Sue Steward

Surfing News

Kolohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi will compete in surfing’s 2020 Olympics debut

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Kolohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi will compete in surfing’s 2020 Olympics debut

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games nears, the shortlist of surfers in line to compete in the sport’s big debut is taking shape – and so far, two Orange County surfers have secured spots to compete in the historic event that will bring surfing to millions of viewers.

Huntington Beach local Kanoa Igarashi and San Clemente’s Kolohe Andino have both earned slots at the Olympics, meaning local surf fans will have familiar athletes to cheer on.

Igarashi, who has dual citizenship and will be surfing for the host country, is no stranger to the podium. The two-time winner of the U.S. Open of Surfing — at his home break in Huntington in 2017 and 2018 — began as a tyke taking tiny waves in Newport Beach and at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Had he not joined Japan’s roster, Igarashi likely wouldn’t have qualified for this Olympic Games, with stiff competition among United States athletes clamoring for the team’s two allotted spots for men.

Unlike typical surf contests, the mainland and Hawaii are combined for the upcoming Olympics, making it even harder to secure entry considering stand-out surfers such as John John Florence and Kelly Slater are in the running.

But one U.S. surfer who has made the team is Andino, it was announced Friday, Oct. 18.

Both Andino and Igarashi must still meet eligibility requirements of the International Surfing Association, the International Olympic Committee, and the respective national Olympic committees.

With the World Surf Tour events still in fierce competition mode — and the World Tour rankings one of the paths toward qualification — it’s unclear who will nab the second men’s spot. The final spots on Team USA’s two-man, two-woman Olympic team will be determined at the end of the WSL season in December – following the women’s Maui Pro event and the men’s Hawaii Pipe Masters event.

Andino is currently ranked fifth in the world on the World Tour and is the highest-ranked surfer from the United States.

The WSL CT is the pathway for 18 countries to qualify surfers for the Olympics. The remaining 22 surfers from countries that don’t participate in the WSL are determined through the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse called Andino “Captain America.” Andino is a second-generation surfer, following in his father Dino’s footsteps as one of the world’s best surfers competing on the World Tour.

The younger Andino, 25, has won seven USA Surfing Championships and shattered records with nine National Scholastic Surfing Association championships a decade ago as an amateur. He joined the ranks of the world’s best in 2012.

Behind Andino in the rankings are Florence and fellow Hawaiian Seth Moniz, followed by 11-time World Champion Slater, who all have a chance to qualify for the Olympics.

Surfing News

Japan’s surfing spots prepare to cash in on Olympic wave

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Japan’s surfing spots prepare to cash in on Olympic wave

Japan’s surfing spots are looking to ride a wave to economic revitalization before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, when surfing will make its Olympic debut.

In the hope of attracting more tourists and stopping population decline, these municipalities are hosting surfing events and building special websites to promote themselves as destinations for surfing enthusiasts.

Ichinomiya in Chiba Prefecture will host the 2020 Olympic surfing event. Located on the Pacific coast, Tsurigasaki beach attracts many surfboarders in the early morning and late afternoon as it is easily accessible from Tokyo. The nearest station is Kazusa-Ichinomiya, which is about an hour by express train from Tokyo Station.

Each year, about 600,000 surfers visit Ichinomiya, population 12,000. It hosts an annual competition for professional surfing athletes from around the world and has seen its profile steadily grow.

In 2015, the Ichinomiya Municipal Government launched a comprehensive economic strategy focused on “surfonomics.”

It has built up a “surf street” along the beach with shops and restaurants. An information center opened in April 2018 rents out surfboards and bicycles for visitors to carry their gear on.

Since December 2016, Hyuga in Miyazaki Prefecture has also pursued an initiative dubbed “Relax Surf Town Hyuga”.

Having a warm climate, the city has one of Japan’s most popular surfing spots.

In 2017, it attracted 300,000 surfers and beachgoers, up from 200,000 in 2012.

Hyuga releases promotional videos on a special website as well as uploads images of its coastline on social media. It is working very hard to attract surfing events to capitalize on surfing’s Olympic debut.

Although Makinohara in Shizuoka Prefecture lost the bid to host the 2020 Olympic surfing events to Ichinomiya, it was chosen to host training facilities for the United States and other surfing teams.

