Sierra Trip – Carson-Iceberg Wilderness – Toiyabe National Forest

Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , , on August 19, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

Sierra backpacking and fly fishing trips are the stuff of legend. From the earliest native tribes, European explorers, and ’49ers, to John Muir, Ansel Adams and Mark Twain the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range has been a mythical figure in our California identity. Containing Lake Tahoe, giant and majestic at over 6,000ft, Yosemite’s half dome, two of the largest western rivers, and Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States, the Sierras beauty and geology are unrivaled nearly anywhere.

IMG_2043Past Twain’s Calaveras Jumping frogs, above the 49′ers Angel Camp, and over Ebbett’s Pass (8,732ft), Hwy 4 meanders past both the Stanislaus and Mokelumne rivers. Just before the pass beautiful mosquito lake is just off the road, and coming down into the next valley you’ll find wolf creek road, combination of gravel and asphalt, making it an easy drive even in a car. At the very end of that road, some 6mi in, [TH] Wolf Creek Meadow [trail# 21010] appears. A large trail head with campsites and pit toilets, and right on Wolf Creek, making this a car camping adventure wouldn’t disappoint either.

IMG_2045 After filling out our Wilderness passes and leaving a copy at our car (so they know who’s out there, and where to look for you) we started out. Rain had delayed our departure by two days, and had even still been in the area when we showed up, making a late afternoon start less than ideal. The idea was to loop around Bull Lake, through Bull canyon on trail 2125, to Scenic Trail, back past Wolf Creek Pass on 21021, to 21010 again, a big bite to chew for sure, but both my father and I are very experienced and fit hikers

With the late start, and some left over weather, we were on a mission to set up base camp #1. We estimated our camp to be at about 4+mi in, an easy make even with a late start. We had some intelligence from a friend, and a NTNL forest map (not the best, get an USGS topo), so we had a couple landmarks to look for to know we were where we needed to be. Even for hikers with as much experience as we have, matching hearsay and map coordinates to actual geology is difficult at best, and with daylight ending and the possibility of a little rain, our minds were on “get there” mode. The difference in size alone would make my father and I hike at different speeds, not to mention that with me in MY mid-thirties my dad is pushing 70. 70 just so happens to be how heavy my very full external framed pack was loaded, and no matter how much pre-adjustments you do you seem to need to always change it on the trail.

Adjustments done, and creeks crossed, we were not seeing what we needed and were running out of light. I was looking for a cabin that was supposedly right near where we wanted to set camp, and just off of a trail we wanted to hit the next day. Getting on to 8 o’clock, having STILL not seen the trail head or the cabin, we had wet feet and sore backs. We needed to stop. I’m like a stubborn mule and will keep going until I die, my dad has more sense and called it for the day. We had made it to a beautiful clearing, next to an alpine meadow, at the confluence of two creeks.


This is Patrick’s block. I wrote some commemorations and Put it at our first but misguided camp. A place both extremely harsh, and possibly the most beautiful spot you have ever seen. A quiet pine clearing, pushed up next to an alpine meadow at nearly 8,000ft. Sounds amazing right? The creek crossings and inclines, are hard enough, but you’re in one of the most remote places in California. Every form of native wildlife is abundant there, especially the predators. It’s not always the biggest who become the mightiest. The mosquitoes at this elevation and time of the year were thick. Like clouds of unrelenting BEASTS! Very, very tiny beasts, but beasts none the less.IMG_1919

Pat’s Camp. Our original basecamp.IMG_1923

My huge ancient pack. Over loaded with everything I needed to fish, avoid bears, and sleep and eat comfortably. IMG_1931

I love you PatPat. This tree is at one far away place that I will always hold dear to my heart. IMG_1933

“Suit up!!” Getting ready for a days adventure after our first night at Pat’s Camp.IMG_1935

Does it get better than this? Albright #5, on a Ross 4weight, with floating line and a long 6x tippet.IMG_1939

An absolutely beautiful and ancient spruce. IMG_1941

Here’s the cabin I was looking for. Can’t be seen from the trail in, and PAST (2.5 miles past) the trailhead to Bull Lake.IMG_1942 IMG_1943 IMG_1944

This cabin is still used buy people with horses. When you need something done out here, you do it yourself.IMG_1946

Not bad. I could easily be a hermit here.IMG_1947

This was the butte just to the north of the little valley that Wolf creek runs through. Over 10,000ft up there, well above the treeline. IMG_1948

Elder creek confluence.IMG_1949

” Now THAT”S a knife!”IMG_1954

My Dad, enjoying the view as we first entered the meadow.IMG_1956

I think Julie Andrews is hiding in those willows over there.IMG_1957 IMG_1958 IMG_1961

My first Brook Trout!!IMG_1965

Yup, bears.IMG_1976

Cool bug. Entomology is amazing here! IMG_1978 IMG_1984 IMG_1986 IMG_1988 IMG_1995 IMG_1997 IMG_1998 IMG_1999 IMG_2002 IMG_2003 IMG_2005 IMG_2006 IMG_2008 IMG_2011 IMG_2014 IMG_2019

There was a lot more to say, but life got in the way. If you’re even still reading this blog I thank you.

Life inevitably changes things, and now I find myself far away. Far away from my writing as well.

That will not always be, and I WILL be back.

Love you all.


More Change

Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , on July 26, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

Ok….. There is still a gaping hole in this blog where there should be a bunch of interesting content. Sierra Trip is still in the edit stage and I’m sitting on a fascinating interview I did With Jeff Grosso. Possible web series?? I’m completely floundering the US Open. Congrats to my favorite girl ripper Julz Lynn who took second in the Bowl jam!! Lot’s of good things coming, but like I eluded to, I’m going through some massive change. I am moving back to the land I call home, and setting up life at the other end of the state. Bare with me, and August will be full of posts!!


Content Poll

Posted in Polls on July 17, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

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Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica

Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

Humans have lost our way. Our brains have taken control over our natural choices.

