Matt Banting & Ellie Jean Coffey | Surfing's Newest Power Couple

In years past, many surfers have looked outward when it came to dating whether that involved models, professional athletes from other disciplines or childhood friends from back home. But lately, the list of surfing power couples has been getting longer including Lakey Peterson/Thomas Allan and Jack Freestone/Alana Blanchard

The latest involves Matt Banting and Ellie Jean Coffey who both reside in Australia and are very talented surfers. Matt Banting is currently on the Championship Tour and is ranked 28th despite being injured, while Ellie is currently ranked #21 on the women's qualifying series. While Matt beat her to the WCT, she holds a astounding lead in terms of Instagram followers with more than 410,000 compared to Matt's modest 32,700 followers. Outside of their competitive careers and social media popularity, these two love to surf and have fun, so it's no surprise to many that they have started dating in recent months. 

Cheer's to Matt Banting & Ellie Jean Coffey for being surfing's newest power couple!

Red Bull Unleashed 2015 | Surf Snowdonia

While promises of perfect barreling waves at Surf Snowdonia have yet to be fulfilled, I must commend them (and WaveGarden) for creating a rideable, consistent and engaging artificial wave that is available to the public.

With the opening of Surf Snowdonia just a few short weeks ago, I knew it would only be a matter of time before surf contests would eventually transition into this artificial playing field. What I didn't anticipate was that Red Bull would be leading the quest with a contest titled Red Bull Unleashed which is scheduled to take place in less than 30 days! 

24 surfers will be matched against each other in 30 minute heats where each surfer will have the opportunity to catch 5 waves during each of their heats. The contest will run from September 18th through the 19th and is expected to draw a crowd of more than 2,000. While it's nothing inn comparison to the US Open's massive amount of spectators, it will also be the first time tickets will be sold to attend a surf contest. No word on the possibility of a live webcast, but I think Red Bull would be silly not to do so.

To be honest, I don't think artificial wave surfing contests will replace most of the WCT tour stops. It would make surfing to boring, stable and predictable. But I think it would create a really neat addition to the tour and definetely something that the WSL will be looking at very closely in the coming months. 

Being a Surfer is Fun | John John Florence

Executive Assistant to CEO | World Surf League

For those of you looking to get your foot in the door at the World Surf League, this article is for you. Paul Speaker is officially looking for a new executive assistant and you have nothing to lose when applying. Talk about an awesome job if you're looking to transition your career into the surf industry or are just getting started.

The job description emphasizes the ability to travel extensively and at short notice, so you're most liking going to some (or all) of the World Tour spots throughout the year. Not excited yet? Think about all the cool places you could have the opportunity to surf! Sure, you'll be busy while juggingling multiple projects and must "be available at all hours including weekends to assist the CEO", but you're working for the World Surf League!

So stop reading and apply today!

2015 Tide Trainer | Freestyle USA

In a culture where smart phones have become a multi functional, gadget replacing everyday tool, it seem's that society is relying less and less on traditional watches and timepieces. While that might work for some, surfing ultimately revolves around time. How much time is left in your heat. What time is low tide. What is the swell's interval. What time does your parking meter expire. Everything about having a great surf session or winning your heat comes down to perfect timing. And let's be honest, paddling out with your smartphone isn't the most convenient or practical thing.

Do you know what is practical? Freestyle USA's newest watch called the Tide Trainer. Designed for the top performing competitive surfers around the world and perfectly suited for you, this watch has some great capabilities. And let me tell you, it's awesome! 

Training for a contest? Start the preset heat timers to break down your surf session into multiple 15, 20 or 35 minute heats!  On a strict diet or hydration program? Setup custom alarms so you never miss a meal.  Most valuable to me is the sunrise/sunset data and tide information for more that 100 beaches worldwide.

There are a couple key things that standout in terms of the design and fit of this watch. First is it's compact size. The screen is large enough to see all of the data the watch displays, without hindering your surfing or workout performance like an oversized watch face might due. Second is the sports ventilation silicon strap, which is soft, flexible and very comfortable. Last is the watch's simple user interface. This watch has a lot of unique capabilities and it's very straightforward in how to navigate between the different modes, which I really like. 

So what are you waiting for? Order your 2015 Tide Trainer from Freestyle USA today!

