach looks very different from “contestable” at Cloudbreak. Expect waist-to-chest high with decent conditions for most of the event. You’re probably not going to see ten-second barrels—in fact, we’ll guarantee it—but odds are you’ll see some big airs and deep turns. It’s cool watching the world’s best on the sort of waves most of us spend our time on—you see just how good those guys are when they pull something you didn’t think could be done on three-foot beachbreak.

The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing kicks off on Saturday, July 28, and will wrap up on Sunday, August 5. Full event schedule and webcast are at usopenofsurfing.com.

Rip Curl’s Taco Tuesday at Jack’s Dana Point

Rip Curl’s Taco Tuesday Retail Tour rolls down to Jack’s in Dana Point. FREE TACOS!!! Also free custom Rip Curl hats for those who attend and with the purchase of any Rip Curl Mirage boardshort receive a free Rip Curl t-shirt! Plus a surprise athlete guest appearance.

Rip Curl Taco Tuesday

Rip Curl Taco Tuesday

Jack’s Team Rider Pat Gudauskas prepares to defend his title at the 2012 Mr. Price Pro Ballito.

Pat Gudauskas

Last year the entire world’s (outside of South Africa) eyes were opened to the perfection of Willard’s beach laying just off the shore of Ballito along the KwaZulu Natal North Coast (or Dolphin Coast) in South Africa. Perfection. A dream right hander. Fast, hollow and powerful. Last year was a contest organizers, surfers and spectators dream; beautiful barrels flawlessly ridden by some of the top surfers on the planet, fighting each other for points, money and pride. In the end Jack’s team rider Patrick Gudauskas ruled the tube and claimed the top of the podium (and $40,000) as his own.

But that was last year, the secrets out now. Everyone knows how good the wave is and getting it with only a couple other guys combined with a chance to win $40,000 at this ASP Prime Event has attracted many of the world’s best surfers. But Pat is always up for a challenge and is definitely one of the favorites heading into this week’s contest. His skills riding the barrel combined with the confidence coming from last year’s victory put his name near the top of the short list of possible winners for the 2012 contest. The other Jack’s Surfboards team rider joining Pat Gudauskas in Ballito is Pat’s brother Tanner Gudauskas. The Gudauskas brothers should cause havoc in their respective draws and are a major threat in every heat they are involved in.

Mr Price Pro 2011 - Day 5 - 8 July 2011

Mr Price Pro 2011 - Day 5 - 8 July 2011

The 2012 Mr. Price Pro Ballito will be ran from July 2 through July 8 in Ballito South Africa. The forecast looks small starting off the contest waiting period but hopefully will pick up through the week at the main contest location of Willard’s Beach. Willard’s likes a southwest swell and a low tide and we can only hope it turns on like it did last year as the beach came to life delivering barrel after barrel after barrel. The contest can be watched live at www.mrpricepro.com. Make sure you watch as the action should be hot. Check back here for more information and event wrap ups following the contest. Let’s go Pat! Back to back (plus $40,000 is nice but $80,000 is even nicer).