Dams, fish ladders, hunting regulations, fashion, parks, species protection….. we’ve got it all wrong. We are just a part of the natural cycle like everything else. Humans are a predatory species. We WANT to kill. Just like your cat or dog, it’s in us too. There are a lot of us and we’re kind of everywhere, so obviously it’s not practical to go out and kill everything we see, that is NOT what nature is telling your brain. So what have we done? Sports, video games, movies, theater, all show and immortalize death, and all the ritual that comes with it. But that’s just it. Death is such a ritualized and fictionalized scenario for us that we say “fur is murder’ but feed our own children chicken nuggets. Get with it. No one species has more claim to space, or is morally objectionable to the earth. If you need to claim some space, or eat meat, claim it, own it, and realize the impact you are having on your immediate environment.

If you choose to not eat meat do your research. Bears. Bears are huge fierce animals I think we will all agree represent natural power to us in some way. What do bears eat? Twigs and f**kin berries. A bear’s diet is upwards of 90% vegetarian, foraging mostly on vegetation, berries and fruit, also consuming other low calorie foods such as insects. However, the fuel gained by a bear eating meat is essential to their life. It is a misconception to think that bears chase down dear and elk, they DO manage to catch live young, but most large red meat are carrion finds. Bears are also adept fishermen in coastal areas, and places with fish spawning in the rivers. With out this concentrated fat laden fuel, the bear wouldn’t be who he (or she) is.

Bears are a perfect example of the macrobiotic diet. “One goal of modern macrobiotics is to become sensitive to the actual effects of foods on health and well-being, rather than to follow dietary rules and regulations. Dietary guidelines, however, help in developing sensitivity and an intuitive sense for what sustains health and well-being”. The macrobiotic belief is that all foods as well as life have a yin or yang classification. Becoming aware of these classifications can guide you to a more balanced life. Meat which is HIGHLY yang, or concentrated, is not disallowed but seriously restricted, as it should be to fit in with your balanced life. See?

If we as a species, and one who’s brain have put us in a sometimes uncomfortable drivers seat, try to reconnect with our natural selves, become at ease with our natural thoughts and desires, we will achieve a balance, far gone from human existence. It’s not so far gone as to be forgotten, we know the way, our TVs block it, but we have guides. So just remember; follow the bear’s example, eat your beets (when in season, and locally grown), and it’s “ok” to let your brain enjoy Battlestar Galactica.


Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , on June 29, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

I apologize for the missing post on the Oakley Pro Bali, I had a Sierra backpacking and flyfishing trip planned, and the lay days put me out.
I will be posting my Bali article with my usual summations, but I’ve also gathered some beautiful photos and fish tales of an alpine nature.
Anyhow, thanks for reading, I apologize for the delay, and I’ve got something new!



Volcom Fiji Pro 2013

Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

Since the kids have had their fun, and we’re done with small waves and wetties for a while, it’s time for the big boys to play. Though we have seen the overcast 4-6ft Resto’s, it looks like we will get at least good weather to get it started. With a larger swell forecast for later in the waiting period, be prepared to sit, hopefully with a better payoff than in Brazil. Ideal contest conditions would be solid 6-8ft Resturant’s, with bright sunshine and light offshore wind. Last year’s smasher at Cloudbreak was gnarly, but competitors got hurt and the webcast went dodgy. I’d like to see solid 10ft, sunny Cloudbreak, in even conditions.


Big wave Progression

With what we saw last year, Cloudbreak and the Fiji stop are continuing to push the barriers of Big Wave surfing. We can only hope to see more of that this year. With a look back to the past and an understanding of the present I try to read what the future has in store…

From it’s earliest beginnings with guys like Woody Brown, George Downing, Wally Froiseth, Buzzy Trent, and later Pat Curren and “Duh Bull”, big wave surfing has always had that allure. The ultimate test of a surfer’s might and will. It went on in popularity and lore, cementing names like Jose Angel, and Mr. “…will go” himself Eddie Aikau, in our minds for eternity. More recently with the advent of I-MAX and “extreme”culture, big wave surfing went the way of X-Games. Motorized tow-in, straps, helmets, helicopters and most importantly Laird. Though the soul may have seemed to leave this discipline, big wave surfing, like anything else, is taking a swing backward, and for the better. The “innovations” in board technology we are seeing are a mix of the past meets the future. Combining the narrower longer hulls of the early days, with the advancements in foil design and placement, an adaptation we should still be thanking Simon Anderson for.

Shane Dorian is one who exemplifies the “true” big wave charger in my mind. While not always my favorite “Momenteer”, Dorian has grown into the premiere paddle in pilot, recently winning the XXL Wave of the Year ’13, for a massive Jaws bomb. Similar to guys like Healy and Greg Long, Shane likes a little more foam up front. His boards, however, are all specific to the waves he’s riding. The XXL wave at Jaws was ridden on his 11′ quad fin, boards he says do well in conditions where speed is crucial, different from a place like Maverick’s, where a critical take off (and therefore a thruster) is paramount.

Sometimes $ can be a good driver. With the XXL competition comparing all the best waves from one year, then handing out checks the size of those waves, we will be seeing people pushing the limits for years to come. Considering the advancements in foil design, and the constant changes in volume and outline, we’ve yet to see where big, and now “giant” wave surfing will take us.



Volcom first dropped into the scene in 1991 when “Wooly” and “T-Dawg” (Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall respectively) founded the company. Drawing off their own experiences as southern California surfers, the Costa Mesa pair set out to produce their own brand of surf, skate, and snow products and accessories. Using this expertise the Volcom brand has grown into a well respected participant in our selected disciplines.

