This Year In Surfing – Counting Down 2015
Ten Things From Surfing and The Internet On The Year That Was 2015
Presented by Subway Surf Series
It's been a big year in surfing! Some people hate this time of year, Christmas and New Year, but those people definitely maybe also hate The Beatles, which is surely the mark of someone who lacks a healthy dose of sentimentality. This time of year is the best because it's when we can all indulge in some dewy-eyed reflection on the last 12 months and what it all means. Reflect on who we are, and what we love. To remember our best and worst moments. The waves we caught, the sessions we had, the places we surfed, and the people we shared them with. It's also a time for lists. LISTS! A list like this is subjective, this one is in keeping with the content of This Week In Surfing over its 52 weeks of 2015... which is for the most part, pro surfing-centric, and really stupid.
So first, very quickly, the things not listed here that should have been: The tragic deaths of Ricardo Dos Santos, Dean Lucas & Adam Coleman, and Tadashi Nakahara. Nate Florence’s Teahupoo wave, the best ever. Kolohe Andino being called out on live television, Craig Anderson leaving Quiksilver, Freddy P's rock hop and retirement. The retirements of CJ Hobgood and Glen Hall. Jack Freestone’s dynamic year qualifying for the World Tour and having that epic section in Cluster plus a host of other great clips. Joe Jennings’s barrel at Woolamai, a cracking beach break tube right in front of his mate Nicho (getting barrels in front of your best mates is really important…), the drowning and saving of Evan Geiselman at Pipeline. Everything Sabre Norris did. And The WA swell of the decade... among many many other things.
And here are ten more:
10. That Teahupoo Wipe-out
Skip to 4.17 to see it. In July, Tahiti was hit with a historic swell that was the most historic Tahiti swell ever since the last historic Tahiti swell, which perhaps can only be outdone by that other historic Tahiti swell. You know the one, the one with the big waves? Anyway, this guy's name is Niccolo Porcalla and he escaped this horrific wipe-out uninjured, which is quite hard to fathom just how he managed to live, let alone not receive a single injury. Look at the way he takes a stroke through the water, 25 feet in the air. This is scarier than being 5 years old and watching Gremlins, or Gremlins 2.
9. Matt Meola's Spindle Flip
Skip to 5.50 to see the greatest aerial ever stomped in modern surfing. Back in May, Meola released footage of what he calls a Spindle flip 540. Seven months on and it's still hard to understand exactly what happens in this rotation.
8. Dane's Sampler (And He Left Quiksilver)
Arguably the best short clip of 2015, Dane Reynolds's Sampler had the Venturian superstar back in Marine Layer Productions form, both in performance and the edit. It won the Surfer Poll award for best web clip and was one piece of an interesting year for Dane. Becoming a father, and leaving long time sponsor Quiksilver to reportedly start his own brand, being the other pieces. His performance at the big long point breaks of Morocco in the Kai Neville film, Cluster, was also pretty sick.
7. Noa Deane’s Tuff (And His Cluster Section)
Our other pick for the best web clip of 2015 is this one. Noa Deane's 2015 was wild. Beginning the year in a blinding spotlight of ridiculous criticism following his infamous "F**k the WSL" yell. Noa backed up his breakout 2014 by slamming the final section of Cluster, what was then the film of the year, and then also releasing this stellar clip, which was also directed by Kai Neville.
6. Carrisa, Won The World Title At Perfect Honolua Bay, Then Showed Pipe What's Good
Carissa Moore took out the 2015 World Title to become a three time World Champion while still being only 23-years-old. All of that's well and good, but it's the way she took down the World Title that will really serve well in the memory: with a performance on the final day of the year, at pumping Honolua Bay that made her the undisputed Queen of Women's Surfing. Followed up with an incredible performance at the Pipe Women's Invitational (a performance that would probably see her through to finals day in the men's Pipe Masters), 2015 was a very good year for Queen Riss.
