Thursday, November 01, 2007

Must be the cologne...

This photo is my desktop background (it has been it for years).

It shows a man in a cave of water.
The man is Derek Ho and the cave is Pipeline. I just received this press release and I'm happy to publish it.
Oahu north shore residents should be happy that the Superferry is not working, otherwise a big number of Maui cars and surfers would considerably increase the traffic on the already choked Kamehameha hwy.

Honolulu - (October 31, 2007) - Approaching its 25th Anniversary this winter, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a timeline of ultimate surfing master Derek Ho's life. From sandcastles to fatherhood, first wipeouts to world class titles, it has all happened on Oahu's North Shore during this prestigious series of events. This winter, Ho will be competing in his 25th Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series. At 43 years of age, he's still a contender - particularly when it comes to the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

When the Pipe Masters began in 1971, Ho was 7-years-old, playing in the sand and dreaming of a day when he might be the guy riding Pipe.

In 1983, the inaugural year of the Vans Triple Crown Series, Ho was a nervous 19-year-old looking to make his own mark. He would settle for the shadow of his older brother, Michael, that winter, who took the honor of being the first Vans Triple Crown champion.

Derek didn't have to wait long. In 1984 the Triple Crown was his, as it would be three more times in '86, '88, and '90.

His first of two Pipeline Masters titles came in '86, followed up seven years later with a victory in '93 that was his ultimate crowning moment. Ho was 29 years old that winter and surfaced above the rising tide of teenage sensation Kelly Slater to win the world title, the Pipe Masters, and the Vans Triple Crown.

But of the many highs, what stands out the most to Derek is the personal relationship he has fostered with Pipeline and shared with brother Michael.

"From the beginning, I remember being in total awe of my brother," says Derek. "I was so fortunate. He took me around the world, showed me everything it takes to be a winner, and showed me how to lose!

"As for Pipeline and the Triple Crown, after 25 years it's totally personal. There's not a whole lot of us who have been doing it for that long... basically me and Mike."

A lot has changed over 25 years: the stakes, the sponsors, faces in the lineup, the intensity of competition, and a shift towards friendly rivalries in the water.

"Back then, (the surfers) just didn't like each other, it was as simple as that!" says Derek with a laugh. "It was a different type of competitiveness, plus we were getting judged on our best four waves, not two, so it was dog-eat-dog... and pretty much all we got for it was a trophy."

Above: Master Tube-rider, Derek Ho. (JOLI)

This winter there will be $740,000 in total prize money, along with a $25,000 Chevy Colorado truck and a diamond-crusted Nixon watch for the Vans Triple Crown champion.

Still, some things remain the same, for Ho at least.

"The wipeouts - they're inevitable, and the odds are the longer you do it the more chance you have. The barrels - the best of life. And I still wear a 29" boardshorts - have since I was 19."

Still measuring five feet, four-and-a-half inches tall and 130 pounds, it's easy to mistake Derek as a ripping rookie when you see him stylishly slotted at Pipe. Perhaps the only person who sees any different is mom, Joeine. She's been watching her boys at Pipe for almost 40 years - from sandcastle-makers to Pipeline Masters - and will be back for her 25th Triple Crown, too.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing gets underway November 12 with the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa (Nov.12-24), followed by the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing & women's Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach (Nov.25-Dec.6), and finally the Billabong Pipeline Masters & women's Billabong Pro Maui (Dec.8-20).

As the final stop on the 2007 ASP World Surfing Tour, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is critical in determining the world champion, the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title, the lineup for the 2008 elite World Championship Tour, and the division of more than half a million dollars worth or prize money.

All of the action of this year's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing can be experienced live via the internet at Additionally, will be offering original daily content, and Surfing Magazine will provide a daily blog.

Surfing is a great sport and I personally will always choose a perfect surfing day over anything else in life, including sex with Naomi Campbell, a Porcupine tree concert or a 4.7 mast high wavesailing day...
But... $740,000 in total prize money, along with a $25,000 Chevy Colorado truck and a diamond-crusted Nixon watch... and the PWA couldn't find sponsors for the Maui event?! Gimme a break!

What is it? What makes surfing a cooler perceived sport with way more people doing it?
In the end, on a planetary scale I think it's easier to find water with wind than water with waves!
The simplicity of the equipment must play a big role here, but overall I think that it's more the media that made of it a great vehicle to publicize all kind of products. And the number of people they can reach with the webcasts is huge!
That's what the windsurf contests need (I'll never get tired to say this): webcasts!

Here we go, just received this other one. Only $98,000 in price money...