Almost in direct contrast to Bong, Volcom went public in 2005 shortly after taking it’s current name Volcom Inc. Being underwritten by Wachovia Securities, D. A. Davidson, Piper Jaffray, Volcom Inc.’s initial NASDAC offering went at 4.69 million shares selling at $19.00, raised a total of $89 million. Continuing their smart business acumen Volcom purchased Electric Visual Evolution LLC in ’08 for $25.3 mil. Later, in 2011 French based retail-to-luxury group PPR SA initiated a friendly takeover, offering $24.50 a share and [placing a $608 million dollar value on the company. A unanimous decision by the board recommended shareholders tender their shares to PPR.

Kai "Borg" Garcia - 1997 World Jiu-Jitsu Champion and the Volcom Team house leader, Kai has a lot to do with Volcom's Hawaiian program. Kai's recent struggle with addiction and the heat he took for his involvement in Andy's life put him underground for a while. Over the past year he has been more public, running the ski and water patrol at some of the world's heaviest breaks, as well as releasing a video describing his struggle. Kai's ordeal mirrors that of any other addict's, he doesn't need to answer the questions of how, and when, but has to live with what happened to a friend and how his example may  have affected that outcome.

Perhaps the questions regarding ethics should be answered by Volcom? Or the ASP? Or maybe we should open the door for those who need help? Making recovery, or help for mental illness as "cool" or necessary as physical training, could usher in a whole new tour.


Tavarua, Nomotu, and Jon Roseman

I've heard all the things you can imagine about the magical islands in the Western Pacific; A wonderland of surf, sun and paradise, enchanting wildlife, epic hospitality etc... but also;  If you're not rich or don't have a name don't bother, reserved access to breaks, and large crowds at the unrestricted spots. This is mostly beer talk and hear-say, so instead of writing it down as fact I went to the man himself, one of the founders of Tavarua, Mr. Jon Roseman:


"Jon Roseman might seem like a nobody to most of the world, hell, even in the surfing world.  But he's not. He's the spokesman for the heart and soul of what it could have meant to be a surfer if the surf media hadn't sucked corporate cock for 30 years." - @Rottmouth


  1.  Tell me about first finding Tavarua and what the process of setting up was like. Were there other surf camps in the area?

JR - Dave Clark originally found Tavarua back in 1982. There were no other surf camps in the area; in fact, no one had ever surfed or named Cloudbreak. I first went to Tavarua in 1989, and it was a primitive surf camp. We spent the last two decades transforming it into the resort it is now.

IMG_0142 copy

  1. What political power does the Chief have? Has the same family been running the tribe since Tavarua's start?
JR - Druku, who comes from the Chiefly family Na Kalevu, has been on the island since conception. His uncle is the Paramount Chief of the Western half of Fiji, and they own the island and have run the traditional side of things since the beginning.
  1. Besides surfing what do you think are the core goals and values of the island?

JR - The philosophy has always been to share the business with the locals and to give back, creating a sustainable model in perpetuity. We have completed numerous projects in the villages- housing, community halls, churches, schools, etc. and have put an emphasis on increasing the quality of life of the Fijians through medical treatment and education as well as various scholarship programs.


  1. Tavarua owns the rights to the waves? Can you explain the tribal reef rights?

JR - Complicated. Fijians have always had the rights to their reefs for subsistence. The recent political changes have opened up the reefs to everyone.


  1. I've heard people complain about not being able to surf some of Tav's waves when staying elsewhere, can you talk about that? Tell us what the crowd is like. Do you have security?
JR - See above answer.
  1. With the first competition coming in '99, why so long after founding it?

JR - The first competition was actually the Ocean Pacific Pro in 1987. There was political instability for several years following, which made it difficult to host events.

  1. I've heard that there are other camps (areas) on the island, can you talk about them?

JR - Just the staff quarters- which is called "Fiji Camp."

  1. What do you do when the surf's flat?

JR - Spearfish and Kite- no better way to cross-train! The fishing is obviously great too.

  1. Who kills the mini ramp the hardest? Any chance of a pool to skate in the future?

JR - Tony Hawk of course. You never know about a future pool- although I do get nervous when we have to drain the resort pool!

  1. Parko kinda made the "Jurassic Park" spot famous this year, are there other world class fishing spots? What are the target species?

JR - Jurassic Park was a spot we used to free dive a lot- so named because it has a huge drop-off into the abyss and is miles and miles away from the nearest island. The fish are bigger there proportionately - even the small reef fish- hence the name. There are several other good dive/fish spots in the area where you can nail good-sized Ono, Walu and Trevally.

  1. Tavarua vs Nomotu, we know the trophy score, but what are some of the other things you compete in? Why did the Aussies pick Nomotu?

JR - Fishing and drinking are two other categories- definitely a friendly rivalry. I think the Aussies like to stay there because Scotty and Mandy, who run the island, are Australian.

  1. Why red boards? Who shapes 'em? Any quads?

JR - I originally switched all my boards to red way back as I had lost several clear boards at Cloudbreak when my leash broke. That was before skis and multiple boats that could rescue both you and the board. Sometimes, depending on the wind, tide and swell, you would have to hike the reef for a couple miles to get your board back or swim it. Tim Bessell and Rusty shape my boards, and though I respect people that ride them, I've never been into quads except for fishes.


  1. Whats up with the board graveyard? Do those boards get recycled? What happens to them?

JR - We use a lot of old boards for on-island ding repair. Occasionally we'll send them to the main island to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.


"Thanks Jon! Bula Vinaka!!"


Tour Rankings

  1. Adriano De Souza - 18,500
  2. Jordy Smith - 18,250
  3. Mick Fanning - 18,200
  4. King Kelly - 16,950
  5. Taj Burrow - 15,700
  6. Nat Young - 13,750
  7. Filipe Toledo - 12,150
  8. Joel Parkinson - 11,500
  9. Michel Bourez - 11,000
  10. Gabby Medina - 10,000
  11. Ace Buchanan - 9,700

[Don't forget the Ace and Gabby controversy, so look for a match up there. There's also a four-way tie for 12th between Julian, Bede, Sebass, and Kai Otton, each with 8,700pts, get ready for hard charging and the tour's cream to rise to the top]


Volcom Fiji Pro


The Fiji Pro has been running since 1999, but has been canceled for 9/11 and then not run in ’07, ’09, ’10, and ’11, until being picked up by Volcom last year in 2012, kicking it off with that epic scene we all bore witness to. Past winners include Occy, Luke Egan, Michael Lowe, and Andy Irons, after that it’s been Kelly Slater and Damian Hobgood. Kelly has 3, and Damo has 2.

