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By winning his second WSL World Title at the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters, the North Shore’s own John John Florence etched his name into surfing lore alongside other iconic talents who have more than one world title to their name, including Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Tom Curren and Tom Carroll. Photo: Ryan Miller

r e n n Ta l e i n a McD




04 Free Parking 12 Editor’s Note 14 News & Events 30 Triple Crown Rundown 56 Frame Grabs 64 Grom Report 68 She Rips 72 Surf Art 76 Environment 80 Industry Notes

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82 Last Look

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What competitive surfers and industry professionals had to say about the four headlining trends in 2017




Van Swae Hook


WSL / Heff Heff

Showcasing the world’s greatest surfers testing their talents in Hawaii’s waters

Year in Review

Recapping contest wins and other highlights for the Hawaiian surf community throughout the year


Publisher Mike Latronic Editor Cash Lambert Photo Editor Tony Heff Art Director John Weaver Multimedia Director Tyler Rock

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FREESURF MAGAZINE is distributed at all Jamba Juice locations, most fine surf shops and select specialty stores throughout Hawai‘i. You can also pick up FREESURF on the mainland at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores and select newsstands. Ask for it by name at your local surf shop! Subscribe at freesurfmagazine.com Other than “Free Postage” letters, we do not accept unsolicited editorial submissions without first establishing contact with the editor.

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Winter is here, and most of us have been blown away - literally. In meteorological jargon, we can say a high pressure above the state has been wreaking havoc with prevalent side shore, hard offshore winds and North swells being the typical fair most days. But the show must go on, and the best surfers in the world gathered to do battle in the greatest surfing arena on the planet - the North Shore - in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Volcom Pipe Pro or simply to test their mettle freesurfing. While the rest of the world strains and wrestles with politics, the politics of surfing seems to get more and more interesting, which we detail in this month’s issue of Freesurf. This year, we’ve had new trends explode onto the surf scene, like razor perfect man made waves at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch, the rise of foiling, the growth of women’s big wave surfing and changes to the upcoming 2018 World Surf League Championship Tour. Flip over to page 36 to read more about what the industry’s top surfers had to say about the trends. In this issue, we also celebrate John John Florence as the new World Champion (detailed on page 14), and also two Hawaiians who will compete on the Tour next year after a rollercoaster requalification scenario - Keanu Asing and Ezekiel Lau (page 26). Also, flip over to page 60 for the Year in Review, where we recap month by the month the news and events in our Hawaiian surfing community. As you reflect back on highlights in surfing for the year, I urge you to simply acknowledge your own highlights - surfing, friends, family, work, life. All year long, we at Freesurf strive to reflect the stoke of surfing and share that positivity with the planet. Chances are if you have the wherewithal to check out this surf magazine, you likely possess an affinity for what is naturally good. Take that notion and share it all year! A year is a collection of months, a collection of weeks and then a collection of days. Every day is a collection of moments. Let’s make each moment count in 2018 and let’s make this year a good one!

Ryan Miller

P U B L I S H E R ' S By Mike Latronic





E V E N T S WSL / Sherman


JOHN JOHN FLORENCE WINS BACK TO BACK WSL WORLD TITLES John John Florence became the first male surfer since the late Andy Irons to successfully defend his maiden World Title by winning the 2017 WSL World Title at the Billabong Pipe Masters on December 18. Mark Richards, Tom Carroll and Tom Curren are the only other male surfers to have achieved this feat. “It’s been my dream to win here at home,” Florence said. “There’s been a nervous build up to this event and I just don’t know what to say, I’m shaking. So many people have been here for me this year and it’s been awesome. It’s been an awesome year and I’m just so stoked.”

Florence’s season started out with strong results during the Australian leg, including his first event win of the year in Margaret River. After two 13th place finishes in Rio and Fiji, Florence steadily improved his results through the remainder of the season. With a 5th place in both Jeffreys Bay and Tahiti, followed by Semifinal berths at Trestles and in France, Florence reclaimed the Jeep Leader Jersey from South Africa’s Jordy Smith. Challengers, including Smith, Aussies Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson, and Brazilians Filipe Toledo and Adriano de Souza all suffered early eliminations in Portugal, falling out of reach of the title. Going into the Billabong Pipe Masters, only four surfers remained in contention to clinch the title, but contenders including Brazil's Gabriel Medina, Australia's Julian Wilson and Smith weren’t able to deliver the results needed to block Florence at his home break in Hawaii.

Florence’s victory was sealed after Medina was eliminated in the Quarterfinals of the Billabong Pipe Masters at the hands of eventual event winner Jeremy Flores. “I think I learned a lot about myself this year competing with all the pressure, especially coming from last year’s win,” Florence continued. “It’s been a hard year and I’ve had some ups and some downs, but mostly I had a lot of fun. I think that’s what came out of last year and I really, really wanted to enjoy every moment of it.” Universally-regarded as one of the best all-around surfers, Florence has diligently worked at improving since qualifying for the elite WSL Championship Tour in 2011. A seven-year competitor on the CT, Florence claimed his maiden title in 2016 with an early-season clinch in Portugal, having previously finished in the Top 5 twice before (4th in 2012 and 3rd in 2014).

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“It’s been scary being that close in points to someone like Gabriel (Medina) who’s such a great surfer out here and a fierce competitor,” said Florence. “His comeback in Europe was amazing, he won two events in a row and then was right there in the title race. Surfing with him out here has been nerve racking, but it would have been cool if we had a final for the title.” Florence continued: “It’s been amazing to win two in row. This year was so much fun, just taking everything from last year and being able to relax more and just surf the way I want surf and I feel like that’s what I got to do - surf how I wanted to surf. It ended up working out well in the end.”

John John Florence’s 2017 WSL CT Results: Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 3rd Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: Winner Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 3rd Oi Rio Pro: 13th OK Fiji Pro: 13th Corona Open J-Bay: 5th Billabong Pro Tahiti: 5th Hurley Pro at Trestles: 3rd Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal: 5th Billabong Pipe Masters: 2nd


John John Florence’s Career WSL CT Finishes: 2011: 34th 2012: 4th 2013: 10th 2014: 3rd 2015: 14th 2016: WSL Champion 2017: WSL Champion

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2017 Surfer Awards Photos: Grant Ellis

A bright red carpet, cameras flashing, whiffs of perfume and cologne in the air and everyone in the surf world looking dazzling!

The Irons Family

Even though all of this was expected at the 2017 SURFER Awards, the annual celebration where Surfer Magazine honors the fan favorite men and women in surfing as well as top performances, best maneuvers, best documentary and more, there were a few surprises that graced the stage at Turtle Bay Resort. Like the North Shore Lifeguard Association taking home the Agent of Change award, 2018 WSL Championship Tour rookie Griffin Colapinto winning the A.I Breakthrough Performer award, and Frederico Morais landing 4th on the Men’s Surfer Poll, ahead of talents like Dane Reynolds (5th) and Gabriel Medina (6th). A handful of Maui boys also took home hardware: Albee Layer for the Best Maneuver, Ian Walsh for the Best Barrel and Kai Lenny for the Heavy Water Award. Three-time World Champion Carissa Moore was ranked by fans and industry professionals number one for the Women’s Poll. “This came as a surprise, I had such an off year and I appreciate the incredible fans who voted and stuck with me through the ups and downs,” said Moore. “A big shout out to Tyler Wright for her second consecutive World Title, she should be standing here right now - what you do in and out of the water is so inspiring. Everyone who won tonight and will continue to win tonight, congratulations.” For the fourth consecutive year, the North Shore’s own John John Florence won the Men’s Poll. “Thanks to Surfer for put thing on this event every year, it’s cool to see it run together like this,” Florence said. “It’s been an amazing year for me and this is a great opportunity to thank everyone who’s helped me do what I do. My mom and my brothers, you have been there for me since the beginning. It’s been

a fun road with you guys, and my beautiful girlfriend Lauryn. Pete Johnson and his family, you guys have been there since the beginning. Jon Pyzel, thank you of making some good boards. Kiron [Jabour], Eli [Olson] Koa [Smith], you guys have really pushed me. Thank you everyone, it’s been an awesome night and I can’t wait to surf Pipe in a couple days.”




