Yea… Kelly won. I think it’s 3 in a row. He rode thrusters, quads and eps carbon hybrids. He does whatever he wants and he won cus he is better at the game than anyone else. He never melts down or cools off.

But we find solace in appreciating great athletes performing well, win or lose, on equipment we design for them. Here are some highlights.

Julian lost a heat he could have won against Mick Fanning. A bit more flare and he would have gotten the extra bit of love from the judges. The resin tint F1 Stub was actually giving out on him and sliding and releasing early. Not sure why yet, but we found a couple more boards that held his power better and he looked great from there on out. After two last second, come from behind victories in R2 and R3, his luck ran out.

I surfed after the event ended on day two and noticed Dusty Payne was tossing tail on a new board he had picked up from us on that afternoon. We exited the wayer together and he was beaming about the board. He had won his R1 heat and skipped directly to R3. He did in fact chose the board for R3 and surfed realy well, pulling progressive and powerful smooth airs and carves on every wave, but his wave selection let him down. He lost the heat, but showed us all he is getting back to his A game and surfing at the same level as the worlds best. He would be a shoe in for an injury wild card already, so expect him to treat the rest of this year as a “nothing to lose” practice and rehab run to the Triple Crown and 2013.

Like I said earlier, Adam Melling was a great surprise for us this contest. I am guilty of not knowing how well this guy surfed. With fast, almost angry, powerful surfing, he gave Taj a run for his money in R3. He got a “Driver P/E” (pulled ends in nose in tail), a Whiplash TB and F1stub. We plan to keep things simple, grab the TB and The Stub back, and make a handfull more of the Drivers for Santa Cruz next month.

I have to say I was pretty happy with Brett’s surfing in his R3 loss to Jordy. The problem, to me at least, was wave selection. You can’t beat Jordy if he’s catching the best waves. Even if you can match his surfing (which I feel Brett did) you can’t give him the wave advantage. I chose this shot of Simpo with Coach Gally, ‘cus they both know this very well.

Taj surfed great. Made all the high light reels and got more shots posted on the web than guys who surfed deeper in the event.
Every heat… almost every wave had a “poster shot” turn or air. The problem was, once again, Mick caught better waves. Mick keeps his cool and Mick sticks to his game plan. You can’t beat Mick Fanning if he is on the better waves… Taj almost did, but not quite.

I think he rode a couple different boards, but of all the quivers I made for this event, Taj’s were the most dialed and similar to each other, I think he could switch back and forth between boards right now very smoothly.

Adriano “Mini-Hero” DeS ouza. He rampaged through the two rising super stars (Medina and John John) with his typical brand of passionate, precise and flambouyant surfing. Punctuating his best rides with his trade mark claims. The two lefts against Medina put Gabby on the defence and he never recovered. Earlier in the event, his rights against Travis Logies were some of the best ridden waves of the event. He posted as many 9 point rides as anyone. In the wave starved JJF quarter final, he willed the scores he needed out of a barely average wave. I was really stoked to see Ado on the Whiplash I designed for him. I respect and appreciate his approach and the fact he treats himself and his job as the world class athlete he is.

His semi final, 3rd place, finish was the best of the boys on our boards and we congratulate him. Even if my old friend Christian Fletcher was mad I was hoping Ado would beat JJF.

I don’t like R2. I couldn’t get myself to go down, so I set the computer up in my office and worked ’till the last heat featuring someone on a Mayhem. Hurricane surf was the call. For those who don’t surf Trestles often, hurricane waves are not the best for us here. The waves become very shifty and range from flat faced and short shoulders to walled up, bouncy sections, close outs. The lefts tend to get pretty weak and bend “out to sea”, compacting the crowds onto the rights. Thats what the guys dealt with today.