Surf Austin 2016 | Construction Update

It's really happening. At this very moment construction crews are working to construct a massive surf park in Austin Texas which will be powered by WaveGarden. You could say I'm a little more than excited! But with the California drought and fear of it spreading well beyond our state borders, many question the practicality of filling a surf park with so much water for "entertainment" purposes.

Luckily, Texas recently experienced a huge storm dropping large amounts of water across the state. So much rain, that many areas had extensive flooding. Throughout this storm, the Austin surf park construction site filled with an abundance of water, which has since been moved to a holding reservoir until construction is finished. With careful planning, some innovative thinking and a heavy rainstorm, it seems Surf Austin 2016 won't run into to many issues or environmental complaints when they are ready to fill the lagoon!

Read More About Surf Austin 2016:
Are You Ready to Surf The WaveGarden | Austin, Texas
WaveGarden 2016 | Austin, Texas
WaveGarden Night Surfing

The Price of Perfection | Surf Snowdonia 2015

With the growing excitement surrounding the WaveGarden technology and numerous locations being discussed around the world and here in the United States, many surfers are concerned about the price it will cost to enjoy perfection. It's a conversation I've had many times in the lineup with my friends and something which has been my biggest hesitation since first hearing about the WaveGarden. With Surf Snowdonia being opened as the first WaveGarden Surf Lagoon that's open to the public, we finally have some answers! And it's good news! 

 For a 1 hour surf session on the advanced wave, which is a 6.5 foot barreling wave, it costs £45 (Approx $70.00). Surf Snowdonia limits the session to 3 surfers and you can catch up to 20 waves. And if you want to schedule a surf session at the WaveGarden Surf Lagoon in the UK, you need to act fast as spots are quickly filling up. If Surf Snowdonia is used as a reference point for pricing once the WaveGarden is brought to the USA, then I think surfers and non-surfers alike will be stoked to give it a run. I know I will!


Top 3 Places to Eat in Newport Beach | Summer 2015

Newport Beach draws a large number of tourists and locals to their beaches everyday for a variety of reasons. You have some great surf spots such as 56th Street and Newport Point, not to mention The Wedge. There's plenty of sand for beach goers to spread out and the waves are generally pretty mellow unless there is a big swell. There's also a nice boardwalk along the ocean front homes which is perfect for taking a beach cruiser for a spin or going for a run.

But after a long day at the beach or a sunset surf session, it's always nice to enjoy a good meal before heading home. But where do you eat? Chipotle on the peninsula? Spaghetti Factory amongst the tourists? I don't think so! 

If you want delicious (and healthy) food, then you need to venture to some of Newport Beach's hotspots and my personal favorites which include Mendocino Farms, Madee Thai Kitchen and Bear Flag Fish Co. I'm not even going to suggest what to order, cause everything is delicious. Keep in mind that all 3 of these places get crowded during peak hours, so I would suggest calling your order in ahead of time for take-out and then eating it there! Enjoy!

NÂș1 Night Surfing at Wavegarden | 2015 Test Series

WAVEGARDEN® Night Surfing Experiment

Wavegarden, pioneers in man-made wave technology, recently conducted a series of tests at their headquarters in Northern Spain in order to check how its technology can improve different aspects of the surfing experience. The first of such tests focused on surfing at nighttime, using a state-of-the-art lighting system and featuring the talents of former European surf champion Vincent Duvignac, big wave surfers Natxo Gonzalez and Axi Muniain and Zarautz local surfer Asier Maqueda.

In partnership with a range of leading technical suppliers, Wavegarden is refining their ability to light up facilities at night which, apart from making spectacular imagery, will allow surfers to catch waves before or after work, or school, especially in winter months when daylight is limited.

Night surfing in itself is not a new proposition. Surf competitions have been staged in the ocean at night in the past, achieved by flood lighting the ocean similar to a football stadium. However, night surfing has had limited success as it is complicated to set up, impossible to illuminate a large enough area to fully see the waves approaching, and difficult for surfers to clearly see the wave formation and water texture.

In Wavegarden’s preliminary research, lights are strategically placed underwater to create an effect never seen before, while providing a truly unique experience for the surfers. “Lighting the waves from underneath the water is a new concept and key to Wavegarden’s client proposition”, confirmed Wavegarden’s CEO, Josema Odriozola. “We used software programs to modify the light coverage, intensity, and color. We even managed to install a light on the moving wavefoil to illuminate the wave for the entire length of the lagoon”.