LOCATION: Waimea Bay, North Shore, Oahu
OPENING CEREMONY: Thursday, November 29, 2007. 3pm
HOLDING PERIOD: Dec. 1, 2007 to Feb. 29, 2008.
To be held on one day when surf measures at least 20 feet.
BIG WAVE RIDERS: 28 of the world's best.
PRIZE MONEY: US$98,000 in prize money. US$55,000 for first place.

Above: Defending champion Bruce Irons (HI) Photo: JOLI

Huntington Beach, California, November 1, 2007 (NYSE:ZQK) Quiksilver, the leading brand in boardriding and presenters of The Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, In Memory of Eddie Aikau, has officially announced the Invitees and Alternates to this year's event. For the first time in the event's 23-year history, the list of Invitees has been extended from 24 to 28, reflecting the growth in international big-wave riding talent.

Starting this year, the regions of Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe have each been awarded one Invitee slot for their top big-wave rider, taking the total number of Invitees to 28. (Those four Invitees are denoted by ** in the official list.)

"We are extremely pleased to announce the growth of this year's event and to welcome elected riders from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe," said Bob McKnight, CEO, Quiksilver, Inc. "The quest to ride the world's biggest waves has become a truly international and influential sport, complete with an ever-growing depth of talent and the discovery of big-wave riding locations around the globe.

"Eddie Aikau was a man who loved to ride big waves and who shared his passion with many during his own travels to places like South Africa, South America, and Australia. We believe that the growth of this event, in his honor, is becoming a truer representation of how far Aikau's life and legacy have traveled with each passing year."

For the first time the event website,, will host a live webcast of the Opening Ceremonies on November 29th, 2007. The actual contest, if and when it goes, will also be broadcast live on the internet. The event website, which is live today, also features photos, videos and text from the event's storied history, links to purchase limited edition merchandise and profiles of each competitor.

Scheduled to take place at the hallowed grounds of Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu, between December 1, 2007, and February 29, 2008, the event, otherwise known as "The Eddie", requires a minimum of 20-foot surf (based on Hawaiian scale measurement, translating to 30-40 foot face waves) in order to run.

Created in 1984 (first year event ran) to honor the legendary Hawaiian waterman, Eddie Aikau, The Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, In Memory of Eddie Aikau gathers the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the world as polled by a comprehensive panel consisting of influential watermen, members of the surf industry, internationally recognized surfing Associations, as well as a public poll.

Past winners include Denton Miyamura, Clyde Aikau, Keone Downing, Noah Johnson, Ross Clarke-Jones, Kelly Slater and Bruce Irons. Following is a complete list of invitees and alternates for this year's event.

For further information go directly to

Andy Irons (HI)
Brian Keaulana (HI)
Brock Little (HI)
Bruce Irons (HI)
Carlos Burle (BRZ)**
Clyde Aikau (HI)
Darryl Virostko (CA)
Greg Long (CA)
Ibon Amatriain (SPN)**
Jamie O'Brien (HI)
Jamie Sterling (HI)
Keone Downing (HI)
Jason Ribbink (ZAF)**
Kelly Slater (FL)
Makua Rothman (HI)
Mark Healey (HI)
Michael Ho (HI)
Noah Johnson (HI)
Paul Paterson (AUS)
Peter Mel (CA)
Ross Clarke-Jones (AUS)
Rusty Keaulana (HI)
Shane Dorian (HI)
Sunny Garcia (HI)
Takayuki Wakita (JPN)**
Titus Kinimaka (HI)
Tom Carroll (AUS)
Tony Ray (AUS)


Darrick Doerner (HI)
Chava Greenlee (HI)
Kalani Chapman (HI)
Pancho Sullivan (HI)
Taylor Knox (CA)
Reef McIntosh (HI)
Tony Moniz (HI)
Garrett McNamara (HI)
Ross Williams (HI)
Dave Wassel (HI)
Ian Walsh (HI)
Braden Dias (HI)
Myles Padaca (HI)
Anthony Tashnick (CA)
Kala Alexander (HI)
Keoni Watson (HI)
Derek Ho (HI)
Tom Curren (CA)
Nathan Fletcher (CA)
Danny Fuller (HI)
Dustin Barca (HI)
Koby Abberton (AUS)
Laurie Towner (AUS)
Manoa Drollet (TAH)

Mark Foo (HI)
Todd Chesser (HI)
Tiger Espere (HI)
Jay Moriarity (CA)

Oh, well... I wonder if wearing that cologne that Laird uses would make me a cooler windsurfer...


