Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stealth Arica Chilean Challenge Recap – Event #3 in the IBA Grand Slam Series

Unlike the pretty stale WCT Tour, the IBA has had 3 classic events in what’s been happening during the 2012 campaign. First off was the best surf Pipe saw in the winter, second was the Box with a mixed bag of waves though intense action and third was the Stealth Arica Chilean Challenge, which finished this past Sunday. If you missed the event, no worries, heats on demand on the ibaworldtour youtube channel guarantee that you’ll see every bit of action, and boy was there action.

First off, a big congrats to all the riders in the IBA world tour. They put on a great show, local Chilean riders showed they are to be taken VERY seriously and few if any riders failed to put on a good showing. Injuries? You bet there were injuries, and still Ben Player, Amaury Lavernhe and Danton Correa put on a great show. These are serious pros who REALLY want to win and put it all on the line.

The webcast started super deep into the trials so we were treated to a deep look into what goes into one of the most prized events in bodyboarding. A pool of 100 international riders put on a great show and who won the trials? A guy from Morocco called Brahim Iddouch who flipped himself silly for the win. So a big thanks to the IBA for letting fans see an event in its entirety.

Then came the main event. Conditions varied intensely throughout the week with waves from 3-12 feet and conditions that varied as well. Often ridden with overcast skies, El Gringo is a wave that goes left and right and has high consequences either way, though the left is even sketchier. The scoring criteria adjusted superbly and the judges really deserve a shoutout for making the right call 99% of the time.

If I could use three words to describe the air one could grasp through the webcast they would be focus, determination and joy. Bodyboarders are a friendly bunch of guys most of the time, but the blast they seemed to have in Chile just permeated throughout the whole event. Then again, that’s what happens when you have thousands of people lining up to see the world’s best face off against one of the best waves on the planet. Some standout things I saw were:

1.     The Lan ladies - Promoters from Lan Airlines that kept what few males were there smiling from ear to ear. Having a representative of Lan Airlines was also awesome since it pretty much shows that bodyboarding is a serious and popular sport in Latin America.
2.     A mummy replica they brought to the booth. Super weird moment and I don’t know how Manny could eat on that table after they brought that thing out.
3.     The mayor of Arica giving an interview.
4.     All the riders doing commentating. Everyone put in their time in the event and highlights in the booth are too many to name, though my vote goes for Mark McCarthy since his enthusiasm was infectious.

Then there was the riding. Although I have my 5 favorite waves from the event, please make sure to see the entire event. This was quality riding from the highest quality of riders. Then again, there are always waves that standout and here are my top five:

Top Five waves of the Stealth Arica Chilean Challenge:

5. Jeff Hubbard’s ARS to barrel in round 4: Jeff pulls into a big right hander that looks a little fat. Then he hits a massive ARS and lands in the barrel, which he pulls out from into a roll.

4. Ben Player’s round 6 reverse to barrel to flip: One of the most technical waves ridden in the event, Ben Player pulls into a big right, thinks it’s not going to pitch so does a reverse to stall for time. As he finishes the reverse, the wave throws, he gets a sick barrel and comes out with a flip.

3. Guilherme Tamega Barrel for the win in Semi Final #1. PLC had Guilherme on the ropes at the end, but the Brazilian behemoth was not going to be denied a Final berth. He pulls insanely deep on a right hander and I’m pretty sure he yelled at the wave to stay open. I really didn’t think he was going to make it, and he did.

2. Dave Hubbard’s MASSIVE Boost in round 3. In this round, people were looking for Nick Gornall to boost big. After he hit a section a little late, Dave Hubbard grabs a quick left and proceeds to go higher than his brother did the entire event with the biggest air in Chile. What’s crazier is how smooth he landed it and that he even had the presence of mind to launch another roll afterwards.

1. Mike Stewart’s spinner, to barrel to HUGE invert in Quarterfinal #4. Vintage Mike, that’s what you’re going to hear for a long time. Stewart smoked Ben Player in the quarters starting out with a beautiful looking left hander. He proceeds to do a textbook smooth spinner into the barrel, grabs a long drawn out tube and even while he’s shacked, you see him eyeing the section coming. It was a 2-3 ft section and he boosted like 6 feet in the air, completely inverted and landed on barely covered rocks… rightfully so, this was the highest scoring wave of the event.

