This Week In Surfing: The Pipe Masters Begins, Johnny Drama Goes Hawaiian, and The New Best Name In Surfing
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was December 16, 2016
1 The Pipe Masters Have Started
Yesterday the Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory of Andy Irons, the last event of the year, finally got running. This is the way the year ends, not with a bang but a whimper... I was really excited at the prospect of a Pipe Masters event without a World Title on the line. Without the high drama of a World Title mathematics being worked out with every passing heat and round, the final of surfing's gold ribbon event could stand alone as the epic end to the year it is, rather than the "oh yeah, we've got a Pipe Master's final to run too, let's stop celebrating the World Title for a second" kind of vibe it has been for the last five years... but alas, you can set the date, hire a DJ, put out snacks and wear your best threads, but sometimes your favourite guest might not show up... the waves.
But it could have been worse, as Sean Doherty points out in his excellent Day 1 report: "All you can say is thank the lord that John John’s world title was won and done two months ago at the Portuguese Pipeline. If he’d somehow lost the world title in waves like this they would have been flipping cars in the streets of Haleiwa."
As for the surfing, the talk of Round 1 is the performance of Kelly Slater with strong performances also by Julian Wilson, Matt Wilkinson, Jordy Smith, Italo Ferreira, Michel Bourez, and of course John John and Gabriel.
The event is also significant for the return of Bede Durbidge from a year long broken pelvis injury suffered in the event last year and the possible final career event of Kai Otton. A win for either of them, while statistically not super likely, would be heroic. A man can dream.
P.S. Props to the WSL for putting Car Seat Headrest on this highlights package. One of the albums of the year.
SEE ALSO: Weekend Surf Forecast 16 - 18 December
2. Steph's 9 At The Women's Pipe Invitational
At the end of Round 1 three World Champions in Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore, and Tyler Wright paddled out for the Women's Pipe Invitational and put on an exhibition heat. Steph didn't have a great WSL season in 2016, but all that looked completely forgotten when she took off on this wave and started surfing it like she was in her award winning Jon Frank film, The Tempest. Everything in its right place, gee this is beautiful surfing.
3. A 16 Year Old Won The Trials, And He Has The Best Name Ever
Finn McGill is his name, he won, and then he got to have a quick little podcast interview with Mark Occhilupo. Mark Occhilupo and Finn McGill, these are the sorts of names Bruce Macavaney dreams about. Is this not the most precious little interview? The stoke of the young guy with the awesome name, no-one embodies surf stoke like a 16 year old, especially one that just won ten grand.
4. Dion's Movie Trailer – The Smiling Bag
You might not know this but Dion Agius made a surf movie this year, toured it around some European countries, and then he kind of sort of didn’t release it. What’s his guff? Well, he didn’t want it to get lost and forgotten in the whirlpool of internet surf junk. Which is fair enough. But you can watch it, you just have to email the guy and he’ll send you a copy on a USB, for free!
Seriously, just email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, include your address, and make sure you say please and thank you. What a dude!
5. Gabriel Talks Talking
“Sports is about people who lose and lose and lose…” Gay Talese said that, the greatest non-fiction and magazine writer of all time. The story of the loser is more interesting than the winner, and it’s often the story least told. We’ve seen and heard from John John Florence after the 2016 World Title, and now, thanks to Rip Curl, we get to see and hear from the guy who lost the Title, Gabriel Medina. He’s got pretty good perspective, doesn’t he? Such a great surfer. People who hate on Gabriel Medina can get stuffed.
SEE ALSO: Sean Doherty On: Pipe Masters Day 1
6. Bruce and Parko Talk Andy's Boards
Such a simple concept, but this board tales series from Billabong is getting better and better. After Rasta, then Tyler Warren, we're treated to the amazing stories contained in the quiver of Andy Irons. Bruce Irons, Lyndie Irons, and Parko candidly reminiscing about a husband, brother, and best friend, this is a magic clip.
7. Reef's North Shore Edit Part 1
Well would ya look at that, it’s team Reef with Kai Otton, Mitch Crews, Taylor Knox and more just ripping the crap out of the North Shore of Oahu. How about that backside whip from Crewsy at the 1.45 mark? Fast music, fast surfing, fast clip. Fast fast fast.
8. Mick and The Northern Lights
What do World Champion surfers do when they’re not trying to win World Championships? They go to places like Norway to surf under the Northern Lights at midnight to try and capture a magic a photograph. That’s what Mick Fanning did, and it was pretty sweet. Looks like a pretty fun righthander too.
9. RVCA's North Shore So Far
Bruce Irons, Jay Davies, Davey Cathels, Ricardo Christie, Danny Fuller and more from the RVCA team star in their brand’s first clip from the North Shore season. This is terribly lovely shot, especially those tight establishing frames, but the action of Jay Davies charging backdoor is the highlight. Bruce Irons has new hair too, which is something a lot of people keep pointing out, so we will too. I dig it.
10. Jordy In Japan
Tall South African Jordy Smith went to Japan and didn’t really surf that much, more walked and talked and met people and posed in photos and it’s pretty neat. Oh, and then he did surf, and he’s really good at that. Jordy has the mojo at the moment, he seems to be smiling a lot, is surfing Pipe like a weapon, and he looks really happy, which is great. Last week I wrote that he won’t win the World Title next year, what a jerkhead thing to do that was.
Bonus... Johnny Drama Goes To Pipe
Billabong had a party at their Pipeline house for their Pipeline Masters competition and of all people, Johnny Drama was there. He was in Platoon, back when we knew him as Kevin Dillon. Ari Gold was there too, he was in Old School, back when we knew him as Jeremy Piven. Jack Freestone was there too. He was in Cluster. I’m not sure how to end this strange string of writing. Shout out to Digby Ayton.
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone. Look after your mates, make some mistakes at a christmas party.
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