Julia said...

Why windsurfing is seen as uncool for many people, specially in the US, is a big mistery to me.
Windsurfing mag did an interesting article about this but it left me with more questions than answers.
The highlights of the article include statements like that the expensive an complicated equipment is against the 'philosophy' of unmaterialistic values than surfing and skateboarding represent better (the price money of the surfing tour you posted looks pretty material to me, though).
Kitesurfing faces the same problem but is for some reason more appealing to surfers. I guess that is because you can ride the same surfboard to paddle in or to kite.
Other highlights include statements by Dave Kalama that when Europeans took the sport and started to 'tech' it up, rode with booties, gloves and googles in Maui windsurfing became some kind of 'nerd' way of surfing...
Sorry GP, no offense to europeans, it was Kalama's opinion. Interesting indeed.

Korey said...

Hey GP,

No Laird Hamilton on the invited list. Whats that about?
Is that politics or isn't he a credited big wave paddle surfer??

Ken said...

Money $$$$$$$$$ and more money, surfing has a longer history with contests.The surf industry has built this up for a number of years. The industry has sold this to general public for a long time thats why you see 75 out at your local break and thats when it's only 2-3 foot. Do you really want that many people windsurfing I hope not I'am still happy to wavesail many good spots with only a handfull of guys-girls out. Yes Maui does need a contest that should decide the wavesailing world champ and the industry as a whole should realize that.

Anonymous said...

The windsurf industry cant afford it.

Its the surrounding lifestyle brands that want to be associated with the surfing 'image' that bring in the big $ for the surf comps.

Does windsurfing have that image?

Windsurfing needs to broaden its reach and look for lifestyle brands that want to be associated with windsurfing values (not the technical details, gloves, booties gogles and speedos).

Does windsurfing have self confident values like surfing does. I think the sport is in its teenage years.... a little confused.

Michael said...


Please reconcile this quote from you:

"Surfing is a great sport and I personally will always choose a perfect surfing day over anything else in life, including sex with Naomi Campbell, a Porcupine tree concert or a 4.7 mast high wavesailing day..."

With your lament about windsurfing coverage. Aren't you saying that surfing is the zenith?

If a great day surfing is the ultimate, then aren't you supporting the coverage/prize money of surfing?

I personally prefer being on pure waves with a surfboard and no rig compared to wavesailing. But I think windsurfing offers a zillion more opportunities for a great, adrenalating experience. I have way more top 10 days windsurfing than I do surfing. And, to echo another comment, let's be grateful that windsurfing isn't overcrowded like surfing....

cammar said...

I think it's a fact that there are more "nerds" (whatever that means) that practice windsurfing than there are that practice surfing.
Reason is, IMO, windsurfing is overall a way easier and less phisically demanding sport.
I teach and practice both. I know very well how slow and painful learning how to windsurf is.
Still... a piece of cake compared to surfing!
Does having more "nerds" doing it makes a sport uncool?
In this stupid society it probably does... Kalama was right.

Plus, as you say, the expensive and complicated equipment doesn't help either...
But, as you also say, kitesurfing is expensive and complicated too but is perceived to be supercool...

Get this.
If one day you go to Kanaha and count the number of windsurfers over 60, you'll end up with an astonishing number, for sure at least 20, maybe even 30.
If the day after you go to kite beach, you'll be lucky if you see one over 60 (that'll be Bones).
And if the day after you'll go to Hookipa to count the surfers over 60, you may get up to five (if the waves were small).

In other words, windsurfing is easier, and can be done by nerds and relatively old people.
That in our society is not cool. Even if the pros ride Jaws and land pushloop-forwards!
In my world what's fun is cool. And if I can do a sport that is fun for me even if I'm a nerd (which I am compared to Polakow... it's all relative, right?) and I can still do it when I'll be 60, that's even cooler. But I'm not the society...

I personally couldn't care less if windsurfing is considered cool or not, if this didn't effect the sponsors investmensts, hence the contests.
I'm just bummed that there'll be no contest in Maui this year. I really like a lot to judge/watch/report windsurf contests at Hookipa... it's one of the best shows I can think of.