It was a hell of a contest, and like I said… everyone was riding so well it was a sight to see. Now there were some riders that looked more in form than the rest, and here’s my list:

Brahim Iddouch – Took down the trials and though he didn’t progress very far in the event, he showed he charges and that he’s a welcome addition to any event.

Damian King – Runner up in the trials, Kingy looked downright deadly in his riding and just came up short in the heat he lost. Still, his riding was tight and focused and it’s awesome to see him charging.

Sacha Specker – Riding tight and quick, flipping, tubing and still with enough energy to click some land and water shots. The man is on fire and I wouldn’t be surprised if an in form Sacha makes the Semis or Finals of an event this year.

Nick Gornall – The scariest launch of the event has to go to Nick Gornall, who threw an invert off a section that would have people pooping their pants.

Andrew Lester – Lester made it to the Quarters until he met up with the eventual event winner. His riding was focused and technical and he showed he’s someone to take serious in any heat you’re in.

Dave Hubbard – Biggest air of the event, Dave missed the quarters by .06 pts… it’s a harsh loss because he was ripping and you can probably make a case that he deserved the win… then again you can also make a case for Lester deserving the win. It’s one of those heats you’d hate to have to judge. That aside, Dave looked sharp, fast and motivated to go big. He did a crazy flip on the rocks to stay in the event and was always looking to go deep and big.

Jake Stone – His lowest scoring heat was 13 something… he was looking sharp and deadly and can always take you out when you least expect it with a huge flip when you think a wave won’t get the score. Just ask Stewart and Mark McCarthy.

Jeff Hubbard – Hubb has looked great in two events. One of the few air reverses in the event, he’s known for busting for a reason or twenty. When he was on, he was way on and he bowed out to a scarily determined Guilherme Tamega.

Dallas Singer – Dallas looked as good as I think I’ve ever seen him in a contest and it was a shame he got nipped in the end of his heat against PLC. Consistently spinning out of the barrel, the smoothest air reverse of the event was his. I hope he uses this loss to keep the momentum up because he was riding awesome.

Amaury Lavernhe – That’s twice Amaury has been caught up in the Tamega storm at Arica… and to be honest, it was more the ocean than his skills or will. He just didn’t get the rides he needed when he needed them. That aside, I don’t know if he needs to be injured more often because I hadn’t seen him riding that precise in a while. His heat wins were borderline inspirational and if GT gets him in another heat, he should know he’s going to have to go even bigger.

Mitch Rawlins – Mitch brought the momentum from the Box and launched some crazy big rolls and deep tubes. PLC shut the door on him, so look for Mitch to look for redemption.

Ben Player – What corked thigh? For a second I thought BP wasn’t going to ride the event, then I remembered that these guys aren’t about to fly thousands of miles to complain about an injury. With a strong promotion for Coke, he used cut off patches from 2 liter Coke bottles to protect his thigh and he was riding excellent even when he was steamrolled by a wizard.

Pierre Louis Costes – Riding tight, going big and flipping like crazy… though I have to admit, it’s getting to the point where I want him to launch something other than a backflip… and he did. He did a wonky air forward, a textbook perfect reverse off the lip and some big rolls that made me enjoy his flips more when he mixed it up.

Guilherme Tamega – Tamega’s focus was downright scary. Really, I’m glad heats aren’t full contact because he’d put you in a jiu-jitsu hold in the first 30 seconds, for sure. Up to the final he was winning on pure will and determination. Look at the Semi Final against PLC for pure evidence of this where you can almost hear the wave weeping as he whips it into submission. I’ll say this for Winey, thank God he left the big score for the end because with more time, GT might have done something to top his 2011 antics for a win.

Mike Stewart – At 49, Mike is riding just like or better than he did ten or more years ago. No one in the event was putting up better combos than Mike in my view, even going as far as doing an ARS on the rocks on a wave he’d done a spin, done a roll and gotten a barrel on. It was a treat to see him charging so hard and it’s just a shame he didn’t make it into the final, then again, unlike other occasions, more than any, it was all on the ocean since every good wave he got, he completely shredded and he’s gone back to being one of the last guys you want in your heat.

Dave Winchester – Wave magnet… that’s Winey for you in two words. Flipping, barreling, inverting and rolling his way to victory, Dave Winchester wrestled the Arica title from GT’s hands in the last minute of competition. It’s a hell of a victory for Australia and Winey is the in-form rider of the year, placing 3rd twice and now winning an event in the first three events of the year. Two more good results should do it, and I’m super stoked for him. Great guy and another asset to the sport.