5. Owen Wright’s Two Perfect Heats At Cloudbreak
Owen Wright won the Fiji Pro this year in perfect Cloudbreak. On his way to the win he notched the seventh perfect heat ever, and then he notched the eight pefect heat ever in the final against Julian Wilson. He's now the only guy to score two perfect heats in the one contest. And every score was completely warranted. This event was Owen's. That final day was Owen's. And this place in history will now forever be Owen's. It was so great to see Owen back to where he belongs this year, winning comps and challenging for the title, so it was such a bummer to see him miss Pipeline due to injury, for the second year in a row, and all while he was being touted as Pipeline's best surfer this season. Bum-mer. But let's focus back on Cloudbreak. This was truly one for the history boo... blogs.
Big Sidenote: Sally Fitzgibbons victory at Fiji must also be remembered for its heroism. Remember when she won the Women's Fiji Pro with a perforated eardrum, surfing the event against medical advice and bandaged up like Rambo? That was the stuff of legend.
4. View From A Blue Moon, The Best Film In A Highlight Year of Surf Films
This year was a really good time for fans of surf films. First we had Kai Neville’s high performance section film Cluster, featuring Noa Deane’s confirmation as the most engaging free-surfer in the world. Then we had the classic Australian larrikinism and return to comedy of Nix Nic Nooley (which also featured a fire performance from the film’s star, Creed). Then came Volcom’s Psychic Migrations a beautiful film featuring the brilliant surfing of Ryan Burch which you could argue as the performance of the year, of any year, if it weren't for John John and View From A Blue Moon.
Premiering at the beginning of the Hawaiian Winter, VFABM was hailed as a triumph and called by many the greatest surf film of all time. Time will be the final judge of how it stacks up against the likes of Endless Summer and Morning of The Earth, but the mere fact there is a conversation about this is an indication of just how good this piece of moving surf imagery is.
There's a yin to this triumph of a yang though. John John didn't win an event this year, and finished 14th in the world on the end of year ratings. Fourteenth is no place for the most talented surfer of a generation. In 2016 we'll find out if that bothers him or not.
Wave pools were a thing. Are a thing. Will be a thing. After Wavegarden opened their first public wave pool, in Wales of all places, and Red Bull hosted the first semi-credible surf comp out of the ocean in decades there, Kelly Slater unveiled this giant secret the day after the Pipe Masters wrapped up. And... yeah... wow. The Internet is still in raptures about it, feeding like vultures on any morsel of information the GOAT leaks out about the thing. More Kelly! We want more!
2. Brazil Were Easily the Best Competitive Surfing Nation This Year
Adriano De Souza won the World Title and the Pipeline Masters. Gabriel Medina won the Hawaiian Triple Crown. Filipe Toledo nailed the greatest small wave surfing performance of all time at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Italo Ferreira dominated the WSL's Rookie of The Year, and Ciao Ibelli won the QS. And let's not's forget Silvana Lima's air reverse at Snapper too, perhaps the most progressive manouevre in women's surfing history. You cannot deny the confirmation of a shift in surfing power here. Hell, Gabriel Medina was about an hour away from winning a World Title in what was a really crappy year for the guy, and he's still only 22. Do not be surprised if he shakes the 2014 hangover, and wins next year's World Title before the WSL has left Portugal. That'll make three in a row for the other green and gold.
1. Mick Fanning. Everything Mick Fanning
There really isn't much more to say about Mick Fanning in the year 2015. The year he's had is bigger than a lot of people's lifetimes, and the way he's handled its hardest moments in the public eye has not only made the man one of our favourite surfers of all time, but one of our favourite Australians of all time too. Right there next to Cathy Freeman and ACDC, Rod Laver and Barry Humphries. The shark attack, the charity work, the loss of his brother, the wins, the losses, the world title race, and everything in between, Mick Fanning is undoubtedly surfing's man of the year. To put it as simply as the Rip Curl vid below: Mick Fanning is a legend.
And one last thing....
How good was the best new surf-related Instagram profile of 2015 (just beating out World Sleep League) in Kookslams? And this post here, this is a work of art.
And that was this year in surfing. Have a great holiday season, look after your friends, and get tubed.
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