Sean Doherty

Senior Writer, SURFER Magazine

12.11.15

Features

Unscripting The Unscripted

Round Two of the Pipeline Masters sees the tide take an enticing shift

When you’re walking through hell, keep walking, they say. Don’t stop for a photo. Phil Toledo’s hellfire moment came early this morning. After sweating on it for a full night, and after sweating on it already for six weeks, he found himself on the shoreline at Pipe about to paddle out for a sudden-death World

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12.10.15

Features

Feeling Different

Day One of the Pipeline Masters begins, and the lions' den opens

And then there were five. And Pipe hadn’t even started yet. Owen took himself out of the game late yesterday. He dropped by the Rip Curl house yesterday, full of piss and vinegar as he’s been all year, living big, surfing big, a huge smile and full of stories. I’d interviewed him for an hour

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12.9.15

Features

Foxes in the Hen House

After the Pipe Trials, wildcards look poised to wreak havoc in the Pipe Masters

Pipe, pre-dawn, was big. The reef rumbled and low gurgling sounds emanated from the men standing there watching it, drinking strong coffee. They were grimacing…and they weren’t even surfing today. Jack Freestone, however, was. In about 20 minutes. Given a start in the Pipe Trials to mark his breakout season where he qualified in a

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10.30.15

Features

The Golden Calculator

Toledo Wins Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Watching the final of the Portuguese event today, I wondered what someone from, say, the year 2000 – that most futuristic of years now 15 years in the past – would’ve made of it all. Spinning Brazilian ninjas on a desolate, post-apocalyptic sea with a giant corporate mothership having landed in the dunes nearby, amid

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10.25.15

Features

A Portuguese Miracle

Breaking down Round 3 of the 2015 Moche Rip Curl Pro

“Outraged! Sending world title heats out in rubbish surf and ruining the world title race!” For those late to the party, that’s what the headlines (and your columnist) screamed after the last round. Julian Wilson: gone! Owen Wright: gone! Both dusted in shitty Portuguese surf, and what was potentially going to be a four or

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10.25.15

Features

Ain’t Going Out Like That

Breaking down Round 2 of the 2015 Moche Rip Curl Pro

Oh boy. Watching Julian Wilson storm up the beach like Godzilla through Tokyo, laser beams firing from his eyes, his world title dreams in ruins, I could only imagine the officials nervously evacuating the contest site like panicked Japanese nuclear-power technicians. Oh shit, here he comes. Someone was going to wear it in the neck,

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10.15.15

Features

Four Seasons In One Day

Observations from the final day of the Quik Pro France and the Roxy Pro

It’s strange to think that it was six long years ago that Gabriel Medina first came to France, posted two-10s, won a global grommet contest, and announced his skinny ass to the world. Six years. Today, at only 21, he won in France again. He’s twice the size of that little pretzel who spun and

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10.11.15

Features

Francophilia

Observations from Day Four of the Quik Pro and Day Three of the Roxy Pro

When the Big Sky Kahuna sat down on the Seventh Day and created pro surfing, he could only have hoped it would come out something like what we saw today in France. The World Sleep League just woke up. That was a fair day’s surfing, to be sure. Some of the best waves seen all

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10.10.15

Features

The Iceman of Cul Nus

Observations from Day Three of the Quik Pro and Day Two of the Roxy Pro

Stephanie Gilmore fracturing her leg and wrenching her knee back in March – while probably not great for Steph – has brought a silver lining to the women’s tour. Her absence has nudged the tour out of an increasingly predictable orbit. Just as the men’s tour was dominated for a decade by Kelly, Mick and

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10.9.15

Features

Le Crazy Quik Pro

Day two, and why France is the ancestral home of crazy on the pro tour.

Since time immemorial – or at least since Occy tried to swim from Hossegor to China in the middle of a month-long bender – the French leg of the pro tour has seen surfers melt into the plage, the pressures of a long year on tour and some bad mathematics in the ratings manifesting in

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