Round 1 – The day started in great weather, oil glass conditions at 4-6ft Cloudbreak, but conditions changed during the day and they only ended up getting in 10 heats. Freddie P took advantage of the perfect early heats, putting himself directly into round three by beating Sebass and Jordy, and then giving his ankle some rest. Logie took out Taj and Yadin who got nothing. In Joel’s absence Wilko had a blast getting comboed by Heitor Alves. Mitch Colburn got a perfect 10 on his first wave of the heat going on to get a 19.33 against Alejo and Adriano who couldn’t even get 6s. Mick took a hard fought heat against Damo and a seemingly non-existant Alex Grey. I guess if it’s not 10+ and pumping it just doesn’t melt that turkey sandwich? Kelly’s absence made for an interesting heat between Miguel Pupo and Local Tribal Chief Druku’s son Aca, the great-great grandson of ill fated Ka Levu, Chief Kini Vosailagi. Kai Otton was hyped, and got a rare round one win. Kerrzy took out Holy Toledo and Adam Melling with a broken toe, and in the last heat of the day, CJ would not be out down by his Bro, sending Micro and Michel Bourez to the first loser’s round. With conditions badly worsening the day was called. Plenty of waiting period left…

Day five started off with the end of round 1 in choppy Resto’s – Jeremy Flores advanced to round three over Nat and Kolohe, and Brett Simpson beat JohnJohn and Ace.

Round 2 – After spending as much time with little bro Stephen as he could, Kelly was on the island and ready for his heat against the chief’s son Aca. Normally Kelly is as close as it comes to family, but for the locals this time it was different. There were massive cheers and even bigger smiles, though in the end Kelly came out in top. Not to be out done, Aca pulled a flawless Reverse Atrise Lamumba, the rarely seen, west African pull-out, but sadly, was not rewarded for his efforts. White lightning flashed and a Turkey Melt dematerialized. Yadin Nichol battled deteriorating conditions and eliminated World #1 Adriano De Souza. After making his own call round 1, and deciding to go fish a spot any self respecting fisherman wouldn’t miss, Parko took out Dusty Payne to keep his campaign alive. Taj just barely squeaked out a win over Adam Melling. Now on top of the CT, Jordy goes into his next heat as the new world #1, and showed it, surfing amazingly against Micro, who put up a big fight but ended up getting blasted by the reef. Glenn had an awesome flight home, but couldn’t have enjoyed that much with three broken vertebrae. Get well soon Micro! In a heat of super groms, Merica’s  own Kolohe Andino, used smart wave selection and heavy shredding to defeat Brazil’s Gabby Medina, who, to his credit, did NOT cry. Julian did well to deal with the conditions, getting only mediocre scores but enough to beat Alejo Muniz. Wilko had more fun this time winning a heat and taking out Michel Bourez. Sebass kept the roll going early over Ace, while JohnJohn would have had a perfect heat against Bede had he not come off whilst playing around. Bede was reef casualty #2. I don’t know if Nat was pissed from his last heat performance but he showed the difference in his maturity level and absolutely SMASHED Felipe.

Round 3Day 5 ended with the first three heats of round 3. With the improved conditions Taj was in form and proved too much for Freddie P’s busted ankle. After his earlier performance the crowd was hyped, but the Ocean wasn’t havin’ it, and JJ just eeked out a win over Damo by just 4/10%. Jordy continued his amazing surfing, getting massive tubes and classic turns, in his end if the day heat against Kieran Perrow.

Round 3 continued four days later in 4 – 6ft Cloudbreak, though lots of sick free surfing on the lay days made me question the contest directors. Who wouldn’t want to chill extra days on Tavarua? Jeremy Flores and Miguel Pupo were up first in average surf. J.Flor. looked in form but Miguel seemed to be forcing it, not getting good wave selection and scoring poorly. Sebass got a nice opening wave and held priority for most of the  heat, but Kai was holding him off. With a smart wave choice, Kai got a 6.33 under Sebass’ priority. Showing he can not be out done Sebass got Kai back, getting a 6.93 under his priority in the final seconds of the heat for the win. Sebass shaka’d his way through another post -heat interview, but hiding in there was some great heads-up knowledge. Kelly started his heat off with some Slater magic, but Mitch Colborn (Volcom’s wild card for the second year) answered right back with flawless frontside barging, getting a 7.43 to Kelly’s 7.17. Kelly got fired up off the opening exchanges and started going nuts on his tiny 5’9″. He looked like he was skating a pool rather than surfing head-high Cloudbreak. Both guys kept getting so pitted they kept both the crowd and camera men on their toes. Though the pits were deep, the boys were not coming out, making their back-up scores count more than anticipated, a situation where Kelly does not lose. Varying conditions and Mick’s intelligent heat command, made the excitement level dramatically different in this heat. Heitor can never be counted out, but was not getting the waves he needed. With just a minute left Heitor needs an 8.5 to take the lead, but once again would not get his wave. Mick’s smart surfing pays off again.

The conditions left some with and others with out, so on a day like today, experience and wave selection were a must. Contest directors made the call to run today because of less than favorable wind conditions later in the week. So, in a mediocre heat with CJ Hobgood, Travis Logie bounced his noggin off the reef. Belly checked his head and he decided to continue, with 5min left CJ still had the upper hand. In the end CJ’s experience paid off and he advanced.  Josh Kerr and Brett Simpson paid no attention to Trav Logie and just went for it. Kerrzy even got pinched off inside at shish-kabob’s! Brett would not be put down with out a fight , slashing away at some massive lips, bot josh was just too much for him. Kerr brought his family and an Irie vibe that was working for him.