“It was necessary to experiment with the angle and depth of the lights to optimize the reflection inside the wave. Although we understand that external lights will be required at commercial facilities, the focus of this research was below the waters surface”, Odriozola added.

“I’ve surfed at night before but this is something completely different”, explained Frenchman Vincent Duvignac, recognized as one of Europe’s most talented and stylish surfers. “When you surf now seems irrelevant: Natxo and I surfed until 2am and could have kept going except we became completely surfed out”.

Wavegarden’s night surfing test was documented by celebrated French surf photographer Greg Rabejac, who has been shooting surfers at night for over the past 3 years in France, Spain and Morocco.

Mick Fanning Survies Shark Attack | Jeffrey's Bay South Africa

 With a broken leash and a sigh of relief, Mick Fanning narrowly survived a vicious shark attack at the  J-Bay Open. He was sitting out the back waiting for his next wave when a fin surfaced and headed directly towards him from behind. He immediately jumped on his board and started fighting off the shark while trying to get away. This was during the final of the event and Julian Wilson was in the water as well, though not close to Mick.

Joe Turpel was in the commenting booth and for a minute it didn't even register what was happening as the camera was on a close up view of Mick. You can hear the beach announcer frantically calling for help and telling everyone to "get out of there immediately." And that's when it hit everyone as to exactly what happened.

Mick ended up wrestling in the water as the shark bit his leash before the water rescue was able to reach him. "I was just sitting there..." Mick claimed as he felt the shark get stuck in his leg rope as it kept going at his board and wouldn't leave him alone. He said "I punched it in the back" and that seemed to fend off the shark. And let me tell you, this was a pretty sizable shark, just look at the size of it's fin!

This is perhaps the scariest moments that I have ever seen during a surf competition and cringe every time the replay shows. 2 sharks were apparently spotted in the lineup prior to the lineup and the heat was put on hold until conditions clear up. It's the first time a shark attack has happened during a final heat in the event and it was certainly unexpected.

Julian Wilson was extremely rattled by the event as he broke down during an interview after the situation occurred saying, "He's gone...he's gone under...I felt like I couldn't get there quick enough." Julian and Mick are close friends and I can't imagine the feeling off watching your friend getting attacked and not being able to help in any way. And Julian was ready to fight for his friends life as he paddled  saying "I got a board...I can stab it...I have a weapon"

Following the attack, Julian Wilson posted to his Facebook page saying, "Love you brother! Today was one of those days you hope you'll never experience in life. To see you stand your ground and fend off that monster...You're my hero mate. So happy I could give you a hug on the boat with all limbs in tact. You're the true definition of living by the sword"

Jordy Smith also took to Facebook saying, "The craziest thing to ever happen in professional surfing.. I am so happy that Mick Fanning is physically ok.. I'm sure something like this doesn't ever leave your mind ...I'm so sorry that this has happened.."

Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson have decided to each take equal second in rankings points and split the prize purse after talking with WSL Commisisoner Kieren Perrow. I don't blame them considering that both probably don't feel like getting back in the water after today's attack.

Outerknown | The Kelly Slater Disconnect

It's no doubt that Kelly Slater is the most talented and accomplished professional surfer around; something that has gained him worldwide recognition for all the right reasons. He takes time to sign autographs after heats, always has a smile on his face and seems reasonably grounded despite his fame. Simply put, he's a great ambassador and role model within the surf industry.

But this week, he's in the hot seat due to the launch of Outerknown, his new sustainable apparel brand. Before we jump into the funny commentary and jokes made at his expense, it's important to note that Kelly has stated from the beginning that Outerknown is NOT a surfing brand. Additionally, the collection does have some very fashion focused and trendy pieces that I would be open to adding to my current wardrobe. 

Unfortunately, spending $98 on a organic hemp and cotton blended shirt isn't quite in my budget. Neither is the $425 Baby Alpaca Pullover, which I can buy at the Mexico/California for $10 after negotiating for 15 minutes with the street vender. Sure, it's not made from baby alpaca yarn, but who cares.

Was leaving Quiksilver and starting Outerknown a career mistake for Kelly Slater? It depends on which angle you view the entire situation from. I think from a surf fan perspective, it's a little outside his core group of fans which makes him look like a rich arrogant businessman who abandoned his core contingency to make more money (if this venture is successful). 

Here are my favorite comment's from Surfing Mag Readers:

"Interesting Idea, but It looks like everything here is sustainable except the business model." 

"Outerknown trunks may have just replaced a go pro mounted on the nose for the new international symbol of "burn me"."