Albee Layer

Carissa Moore

MOVIE OF THE YEAR: Chapter 11 BEST SHORT: Premium Violence BEST SERIES: Continuance BEST PERFORMANCE: Julian Wilson (Wayward) BEST DOCUMENTARY: Nervous Laughter BEST MANEUVER: Albee Layer BEST BARREL: Ian Walsh, Jaws HEAVY WATER: Kai Lenny A.I. BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER: Griffin Colapinto AGENT OF CHANGE: North Shore Lifeguard Association


John Florence

WOMEN’S SURFER POLL: 1. Carissa Moore 2. Alana Blanchard 3. Steph Gilmore 4. Sally Fitzgibbons 5. Tyler Wright 6. Sage Erickson 7. Coco Ho 8. Courtney Conlogue 9. Bethany Hamilton 10. Lakey Peterson

MEN’S SURFER POLL 1. John Florence 2. Kelly Slater 3. Jordy Smith 4. Frederico Morais 5. Dane Reynolds 6. Gabriel Medina 7. Jack Freestone 8. Julian Wilson 9. Mason Ho 10. Filipe Toledo





Good vibes. That’s how guests described the 15th Annual John Kelly Awards. On Nov. 18, ocean lovers from around the islands came together at Waimea Valley for music, food, art, and a cause – protecting our oceans and beaches.

The John Kelly Awards, a fundraiser for the Surfrider Foundation – Oahu Chapter, honored leaders in environmental protection, celebrated its volunteers and supporters, highlighted the year’s accomplishments, and kicked off the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing season. “The John Kelly Awards is a way for us to celebrate the work of our volunteers and honor the spirit of Mr. Kelly in protecting what we love – our ocean, beaches, waves – for generations into the future,” said Rafael Bergstrom, Oahu chapter coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation.

Ryan Tabata

Along with the awards, the evening featured live music from Good Foot & Friends, fire dancing, marine debris art, delectable food and libations, and a premier silent auction. It was one of the most successful awards programs for Surfrider to date.

In another busy year, Surfrider worked tirelessly with its grassroots network of volunteers to accomplish the following:

• • •

• • The 2017 John Kelly Award recipients included:

Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Bob Richmond - Richmond has spent most of his professional career studying coral reef ecosystems in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. Richmond is the Director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory for the University of Hawaii at Manoa and serves as a tenured Research Professor. Throughout the Pacific, Richmond works closely with island community-based organizations, including Surfrider Foundation, traditional leaders and stakeholders, in addressing marine resource and related conservation issues.

Hawaii Based Company: Town Hospitality Group - Town Hospitality Group, led by Ed Kenney and Dave Caldiero, was among the first to join Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) program. All four of the company's restaurants - Town, Kaimuki Superette, Mud Hen Water and Mahina & Sun’s - earned a Platinum certification, though they were leading the way in environmental protection even before the OFR program was conceptualized.

Professional Surfer: Cyrus Sutton Environmental activist, professional surfer and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, Cyrus Sutton has used his platform within the surf industry to promote complex discussions between farmers, legislators, lobbyists and scientists. He is a prime example of professional athletes using their platform to bring awareness to issues our communities should have knowledge of. Free diver and sustainability advocate Kimi Werner accepted the award on Sutton’s behalf.

Expansion of the Rise Above Plastics coalition with more than 140 certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants Completion of 15 Ocean Friendly Gardens in the last three years Training of citizens in civics and helping to pass legislation on stormwater pollution, cesspools, smoking on beaches, fresh water security, and plastic bags Formation of the Blue Water Task Force to promote water quality standards in cooperation with Department of Health Removing and cleaning more than 20,000 pounds of debris from Oahu beaches

To get involved in protecting the island’s oceans and beaches, or to learn more about the ocean- and environmental-related legislative issues you can help tackle, visit the Surfrider Foundation - Oahu Chapter online at www.oahu.surfrider.org.

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One year removed from finishing fifth on the WSL World Longboard Tour, Honolua Blomfield entered the final day of the Taiwan Open on November 29th with a chance to win the points race and become the 2017 World Champion. The one competitor who stood in her way was Lindsay Steinriede, a former World Champion who had nailed high scores throughout the competition. “As one of the youngest competitors on Tour, I feel like everybody looks at me as a bit of an underdog, especially going against Lindsay,” Blomfield said. “I was nervous going into the quarterfinals and semifinals, so when I reached the Final, I had nothing to lose. I went for it and didn’t hold back.” Utilizing her grace, style and nose rides, Blomfield posted a 18.60 to Steinriede’s 16.50, becoming the 2017 Women’s World Longboard Champion. Blomfield was chaired to the podium, where she hoisted the World Title trophy and a Hawaiian flag, beaming from ear to ear. Freesurf: Congratulations on the win, Honolua! How did you celebrate your win in Taiwan,

and how did you celebrate it at home on the North Shore? Honolua Blomfield: I didn’t really celebrate in Taiwan. I kept it chill because all the emotions and hard work tired me out, so I just had dinner with some of the other girls who were in the event. Once I got home to Hawaii, my friends and family were waiting at the airport to welcome me home with posters, a lot of smiles and some cool World Champ hats that had my name written on it. That evening, I had a nice family dinner courtesy of O’Neill, which was super kind of them.

and it really motivated me to be a better person and made me want to focus on my surfing. The old saying goes that it’s about the journey, not the destination, so talk to us about the 2017 longboard competitive year as a whole, including your 3rd place finish at the Kumul PNG LCT. What were some of the ups and downs and what did you learn throughout the year?

really excited and worked closely with my shaper, Peter White of Classic Malibu. I found out what worked best for me. That was a big learning curve, because the more trust I had in my boards, the better I can surf whereas before, I didn’t really know what I wanted or what liked best. Now that you have a World Title under your belt, what’s next? What can we expect from you in 2018?

In 2016, you finished 5th on the WSL Longboard Championship Tour and one year later you’re the World Champion. What was the difference in 2017 that pushed you to the top? It has always been my goal to achieve a World Title. After finishing fifth in 2016, I didn’t change too much. I just surfed a lot like I always do. This year, I met my boyfriend who changed my perspective on things. We went on some surf trips together

I went into the Papua New Guinea contest without really knowing my boards and I actually surfed the event on the board of a male competitor who let me use it. After placing third, I got

I’m hoping for another World Title. In 2018, I’m going to keep improving myself, my surfing and my boards. Now I know what it feels to win the World Longboard Tour and I’m not going to let that one go!