Present, and not far past, super groms Kolohe and Julian, match up for a potentially awesome heat. While Cote and Wassel were threatening to get naked in the booth, aggressive surfing from Kolohe continued to up his scores, putting him in position to take the heat. Despite it’s high potential for awesomeness, in the end the heat was incredibly one sided. Wilko came out charging, putting that fancy asymmetrical hair-do to work early on. Though he was Wassel’s pick for Nomotu MVP, Nat Young was on fire, and with way better waves this heat. Nat’s hard charging put up quality scores and was enough to take out Wilko who could not get a second wave. In the final heat of round 3,  Joel came out in form. Further putting to rest any claims he might not be taking this seriously, Parko showed us why he’s current world champ, posting an 8.17 with textbook tube riding. God was clearly on the Champ’s side, as he backed up that 8 with a near perfect 9.73, but you can’t say Yadin isn’t trying, pulling in deep and making the most of the waves coming his way. Having a 7 and a 6 may have worked in earlier heats, but won’t fly now, he’s comboed, needing a 18.21. Parko never let off, going all Tommy Carrol, snapping the shit out of a massive 15ft lip, not getting a barrel made it a throw away, but impressive none the less.

Round 4 – In a packed heat, full of names with J’s, they all started off like one might expect, but then Double J went nutty, getting the epitome of a perfect 10. John’s surfing almost makes you forget who he’s surfing against, having both Jordy and Taj comboed at 16.94 with 10 min to go. Jordy fought his way back but Taj couldn’t get it together, though it wouldn’t have mattered how hard he fought or who was in that heat, JohnJohn was like a fat kid at a pinata party, he was takin that shit. Clearly hyped on his North Shore neighbor’s heat, Kelly came out firing! Jeremy got a super deep tube and Sebass seemed to answer back before getting blasted. Flores answered Kelly’s 9.3 with a 9.6, so Kelly got a perfect 10, then had to avoid getting washed across the reef. No worries. Sebass and Jeremy never had a chance, the King’s on a mission. Once again the expectation for a great heat appeared with Mick, CJ and Josh Kerr, but it wasn’t to be. Conditions turned on later in the heat giving the boys something to go at, but it was nothing spectacular with mid-range scores all around. not surprisingly a Hobgood came out on top, with CJ taking a boring Cloudbreak heat (Can I even say that?) with a 12.07. Up next it was Parko and the “twins” Kolohe and Nat. Kolohe’s smart wave choices and aggressive surfing put him out front early, but Joel wouldn’t be shown up by some kid, putting up another 18pt heat. Kolohe did his best and Nat just couldn’t get waves. Sorry boys, it’s on to the loser round for ya.

Round 5 – Getting on into the afternoon round 5 starts off with a gnarly wind for Jordy and Jeremy. The back hand snap attack by both Jordy, and Mr. Flores, would have made even The Occ proud. Jordy continued his total domination, and Jeremy could not get the waves he need to defend against the South African’s attack, submission was inevitable. Taj and Sebass battled it out. both posting high scores right off, so it was going to be a tale of the back -up. Late in the heat, Taj let Sebass get a massive bomb, with a deep barrel and calculated turns. Hard barging and deep tubes right to the end made for tough judging. Taj got a clean buzzer beater right after Sebass’ ender, but after the scores drop, Sebass takes the heat at 15.93 to Taj’s 15.23 with some heads up charging! Nat didn’t get the waves he needed against Brother and Parko, so now he’s got to try and get them against Kerr. Josh showed his experience, getting a beautiful tube ride and starting the heat off right with an 8.93. After Kerr’s big opening ride the waves were inconsistent producing only low scores. At 6min left kerr’s lucky to have a 6.5 back-up, with Nat having only a 3.6 and a 1.93. Mother Earth is clearly on Kerrzy’s side giving him a gorgeous 9.83, and though Nat has surfed amazingly and should be very proud, he won’t be making it out of this heat. Brother gets another chance, but it’s up against Mick Fanning (his idol) in an elimination heat. Good luck Bro. After some good opening blows, Kolohe got a nice 7.17 keeper, but that just seemed to anger the beast and Mick put on a backside barrel clinic, getting a 9.7 then 9.83 respectively. Kolohe answered back with massive hacks on a well surfed bomb, getting an identical 7.17, but being comboed at 19.54 is going to be a hard place to work back from. Mick made sure there was no way out, and moved on.

Quarters – At the beginning of day 11, and without a wait to surf this time, it was business as usual and conditions were on. Up first the J’s were back, and a JohnJohn/Jordy heat was going to be a bomber! Maybe? As Mother Nature has been proving to do, the waves sort of turned off, but Jordy never backed down, making the best of the very average waves coming his way. Eventually JohnJohn was given the chance to perform, and of course he did, getting a 9.13 then a 9.93 at the end of the heat. This was to be it for the big man, but Jordy should be proud of himself, he’s been killing it. Sebass’ run is now going to come up against the King, and seeing them joking around before the heat is never good. Then it came, the touch of death. We all knew it, didn’t Sebass? You just DON’T do that. First wave – Kelly; It’s a 10. See bro? Sebass is bumming. After a valiant fight, Slater magic is so strong he has himself a perfect heat. A 20. Out of all the record breaking things Kelly has done MANY times, he has only four of these, an amazing feat for anyone to be sure. After a heat like that nothing is going to compare, but CJ and Kerrzy are surfing what feels like the most boring heat ever now. I must not be the only one that feels that way because the judges are scoring them very low. King Kelly has affected the judging once again. Will Kelly’s heat now be the precedence for the rest of the day? In this heat I’m blaming the conditions for the massively low scores, and Cj eventually comes out with the win. Mick and Parko’s heat was barely better than the one before, with mundane average waves again, but it’s hard to say a duel between Aussie champs would be boring, however, Mother Earth has been pretty trippy today. With a smart priority pick, Mick took that lame ass heat.

