Looking Forward: 1st New York Surf Film Festival

This September 26-28th Tribeca Cinemas will host the inaugural New York Surf Film Festival. This promises to be a historic event, as New York is a perfect venue for this type of gathering. The show is being organized by Tyler Breuer and company, with a diverse and well-regarded judging panel.

I will be in attendance to cover the festival for Surfers Journal, and writing daily posts. Oh, and cross your fingers. I’m quietly working on a film with a top notch video and film guy and access to some great music. Stay tuned, we’re hoping to get it finished in time for the festival.


Fantasy Surfer? Surely (not) Serious

Did you ever think it possible that someone, anyone would develop a Fantasy Surfer competition, in comparable form to the baseball, football, and other fantasy leagues that dot the internet sports pages?

I’ve always had a passing interest in the World Tour. In the nineties, when I was surfing as much as humanly possible, and really became addicted, Slater began his World Champion reign, snuffing out the competition in unmatched fashion. But then you heard about the last contest results about two months after they happened. No internet, no webcasts, no live scores, nothing other than a half page contest wrap up; rip, slash, burn, Slater took the event, and $25,000 US.

We’ve been enjoying ever better webcasts of the events, so to see Slater knife through a deep, bending Teahupoo barrel live is de rigueur. To know every turn Fanning will do next is a skill developed only through spending too many hours burning my eye sockets staring at my laptop screen, spying the top 45 in some phenomenal location, and seeing almost every single heat of Fanning’s run to the title, after I claimed he would win it early in the very first contest.

Slater on a roll in Fiji

Slater taking out the Globe Fiji Pro

Big deal, right? Why would I be so tuned in? Is it the webcasts alone? Nope. Even though they have come a long way in quality, they are still lacking a lot of the time. Fortunately the crews on site at the event usually have it sorted out by the business end of the contest. The real, true reason is Fantasy Surfer. I kid you not. When the game was commenced three years ago, I joined on, but the interface was weird and I locked myself out of my account. Then, two years ago I registered early, and started confabulating with myself on how to build the perfect team.

Sitting back and thinking about it, playing Fantasy Surfer, actually getting a salary cap and picking your best lineup of 8 starters sounds, well…freaky. Too mainstream-sport like. I finished that second year in the top 50 finishers out of 9000 or so.

Now, with over 17,000 teams entered, and some serious booty up for grabs, Fantasy Surfer has become a serious platform for those who take serious interest in seeing some of the world’s best surfers pushing themselves in great waves. And bet on them. It puts a little bit of the thrill of betting on the ponies into it. Rides are held up for inspection in the forums. Surfers are discussed, smack is talked. And it’s addictive. Highly addictive.

It’s not too late to enter a team for the remainder of this season. You won’t be able to win the two week boat trip grand prize, but you can win some other goodies by joining different clubhouses or having the highest team score for a contest. Plus, you’ll have enough time to learn the ropes for next year, when you’ll know the tour surfers’ strengths and weaknesses more that you know you’re own.

Mexican Shark Update

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If you read my recent piece on the shark attacks that have occurred down in Mexico, it turns out that Russell Canard, a member of my surfing email group, worldwidesurfers, was in the water just 30 feet away from the most recent attack victim when it happened. Here’s the details straight from his email:

Well 3 buddies and I are back and safe from our surf trip to Mexico (Troncones to be exact, about 5 miles away from Zihuantenejo/ Ixtapa). We are definitely excited to be back home. As many of you may have read in the paper and via online news there has been 4 shark attacks on surfers within the past 3/4 weeks within a 10 mile radius from where we have been surfing and 2 of the 4 have been fatal. One dude got attacked 30 ft from us while we were surfing. Totally insane story: it was early in the morning and we were surfing Playa Linda ( a place we surfed the whole day beforehand). Anyway, it was only us four out there and a guy named Bruce, he was on a shortboard (while we were all on boards over 9 ft); after about 45 minutes of surfing, he frantically came paddling over to us waving his hand yelling “shark”. We immediately bolted to the shore and saw him come in with a huge bite mark along his forearm and blood everywhere. We asked if he needed help and he just ran to his car and bolted to the hospital. Then this news came out. Needless to say we went surfing in a different area every day afterwards where there were many more surfers out and not as remote. It really hit home given the guy that got attacked was no more than 30 ft away and blood was most likely all over the place (attracting more sharks around us) and the shark that bit him was probably under our legs. Until you actually see something like this it really does not resonate how lucky we are and how mother ocean and all the creatures in the sea have the upper hand.

The following couple of days we had our feet high out of the water and tried to stay on the board at all times. Also there was almost like a strangeness among the many surfers there and little murmurs were everywhere, it was definitely the buzz and i think it had the same affect on us at it did with others who were all transplants whose main goal was to get in the water and surf. Needless to say, we still caught some of the best surf in our lives at a surf spot called, La Saladita, (just north of where Playa Linda is) and had a great time on the trip. In addition to the incredible surf, we each probably ate 2 and a half dozen avocados each and drank our fair share of cervezas and tequila- CHA CHA CHA….. But I think that each one of us will admit that the shark attacks and especially the attack on Bruce really affected us….it really puts some things in perspective. It definitely will not remove us from surfing, but it at least taught me to respect the $hit out of what exists there.

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Mexican Sharks and Bandits

Looks like traveling down below the border has gotten more dangerous on the land, and in the sea. The Baja crime situation is pretty well known by now, but a recent spate of shark attacks down on mainland Mexico is making authorities scratch their heads.

First they set baited hooks to catch the beast(s) responsible, but d’oh… it happened again. Of course, Mexican tourist officials are probably sweating this one big time, since the occurrences are all at the popular and widely used surf spots outside Acapulco.

Hey Mexico, need a shark solution? Consider Durban’s shark nets (fine, if you must, drumlines too). Now everyone remember, Mexico is a dangerous, dangerous place, where you will be lightened of your wallet by thieving banditos, then lose a much needed limb while in the water*.

*This last point has nothing in it trying to lure anyone away from going just because I’m trying to plan a trip there, sharks be damned!