Keanu Asing

Heading into the 2017 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Hawaiians Keanu Asing and Ezekiel Lau found themselves in similar positions. While Lau had competed for the first time on the WSL Championship Tour throughout the year and Asing had been grinding out wins on the Qualifying Series, both needed to finish in the Top 10 of the QS in order to requalify for the 2018 CT. Before the VTCS kicked off, their unified goal was within reach, but after early exits at the final two QS events of the year - the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset - the close friends could only watch and hope that they would still land in the Top 10. After the conclusion of the Vans World Cup and the 2017 QS season, Asing and Lau were seen spraying beer on each other in celebration: they had requalified. Here’s how it all went down. Keanu Asing: The process was of requalification was pretty interesting. I had a really rough winter season competing, because I didn’t make any heats. I went to the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and thought I was going to do well there, but after my heat [loss], I was really frustrated. My emotions through the roof every event. Ezekiel Lau: I won the HIC Pro, and after that, I showed up for the Hawaiian Pro ready to compete and I lost my first heat. Keanu lost his first heat too. I said scratch that, whatever, we’ll make a couple heats at the Vans World Cup at Sunset and be good. We showed up at Sunset and the conditions were looking difficult. Keanu said ‘you know what, either it's going to happen or it's not going to happen and you’re going to have to live with it.’ It didn’t happen for both of us that day. 28

Ezekiel Lau

Asing: Zeke was in the heat before me at Sunset, and he lost. I went into my heat and I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t find waves and I was falling. Right after, we were on the bike path, saying things like what happened to us? What do we do? We’re the last 2 Hawaiians standing and we just blew it. Our whole state of Hawaii is going to be disappointed in the both of us. Lau: [On Finals day] Keanu was doing other things, and I sat on the couch and watched the contest all day. Asing: Zeke would call me or I would call him after Round 4, Quarters and Semis. We needed certain guys to not keep progressing through heats, and Zeke would call me and say ‘ok we have this guy coming up, we have to hope this guy doesn't have a good heat’. So after every round, we kept calling each other. After the Final, he facetimed me saying ‘I think we made it, we finished 9 and 10’ and then the WSL put it up. We were both so relieved. For me and Zeke to have that close friendship... growing up surfing doing amateur events together, we set goals to be on Tour together. My first two years on Tour, he wasn’t and I fell off when he made it on Tour. For us to share that together was a pretty special moment. Lau: We're already planning ahead, which spots on Tour we want to stay together. We’ll naturally link up wherever we go. I’m looking forward to that next year.

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WSL / Cestari Tyler Wright

TYLER WRIGHT WINS 2017 WSL WORLD TITLE On November 30, Australia’s Tyler Wright claimed her second World Title after a big day of competition at the final event of the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Maui Women’s Pro. Wright, the defending event winner from last season, came into the event in second place on the Jeep Leaderboard. Last season, the young Australian came charging through 2016 with a newfound determination and confidence, resulting in five CT wins (Gold Coast, Margaret River, Rio de Janeiro, Lower Trestles, Maui) and the world surfing crown. Wright continued the momentum into this year, locking in one event win at the Oi Rio Pro. In a dramatic turn of events, Wright suffered a knee injury just before the CT event in Cascais, Portugal but has since surfed her way to a huge comeback, climbing up the rankings to second and putting herself back in the World Title race to clinch the Championship again.

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“Today was perfect,” said Wright after claiming the World Title at Honolua Bay. “I was so excited to be in this event and excited to be in this position. I’ve had the best week and I cannot explain how much this week has meant to me. We’ve just had a sick team and everyone has been amazing. All through the year, there have been little upsand-downs, but to be in this moment right now in the position — I was happy before I won and I am just as happy now.” With the major eliminations of World Title contenders Sally Fitzgibbons and Courtney Conlogue, Wright’s last obstacle to claiming the title came down to the Quarterfinal matchup against event wildcard Brisa Hennessy. Hailing from Oahu, Hennessy, who played spoiler yesterday with her elimination of Fitzgibbons, could not find her rhythm in the heat and gave Wright her big victory with a 16.10 (out of a possible 20) two-wave score. “This year definitely had its challenges, but I do not look at them that way,” Wright commented. “It was such a time of learning and growing that I took so much more from it than the knee injury itself. This year has just been one where I could have bowed out a lot of times but chose not to. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my team. They brought me back in from Portugal and the work they did in France was absolutely incredible. It is hard to explain how much they showed up and made sure I was in the right headspace to go out and compete and bring it to Maui in the end.”



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Highlighting the pivotal storylines form the 2017 Vans triple Crown of Surfing


Filipe Toledo storms Haleiwa with a win; Two new faces join the WSL Championship Tour Photos WSL / Tony Heff

The Hawaiian Pro, the first gem of the VTCS, features the top 128 surfers in the world at Ali’i Beach in Haleiwa competing for big finishes and a boost in the WSL Qualifying Series ratings to qualify for the dreamy WSL Championship Tour. Throughout the early rounds of the QS10,000 that ran November 14-15 and 19-20, two CT hopefuls were surfing sharp and garnering high scores: Brazilian Willian Cardoso and California’s Griffin Colapinto. On day 3 of action, Cardoso advanced from his heat in Round 3, giving him enough points to qualify for the CT. “It’s not been easy. I’ve been in this moment before, been here, needed a result and it never came,” said Cardoso, who spent 12 years competing on the QS. “I’m super stoked to qualify for next year.” On Finals day, young gun Colapinto surfed into the final heat of the day and qualified for the CT after his runner up finish. “This will 30

give me a lot of confidence, especially since I’m going to be on Tour next year,” said Colapinto. In the Final, which ran in 4-6+ foot North swell and gusty onshore winds, Colapinto met Two-time Hawaiian Pro winner Michel Bourez and Brazilians Wiggolly Dantas and Filipe Toledo. Bourez opened the Final by pulling into a closeout barrel for a 4.67, and Colapinto quickly followed up with his first and best wave of the heat, an 8.17 for a strong carve and powerful finish. But Toledo wasn’t finished. Instead of feeling any pressure, he applied it, landing a lofty 540 rotation on a buckled board, earning an 8.87 on the air and ultimately the win; no surfer could pull past his combined heat score of 16.54, one of the highest of the day and entire event. Dantas finished third and Bourez fourth overall. “It feels amazing, it

H A L E I W A Filipe Toledo

Griffin Colapinto

Wiggoly Dantas


feels really amazing,” said Toledo. “I got runner up in 2015 and I felt that little taste of the victory. I stuck to my game with my strategy and I did what I needed to do and thank God for these wave and these airs, it was really fun.” After the awards ceremony, attention shifted to the next and last QS event of the year: the illustrious Vans World Cup of Surfing.

Filipe Toledo

1 / 3

Conner Coffin’s power game proves to be the winning formula; Colapinto continues his impressive run

The Vans World Cup of Surfing, the second gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, runs at the challenging big wave venue of Sunset Beach and is the last qualifier of the year for the following year’s Championship Tour. The QS10,000, which ran November 29-30 and December 1-2, saw an extraordinary display of power surfing throughout the event window. On the final day of action, Aussie Wade Carmichael, who won the Hawaiian Pro in 2015, qualified for the CT after his impressive showing in the Quarterfinals where he garnered two massive scores: a 9.10 and 7.00. “It’s a dream come true,” said Carmichael. “I’ve been trying so hard, I finally got a real good crack at it and it came true, I’m stoked.” Along with Carmichael, Brazil’s Tomas Hermas qualified onto the CT, and although they weren’t surfing in

the final day of action, Hawaii’s own Keanu Asing and Ezekiel Lau both had enough points to requalify for the 2018 CT. In the Final, Carmichael met a trio of California talent: Kolohe Andino, Conner Coffin and 2017 VTCS standout Griffin Colapinto. Surfers battled for position in the challenging 4-6 foot surf - which equates to 10-12 foot wave faces. Carmichael picked up two waves in the first few minutes of the heat to build momentum. Coffin then dropped his first keeper score, a 7.33 for smooth, dynamic surfing and took the lead from the Australian, followed by Andino’s 8.17 opening ride where he drew off the bottom for a nice snap and successful completion to shake up the standings. Andino and Coffin hunted barrels and Coffin found quick cover on a set wave, followed with a carving maneuver to add

WSL / Keoki


WSL / Keoki


WSL / Keoki

Benji Brand

WSL / Heff

Connor Coffin

a 7.0 to his scoreboard. After time expired, Coffin was chaired up the beach to the podium for the awards ceremony, where he stood next to Andino (second), Carmichael (third) and Colapinto (fourth). “It means so much to win here,” said Coffin. “So many of my favorite surfers have won this event, dream come true for sure.” On the podium, Benji Brand was named the new 2017 WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Champ, and the youngest competitor in the event, Barron Mamiya, 17, earned the prestigious Vans Triple Crown Rookie Award. With the 2017 WSL QS complete, the surf world turned their eyes towards the forthcoming Billabong Pipe Masters, anticipating the crowning of a World Champion.