Semi-finals – The kick off to the semis saw Kelly get the best wave seen in an hour, complete with a “butt turn set up” for a simple 7.0 and then…. nothing. JuanJuan finally took, or was sold, a wave that looked promising but turned out to be a bummer 2.9. Kelly seems to be able to just force scores and pulled a 9.4 like a rabbit out of a hat. Double J finally showed up and ripped an 8.17, but Kelly answers back with an 8.77, asking John need a 10. The final moments were what we had been hoping for the entire heat; back, to back, to back charging and the waves to match. Kelly bested JohnJohn at Cloudbreak with an 18.17, not a surprising result (at this point), but great fun to watch!

With better conditions and waves, this was evenly matched/surfed heat. CJ is a goofy footer and has the best record at Cloudbreak, while Mick is fierce competitor at any break and on a tear this year, this was sure to be another heat worth watching. At the midway point after some gnarly battles over the razor sharp reef they both had an 8, but CJ was out front with a 2.73 for a back-up score over Mick’s 2.17, and then CJ actually made it out of another one for an 8.7. CJ was making an all Florida final (and Fantasy Surfer Gold for me) seem like a reality, but just  for a 9.2in the last moments Ol’ White Lightnin greased another one, weaving it from the top with multiple barrels for a 9.2 and a very spectacular finish!

FinalsMick vs Kelly – Mick’s pre-heat warm up ritual is far different from what you saw with Seabass and Kelly, the classic stoic stretching and conditioning, but what did we see before entering the water?? That’s right… The touch. I effing screamed! I tried explaining it to my chick as such: Australians take the surfing as sport thing far more serious than we (Yanks) do, therefore, taking the sportsmanship more serious as well. Call me superstitious, but the most I’d give Kelly pre-heat is a smile and thumbs up, no disrespect, just to protect my mojo. If I had the talent Mick does maybe I’d feel different too?

Kelly is roaming the line up, while Mick sits seriously and patiently making smart choices, which has him sitting on a 9.2 with 20min left to go. Slater having only a mediocre 5.67, answers Mick’s 9+ with an 8.83. Mick went for a random board change mid-round under Kelly’s priority, who, upon Mick arriving back in the line up, got a 9.8. Mick’s not out though, still having that 9.2 with 15min left to go. The King has priority and a beautiful Cloudbreak set graces the reef, Kelly sets up deep and pulls a 10, maybe? It was an amazing wave, better than the 9.8 in my opinion, but possibly not a 10? We’re arguing over 2/10ths of a % here, either way, at this point Mick is fucked, there’s 7min left and he’d need a 19.82. So, Kelly gives another one to Tavarua, and there’ll be a snorkel party on Namotu! Slater owns Cloudbreak, ’nuff said. At 19.8 – 15.87 it was a hard fought commendable battle that gave Kelly his 53rd win. A feat that will NEVER be seen again (I like to say never, because then I’m sure to be wrong).

Billabong Rio Pro 2013 —– Barra Da Tijuca/Arpoador

Posted in Me blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2013 by dreadpiratedoyle

After the Australian leg of the tour we sit at an interesting place this year. While no one is surprised that Kelly is out in front, he’s only leading the pack by 50pts. Just behind Slater, Mick and Taj are tied for 2nd with 11700. One of three different ties in the top ten right now. Brazilian stand out, and this year’s Bell ringer Adriano de Souza is in fourth. Parko shares the fifth spot with Santa Cruz Tour Grom Nat Young, with 9750 each. An amazing spot to be in for the bright eyed kid from the cold North. Jordy’s got a comfortable position in 7th (8250), with Michel Bourez far behind him in eighth. With the rest of the pack only 50pts behind Bourez at 6950 and all tied for 9th (Julian, Bede, Kai Otton, Felipe Toledo), there is sure to be some exciting match ups and quite a few position changes in Rio.



Contrary to California or Australia, Brazil, and Rio (most centrally) have had a long surfing history. The possible beginnings of our sport in Brazil were reported to be at Santos on the Sau Palo St. Coast pre-WWII. Different again from California, Australia, and Hawaii in the 50′s, modern practitioners were not lifeguards but SCUBA divers. Already assembled in a club and being watermen, it was a natural transition. Later, in the sixties, and on into the seventies, Brazilian surf culture grew into it’s own with the music of the surrounding areas. In the 60′s the flowing Bossa Nova beats influenced style at Arpoador, then into the 70′s where the upbeat Tropicalismo guitar brought the first of the modern agro style at Ipanema Pier. During the heat of cultural revolution, in the summer of 1972, in the “Verao de contracultra” (the counter culture summer) they held a pivotal surf contest at Ipanema Pier, entering in the modern age of surfing in Brazil. In 1976 the First Mundial Surf Circuit was formed, brought to Brazil by Nelson Machado (shop owner of “Pipeline”), the worldwide surf competition would have a stop at Arpoador. That year Pepe Lopes won the Brazilian leg of the inaugural World Tour, with PT famously taking the trophy later that year in Hawaii, to become the first World Champion. Though never taking the title, the Brazilians held their own in the late 70′s and early 80′s, often winning the Brazilian leg and finishing in the top 30. Rio has also been a stage for some of surfing’s brightest stars to shine, with Cheyne Horan taking his first Pro victory here in ’78 against PT at Diablo beach, and then more recently with JohnJohn (winning for the first time) in 2012.


Being surfers, we like to travel. Be it to the breaks just South or North of us, piling the bros into a van and going on Surfari, or away to international surf awesomeness, we’ve all shared the lineup with Brazilians. They seem to be everywhere and opinions on this vary widely. For a little insight, I went to my longtime friend and sometimes surf partner, Brazilian ex-patriot Giancarlo. As an everyday surfer, and regularly returning to and surfing in Brazil, Gian was the perfect person to share his insight both as an American and as a Brazilian.