First up was Julian vs Jadson. I was actually relieved to see Jads chose not to use the board I made him for this heat… If he beat Jules on it, I would feel like shit. Jadson’s radical and effective, yet erratic surfing just isn’t as easy on the eyes as JWs… and his grab rail airs don’t get viewed as highly as Julians grab free rotations. That was the difference. JW chose a different board today than yesterday and, although he rode very few waves…(sitting for an almost absurd 20 minutes) his rail work/carves, wraps, airs and transtions in and out of them all were seamless and with no extra motion whatsoever. Very clean and relaxed. I was proud.

Heres a link to his two best rides…

Then came Kolohe. Talk about proud. This kid did about everything you can do on a surfboard (‘cept a rodeo flip) in this heat. Fanningesue wraps, fin free blow tails, Dane Renolds inspired grab rail coping disasters and technical, above the lip airs… wave after wave, garnering multiple high mid range scores. Only to be put out by a Hector Alves hail Mary double grab. Kolohe followed the criteria to a fault, surfed radically, with no holding back and the judges saw it differently. I was dejected. Check out some snippets here…


…and to see each wave, go to HurleyPro.com and check out the On Demand. Pay close attn to Hectors 5.5, compared to Kolohe’s mid 6. rides… not even in the same sport… sorry.

Then we had the surprise highlight of the day. Adam Melling was inspiring, and his surfing in R2 (featuring a 9.7, highest scoring ride of the day) really was the talk on the beach this afternoon. He was riding the same Driver, with a slightly pulled in nose and tail, but after watching all his waves on demand, I think we could add back a bit more resistance to the tail… actually.

This link is a how to combine speed with powers on a Lowers right…


Finally, Brett Simpson and Kieren Perrow. Brett rode the same 5’11 WhiplashTB Grovel that I posted on Instagram and KP, in true cowboy fasion grabbed two new boards about 12pm, raced to Lowers with them and paddled straight out into his heat on one of them (I think it was an F1stub). KP couldn’t get things going till really late in the heat and eventually got a great ride after the buxzzer… But Simpo surfed great on wave after waves, getting multiple good scores and looked both powerful and free, combining old school power and flair, with fin free and footloose lip work. He walks through to R3.

DAY 1: What a weekend…

On Saturday, I shared crystal clean and wonderfully fun Lowers with some of the worlds best, till dark. In what was probably the single warmest evening I have ever felt in my 25 years of living here, It was a great way to kick off the event. Unfortunately, this morning looked nothing like last night, and we were rudely woken up to howling South wind and overcast skies.

The conditions for the first few heats were so tough I believe that even with no contest in town, there would have only been a few takers on a morning like today.

First up, in R1/heat 1, was the thing , that as a contest board shaper, you always dread…3 guys, all on my boards in the same heat. I am pretty sure this never happened to us before.

Brett Simpson (On a 5’11.5 19 2.32 WhiplashTB-Grovel) , Adriano De Souza (On one of the 5 different versions of 5’9-5’10 18.18-18.25 2.18″ low volume, Whiplashes I made for him) and Jadson Andre’ (riding a little 5’10 board I made for him based off the boards he normally rides from Brazil) were all in Heat 1, and I missed almost the whole heat. What I didn’t miss was Adriano leaving the water, very stoked , on the board…and of course the heat win.

Jason (JR) Kenworthy has generously provided some great shots for this, and following posts, throughout the week.

Here is Brett, who did what he could in the Devil wind this am. I didn’t actually see any of his waves.

Jadson. We have only met a few times and this was the first time I have made him any boards. He seems like a really polite and professional kid. He knows how to surf that left as well.

This board was sort of an outside the box design. I looked at one of his boards from Brazil and it looked unique and different, so I tweaked a F1 Stub all around and came up with this thing. Lotsa tail rocker. I can tell you that much.

Mr. Taj Burrow went about biz regardless of the 15 knot South wind blowing in his face. In Heat 2 he fit a fist full of turns in a mid size left, the willed another grip of speed carves and tail drifts before launching, and pulling this, pass into R3. On Saturday we spent an hour going over each of the 8 boards we made for this contest (and for the Europe leg) cataloging all the details and sublte differences of each of them. Sometimes it’s easy for the guys to get overwhelmed and have too many choices. I think he made the right choice, so far.