Laird has deliberately chosen in young age not to compete in any contest. I guess the organizers know that and don't waste time (and a slot) inviting him.
At the same time he is pretty much identified as THE biggest big wave surfer of all times... must be the cologne!

here we are again to the point: shall we keep for ourselves how good is something (in this case windsurfing, in the previous post's comments Maui) or should we spread the voice?
The Maui contest would help spread the voice... and, as I said, I don't personally mind that.

more than windsurfing not seeking the right lifestyle products kind of sponsor, I think it's the other way around... those sponsors are not seeking windsurfing. In my post I was asking why (btw, thanks to everyone for posting comments). In the answer to the first comment, I stated a possible reason.

that statement continues with :"But... $740,000 in total prize money, along with a $25,000 Chevy Colorado truck and a diamond-crusted Nixon watch... and the PWA couldn't find sponsors for the Maui event?! Gimme a break!"
The message was: even though I recognize that surfing is a great sport, that I enjoy a lot myself, it's ridicolous that surfing gets so much attention (and money) and windsurfing doesn't get any at all.
Makes sense now?
Btw, I may have to rethink the Naomi part of that statement... da hell is wrong with me?!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you all find it easy to stand back and criticise the PWA. I don't think any of you really have any idea what you're talking about. I'm close to some people there and I kow some of the details as to why they do and don't get sponsors of differnet levels. It kind of angers me that you all have time to write this kind of bull when if you did know somehting of use and you did love the sport you'd actually so somehting to make it better rather than take the easy way out and bitch away to your hearts content. If you love windsurfing, any of you, tell your friends the PWA needs sponsors, using the 6 degrees of seperaation we're al connected to the right people to make it happen somehow. Tell them why we should have our sport sponsored, tell them what they'd get out of it and send all the positive messages, not this kind of criticism that achieves nothing but to de-motivate those who spend their whole lives trying to get you your entertainment at Ho'okipa. USe your contacts. let's make it happen!

Anonymous said...

Hey anonimous,
Like most people who post in GP's blog, I both love windsurfing and also have some time to kill frequently.
I love the PWA and they are doing a great job. This season was one of the best ever. Believe me, I do what I can besides complaining. It brakes my heart when American mags find in their polls that american windsurfers couln't care less about professional windsurfing. I used to live in the midwest and tried to motivate the local sailors to follow the protour online and replace their gear from the early 90's, I teached friends and people I didn't know for free, helped organize regattas and swap meetings. I have no access to sponsors other than posting my opinions on their websites. I congratulate Jeff for doing something about that Outdoors mag article. Does kiting needs to grow at expenses of windsurfing? no!
If the 'boarsports' clothing brands, for example, don't think promoting windsurfing is profitable, there is not much the PWA can do. We got the Aloha last time thanks to JP Australia, before it was Severne sails, in between it was Jeep, an 'outsider' sponsor, but unfortunately they didn't renew their support. Maybe they bought the crap that 'windsurfing has been cancelled', and unfortunately it will take a lot of time to change that vibe.


cammar said...

I answered in my new post.

it's not the vibe, it's not bad luck. If there's no sponsors it's because they think the return is not worth the investment. And they are right. Read my new post and you'll know what I mean...

Marc Lefebvre said...

Great comments, great posts, great blog...

The "cool" factor regarding windsurfing has often been the cause of blame for the sport failing, but, as someone who has been involved in the sport on about every level I can say that the populatority of the sport hinges on:

1) equipment cost

2) industry focus on the existing customer base instead of "new" customers.

If the above issues can be dealt with it would cause:

1) more youth getting into the sport.

2) more beautiful people getting involved in the sport (marketing)

The above would drive the customer base to increase significantly, add to the creditibility of the sport, and fix the ratios of old to young, cool to nerd, poor to rich.

This would then drive sponsor interest cause they would have the eye balls and participation numbers to get a "Return on Investment". While I dont necessary agree with the statement made that sponsoring a pro windsurfing contest privides no return, it takes some creativity to get that return and takes a creative sponsor to leverage the opportunity. Unlike the sponsors of baseball and footbal, they just have to show up with check in hand and they get their exposure.

There does need to be a concerted effort to get the sport into mainstream media. There needs to be marketing dollars spent that would place windsurfing into plot lines of movies, tv, and ads. This will not happen on its own and it takes money. This would raise awareness and help the sport. Its not impossible, just takes money spent by the manufacturers of the sport.

One last point, there is one issue that will most likely never change is one of the largest hurdles in our sport and that is the gear issue. No 15 yr old kid can windsurf with out a support system of friends or relatives to get to the beach and provide equipment transport, etc... Whereas in surfing kids can hold their board under their arms, and skateboard down to the beach and go surfing. Easy as pie.

I havent given up hope but the sport will never be the size of golf. Just wont happen. Its a niche sport, but, one that can grow to an effective size equal to surfing, skiing, etc...

And, yes, Giampaolo, you are doing your part here on the web. We thank you for that!