WSL / Heff

Barron Mamiya

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WSL / Poullenot Jeremy Flores

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS Jeremy Flores wins Pipe Masters Crown; John John Florence finishes runner up and wins WSL World Title The culmination of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and the final World Title-deciding event of the WSL Championship Tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory of Andy Irons ran on December 8, 12, and 17-18 at the world’s most challenging yet exciting wave: Pipeline. The first day of action kicked off with the Pipe Invitational, where 32 of Hawaii’s best surfers battled for entry into the main event, with the winner and runner up both obtaining the golden ticket - Dusty Payne and Benji Brand. When action resumed days later, the two surfers clashed with the world’s best surfers, four of whom were vying for a World Title. Eleven-time World Champion Kelly Slater took out Jordy Smith in Round 2, ending his World Title hopes, and other contenders including Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson and John John Florence surfed deep into the final rounds. On the final day of action, with a World Title up for grabs, Wilson lost to Florence in the Quarterfinals, and Medina lost in following Quaterfinal heat to Frenchman Jeremy Flores. The losses handed Florence his second consecutive World Title, and after a brief champagne celebration with friends and family, Florence grabbed his Yellow Jeep Leaderboard Jersey and paddled out into the Semifinals against 2017 CT rookie Ian Gouveia. Needing a big score with only one minute remaining in the heat, Florence found the exit from a barrel and then landed an air rotation to steal the win

with an 8.73, gaining entrance into the Pipe Masters final against Flores. After a slow start to the Final, it was Florence that found the first score of significance with a long barrel, rewarded with an 8.93. Flores answered with a 7.90, and Florence followed up with a clean barrel ride of his own for 7.23 and a solid heat lead. Flores was left searching for an 8.27 in order to claim his second Pipe Masters, but with limited opportunities the clock ran down. In the final seconds Flores found a deep barrel opportunity, stealing the win from Florence. "Winning the Pipe Masters against John John Florence like that in perfect Backdoor in the last seconds, that’s the best way to win,” Flores said. “I couldn't think of any better way to win. I'm so, so stoked and there’s a lot of emotions. To be honest, I don't like to be that guy that’s deciding titles - it should be a showdown between John and Gabriel, these guys work so hard. “That's why honestly when I beat Gabriel, I felt bad. It’s been an emotional day and yesterday was stressful. I had to make one heat to requalify pretty much and I made it with a 4 and a 2. I just wanted to have fun today and I did and the waves showed up. I won this title for France and it doesn't happen very much!”

WSL / Heff Medina and Slater

John Florence

WSL / Heff

"I'm feeling incredible right now and it’s the best feeling ever,” said Colapinto. “I was just looking at the names that have won the Triple Crown, just all the names on there are insane and to win after John John (Florence) won last year is amazing. It's been a really fun day watching the contest and to see all the action. John, congratulations on winning the World Title, I'm so stoked for you. And Jeremy winning the Pipe Masters, two times now, that's insane. Just really excited for next year and for Snapper and I think there will be a lot of energy there and to have my name on a jersey will be special. Thanks so much!"

Griffin Colapinto

WSL / Heff

After a second place finish at the Hawaiian Pro and a fourth place finish at the Vans World Cup of Surfing, California’s Griffin Colapinto, only 19-years-old, added to his incredible run by taking the 35th Annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing honor, becoming the first Californian to ever win the coveted surfing series.

WSL / Heff


Jeremy Flores

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WSL / Kenneth Morris

TRENDING: SURFING’S HOTTEST STORIES IN 2017 What competitive surfers and industry professionals had to say about the four headlining trends throughout the year by Cash Lambert

KELLY SLATER’S SURF RANCH In December of 2015, Kelly Slater released the first look at his wave pool - known as the Surf Ranch - and the images and videos sent the surf and action sport world into a frothy frenzy: glassy, perfect walls of water peeling and barreling for hundreds of yards. Throughout 2016 and 2017, the world’s best surfers made the pilgrimage to Lemoore, California, to test their talents in what was said to be the wave of the future. But the wave pool isn’t just for freesurfing. After reaching an agreement to purchase the wave pool and its innovative technology, the World Surf League announced that a Championship Tour event will be held in Lemoore in 2018. Here’s what some of the world’s leading voices in surfing had to say about competing in the wave pool, its innovative technology and what it means for the sport of surfing moving forward. Jordy Smith: As far as Kelly’s wave pool goes, nowhere in my lifetime did I ever think that we’d see something like it or surf in something like it. There’s been wave pools before - they’ve been around for some time but it’s really special how perfect this one is. Kelly and his team have put a lot of effort into it and now the WSL is having the first CT event there next year. I think it's exciting. I unfortunately don’t fit in the left hand tube, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they judge me because of my physique. It’ll be interesting to see how they adapt to that, because it's not like boxing where everyone’s in the same weight class and everyone uses the same boxing gloves. It is definitely something different, but we’re just scratching the surface. There’s a lot of room for improvement and I think the sky's the limit. John John Florence: Kelly’s wave pool is amazing. It’s everything you’d want a wave pool to be. You're sitting in the pool and a wave comes at you and you're like ‘ok I know I’m about to get a 300 yard wave’. Having an idea of what the wave is going to do every single time is pretty crazy. If you spend a lot of time in that pool, you’re going to get stuff dialed in. It’s cool knowing where the sections are, the power of the wave and figuring it out. Tanner Hendrickson: I think it’s really cool to have a surf contest at Kelly’s wave pool, because the reason I would get frustrated after a loss is not getting the same opportunity as my competitors. If everyone gets the same wave, how are you going to complain at the end of the day? I’m all for it. Dane Gudauskas: It looks like people are smiling a lot [when they’re surfing it]. I don’t know what kind of effect it's going to have on the

John John Florence

overall community of surf or the long picture of surfing because it’s so hard to see that far out on it, but right now it looks like a joy ride. Carissa Moore: It’s been super exciting to see Kelly’s wave and how fast the sport is progressing in the wave pool. I think it’ll take the sport to a different level and to a broader audience. Hopefully more people will be able to share the stoke with us. Fernando Aguirre: I love wave pools. It takes surfing to places and people that aren’t as lucky to live by the ocean. We’re still in the middle of the revolution, and we’re going to look back and say we were there [when it started]. Benji Brand: It might be a little boring to watch a CT there, because just watching the footage so far, everyone’s doing the same thing

on a wave - 3 turns on one section, a barrel, 3 turns again. The variety might have to change for it to be exciting. That’s why the ocean is so exciting, because it’s unpredictable. The ocean’s unpredictability is what makes those special standout moments. Conner Coffin: It seems like everyone gets to do a similar thing [in the wave pool], so it’s hard to find variety. Competitively, I think it’ll be about creating a difference. Taj Burrow: It’s crazy how quick [the Surf Ranch] evolved into an actual event on the World Tour. In my opinion, it looks more like a wave you would love to surf and a wave the average punter would love to surf. As far as competing goes, I don’t know if it's that fitting. I feel like it might be a little bit boring, repetitive, probably difficult to judge and people watching it will get pissed off they’re not the ones surfing it.