So there you have it, 3 events down, 5 to go… Expectations are high and Brazil is coming up… I’ll write my predictions throughout the week.

Viva La Bodyboarding!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

13 surf spots that scare the crap out of you

13.     Dungeons
Dark… that’s the feeling that video footage of this South African big wave gives off. Its setup is like something out of an HP Lovecraft tale and its name doesn’t do it any favors. 

12.     Waimea Bay
One of the gnarliest and most famous big waves in the world is a two parter… First you have the main lineup which is a huge right hander that is basically summed up by the instructions of “take off, aim and wish for the best”. If you get past that, then you just have to get past the most photographed shorebreak in the world which has waves of up to 15 feet detonating on a shallow sand bottom.

11.   Cortez Bank
To get to Cortez you have to go into the middle of the ocean and surf in shark infested waters. To surf big waves you have to be wired differently. To surf Cortez you have to be f#$%ed in the head.

10. Shipstern’s Bluff

Holy mutant ledges Batman, what the hell is that? Initially a bodyboarding hellman’s paradise, Shipstern’s has been invaded by standup boarders towing into mutant slabs. It’s a messed up ride with high consequences… the funny thing is that bodyboarders would charge this place paddling into it.

9.  Ghost Trees

Ominous, spooky and a big wave spot that offers some of the biggest barrels in the world. Ghost Trees is one of those spots where guys seem like they’re surfing dark cyclopean tsunamis.

8.  Jaws

The name would be bad enough, that this massive wave requires crowd control makes it even more dangerous. A right hander (and occasional left) that discharges on a Maui reef break is the diamond standard of tow-in surfing. It’s technical, it’s massive, you’ll go about a million miles an hour and all the while you’re just praying to make it to the channel. Never mind that you can get a barrel where a semi truck fits comfortably.

7. Cave Rock

I’m never going to forget a caption I read in a magazine that said something on the lines of “Perfect and completely empty… 14 shark attacks in 14 weeks will do that to a place.” Few places really ask you to fully risk your life when you paddle out… and quite frankly no other place intimidates me as much regarding my chances of getting attacked by a shark.

6.  Puerto Escondido

All sand bottom, hot temperatures, direct tap to Pacific Swells that unload on this stretch… what’s not to love? How about a phantom set 6-7 ft. bigger than what you’re surfing to clean out the entire beach. Puerto can handle big size and it’ll kick your ass unmercifully, making you curse the day you said beachbreaks weren’t as dangerous as reefs.

5.  Teahupoo

Perfection can be scary… Teahupoo looks like God looked at a surf T-shirt and decided to put that on Earth… or vice versa. The thing is that Teahupoo’s lip is insanely thick, the wave ends in a closeout and if you get caught inside… well survival mode is pretty much your only option. There’s something about sucking 10 feet below level that perfectly demonstrates how little you want to wipeout in this spot.

4.  El Gringo

I don’t think there’s a wave that has injured as many riders in as little competitions. Basically if the surf is going off, you can get hurt. The water is cold, the reef is shallow and the price to play can be dangerously high. The funny part is that standup surfers had an event here a couple of years back and aren’t too keen to go back whereas bodyboarders take every event to push bigger, harder, deeper and crazier than ever thought of.

3.  Pipeline

Everyone dreams of surfing pipe… until they see a closeout set wipe the lineup clean. Pipe is a high-stakes high-reward wave. You can get the barrel of your life, launch the air of the year or die.

2.  Mavericks

Mavericks shall unfortunately be known as the place where Mark Foo died. Murky cold water, a shady ass paddle out, sharks, phantom sets, undertows… you name the hazard and Mavs has it in spades.

1.  Shark Island

No other spot on Earth can turn as nasty as fast as the Island. Mutant lips, shallow barnacle reef, the wave comes from way too deep way too fast for it to be predictable… and that’s the danger. The difference between bliss and obliteration is a matter of inches and milliseconds. The worst part, while you’re on a 5 foot face, you are clueless that the wave has a six foot thick lip. Pound for pound, there is no wave scarier than the Island.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mitch Rawlins: Why I surf

Motivation and love have one thing in common, every person defines it differently. Here's a great clip of Mitch Rawlins showing why he surfs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The top riders who have changed the face of bodyboarding

5. Ben Player

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rider who has polarized me as much as Ben. Originally, I didn’t like his style in the first videos I saw with him and Toby… then he goes to Hawaii, then he starts boosting, then he starts charging, then he starts pulling off moves perfectly, then he starts putting his style on his moves, then he starts putting his style on everything he does, then he becomes the ideal. Ben is the evolution of style embodied by a rider and now I need to see every segment he’s in even if he’s just doing a duckdive.