ME: Do you know much about the origins of surfing in Brazil, or from your beach there?

GIAN:  I know that surfing started in the beginning of the 1950′s and it really took off by the begging of 1960′s. It was brought by immigrants and it was in Rio de Janeiro in the beach of Ipanema that surfing was practiced.  There was a Brazilian that did make the sport famous he went to California in the 50′s and started to shape boards and spread the knowledge of the sport.

ME: What is it like being seen as a surfer in Brazil?

GIAN: Being a surfer in Brazil is a little different than the states. In the States surfers are seen kinda like burn outs, stupid, uneducated. The typical stereo type of the “Hey Dude, that was gnarly”. In Brazil surfing is seen much more as a sport rather than a hobby or passion. Surfers are very well respect and are seen as athletes down there, where in the States they are stereotyped as idiots or burn outs.

ME: Is Brazil a difficult or stressful place to surf as an outsider?

GIAN: As aggressive as surfing might be in Brazil, Brazilians are still very fascinated with foreigners especially Californians. They will try to get to know you, were you are from, cool spots that you surfed before. I made a lot of friends from my travels in Brazil. It is a very open country for outsiders.

ME: What is the biggest difference between Brazilian surfers and the rest of us?

GIAN: The biggest difference between Brazilian surfers and the rest of the other world surfers is that surfing is like a sport, and much more competitive than other places. Brazilians do have a bad rap for being disrespectful to others in the water. To some extent that is true, but if you go to Brazil and surf you will see why. Surfing in Brazil is very aggressive, but once you prove yourself and show that you are not scared they will respect you.  Also Brazil is famous for its jujitsu, and a majority of jujitsu fighters do surf, so that aggression gets out in the water. From my own experience when I was down there, it’s was very aggressive, but once you show that you are not afraid they will respect you and hang with you out of the water. In my opinion surfing in Brazil is a very respected sport, the down side is that surfing is much more spiritual and soulful and I think sometimes that is lost with the whole “competition /sport” view of surfing.

ME: Where do you see the future of Brazilian surfing?

GIAN: The future looks very bright for surfing/skating in Brazil. Brazilians are very athletic and love sports. With the new generation of young aggressive surfers we are now seeing their names on the biggest competitions around the world:)



Brazilian Champ?

Recently there has been talk of a Brazilian world champion. For some the mere mention is near blasphemy, but for the sake of argument and to stay on topic, I’ve thrown out all preconceptions and reviewed the top three Brazilians “I” thought had a chance of being there at the end of the year (some year).

  1. Gabby- 12/22/93 Rip Curl’s Magic Brazilian, may possibly be the only real rival to JohnJohn as far as potential, but currently lacks both the personality or independence to be a champion. He needs to review some Mr. Jeremy Flores’s missteps/speaks to get a full understanding of how attitude can effect people’s (judges) opinion of you. Also, more current, look at how JJ has taken the reins of his own career while still keeping his family close. Based sheerly upon talent and tenacity, Gabby is my #1 pick, however he needs to iron out his emotional wrinkles and become a more independent surfer.
  2. Adriano- 2/13/87 A small guy but driven pro, has had his ups and downs but is more focused than ever. Picking up Pena Surfwear after starting the year without a major sponsor was a big boost to his confidence. Showing us, and them, they didn’t make a bad investment, he led the Brazilian charge and did his best to hoist that massive trophy over his head. Adriano sits solid in 2nd place for my choice of first champ.
  3. Felipe- 4/16/95 With his advanced maneuvers and cool demeanor, Hurley’s (Nike’s) investment in Felipe is a good one. Taking the Pro Junior event at Lower’s in 2011, and making huge waves in the Aussie leg of the tour this year, “Holy Toledo” has a bright future. Similar to Gabby in two aspects; Ridiculous Dad (get Gerr for a coach), HUGE bag of tricks, he needs to get more polished/confident and he could easily overtake Medina in the Brazilian rankings.


I included Gabby (23rd) in this discussion and not guys like Willian Cardosa, Raoni Monteiro, and Alejo Muniz, because of his actual potential at a World Title. Though not ranked (currently) as high as some of the other Brazilians, his talent and drive are undeniable. This in no way is meant as disrespect or to take away from anyone else’s story, only to discuss the possibility of a Brazilian, World Champion

Though I don’t see there being a Brazilian champ this year, I can see it happening in the next three. Who ever might take it there will have to deal with King Kelly trying to keep people of his mountain a few more times, The Australian top 3, and the Rise of JohnJohn. Not to mention Brother, Sebass, Julian, Jordy, and all the rest of the new breed of super-ripper. Whoever pulls it will deserve it.



Originally from Maroubra, Gordon Merchant helped pioneer the Gold Coast. Making it his home, in 1973  he and his wife Rena started hand making boardshorts out of their house and picked up the likes of Rabbit as an early team member. As a shaper, he not only came up with the first leg rope, Gordon developed a tucked edge board with Joe Larkin that helped Rabbit and Michael Peterson rise to the top of the tour. After picking up a young Mark Occhilupo, Bong went international in the 1980′s. Though going through several massive expansions in the 90′s the brand stayed strong, even grew, it wasn’t until 1998  on their 25th Anniversary when they moved to their Huge Plant at 1 Billabong Ave, that the bottom line started to be effected. The party was seeming to come to an end.
Bong’s current financial worries are mirroring those of the .com bubble crash in California. Over expansion and market flooding has left them high and dry. Since replacing Ted Kunkel with former Target CEO Laura Inman last year, the brand has seen a $536million dollar loss in it’s first 6mo since the change. As a bad short term fix Bong off loaded the stock at a near half share to net the company only $285mil. Losing on most of it’s expansion, Bong was closing stores and selling smaller brands, but its $80mil investment in Nixon was still turning a profit. Gordon turned down a disappointing but fair offer from private equity firm TPG, bumming out the board and major investors, later leading to offers from both Bain Capitol and a return offer (now much less generous) from TPG to be lost.
With a former executive facing fraud charges of $13million and Gordan Merchant being put into a forced takeover situation, the future is definitely bleak for Bong. Australia is getting another dose of the Hollywood gloss-over with their beginnings (as well as Quik and RipCurl’s) being fictionalized in the upcoming movie Drift. Because of the tumultuous relationship surfing has with media 1.0, producers of Drift (Aussie actors Sam Worthington and Myles Pollard) are pimping Quik pros out to make testimonials for it’s acceptance.


