Sean Doherty

Senior Writer, SURFER Magazine

10.9.13

Features

A Place Beyond the Cabbages

The World Title race boils over in Round 1 at Supertubes

Cabbage is not a sexy vegetable, nor will this be a sexy surf contest, and there’s something very right about that. Peniche is not Trestles nor Rio. It’s unfashionable and rustic and there could be no more fitting location to play out a world title that needs to be hard earned.

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8.19.13

Features

Ace Buchan Interview

The Billabong Pro champ reflects on his run through the final rounds at Teahupoo

Ace, that drop on your first wave in the Final. Was it won then and there? Maybe. I just wanted to leave it late, cause I wanted to get really deep. For a split second there I thought I’d left to too late and I was just freefalling, but luckily my fins caught and I […]

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8.17.13

Features

The Mountain and the Wolves

Perfect rides abound at Teahupoo for the second day of competition

Before we start cataloguing the other side of the ledger, let’s itemize the things that weren’t perfect about today. The Teahupoo school boat—there’s no road fit for a school bus here—was running five minutes late this morning (and no one seemed to care). At 11:37 a.m., the wind shifted from totally breathless to one knot onshore from the south (and stopped three minutes later). My coffee this morning could have been a little warmer. But apart from these and a litany of grievous First World problems (how long you got?) this was about as good a day as any surf fan was going to get.

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8.16.13

Features

Walsh & Walsh: Undertakers

Ian and Anthony Walsh take down top seeds in the opening rounds at Teahupoo

If the first round went to script, the handful of Round 2 heats that ran this afternoon deviated wildly. Walsh & Walsh sound more like lawyers or undertakers than mercenary surfers, and when Ian and Anthony Walsh paddled out for their sudden death heats this afternoon against their respective high-seed opponents—Taj Burrow and Nat Young—few gave them a sniff.

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7.1.13

Features

The New ASP

The unlikely story behind ZoSea's ASP World Tours

The pro surfing tour has just changed hands for the first time in three decades, been signed away for a song, and while the outgoing owners haven’t yet cleaned out their desks, the new owners haven’t moved in either. The whole show’s in limbo, and at this historic juncture everything and nothing is happening simultaneously. It’s been termed a “bridging year,” but a bridge to where exactly, no one is sure.

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6.26.13

Features

Today, Tomorrow

Kelly and John John fall in Round 5 as the swell builds into the final day at Keramas

Well, the PA was certainly working this morning. Yesterday’s silent debacle was long forgotten as today Adi had his shit together. The dawn serenity at Keramas was being exsanguinated by the guitar solo from Metallica’s “One”, sawing the heads of all present at 110dB. It also seemed to be flattening the surf, a pure heavy metal offshore, as the 6-foot sets of twilight yesterday were replaced this morning by weak, chest-high peelers. We sat and watched Mick Fanning surf it for half an hour with meager returns, and what had been forecast and billed as a certain day of quality surf seemed to be a complete and utter hoax. With only 12 guys left in the event, there seemed little chance they’d be thrown out there in waves best described as “cute.” CJ Hobgood, who’d just shown up, was a little more optimistic. “It’ll do its thing,” he drawled, waving a dismissive hand at the lineup. “Just wait.”

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6.25.13

Features

Tidak Apa Apa

A powerful new swell carries Round 3 to completion in Bali

We’d rolled through the rice paddies just as the crown of Agung was being outlined against the dawn. The swell we’d waited patiently for had finally filled in overnight, the morning was breathless and sweet, and Keramas was suddenly right there in front of us, firing, as good as most of us have ever seen it. It was barreling from up there to down there and after four laydays the decision to surf heats today was a fait accompli.

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6.19.13

Contest Wire

Echoes of the Über-Oop

Sean Doherty reflects on one of the biggest airs ever done in competition

Yesterday afternoon I was back at the hotel in Sanur, having beat the traffic, having just filed my post for the day, full of self congratulation at my endeavour and initiative and was just contemplating running down for a quick surf when I first heard the commotion. Bemos from the contest were dropping crew back to the hotel from Keramas, and they were all buzzing as they got out, the buzzing paraphrased thusly: “Holy shit!”, “Oh my God!”, “That was the single greatest thing I’ve ever seen!” That kinda stuff, much of it coming from the ASP judging panel who themselves were still in disbelief. Pretty soon the foyer of the hotel was full of people with phones and laptops gorging data, all watching and replaying the same video. They were double checking they hadn’t been seeing things.

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6.18.13

Features

East Side, Wet Side

Notes from Day 1 at the Oakley Pro Bali

And so after five years the tour is back in Indonesia, and not before time. The ZoSea crew who are currently shaping the new tour for next year and beyond will be watching closely here, and an Indonesian leg of the tour should be a non-negotiable in their plans. Here on Bali or across the ditch in G-Land or wherever you want to plonk it, they’ll have our undivided attention.

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6.12.13

Contest Wire

Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before

Kelly Slater puts on a historic performance en route to victory at the Fiji Pro

They say if you walk in like you own the place, then you’re halfway to where you’re going. Well, Kelly announced his arrival at Cloudbreak this morning by burning some hot laps on his jet ski through the lineup, shooting follow-footage of local surfer Aca Lalabalavu who was heavily piped at the time. Kelly dismounts and paddles straight out for his quarter against Seabass, and that’s when things really start to burn. John John, still dripping wet, catches Kelly’s first perfect 10 and comments, “I don’t know, but from here it kinda looked like a 20.” John John didn’t know how prophetic he was being, because it’s only a matter of minutes later that Kelly draws another wall of Pacific toward him. It’s bigger, foamier and throatier than the first, and tail of his 5’10” quad is doing it’s best to skip out from under him. CJ offers, “Man, that thing was a bull ride!”…and it was another 10. That’s your perfect heat, right there folks, the fifth in pro surfing and Kelly’s second. History made before 10am. The signs for the rest of the day are there early. When Kelly comes in and starts talking about the significance of the feat, he adds the caveat that, “Man, the way the waves are out there today, someone could go real close to getting another one.” And when he says someone, well, you probably know who he means.

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