4. Eppo

A long descendant of Daedalus, Eppo was the air man of air men. He made people want to commit to the air more than anyone. He pushed the sport with the ARS, the backflip, the double roll and airs higher over the lip than waves I’ve ridden. While some people push deeper into the barrel and others push harder into their moves, Eppo took to the sky and the sport has never been the same since.

3. Jeff Hubbard

Freak… that’s how you define Hubb, launching higher than physically and psychologically healthy, Hubb’s segments look like they come out of a damn videogame. Abnormally flexible and with the most complete skills of any rider to ever ride on a board, Hubb is who everyone wants to be. He can win with the deepest barrel. He can win with the highest air. He can win with the most fluid combinations of moves. Simply put, if anyone can win, it’s Jeff... Lucky for all of us, anyone watching a heat he’s in or a segment he’s riding on also wins.

2. Guilherme Tamega

A lot of people say they’re willing to do whatever it takes to win. Each of those people is quoting Tamega… there’s saying you’re willing to die to win, and then there’s making everyone fear for your life to prove that you’re not talking bullshit. It’s 1994, Tamega launches what becomes known as the Death Roll on a closeout at Pipe and takes off on one of the best 10 point rides in history to claim a win… Fast forward 17 years to Chile and he launches what is called a Death Roll over dry reef at Arica to win. With time some people change… but the heroes in our lives, they always stay true to who they are. Tamega is the real deal and during his reign of terror, no one came close to taking him down. When it comes to crazy rolls, crazy air forwards and fierce competitive drive, Tamega is King.

1. Mike Stewart

Having the respect of your peers is one thing, commanding respect from everyone who’s ever done a water sport is another. You see, getting the wave of your life at Pipe has to do with luck as much as skill… bodysurfing Pipe and attempting to do it from Second Reef… that’s beyond comprehension. Nine Time bodyboarding Champion, Eleven times bodysurfing champion, Mike proves that knowledge truly is power. Style, grace, power, and above all else skill… few people are as technical as Mike and no other rider in existence has been studied as in depth as Mike. Let’s face it, if the conditions are big and it’s a barrel fest… Mike will be in the final. Last year I met Mike for the first time in my life and it’s a milestone for way too many reasons to list but one of the top would be that even as revered as he is, I’ve met few people in life who live with as much stoke as Mike and it just goes to show… the secret to happiness isn’t status, it’s to approach everything in life like a pumped up grommet going for a session.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Top ten riders who have changed the face of bodyboarding - 6-10

10. Kainoa McGee

Hawaiian to the core. Kainoa buckled boards with pure power and takes off on the biggest Pipe waves to dare unload on the famed reef. It’s a shame he never won a Pipe comp but riding 15 ft. second reef bombs on dropknee and dropping in on unmakeable waves only to come out of the barrel with a claim… well that’s Kainoa. He’s in his element in the barrel and he’s a complete water man, manhandling huge barrels on his belly, on his knee, standing up or with a paddle. I met Kainoa once and I remember three things super clear: 1.) he looks like someone you’d NEVER want to mess with, 2.) he’s a super cool and nice guy and 3.) I reminded him physically of Alex Kinimaka. Not too bad a day for a stoked grom if I do say so myself.

9. Neymara Carvalho

While many women are super worthy of admiration for their skills, courage and power, Neymara was the first female bodyboarder I can remember of that busted more hardcore than guys. Her airs at Backdoor commanded the respect of all the people and she’s a hell woman if I’ve ever seen one. The funny thing is that if she were any more bubbly she’d be a friggin champagne. Seeing her go from land to water was like watching a hello kitty doll transform into the Tasmanian Devil and to me, she’s always been a super standout on any wave where you can boost being one of my favorite riders to watch… without gender distinction.

