The Oakley Wave of the Winter is an award given to the surfer who catches the gnarliest wave of the contest period (November – February) at Pipeline on the North Shore of Hawaii. The judging panel selects each month’s top rides who collectively make up the finalists for the grand prize which stands at $25,000. Along with The Oakley Wave of the Winter award, secondary prizes are awarded to the person who successfully films the premier GoPro video clip of the contest period (The GoPro of the Winter) and the surfer who is deemed to be the season’s consistent standout performer (Clif Bar Overall Performance). For the first time in its brief history, the Oakley Wave of the Winter and Clif Bar Overall Performance awards were won by one surfer. None other than the great Kelly Slater.
It’s tough to put down in words how much I admire Jean de Villiers. I remember watching him jamming for Maties back in the day – which was a Wednesday by the way – and thinking to myself this chap can play rugby! It took some time before the world saw the talent he possessed, but once given the chance he soon establishing himself as one of the premium inside centres in the world. He has always had captain written all over him and it was only a matter of time before it got offered to him. He was my choice to pick up the mantle once The Race Pig retired and I was chuffed for him. I talk about JdeV as if he is one of my mates simply because that’s the impression he gives. Jean seems to be another one of the mates around the braai talking rugby. Except this mate is about to become only the fifth South African to play 100 Test matches for his country.
I cannot put my finger on why I’ve avoided writing about the Springboks during this years Rugby Championships. Perhaps it’s because I have felt uninspired by them. Or perhaps, with all due respect to the Pumas, I first wanted to see what they could do against those
wankers chaps from Australasia as the true test of any team is how they perform against the Wallabies and most importantly the All Blacks. This weekend’s result was a tough pill to swallow and whilst it would be far easier to lambaste the team, I wouldn’t consider that to be constructive. Alternatively, I feel there are a few questions which Heyneke Meyer has yet to answer and the fact that these questions are still being asked a year outside of the Rugby World Cup is of a far greater concern than losing by a whisker to an average Wallabies team.
Bryan Habana is on the eve of becoming only the 4th South African to play 100 rugby Test matches for his country and in the process truly cement himself as a Springbok great. He’s already the leading try scorer for the Boks, is revered around the world as one of the fastest wings in Rugby Union and his 56 Test tries places him fourth on the list of all-time international try scorers. There is no denying the brilliance of the man as he epitomizes the saying “form is temporary, class is permanent” and below is a tribute to the man with jet-shoes. Forgive the soundtrack and enjoy the tries.
What better way to understand the intricacies of defending the midfield than by listening to Irish rugby legend, Brian O’Driscoll talk Austin Healy through it on Rugby Tonight? Brian runs through three different scenarios which may occur on a rugby field and what his responses would be to each. It’s interesting hearing what he has to say and is quite apt considering the fresh meat the Springboks have picked at 13 for this weekends clash against the Wallabies. I hope that Jan Serfontein has watched the clip. Whilst listening to Brian, I noted two things: Firstly, he regards defending at 13 to be the toughest defensive position on the park; and secondly I get the feeling that I want to hear him speak about rugby for the rest of my days.
By all accounts, this year’s Billabong Pro in Tahiti was off the hook! Dudes were getting worked left right and centre as the waves were as heavy as has been seen at Teahupo’o in some time. The Teahupo’o wave has a legendary reputation, due to its unique form. The coral reef is extremely shallow and at times sits 50 cm below the surface, whilst the lip of the wave is often as thick as it is tall which means that when someone wipes out on the wave, it’s usually pretty gnarly. That being said the wave consistently offers barrels and is considered a ‘must surf’ spot on any surfing enthusiast’s list. Gabriel Medina from Brazil ended up taking the title, beating off the likes of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning in the process. Here are a couple must watch highlights from the comp.
Legendary skateboarder Jay Adams, who was one of the original Z-Boys, passed away a week ago whilst on an extended surfing trip in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. In his youth, Jay won several championships in skateboarding and surfing and was renowned for his style, which was so fluid that he was nicknamed “Pure Seed” and even “The Chosen One.” Jay was something of a purist and chose to stick close to the renegade side of skateboarding and shied away from the big-money contests which eventually arose in the skateboarding world. Despite a turbulent life – which included some jail time – Jay was dedicated to the pursuit of stoke and died at the age of 53, on a surf trip. Does it get much better?