It is that kind of wave where everyone just wants to surf it. You don’t want to watch someone else surf it; you want to be the one in it. [Kelly’s Wave Pool] eliminates the luck factor, and it will be interesting to see how it goes. It could be insane, guys battling air for air on every wave, which is very entertaining. But on the other hand, what’s so exciting about our sport is people hunting waves when they need a score, and you have mother nature delivering those elements where you have to find that wave to get the score. Sometimes it goes flat and sometimes a set comes. That anticipation of whether it's going to happen or not is what keeps you on the edge of your seat. But the pool may deliver entertainment in another way, like an air show kind of style.

Jimmy Wilson


Throughout 2017, there were rumors throughout the surf industry that changes were coming to the WSL’s CT schedule in 2018. In November, the WSL confirmed a few of those rumors by releasing the 2018 CT schedule, which showed multiple venue changes. The blue water tubes in Fiji were replaced with the powerful righthander of Kermas in Indonesia. Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch will host a CT event in 2018, and with that event added, Lowers was given the boot. The women and men will not surf Cascais, Portugal, and JBay was added to the Women’s Tour. We asked a handful of CT surfers their thoughts on the unprecedented changes coming to the World Tour. Sage Erickson: I think the WSL has invested so much in the women’s side, especially in prize money and getting us to the best locations in the world. With JBay as an addition as well as Bali, it's incredible. It’s everything we could have hoped for. JBay is a high performance wave and really challenging, especially on your forehand. At times it's really fast, and as a girl I’m a little bit slow when it comes to waves at that pace but I’m excited to challenge myself and I think they’ll be a few more changes that everyone hasn’t seen coming. It's an exciting time in surfing and I’m so happy to be a part of it. John John Florence: I’m super excited about the changes. It’s always fun to have new events on the Tour. Fiji being out is kind of a bummer. Everyone was a big fan of Fiji, whether there were small or big waves. Having Kermas on the Tour is pretty insane and having the wave pool too is an incredible thing. It’s a step forward. I think it’s exciting. I’m really for the changing of the area every year, because it makes it exciting that it's not that same place. Jordy Smith: As far as change goes, everyone's a little skeptical of change. Change can be scary. There’s only one reason [the WSL] wants to change and it is for the better. They’re trying to grow the sport make things better not only for themselves but for us surfers, both men and women. For the first time, we’re going to see the women surf JBay, that’s going to be incredible. Like I said, change can be scary but a few years down the track it might be for a good reason. Keanu Asing: You always have to be positive to change. Obviously [the CT changes] are not what everyone is going to want, but I think there will be good things coming out of these events. I have mixed emotions but I’m excited. Wherever the waves take us, I’m excited to compete. Whether it’s a beach break, point break, the worst waves or best waves, we’re going to be out there competing our best.

Ryan Miller


Over the past two years, the women’s big wave surfing arena has seen significant growth. The 2016/2017 winter season saw the first women’s big wave surf contest run: the WSL Pe'ahi Challenge, where Maui local Paige Alms claimed victory. This year - the 2017/2018 winter season - the Pe’ahi Challenge ran again, with Alms achieving her second consecutive win. Another women’s big wave surfing event - Redbull’s Queen of the Bay - was set to go at Waimea Bay, but XL size surf did not arrive during the event window. We asked several women and men their thoughts on the expansion and direction of the sport.

Keala Kennelly: A couple years ago, we had zero big wave contests for women. Last year, the WSL invited us to compete at Pe’ahi and this year we had the possibility of 4 events. It’s progressing like wildfire. It’s very validating because I’ve been doing this for a long time, not really knowing where it's going. On blind faith, I’ve been hoping that it’s going to turn into something, so it's nice to see something happen. Emi Erickson: I don’t know how it’s going to continue to evolve. It’s cool there's a lot of events popping up. The WSL embarked on women’s competition or the idea of it, and this year it was just a heat with 6 women [referring to the Pe’ahi Challenge]. I’m sure it will expand. There’s more and more women getting involved and interested. Carissa Moore: I’m a huge fan of Paige Alms. To see her take out the Jaws event two years in a row is so rad. It’s really cool to see those girls step up. Those waves are horrifying, especially with all that wind and chop. I’m excited to see where girls like Paige Alms will continue to take the sport for women. Dave Wassel: I’m a fan of women’s surfing, especially in some of these waves like on Maui. I was there at Pe’ahi watching Paige Alms win the Pe’ahi Challenge in back to back years. Yes, there are girls who can do this. That's very proven. I saw some of the waves they were taking off on and it turned me from a rooster to a hen with one shot. Paige Alms: I think we are seeing some of the best big wave surfing ever, for men and women. The sport is being pushed to new levels every single swell. For the female side of things, we will see more women pushing themselves over the ledge and more technical lines being drawn on big waves.

Keala Kennelly

Brady Lawrence


Pioneered by Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama years ago and reinvented by Kai Lenny this year, foil boards inundated lineups in Hawaii in 2017. There’s multiple reasons for its rapid growth, including the ability to ride a small wave far longer than you can on a surfboard, and some of the sport's notable surfers have been giving the board a try, like John John Florence, Koa Smith, Jamie O’Brien and others. We asked surfers how they got their hands on a foil board, what the learning curve is like and their opinions on what we can expect from foiling in the future. Kai Lenny: It’s really fun that everyone is getting into it. When I first started foiling in the reinvented form - paddling into small waves - I was thinking that I would love to see more people get into it, especially the best surfers. I thought it would help because half the time, the surf is bad so [with the foil] you always have something to do at a high level. I was actually surprised everyone got into it. With more people foiling, it legitimizes it. The reason everyone loves doing it is that it's the ultimate equalizer for crummy surf. No matter how bad or small the wave is, you can seriously have a lot of fun. Koa Smith: I am true believer in the foil, and I’ve been foiling for a year now. A while ago, Kai Lenny came to the North Shore and had his foil at Sunset so I jumped on. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and after some fine tuning, I finally got the feel. Laird Hamilton and those guys had the steel ‘if I hit you I’ll cutting you in half’ foil with snowboard boots, and I know that Kai started foiling when he was young. No one tried to innovate it, and as soon as we realized we could put the foil on any board - you’re surfing the foil not the surfboard - and that we didn’t need straps or jet skis and then you could feel that feeling of surfing, of course it’s going to go wild. Keanu Asing: I haven’t hit the foil yet, but foil boards look fun. I would love to try one. I think it’s a cool hobby, a cool way of introducing other people to the ocean and a different way of riding waves as well. There’s so many tools you can surf with, like stand up paddling, bodyboarding, longboarding, canoe surfing and to bring foil surfing is a great addition to ocean sports and wave riding. John John Florence: Kai Lenny took me and Koa Smith to Sunset one day [to foil], and it’s the craziest learning curve. I was thinking I was going to get it right away and it took me 3 hours just to get up and get going. Foiling is everything you dream of when you’re on a wave. You’re riding a wave that’s not breaking and floating above it...it’s just silent. There’s a lot of aspects about it that surfing has that you want a little more of.

Kai Lenny


Mikey O’Shaughnessy Photo: Keoki








Ezekiel Lau Photo: Mike Latronic

Kona Olivera Photo: Mike Latronic

Dusty Payne Photo: Ryan Miller

Torrey Meister Photo: Laserwolf








Words and Framegrabs: Tyler Rock

While Filipe Toledo is starting to show he has what it takes in bigger surf, it's undeniable that he is at the tip of the spear in progressive small wave surfing. The effortless ease in which he pushes board and body above the lip is a pleasure to watch. On a clean morning at Rocky Point this past October, Filipe put on a show that can be hard to appreciate in just one frame.




Technology is constantly changing and cameras are no exception. With new models coming out faster than most can keep up with, the picture quality is going through the roof. We here at Freesurf Magazine have upgraded to shooting 4k resolution video and the results have been incredible. We are now able to pull specific frame grabs from our video and bring them to the pages of this magazine in print. What follows is a look at some frozen action moments in time that went down on the North Shore this winter season. - Tyler Rock

With a string of North swells barraging the North Shore this Fall, the sand buildup between Off The Wall and Rockpiles was at a maximum and for a few days the break known as Insanities was doing it's best Pipeline impersonation. Youngest Florence brother Ivan took advantage and snuck out for a few clean barrels.