8. Andre Botha

At 17 I was finishing high school, at 18 I was starting college… At those same ages, Andre Botha was winning back-to-back world titles. Like other Zaffas, Andre has a tendency to take off on bigger waves than you’d want to even try to imagine yourself on. To make matters more intense, his style was classic Zaffa… smooth, powerful and pretty much damn perfect. Any young grom looking to make a mark has his benchmark to strive for…

7. Ben Severson

Mike’s nemesis in the 80’s, he was the first guy to establish a rivalry in the sport. Super quick, great spinners, deep tubes, and the most vocal advocate for hitting a roll as you came out of a barrel, Ben was a guy who excelled at fast waves. His BZ models were some of my first, with the classic T-10 Channel being one of my favorite boards in my life and he got so good shaping, he decided to make his own company. Think about it, channels, transition rails, wide points… these things we casually analyze nowadays were probably brought to the light thanks to Ben. Now say thank you.

6. Ryan Hardy

Hardballs… Want one wave to express how good Ryan is? Look for his spinner in the barrel at Teahupoo in the Tahiti Skins Competition. Want one session to express how good he can be in one session, look at him at the Box. Hardy charges and he’s one of the most emotional guys you’ll ever meet when it comes to competition making me suspect that he’s at least 1/8 Brazilian. When you think Ryan, you think precision and power. Where’s the best place to hit the lip? He’s there. What’s the most critical part of the wave to pull a move? He’s there. Like Mitch Rawlins, Ryan has a tendency to execute moves so perfect you wonder how the hell they do it. That’s because they have vision. While people focus on just hitting the lip and boosting, Ryan and Mitch both share that innate super power to already think about how they’re going to cross their legs while they’re boosting five feet above the lip.

75 riders who have changed the face of bodyboarding - 11-15

15. Jack Lindholm

Laidback to the point of Jack Johnson, Jack Lindholm took the world by storm as the first photographed bodyboarder. While people were asking themselves how to ride a bodyboard, Jack was pulling into huge barrels on his knee. Known as the Father of Dropknee he was also known for taking off prone on some huge waves just to erase any question from the minds of people. But when it comes to Jack, there’s only one spot you think about… Pipe. His style was very particular to the point where I’ve never seen anyone else ride like him, and it’s just as well because it’s not like he learned how to dropknee like most normal humans, he was born to do it.

14. Alistair Taylor

South African hellman. If you think big waves and you fail to mention Alistair, you haven’t seen his heats at Pipe and you’ve obviously overlooked he’s one of a select few who’s ridden Mavericks on a sponge. While most other nationalities may be more radical and in your face, South Africans have a tendency to ride ultra smooth and go way big. Case in point Neil Stephenson, Andre Botha, Jared Houston, Mark McCarthy, Dean Seppings and the Cockwell Brothers. What do all of these guys have in common? Smooth riding, deep tubes, big gonads and the chill factor off the hook. Alistair wasn’t the first but definitely seems to have been the hardest working of all Zaffas. In the 90’s, he lived off potatoes during his first North Shore stint which he was able to achieve thanks to the support of his church back home and in the process blew minds by taking off bigger and deeper than most mortals.

13. Damian King

If there’s a party to be had, Kingy will be there. The Joker also has a tendency to excel wherever there is water breaking and is the first and only rider to win a prone and dropknee world title. Kingy has talent to spare, skills to put you to shame and the musky manhood of a mythological beast who lives to rip the hell out of huge slabs (watch the Joker vid for documentation). Back to back World championships in ‘03 and ‘04 show that when he's on, you'd better watch out and his Shark Island victory still runs chills down my spine.

12. Spencer Skipper

The heir apparent to Stewart, Spencer never managed to bridge that professional gap… Instead he just rides good enough for spongers the world around to envy him. When describing Spencer’s style you’ll hear words like smooth, perfect, stylish and above all else… natural.

11. Steve Bullet Mackenzie

Bullet’s nickname is well earned because he’s the fastest rider I’ve ever seen on video and people say he was even faster live. While some riders can will perfect waves to come their way, Macca has a way of commanding speed bursts to push through the deepest sections. To boot, he loves the big surf. As a rider, it was always amazing to me that he had such a hard time getting sponsors. That aside, his victory over Kainoa at Maxing Pipeline shall always cement him as a legend. One interesting detail though, I’ve always suspected he has a life threatening allergic reaction to rollos because if you see Bullet footage throughout all the years, if he’s busted three rolls in all that time, I’d be surprised.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

75 riders who have changed the face of bodyboarding - 16-20

20. Keith Sasaki

Sleeph Sahaki. A smartass if there ever was one, Keith also took dropknee riding to the next level of performance riding. The first rider I can remember of who threw tail, Keith had a knack for making spinners, carves and snaps look stylish while everyone was trying to figure out how to maintain rail control. As if that weren’t enough, he has what is undoutedly the coolest moustache in bodyboarding and that my friends, can’t be beat.