Billabong Rio Pro 2013

John John and Owen Wright are out with injury, while Patty Gudang, and Yadin Nicol are replacements.

Day 1/Round 1- It all started with the all gthe regular pomp and circumstance yet only managed one round.  Despite questionable 4ft+ surf and dodgy weather, Pat won a heat, finally. Adriano made it through. So did Sebass, Mick and Joel. Slater got barreled. Micro made it. Gabby looked like he was back. “The Kid” (Nat) was looking sharp and professional. Jordy stepped it up. Bede was ripping, and Kolohe is here to stay.
Day 2/Round 2- Ten days later, a view of an empty chair and an air-conditioner, complete with worse conditions greeted the ebbing competitors.
Through the gloom and haze of a Brazilian hangover the destitute but chosen few got back to work. Those not subjected to the “losers round” relished in the extra time. Josh Kerr managed a whopping 9.77 early in the day. Yadin Nicol got into the contest due to Owen Wilson’s injury, so I don’t know if he felt sorry for the big man, but he hurt his own back Round 1. Ten days was not enough rest for Mr. Nicol and was promptly eliminated Round 2. The Hobgoods and other Florida natives seemed to have an unfair advantage in the chaotic circumstances and did well. Raioni continued to fight hard but Ace was blessed by Kelly’s barrel gods and advanced himself to round 3.  Additionally, Kai Otton, Brett Simpson, Travis Logie, Miguel Pupo,  and Felipe Toledo are all losers no more. With the waves, weather, and morale getting better, things were looking up for the next day.
Day 3/Round 3- With much better weather and head high surf some people really seemed to take advantage of the long break. Wether they wanted a mercy killing, or wanted carnage it was evident they wanted it over. I think that with the Tahiti swell during the lay days, endless Brazilian nightlife, and far away families,  the boys are thinking more about moving on and getting barreled than they are about surfing slop in the rain. The Brazil magic has worn off.
After looking good in the early round, Brother got swatted by Taj who put on a small wave clinic. The SC Kid stayed on top taking out Mr. Personality himself, Jeremy Flores. Adriano kept his momentum rolling and Gabby got a 3rd round win. Ace proved to be immune to the Hobgood sorcery whilst taking down CJ. Kelly beat Pat with a near perfect heat. Not a surprise, but a let down to see Pat eliminated. Joel blew it, but Micro surfed well and deserved the win. Bourez bested Bede, and Sebass’ barging bumped off Julian who just can not get a break. Felipe surfed brilliantly! [THANK YOU Adam Repoagle for bringing up his dad, "That would be really distracting."] Jordy was “mini barrel man” and Mick, also a barrel master, was too much for Brett Simpson. Mick later said “Shoots!”, about his wrist in a post heat interview with GT.

Round 4-no loser round again Taj recieved a questionable interference, but Adriano surfed a great heat and advances. Ace won a heat that Gabby and Kelly didn’t show up to. Sebass moved on taking out Michel Bourez and Glenn Hall. “Holy Toledo’ put on an amazing show of his talents and skipped round 5 by out ripping Mick and Jordy.

Round 5-  Squeezing in the last loser round  Taj got on a roll, but it wasn’t enough enough to smite the King. Unfortunately, The Kid’s run came to an end when up against a healthy Gabby. White Lightening cooked up some French Toast with Mr. Bourez, and in near darkness Jordy finally took down Glen Hall who just didn’t get the waves he needed to best Jordy’s heavy shredding.

Day 4/Final Day Nicer weather and a bigger crowd-

Quarter Finals- Known for not loving the morning heats, Kelly gave one up to Adriano. A priority disk was not changed and Gabby dropped in on Ace who promptly put the fins to his face. To Mr. Bucanan’s and all non-Brazilian observers surprise gabby was not called for interference. Ace was rattled and never recovered. Mick finally stopped Sebass, and Jordy surfed a beautiful heat, comboing Felipe Toledo.

Semi-Finals- Adriano fended off a swarming Gabby, even having the insolent kid paddle up his back. Though interference was again not called (on contest director Luke Eagan’s personal choice to win), Adriano had priority and paddled to block Gabby, who then paddled up his back, then off to get another wave. A wave where he was thankfully not rewarded for a mediocre backside 360. After losing Gabby cried, and of course, like any baby, needed his mommy. Get over it Gabby. Be a man and start winning. Adriano played Gabby’s game, only better.

Jordy KEPT ripping, landing some big airs set up by amazing power surfing. I don’t know if it’s because he shows just what us big men can do, or wether it’s the fact he brings up memories of Occ or Taylor Knox but I’ve grown to love Jordy’s surfing. What ever it is he seems to have this year he’s using it to take down some of the tours best. Though Mick never really even showed up for the heat, the nail biting potential could not be ignored.

Finals- As we get into the finals I actually feel like there has been fair and paced judging. Even with the priority and interference decisions I feel like the best surfers won the heats. Both Adriano and Jordy were absolutely going for it, but Jordy’s smart surfing always kept him in the heat. With his surfing and great story Adriano has the full backing of the beach. Jordy has not only been stepping up, he keeps bringing it, really putting the pressure on Adriano. It was obvious that Jordy wanted this, and after putting together massive combos, he took the final, much to the crowd’s chagrin.  Jordy surfed amazing and deserved the win!

Billabong Rio Pro 2013 —– Barra Da Tijuca/Arpoador

Brazilian surf history


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