Boys rest, girls play hard
THE top 45 men surfers on the ASP World Tour are taking a well-earned break until their next event in Brazil at the end of the month but the world's best women surfers are waiting anxiously at the Rip Curl Malibu in California for a south swell to kick off their third last WCT event which runs from October 1 to this Sunday.
Malibu has an incredible past, the American Indians rode the point on their canoes back in 2000BC and its where surfing took off in the U.S. after Tom Blake rode what he called, "the original perfect wave" there in 1925.
In the 1950s, Joe Quigg, then one of the most popular surfcraft makers, was asked by a young lady, Vicki Flaxman to build a lighter and smaller board than the big 16-foot plywoods.
Vicki's 9-foot 6-inch board was considered small in those days but became quite the rage for some time until balsa, followed by foam and fiberglass boards in the 60s, led to surfing becoming the global sport it is today.
The long right-hand pebbly point led to the rise of the infamous Miklos 'Micky' Dora, Gidget, Tubesteak and a continuing host of other Hollywood celebrities.
Malibu Point has seen it all and when that south swell hits this week, the famous surfing location will have a huge bearing on this year's womens world title.
Just like the mens dual battle with Kelly Slater holding off Andy Irons by 768 points and two WCT events remaining, the women's world title race is between defending world champion Sofia Mulanovich, of Peru, who has a slender lead of 228 points over Chelsea Georgeson, of Tweed heads.
If Chelsea can get up at the Bu, the talented backhander will take the ratings lead for the first time this year.
In round one, Sofia has drawn Coolangatta's Trudy Todd who needs a good result to requalify for next year's women's tour.
Also joining Sofia and Trudy in the opening round will be the winner of the trials featuring CT giant killer Stephie Gilmore.
Should Steph win the trials, the Kingscliff girl, who won the Roxy Pro earlier this year at Snapper, could help Chelsea's cause by knocking out the world champion again in the opening round.
One of the other trialists is Kauai's Bethany Hamilton who lost her right arm to a shark two years ago when surfing with friends at a surf spot known as Tunnels at Kauai.
Her accident has given her international fame but not stopped her from focusing on surfing.
Bethany's recovery from the accident has been outstanding and according to former Surfing Australia coach Russell Lewis, "Bethany is actually surfing better now than before the attack, she is so strong and so determined".
Lewis returned to Hawaii three months ago to take up his previous coaching jobs on Kauai where he has renewed the coaching relationship with Bethany and other red-hot juniors from Andy's Island.
"The island was jumping the next day and everyone was feeling really good about Andy (Irons) beating Kelly (Slater)," Russel; said, referring to Andy's demolition job in the solid Hossegor beachbreaks to win his second WCT for the year at the Quiksilver Pro (France).
"The Kauai boys had been up all night watching the French event on the internet and were pretty fired up the next day but in a very positive way."
Russ lives at Hanalei, not far from the Irons camp.
The word is that Kelly better wrap up the world title in Brazil, otherwise its an Hawaiian showdown and the AI club will be out in force at Pipe to back their boy.
o o o
ONE of my oldest surfing mates, Bobby Knight, has been traveling to Bali since the first arrival of surfers there in the early 70s and he's not deterred from going back.
Speaking from Bali, Bobby who has been in Bali during both the 2002 and now the latest terrorist attacks, is steadfast in his resolve to keep coming back to the island.
"They (terrorist) didn't get me in 2002 and they didn't get me this time around, they won't stop me from coming back!" he said.
Understandably most tourists weren't hanging around to watch the NRL grand final, taking advantage of the exodus Qantas airlift.
Meanwhile, Bobby headed back out to Uluwatu which is his favourite wave of course being a goofy foot from the Gold Coast says it all.
"The swell is up today and I'm not going into Kuta to watch the footy," the stoic Knight, better known as 'Bommie Bob' to the locals said.
"Besides 'Outside Corner' at Ulu's will be working."