Brazilian Italo Ferreira is quickly making a name for himself all around the world. As a world tour surfer, he has seen success in venues from beachbreaks to barrels but his freesurfs tend to be the real highlight. Italo can't quite seem to sit still and catches wave after wave, often coiling up to launch into a progressive aerial attack. With less than ideal swell for much of the Triple Crown waiting period, Italo spent a lot of time at Off The Wall making it look like a skatepark.

Panamanian surfer Jean Carlos Gonzales, aka Oli, made his maiden journey this winter to surfing's mecca: The North Shore. While he surfed all the main breaks up and down the 7 mile miracle, he seemed to have a special connection with Sunset Beach. Just about every session out there he would find the illusive inside bowl barrel and on this day, riding Freesurf Mag head honcho Mike Latronic's 9'6, Oli scooped a solid set wave from way out the back and rode it all the way through this magical clean inside bowl. A diamond in the rough indeed.


WSL / Heff


During the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, Koa Rothman pulls into a massive barrel that earns him a 12 point score, winning the Shootout and later O’Neill’s Wave of the Winter. “I’ve never been that deep in a barrel, ever,” Koa said.


Paige Alms

FEB R UARY After winning the inaugural Pe’ahi Challenge in 2016/2017, Maui’s Paige Alms is awarded the Big Wave World Tour Title at the conclusion of the season. “That was a win for women’s surfing and a win for the Maui community. It wasn’t just a win for me,” said Alms. “For female big wave surfing, the more opportunities that we have like that in an empty line up, the more you’re going to see the best big wave women doing the best big wave surfing.”

Koa Rothman

Landon McNamara


Landon McNamara’s debut album A Dollar Short and a Minute Late reaches #1 for reggae on iTunes as well as #1 on Billboard’s reggae charts. “Now that it’s all settled in, I’m still baffled and stoked on it, it’s showed me there’s a possibility I have a future in music,” Landon said Kai Lenny begins his unprecedented interisland cleanup campaign. Throughout the coming months, he travels to each Hawaiian Island via foil and takes part in beach cleanups. “I wanted to give back to the islands, and I was also wondering how could I bring awareness to such a problem like ocean plastics, and there’s no better way than going all the islands,” Kai said. The North Shore’s own Barron Mamiya wins his third consecutive WSL victory by winning the Pipe Pro Junior.




After winning the Margaret River Pro, John John Florence places third at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. World Tour rookie Ezekiel Lau achieves his highest finish, tying with Florence for third place.

WSL / Van Swae


Billy Kemper

On a mission to requalify back onto the WSL CT, Keanu Asing wins the inaugural Barbados Surf Open Pro, a QS3,000. Bethany Hamilton is inducted into the 2017 Surfers Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, California.


Billy Kemper wins the prestigious Ride of the Year and Paige Alms wins the Women’s Performance of the Year Award at the WSL Big Wave Awards.

John Severson



The surf community mourns the loss of John Severson, pioneer of surf culture and creator of Surfer Magazine.


Thousands gather at Magic Island to welcome the Hokulea home after a historic journey sailing around the world. Tributes pour in from the surf community after wetsuit pioneer and surf brand giant Jack O’Neill passes away.




WSL / Hinkle

Kai Lenny

J ULY China Uemera runs the his final Longboard Surfing Classic in Waikiki, an annual contest that took place for 33 years. “With the 33rd Annual China Uemura Longboard Classic at a close, I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored, volunteered and entered over the years,” China’s son, Keoka said, “Without your guys participation in the event, it would not have gone on as long as it has. Years of stoking out groms, fueling rivalries, and bringing families together for a weekend of fun in Waikiki was more than my dad could as for.”

Jimmy Wilson

After besting a competitive field of the world’s best big wave surfers, Kai Lenny wins the 2017 Puerto Escondido Challenge. “There are so many good big wave surfers in the world that when you get called up you really feel like you have to perform and charge. My goal today was to not hold back and -- when a good one came -- go no matter what,” Kai Lenny said.

Brisa Hennessy



The US Open Pro Junior sees a Hawaiian sweep, with both Cody Young and Brisa Hennessy winning the Junior divisions.

SEPTEMB ER Kauai’s Sammy Morretino wins the APB DropKnee World Title. The Women’s Queen of the Bay surf contest is announced, the first ever big wave surf event for women held at Waimea Bay. The WSL holds a test CT event at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, exploring the idea of running a CT event at the wave pool in the near future.

Jamilah Starr





WS: / Heff

Ezekiel Lau

Honolua Blomfield becomes the 2017 Women’s World Longboard Champion. “I feel like I’m on top of the world and that this isn’t real,” Blomfield said. “To have all of your hard work pay off like this feels better than anything - this is the best day of my life.”

WSL / Benett

Honolua Blomfield

O C T O BER Zeke Lau wins the Vans Presents the HIC Pro. “I was coming into this event with the goal to win and get that 3,000 points and put me that much closer to re-qualification,” Zeke said after beating Australia’s Wade Carmichael, Maui’s Tanner Hendrickson and Oahu’s Mason Ho in the actionpacked Final. “I had a little bit of a rough year on Tour. I’ve had moments where I had good performances, but a lot of it was just a learning curve for me, getting used to everything, so I really want to be there next year to get a better grasp of it and hopefully take some bigger guys down.” Team Hawaii claim Silver at the International Surf Association World Juniors in Japan, Brisa Hennessy wins Gold.

WSL / Cestari

Paige Alms and Ian Walsh claim victory at the 2017 Pe’ahi Challenge.

John Florence


Benji Brand wins WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Title.“I didn’t really think I was going to end up in this position, it feels pretty good to end up first in the region especially doing Sunset at the end of the year,” said Brand. Both Ezekiel Lau and Keanu Asing requalify for WSL CT. John John Florence wins his second WSL World Title. Griffin Colapinto becomes the first California native to win the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. France’s Jeremy Flores wins the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters.






NALU DEODATO Growing up on the North Shore, Nalu Shizuo Deodato’s first wave was at the Menehune Surf Contest when he was 6. He was immediately hooked on both surfing and competition, and as his surfing talent evolved years later to include powerful cutbacks, threading consequential tubes and playful airs, so did his knowledge, learning the meaning of his powerful name. Nalu means “wave” in Hawaiian. “I believe my parents named me this so I would feel comfortable in the water,” he said. His middle name Shizuo - means “quiet hero” in Japanese and his last name - Deodato - means “God given” in Italian. His full name translates to “wave quiet hero God given.”

We sat down with the God given quiet hero surfer, now 11 years old, to talk about his quiver, his favorite thing about being a grom and his surfing goals. How did you get involved in competing, Nalu? Besides the Menehune contests at Ali’i, I’ve competed at Duke's Oceanfest, T&C Gromfest at Queen's and Rell Sun at Makaha. Now I compete in the Hawaiian Surf Association contests. What does your quiver look like? My boards are all shaped by Wade Tokoro and glassed at Third Stone Glassing Factory in Waialua. I have a 4’9” square tail, a 5’2” pin tail step up and a 6’0” pin for Sunset. I also ride my dad's 7’0” J.S. at

Waimea Bay. I mostly ride my 4’9”. I love Tokoro’s boards. They have been working with him for the last couple of years! Do you like airs or barrels more? I like barrels better than airs. But if the section calls for it, I’ll do an air! Which surfers do you look up to? I look up to surfers like John John Florence, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo. Why those three?