"I'm gutted. A prime opportunity to disrupt the surf industry with reasonably priced, logoless, sustainable clothing brand. At this price, it will be competing with very high end fashion."

From a surf sponsorship perspective, it doesn't make much sense for Outerknown to replace Quiksilver as his main sponsor. I get the whole conflict of interest thing, but I doubt Outerknown is paying Kelly's bills. 

Lastly, I think Outerknown is taking Kelly's focus off competing on the WSL considering he is ranked #11 currently. While there is not anything wrong with pursuing outside interests, I wonder if Kelly has diversified to much. With two 13th and 9th place finishes to his name, it's starting to show that maybe Kelly's career is on a slow decline. 

In school, we are taught that every story, essay and article needs a strong ending to complete a piece. But to be honest, I don't really have a ending to this story. I hope Kelly can find a better rhythm for the remaining events on tour and if you can afford the Outerknown Boundary Blazer for $495, then I hope you wear it everyday. That's all for now. 

Quinn Matthews | 2015 Follow The Light Finalist

It's down to 5 finalists for the 2015 Follow The Light Foundation grant and once again Quinn Matthews finds himself in the mix for the $9,000 grant. The Follow The Light Foundation is the most prestigious photo competition in surf photography for the upcoming generation of iconic surf photographers and generally identifies the next big industry talent. And let's be honest, it's about time that Quinn Matthews. He is young, ambitious, talented, and the perfect candidate for the award. 

I came across Quinn Matthews’ work, after knowing his older brother through some mutual friends in Laguna Beach and was impressed by his talent from the early days of his career. Quinn has been traveling the world and building his portfolio over the passed couple of years with some of the ASP's heavy hitters including Kolohe Andino, Yadin Nicol and others.  

Just like last year, Quinn Matthews has my vote for the 2015 Follow The Light grant!

Read More About Quinn Matthews:

Bella + Canvas | 2015 Collection

Sometimes the simplest things in life make the biggest impression. That's why I'm stoked to be adding some clothing from Bella + Canvas to my wardrobe! Focusing exclusively on fashion-forward knit tees and fleece, their entire collection is made here in Los Angeles using 100% combed and ring-spun cotton and fine-gage threads for the most durable and comfortable clothing possible. And they execute on this focus perfectly! 

Let's face it, most surfer's are pretty simple when it comes to style. We prefer a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, over a shirt and tie for most occasions. But that doesn't mean, you have to lack sophistication. With Bella + Canvas premium (logo free) crew tee shirts, you can look great without breaking the bank. I'm also really liking their 3/4 sleeve Baseball Tee that's perfect for a summer baseball game or bbq. I'd describe their overall collection as simple, modern and crisp. Something which resonates with me!

Right now my closet is mostly filled with logo t-shirts from various surf brands. While there isn't anything wrong with this, adding some clothing from Bella + Canvas was very refreshing and a welcome change. Oh and the clothes are incredibly comfortable and fit great. I just can't stop wearing them. Seriously, you need to go place an order from Bella + Canvas right now!

Craig Anderson Feat. Hypto Krypto by Haydenshapes

Now Casting: High-Level Surfers for a New Competition TV Show

Have you ever wanted to be on TV? Now's your chance cause I just got an email from Shaun Hoff at Pilgrim Studios and they are currently casting surfers for a brand new show. Fun fact, Shaun previously worked on the casting for The Millionaire Matchmaker! Their current portfolio of shows includes Dirty Jobs, Orange County Choppers, Fast N' Loud, Mike Rowe's Somebody's Gotta Do It and The Ultimate Fighter, so you know their latest show centered around surfing is going to be legit!

These award-winning producers are currently casting the best surfers from around the world to compete for a grand prize on a brand new TV show on a major cable network. Interested? Apply right now! On this exciting new series, competitors will face thrilling challenges both on the water and off, tackling monster waves and surprise tests of skill, balance, strategy, innovation, commitment, speed and power – all for a chance to win a grand prize! 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a competitive or recreational surfer. As long as you’ve got what it takes to compete against the best and prove your skills on national television, then we want to hear from you. 

Send an email to with the following information to apply:
  1. Your name
  2. Phone number
  3. Where you are located
  4. A recent photo of yourself
  5. And a brief explanation of why you are right for this TV show

*Applicants must be proficient surfers, at least 21 years old, and in reasonably good physical condition.

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