SB Surfboards Blog
July 08 Archive
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL) earned his highest WQS result of the year with an equal 3rd at the US Open in Huntington Beach. Kling beat fellow former ASP World Tour surfer Shaun Cansdell (Emerald Beach, AUS), WQS standout Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) and ASP World Tour rookie Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) on the way to his semifinal finish.
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At 18 years of age, Alana Blanchard is a surf industry sponsor’s dream: a fearless competitor with model good looks. As a rookie on the ASP Women’s World Qualifying Series (WQS), Alana is currently ranked #5 and making a serious charge at her dream of qualifying for the World Championship Tour.
The young ripper, born and raised in Hanalei, Kauai, had a stellar year in ’07, winning the Women’s Pipeline Championships, the Rip Curl Girls Festival Jr. Pro event in Spain, the Roxy Pro Trials in Haleiwa, as well as the Billabong Pro Pre-Trials event at Ho’okipa, Maui. Alana capped off an illustrious amateur career in 2007 making the finals and taking 4th at NSSA Nationals at Lower Trestles. Now she’s surfing for precious points and cash.
A third place finish at this year’s 6-Star Midori Pro in Newcastle, Australia, along with a solid result at the Van’s Pier Classic in HB and consistent showings throughout the first half of the WQS schedule have landed Alana at #5 — within striking distance of the WCT. The top six women from the WQS will make that leap to center stage in women’s pro surfing.
We caught up to Alana for a quick interview after an uncharacteristic performance at the Honda U.S. Open in Huntington Beach. She was seeded in the round of 48, but got knocked out in her first heat. While this may drop her from her current ranking, Alana is staying positive. “I still have the two 6-stars in Portugal and Haleiwa, so hopefully I’ll do better in those.”
This is your first full season on the QS, are you enjoying the travel or is it getting to be a grind?
ALANA: At first it was a little tough, but now that I’m getting used to it…it’s fun. I like it, but I do miss home a lot. Sometimes I’m away for a month at a time.
What’s your plan for the remainder of the schedule?
ALANA: From here I’ll go do the 6-Star in Portugal. If I do good, then I might not have to go to Brazil. But if I do bad in Portugal, I’ll have to go to Brazil in October for the two 4-star events down there that are back to back.
How does it feel to be sitting in the #5 spot mid-way through the WQS schedule?
ALANA: It’s pretty exciting…but it’s also pretty stressful. I need to focus on trying to make finals or semis…make the CT…that’s all I’m thinking about.
How would your life change if you qualify for the CT?
ALANA: That’s my main goal right now, so I’d just be so happy to get there. Then I could just focus on staying on the CT and trying to win a title.”
Which of boards have been working best for you this season?
ALANA: I just got some new ones from Steve Boysen and they’ve been working really good. I really like the 5-9 squash tails. He made them a little wider and pinched in the rails a bit; they’re working super good even in small waves.
Have you ordered boards for this winter on the North Shore?
ALANA: Not yet, but I think we’re going to start working on those pretty soon. I’ll probably get some 6-6’s and a maybe some 7-2’s for Sunset.
If you do qualify for the CT, how are you going to celebrate?
ALANA: Uh… just …like by being home with my friends and family. I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about that yet.
Alana’s surfing is supported by Rip Curl, Sanuk, SB Surfboards, LifeFitness, Spy, Vertra sun protection, LifeFitness, Future Fins and Hanalei Surf Shop.
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Boysen Groms - Britt Galland, Cory Gabriola and Michael Berg touring Peru. Hey Steve can you shape a board like the Caballitos de Totoria in this pic?
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Sea Bass's year just keeps getting better and better. Surfline's "20 under 20" feature, which ranks the top 20 surfers in the world under 20 years old, has ranked Sea Bass #9. Here is what Surfline's Dave Prodan had to say about Sea Bass:
The Kauaian vagabond has made quite the splash in 2008 and nowhere was this more apparent than at April's Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior. Seabass, along with fellow outer-island comrade Dusty Payne, dealt healthy spankings in both divisions of the event, but Zietz's paranormal rapport with the Lowers walls set him well apart from the pack. Although the young regularfooter went out in the quarterfinals of the WQS (the result of a last minute interference), he had already scalped some big names (including Nathan Yeomans and Dustin Barca) and went on to obliterate the Oakley Pro Junior a few hours later, claiming the win and qualifying for the Oakley Global Pro Junior Challenge in one fell swoop. That being said, this is Zietz's final year as a junior and we want to see the youngster make more of a dent on the 'QS - nowhere better than the upcoming U.S. Open in Huntington Beach.
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Free surfer Reef McIntosh makes his living at Pipeline. When Pipe is firing, Reef is on it, along with an elite fraternity of “Pipe Specialists” who — after years of paying their dues and showing respect for what is arguably the most revered wave on the planet—have earned their place in the hallowed line-up.
Asked about his most memorable moments from this past season on the North Shore, McIntosh recalled, “yeah, January and February were a lot better than December. We had solid back-to-back-to-back late season swells. It was insane.”
Since Pipe typically puts on its best show from November through February, we wanted to quiz Reef on what he does during all that down time.
Q: How does your routine change once the North Shore shuts down for the season?
Reef: When the Quiksilver house closes up in March, I usually go back to Kauai for a week or two. Then…you know…I’ll go to Tavarua on Jeff Booth’s trip in April. That’s usually a really good trip. Since I was a kid, I remember seeing all these great shots of Jeff surfing epic Cloudbreak. Unfortunately, this year it absolutely sucked, and I didn’t surf once. But I brought my dad over for his 60th birthday and I had my girlfriend with me, so I really didn’t care so much. I just like being there.
Q: What other water activities do you get into when you’re not surfing?
Reef. If I’m not surfing, I’m pretty much surfing the couch, or I’m on the phone. Everybody thinks I have a manager or an agent, just seeing what I’ve done. But I don’t, so I spend a lot of time setting things up with sponsors, magazines and photographers.
Q: How do you do to stay fit during the offseason?
Reef: I go to the gym with my girlfriend, and I try to stretch a lot to stay loose.
Q: What spots do you surf in the islands in the spring and summer?
Reef: I’m not in Hawaii much during summer. I’m pretty much based in California; It’s easier to jump around; there’s more flights to Fiji, West Oz, Mexico or wherever the swell is.
Q: Have you had any good photo trips recently?
Reef: I went to Tahiti and got a shot that’s pretty dope. I went to Puerto with Russo and got some pretty good stuff. If I go on a trip, and get at get at least one really good A+ photo, I feel like I did my job.
Q: How long have you been riding Steve Boysen surboards?
Reef: Two years now full time.
Q: What are you riding when the waves aren’t macking?
Reef: In Hawaii I’ll ride my normal 6-4 round tails and rounded pins. In California, I’ll play around and ride some of Steve’s different boards…like little 6-2 diamond tails and swallow tails.
Q: Are you and Steve going to do any fine-tuning to your Pipe boards for this coming winter?
Reef: Umm, no…not really. Steve’s a bad-ass shaper. So I’ll just give him the dimensions, tell him I want glass-ons, maybe tell him to pull in the tail…and he does the rest.
Q: How long does it take to get back into the rhythm of winter on the North Shore?
Reef: It’s pretty much second nature, but at Pipeline it takes a couple of good swells.
Q: What are your goals for this coming winter?
Reef: Just to stay focused on Pipeline and to keep turning heads. Keep it exciting. I want to be the guy out there who makes people say “who the f --k was that on that wave.
Story: Dale DiPetro
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