I like their progressive airs and rail game. What’s your favorite thing about being a grom? My favorite thing about being a grom is that people let you go in waves! I also love being able to surf all day with my friends. Where have you surfed besides Hawaii? My grandma and grandpa live in Japan, so I surfed there twice. Every summer we stop in Japan on the way to Bali. I’ve been there four years in a row.







What are your favorite waves in Indonesia? I love surfing at Keramas, Padma Beach and Uluwatu. The waves are so good in Indonesia, and the food is so good! Where would you like to go in the future? I hope to visit California and Australia soon. Tell us about your worst wipeout. My worst wipeout was last year at Ali’i Beach! I hit my head on the reef at the toilet bowl. I had several cuts on my head. Did you have to get stitches? No! What do you do when the waves are flat? My favorite things to do on North Shore besides surfing are skateboarding, cave diving, and fishing. What are your surfing goals? My main goal in surfing is to make the WSL Tour and win a World Title. Any last words? Thanks to my sponsors, my family and God. Peace out!



KELTA O'ROURKE By Shannon Reporting

Kauai native Kelta O’Rourke is a senior in high school and quite the overachiever at just 17, in the best sense of the word. In between charging big waves, she’s busy applying to universities to achieve her goal of being a doctor. The wahine who attends Myron B. Thompson Academy was the youngest invitee to the Women’s Red Bull Queen of the Bay Waimea Bay Championship this year after proving herself as one of the top performers in big conditions, and now her goals are set on competing one day at Pe’ahi on the WSL Big Wave Tour. Kelta believes that women could (and should) be surfing the same venues as the men. I believe this young and optimistic surfer girl’s story will further convince you that the ladies have earned their spot in the big wave lineup, as we see the sport develop with more opportunities for girls like Kelta to pursue her dreams than ever before.

Freesurf: Do you remember your first big wave session? Kelta O’Rourke: It was at Sunset Beach when I was around 12 or 13 years old. Kahea Hart lent me his 7’ board and took me out. Up until that point, I rode longboards and shortboards, so it was really different to go out on a bigger “gunnish” board. He took me right out to the peak and I caught a ton of waves. My dad was on the beach and he didn't know that I could do that. I became super hooked on it and wanted to keep getting bigger waves and going for it. When I realized I could actually focus on big wave surfing, that was really the turning point. How did you step up your game to surf big waves? Even when I was little, I did things very daringly. I would jump off slides and had so much energy, always running around. I always

wanted to go to the beach when I was young, and begged my parents to take me surfing. I started when I was 6, then at 12 I got more into surfing bigger waves. The uncles would take me in and they look out for me… I loved the feeling in bigger surf. How was your first experience surfing in a contest? I did my first contest when I was 9, the Irons Brothers event on Kauai, and I won! That win got me hooked and the feeling is addicting. What would it mean to you to surf in the Women’s Red Bull Queen of the Bay Women’s Waimea Bay Championship? It would be super sick! We would be able to show that we can do what the guys can do. I believe most of the men who surf big waves know that, and they see the girls out there and they know that we can do it. But there’s a lot

of people outside the big wave bubble that have doubts. Having a contest out there by ourselves would be able to show off the girls’ abilities for good. Since The Eddie has gone on for so many years and women have never been a part of it, I think that it is really important to have something for them with similar stature. Girls have been excluded from something that they've really wanted to be a part of for so long. Jamilah Starr and all of the pioneering women have been pushing for this event for so long. They have been out there for years along with the guys and seem to go unnoticed. Giving women an event as a chance to show what we can do is really important, especially for upand-comers like myself. It would really push the sport of big wave surfing for women and show other people that we’re not just out there in our bathing suits looking pretty; we are out there getting it done. We are battling with the men and making it happen. What’s the most challenging obstacle as a big wave surfer? (laughs) I’m very injury prone… I’ve had shoulder surgery and have a couple of bum knees, so I’ve had to go through recovery times, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing. I’m still in high school, so I’ve been traveling and doing all this while I’m still in school, so sometimes I’m stressed about that and it





can be hard, but I just tell myself, “this is what I love to do and you are going to make it happen.” Describe the rush of successfully kicking out of a big wave ride. I’ve always loved rollercoasters, but that is nothing compared to the rush you get when you kick out of a 30-foot wave. You are 110% in that moment, nothing else matters: my physics exam that’s due in a day doesn't matter and all of my math homework. I force myself to calm down and stay in that moment and be present. You really get into the zone. Even if I get pounded, I come up laughing because I know that I went for it. There’s no other feeling that can compare to that pure adrenaline rush.

O ' R O U K E

Kauai is a power house for breeding top surfers. Anyone in particular on island that’s

inspired you the most? Tatiana Weston-Webb has really inspired me. Seeing her career

grow as a professional surfer on the Tour has really pushed me and shown me that even though I’m from a small island, it’s

possible. Big things can happen. She really worked hard put her mind to what she wanted, and she got it. I really look up to her.

So you’re graduating soon, and then it’s your 18th birthday? Are you thinking about what you are going to do after high school? I’ve applied to a few colleges, because I think that education is super important. I love surfing but it’s always good to have a backup plan in something that you can do. My goal is to be a doctor. I’ve applied to a few colleges, and I would of course keep doing big wave surfing and do some QS events in the summertime and try to do both. I have been able to juggle it thus far, so I might as well keep focused on both of my dreams.

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When she moved to Haleiwa 16 years ago, Mia met surf photographer Jim Russi. “She was my favorite waitress at Breakers,” he says. “I told him let’s go ride motorcycles,” she laughs. The two got married and had two boys, Kaden and Kona, together. Mia also became an avid collector of vintage Hawaiiana - objects relating characteristically to Hawaii or of Hawaiian origin - which abound in the new space.


SPREADING THE LOVE: ROCKY POINT COLLECTIVE By Tiffany Foyle Photos: Keoki “Mom, the sledgehammer fell on my rubix cube.” A disgruntled Kona Russi is popping his golden surf mop into the doors of Rocky Point Collective, Haleiwa’s new art gallery and gift shop. After some quick questioning on how a sledgehammer could fall onto a rubix cube, young Kona gets exasperated with his mother and shuts the door. Until this moment, the beautiful lighting, plants and art hanging as if floating in mid-air, and the diverse collection of goodies abound would have anyone entranced. Now, we are snapped back into reality, wondering if that rubix cube’s fate was an accident or possible frustration giving way to fury. Kona’s mother Mia Russi is behind the counter putting things away in her jewelry studio. Her hands move purposefully and you can't help but notice that they are weathered—stained with something and cracked. She catches the stare and says, “I know. I have construction dude hands from building this place.” Before Mia and her husband Jim Russi created Rocky Point Collective, she used to make jewelry in their family kitchen with art piled up around the house - and not on the walls. “It wasn’t the ideal workspace, having the torch and grinder in the kitchen and then handing people a pillowcase of finished items

to rifle through when they came to shop for jewelry,” Mia says with a chuckle. “I remember when Mia has a kid, she would make a mess all over the living room with

beads and things making jewelry,” her mother recalls. “She was always designing and making something.” At Mia’s first job in her hometown of Hermosa Beach, her friend’s mother, who was a Native American Indian, would make traditional jewelry in the back room. So Mia quickly learned from her. Mia continued to create throughout her life and even sold her jewelry to Fred Siegel in California.

