Friday, January 24, 2014
This weekend during the Body Glove Maverick's Invitational surfers from all around the world will be gathering in California at Maverick's to begin the surf competition Maverick's Invitational. Although the contest has not changed since it's origin there will be a new way to view it. Universal Sports network recently announced that they will be showing the contest on their television network for the first time. This is one of the first times a live surfing contest will be able to be viewed on television besides California or Hawaii. This new marketing of surfing will open up many doors for the surfing industry. A new stand out in the surfing world, Redbull, has sponsored many movies along with the Red Bull Signature Series showcasing action sports, including surfing. The Signature Series has showcased numerous surfing competitions, none of which were live, in different locations around the world. All of the showcased events were on the WCT, making Maverick's the first non WCT event shown on television.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
If you have ever been in the ocean the thought has crossed your mind that a shark could be swimming nearby. If you have ever watched Jaws or Soul Surfer or any other shark attack related movie you have always had the thought in the back of your mind that a shark is lurking nearby. But for a majority of us we will never be attacked by a shark or possibly even see a shark, but for swimmers and surfers in Hawaii the fear of a shark attack has recently been escalated. In 2013 Hawaii had a record amount of recorded shark attacks, 14 to be exact, two of which resulted in fatalities. Both of these fatalities were in the area of Makena State Park on the island of Maui. Also both fatal shark attacks occurred with tourists, one a German snorkeler and a Washington state kayak fisherman. This fear for tourists could be harmful to Hawaii's economy considering that a majority of their economy is comprised of tourists. Although in years prior when shark attacks first started to increase it did not seem to affect tourism, it is still a major concern for local business owners. It is not yet certain why exactly the number of attacks has spiked, theories include radiation from the tsunami in Japan that pushed sharks closer to land and that increased numbers in sea turtle population has given sharks more to hunt, however, neither of those theories are confirmed. Whatever the reason for the increase in attacks one thing is for certain, the more kayakers, paddle boarders, and swimmers in the water, the more likely to see a negative result. Some Hawaiian locals also say it is all about respect. By invading a sharks natural habitat you are showing threat to the shark which can also have negative consequences.
Monday, January 13, 2014
In high school it is important for kids to participate in clubs, sports, or other activities in which can be active and express their individuality. Some high schools have started adopting surfing as one of these sports for students to participate in. Locally one of the most prominent examples of high school surfing is Ocean City's surf team. Ocean City's surf team has been a dominant name in high school level surfing, champions for the past 16 years straight and 23 of the last 24 years. OC is such a notable team that it was even featured on School of Surf. School of Surf is part of the Red Bull Riders Cup and had six episodes featuring Ocean City, along with other surf teams, preparing for and competing in the Championships. OCHS has had some local big names in surfing come from the school including Rob Kelly who has competed in ASP events, Andrew Gesler, and Jamie Moran. Although OCHS was beat by St. Augustine Prep's surf team last November they are recognized by others as an impressive surf team with some of the best surfers in the region.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
In order to grow surfing as a sport it is important to expose the youth to surfing. Aside from free surfing there are now competitive circuits for the youth to compete in such as the NSSA. The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and assist its members in their interest to learn and develop the fundamentals and skills of surfing competition while competing in structured and quality events. In the NSSA kids aging from middle school to the college level can compete from around the country in events. A unique thing about the NSSA is that it requires it's athletes to maintain good grades in order to be eligible to participate in events. I believe that this is a great event for kids of all ages to partake in. The NSSA has also found a great balance between athletics and school with their grade requirements to participate. Locally the NSSA has contests throughout the season in Ocean City, Belmar, and other beaches. One of the most notable NSSA contestants in the area is Mike Ciaramella. Mike is from Avalon New Jersey and currently attends University of California at San Diego. He is an amazing surfer who has numerous sponsors including Rusty Surfboards. Mike's story is an example of the NSSA balance between student and athlete.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Although Kelly Slater is arguably the most influential person in the sport of surfing there is a person that can be very influential at everyone's local break. This person is Joe. Joe is a surfer much like you and me. Joe isn't bad at surfing, but Joe will never see the professional level of surfing, he's an average Joe. Joe likes the same things that all surfers do; new boards, nice clothes, and the warm the sun out. Joe has a decent job and a decent car that always seems to have a surfboard and wetsuit in the back. He watches the forecast often, he surfs when there is waves, and he is sad when there is not. . Joe has ultimately made his life revolve around what he loves, surfing.
Who is Joe? Joe is just that, an average Joe. He is me, he is you, and he is every surfer that you see at your break. We are all Joe whether we realize it or not. Everything that we do, both in the water and out influences the sport and culture surrounding it. If someone buys a new board and you see it in the water chances are you'll either want it or think about buying one similar. If you see that one person that stands out at your break surfing their best on a great day it will push you to surf better yourself. Part of why surfing is such a great sport is because of the progression that comes from its athletes. Besides watching professionals like Kelly Slater surf their best at Pipeline, we watch locals that most likely will never be globally known like Kelly but still surf great. By watching people like Joe and learning from them we can truly progress in the sport that we all love, surfing.
Monday, December 16, 2013
In surfing there are many influential people who help make the sport as progressive as it is. Arguably the most influential person is Kelly Slater. Slater grew up in Cocoa Beach Florida and is currently on the ASP world tour. Slater has won 11 World titles and 53 events including the Billabong Pipe Masters yesterday, (for the 7 time). This makes Slater the all-time most winningest surfer on tour. Aside from winning so many events Slater has shown how to surf a WCT event. Slater has also been in numerous surf films, done voice cameo for the movie Surf's Up, and was even in the TV show Baywatch showing a general audience what surfing is all about. No example is greater to show why Slater is so good than his showing at Pipeline yesterday. Although he did not clinch the world title, he had an amazing showing and won the event. This kind of athleticism shows just why he is not only a world class surfer but a influential ambassador to the sport.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Since coming out GoPro cameras have been highly acclimated for their amazing picture quality and ability to be used almost anywhere from the barrel at Pipeline to a remote walking path in Bali. With this versatility comes a demand for the product and the hype that follows. But is GoPro overrated? The costs for a GoPro can be immense. The camera itself cost $200 for the base model, with models in the $400 range, then the mounts and accessories can range from $20- $50. However, with that price comes the ability to capture stunning HD videos of you, or your friends doing whatever activity it is you want to film. These cameras are so popular that companies like Surfline are offering prizes for the best GoPro clips submitted, along with tips and techniques to take better video. But is the price tag worth it? Are you willing to shell out potentially hundreds of dollars to video tape yourself? Personally I am not a fan of all the hype surrounding them, but I do think they are a nice product. After all, the company has made millions selling these cameras to athletes and adventure seekers alike. But there is something to be said for a company that has found a niche market and has profited well off of it, but for me I think they are overrated with all the hype they get like from the slogan "Be a Hero". But I am sure that much like any subject everyone has their own opinion so let me know what you think. Are GoPro's overrated, or are they a great new way to capture your sport through the athlete’s eyes?