19. Ross McBride

In bodyboarding videos there are three major series that made an impact on everyone who bodyboards: Tom Boyle’s Bodyboarding video magazine, Christ Stroh’s Underground Videos and the No Friends Series. If you want the blueprint to the perfect surf video, watch the first No Friends video and try to keep yourself under control in Ross’s segment. The Boss could launch big, ride deep and manage to do a board spin like a jackass on one wave and a huge backflip on the next. Nowadays No Friends is still going strong and the Boss is… well the Boss as CEO of No Friends Inc.

18. Daniel Kaimi

Along with very few people Daniel Kaimi gained attention for the sport in the 70’s. The first bodyboarding world champion, Kaimi charged big and hard often blinding people paddling in with his supernova smile. All Aloha and one of those guys who are in it mainly to have fun, Daniel Kaimi will forever be known as one of the first Hawaiian wild men to choose the sponge over the toothpick.

17. Paul Roach

Paul is to bodyboarding what Motörhead is to thrash metal. Bodyboarding doesn’t have many rockstar personas, but Roach is rock and roll and then some. With probably the most sold dropknee board models in the history of bodyboarding, Paul threw tail with abandon and if he has a good point break, he’ll simply rip the hell out of the wave. As far as progressive and aggressive dropknee riding is concerned, no one comes close to Roach, ask ANY dropknee rider.

16. Mitch Rawlins

Mitch reminds me of Taj Burrow from the WCT for the simple reason that people are baffled as to why he hasn’t won a world championship. The difference is that while the standup surfer mentioned in this comparison has a style that can at times seem twitchy, Mitch is borderline perfect in his execution. When you see him surf, you can’t help but say that the way he does moves are the way they are meant to be pulled off. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

75 riders who have changed the face of bodyboarding - 25-21

25. Brian Wise

The Wiseguy was known in the 90’s as a bit of a hardass in competition, someone whom you wouldn’t necessarily enjoy having in a heat because you’d know he’d hassle the hell out of you. That same intensity went into his riding. His very peculiar style was focused on big waves and power carves and he pretty much made the carve-to-spinner combo a staple. His reverse spinners blew chunks of water, he rode big waves and true to his reputation of going big, look to his waves at the two Pipe contests which he competed in which the waves were massive. In one he got a ten second beatdown and in this year’s Pipe contest his air drop is on more than a few people’s desktop backgrounds. On land he’s mellowed out considerably, finding Christ and living in Hawaii… in the water he’s still one of the most fearless guys ever to hop on a sponge.

24. Alexandre de Pontes

The beginning of the Brazilian revolution occured thanks to this man. Xandinho rode big, boosted and had style, poise and charisma. He also liked big hollow waves. Sound familiar? Xandinho fell victim to a car crash and the sport lost one of its best ambassadors. But the deed had been done… the doors to the world stage had been blasted down, and thanks to him Brazilian hellmen have been wreaking havoc on the world of bodyboarding ever since.

23. Pat Caldwell

Co-inventor of the El Rollo, lanky, long, kooky and crazy. Pat is a hell man and for a time he just wanted to get demolished by the biggest waves in existence. His closeouts at Waimea still hold water as some of the craziest slabs I’ve ever seen anyone willingly take on the head. Apart from that, Pat was recently elected as the new General Manager of the IBA World Tour. Pat is a guy who loves the water, loves big waves and the influence of him and other judges and riders on scoring criteria are helping push bodyboarding to the next level… which is several feet above standup surfing’s BS melodrama.

22. Kyle Maligro

Maligs rode dropknee the way you wanted to ride dropknee, rode standup the way you wanted to ride standup and rode prone the way you wanted to ride prone. The most talented of the original Kauai Classic Team, Kyle is one of the top 3 riders to influence my brother in his approach to riding prone and dropknee. In a time when people were scrounging ugly ass reverse rollo attempts, Maligs was launching them so perfect that you were torn between loving him for being so good and hating him for making it look so easy. If I needed to use one word to describe Maligs I don’t have to think too much… seamless.

21. Chad Barba

16th century hermits have shit on Chad Barba when it comes to living off the beaten path. Made famous for his exploits on the Inside and Crave the Cave, Chad’s Kong-sized-balls approach to the Wedge and huge Puerto showcases that on waves hellmen would pull into to score the barrel of their lives, he’d be gunning to hit the end section and soar 15 feet in the air.