With the creation of Rocky Point Collective (59-228 Kamehameha Hwy), she can now showcase her vintage treasures as well as her creations and those of her artistic neighbors. The art gallery and gift shop has local handcrafted treasures galore, including artwork by Heather Brown, Christie Shinn, Welzie, Kelly King, Jenn Johnson, Eduardo Bolioli, Mike Hemperly, Ea Ackerman, Steven Kean and more. Locally made items include goodies from the North Shore candle company, woven delights by Natasha Briley (Sea+Current), books from local authors, Mary Macrame plants, One Shabby Chic (handmade clutches), Kahakai Kids (swaddles, baby hats), shell lei by Uncle Butch, jewelry by Mia and other resident North Shore creators, and many more limited stock items. She also has a succulent potting station where succulents are paired with vintage pots that Mia has collected. “I just wanted a studio to make my jewelry and sell it, and Jim needed a place to work and showcase his imagery, and then to be able to include all of our talented North Shore neighbors here, it’s a true collective,” Mia says. Not only is everything in the store an original, handmade item. The artist who made it is indeed nearby. Some so nearby, like Jim Russi, that they can sign your coffee table book should you purchase one. It’s an easy stop driving along the highway or walking along the bike path.

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U kuleles by Joe Green

Each one of Joe Green’s 100% handmade ukulele’s takes over 2 months to create from the first cut to the last string, and comes with the heart and dedication it takes to make such a beautiful instrument. When you play a Haleiwa Ukulele, you will feel, and hear instantly the passion that has gone into the creation process. Many Haleiwa Ukuleles are crafted from salvaged & reclaimed wood, including Koa, Mango, Opuma & Ipe. The Ipe wood used from the floors of Surf n Sea, was reclaimed, reshaped and made into the fret boards and bridges of

many of the Haleiwa Ukulele’s. The interior cedar bracing & block is part of Joes home renovation. What some see as throw away garbage, Joe see’s value and re-usable materials. This means that when you purchase a Haleiwa Ukulele, you are literally owning a piece of Surf n Sea, Haleiwa and Hawaii!!

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Mia’s passion for collecting vintage Hawaiiana spans from clothing to furniture, so all of the interior décor in the Rocky Point Collective has been collected over the years by her. The furniture and kitchen area make for an easy venue for hosting jewelry-making parties, pop-up shops or fundraiser art sales, like the one recently hosted to help Kaimana Henry’s family with his dad’s sudden passing and Billy Kemper’s mom, Lisa, with her cancer treatment bills. In the works for the near future: a vintage muumuu photo opp area. Picture those old-timely mountain towns that offer photos of you dressed up in old frontier gear. Mia will make sure visitors go home with epic muumuu photos. She also just introduced “Fresh Cut Fridays” where $20 gets you a fresh cut, locally-sourced flower bouquet. She has many other good ideas up her sleeve, so the place will continue to change and grow. That’s why it’s smart to keep up with Rocky Point Collective on social media and stop in whenever you pass. “I’m happy to be a place where we can gather for a good cause and also where everything you touch is made by a friend or neighbor of mine,” Mia told me. ROCKY POINT COLLECTIVE 59-228 Kamehameha Hwy Haleiwa HI 96712 (mauka side, right across the street from Rocky Point beach access) Hours: 10-6 Mon – Sat // 12:30 – 5 Sunday When the signs are out on Kamehameha Hwy, come in! 808.342.4506 @rockypointcollective


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A kid walked up to our bounty of fresh white surfboards with a capped level of exuberance that was ready to explode like a boiling kettle. Laid out in front of us was the first ProTest board demo, with first batch of ProTest surfboards ready for our surfing elite to test. He wanted one, but so did everyone else.


Cliff Kapono

As a refresher, The ProTest is a project protesting against the 100% toxic surfboard and an opportunity for the Pro’s to Test more environmentally friendly surfboards. $10,000 will be awarded to the best performance of the Winter on an ecoboard with $1,000 going to filming team. The goal is to prove that boards don’t need to be so toxic. The quiver/library we have created through the ProTest is made up of boards made with 25% recycled foam cores from Marko Foam and 25% plant based resins from Entropy Resin and Prolink Resin. This is a big step forward, but there are still more steps that need to be taken. We believe that if we can push demand, we can then have costs come down through increased supply. Thus, companies will have more incentive to fund research and development creating even better ratios of improvement eventually at 100% safe. The competition will run until February 28, 2018. On March 1st, the same boards that the Pro’s will be testing will then become available to you. You’ll get a chance to surf the same

quiver that the world’s top surfers were riding days prior.


ow back to the grom enticed by our first batch of ProTest surfboards. As we explained to him at the board demo what we just explained to you, we could see his excitement grow, but at the same time my fears grew. I was going to have to tell him, “sorry kid, you’re not going to get your chance until March 1st with everyone else. For now, only the top pros can test the boards.” So when he asked, “Can I choose one?” I had to respond, “no”. He then respectfully responded with just enough confidence, “Can I show you some clips?” I nodded, and as his phone buffered while to load a video, I reflected on two takeaways learned from ProTest thus far. First, we created this project to develop a better board for the environment. While

interacting with our shapers, glassers and sanders, certain highlights and dark secrets have been illuminated. We need to understand that the career of shaping, glassing and sanding takes a huge toll on personal health, since the chemicals used are toxic to our body systems. Boards that use less synthetic epoxy are not only better for the environment; they’re better for those making them for us. We really need to get to know our glassers and sanders (who are often the same person). Yes, the shaper is in a sense the architect, but it’s the glassers and the sanders that work the toxic slurry of resins and hardeners to deliver you the shapers vision. There are already 100% non-toxic options, but the average Joe won’t accept them because it means that their boards will no longer be bright white. We need to realize that better boards are needed not only for our environment, but just as much for the health of those that make them.

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OFF ALOHA HALF Selected drafts and HOURS pupus from 3-5pm! The second solid takeaway that I’ve shared with others is the durability of the boards. If we create an ecoboard that lasts just as long as a regular 100% toxic board, we really haven’t accomplished much. Because we are using epoxy, we can glass more durably, creating a board that should last longer. By utilizing a thicker glass to bring weights up for Hawaiian waves and a few actually using s-glass, we’ve created boards that can last at least twice as long as an average PU board. True sustainable boards will last a long time. A PU board glassed with s-glass that lasts 1 year versus 4 ecoboards that only last 3 months each is arguably more environmentally friendly. Therefore, we need to consider longevity into the econess of the boards. The grom’s phone coming to life with a video of smoke, colors, and him walking through a jungle brought my thoughts back to the present. The video edit then showed a set of thick growling tubes where this same kid holding the phone enters and exits with spit complementing the wave with style and grace. Shocked, I stood there eyes wide open with a smile growing and proud warmth ready to tell this kid the words that were about to make his day, maybe week, or even Winter if he ends up winning. “Go ahead kid, take your pick. Choose anyboard you want.” He eyed up the 6’6” RP Model Shaped by Eric Arakawa glassed with a 6 oz bottom and double 6 oz top by Monstah Glass in Wahiawa. “What’s your name buddy?” I asked. With a shy and happy smile like Turtle gave Chandler in the North Shore he answered, “Lucas Godfrey.” Kahi Pacarro is the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

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IND USTRY NOTES On December 2nd, Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard welcomed their son Banks Harvey Freestone to the world. “It was the best day of our life but what a journey,” said Blanchard. I couldn’t have done it without Jack, he was there every step of the way. We are so in love with this little guy.” From us here at Freesurf, congratulations Jack and Alana! In December, Volcom announced new additions to their Hawaii surf team: Mikey O’Shaughnessy, Kalani Chapman, Jonah Morgan, Mikey Bruneau and Takayuki Wakita all joined the Volcom ohana. “Very thankful to be on the team with these guys. Always looked up to these guys in and out of the water. Thank you,” commented Morgan. “Super stoked to be able to get in this Volcom team. Thanks so much for hooking me up,” said Wakita. “[It’s] gas under the fire,” said O’Shaughnessy. For more information on the surf team and apparel, visit Volcom.com.

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Known for his experimental and playful antics atop a surfboard, Jamie O’Brien gives new meaning to the often used phrase of casually sliding through a barrel. Photo: Pete Frieden