The city, sitting directly across from the Izu Peninsula on the opposite side of Suruga Bay, also organizes lessons for elementary school students in order to introduce the sport at an early age.

Another spot that is known for quality waves is part of the Izu Islands, Niijima Island. It takes about 2½ hours to reach Niijima from Tokyo by high-speed ferry or 35 minutes by air.

Niijima Island used to host international surfing events and is trying to energize its economy by wooing back surfers.

The move seems to be succeeding as the annual domestic surfing festivals and competitions it hosts have led to an increase in surfers in recent years.

Surfing News

The qualified surfers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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The qualified surfers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The shortboard competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach, in Chiba. The quest for gold, silver, and bronze medals will include 20 male surfers and 20 female athletes.

Surfing’s qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is complex and consists of two entities – the World Surf League (WSL) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Both the professional world tour and the world governing body have decided to split the spots available for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Japan, the host country, has automatically secured one slot for a female surfer and another one for a male athlete.

Later, four events will determine the competitors who will participate in surfing’s Olympic debut. They are as follow:

·        2019 Pan American Games – 1 male surfer and 1 female surfer;

·        2019 ISA World Surfing Games – 4 male surfers and 4 female surfers;

·        2019 World Surf League – 10 male surfers and 8 female surfers;

·        2020 ISA World Surfing Games – 4 male surfers and 6 female surfers;

Each country can only qualify a maximum of two surfing athletes per gender.


·        Lucca Mesinas, Best American Male Surfer at the 2019 Pan American Games

·        Shun Murakami, Best Asian Male Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Ramzi Boukhiam, Best African Male Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Billy Stairmand, Best Oceania Male Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Frederico Morais, Best European Male Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games


·        Daniella Rosas, Best American Female Surfer at the 2019 Pan American Games

·        Bianca Buitendag, Best African Female Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Shino Matsuda, Best Asian Female Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Ella Williams, Best Oceania Female Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

·        Anat Lelior, Best European Female Surfer at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games

The mentioned surfers have secured provisional spots in the Tokyo 2020 and will lose their places in case 2 other fellow countrymen and countrywomen finish ahead of them at the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games.

Therefore, the official list of surfing athletes that will take part in the competition will only be revealed fully in June 2020, after the re-allocation of unused quotas.


Sofia Mulanovich earns gold at 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

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Sofia Mulanovich earns gold at 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

Sofia Mulanovich has earned the gold medal in the women’s division at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan.

The 36-year-old female surfer defeated Silvana Lima, Carissa Moore, and Bianca Buitendag, in an extremely tight final that was held in Miyazaki, Japan.

The Peruvian surfer secured her career’s second gold medal in the World Surfing Games, a surfing event held by the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Sofia Mulanovich earns gold at 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

Sofia Mulanovich expressed, “I think that I’m in a dream. This isn’t happening. It’s unbelievable for me to win this event with all the best surfers of the world.”  The veteran won her first gold medal in Salinas, Ecuador, in 2004, when she was only 22 years old. That year was a golden year for Mulanovich. Besides the World Surfing Games title, she also earned the ASP World Tour trophy.

Past, Present, and Future

The Peruvian still is the only South American female athlete to be crowned world surfing champion.

Sofia Mulanovich concluded, “Two Peruvians won gold medals at the Pan American Games in Lima and my winning here adds to that. Surfing is fast growing in Latin America, and Peru is here to stay.”

Fernando Aguerre, the president of the ISA, believes that the women’s final was a “validation of the universal competitive landscape” of surfing.

“Sofia Mulanovich had a long career as a professional surfing athlete. Earning gold after 15 years and against this stars is incredible for her. I’m sure she is going to think about her chances for 2020.”

Meanwhile, four female surfers have secured spots in Tokyo 2020.

Shino Matsuda (Japan), Bianca Buitendag (South Africa), Anat Lelior (Israel), and Ella Williams (New Zealand) will only confirm their tickets for the Summer Olympics as the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games wrap up in May 2020.

These four female surfers will only lose their spots if there are two fellow countrywomen of the same gender qualifying ahead of them at the upcoming World Surfing Games.

Surfing News

Surfing in Japan during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

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Surfing in Japan during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympics will take place in the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Interestingly, the world’s largest metropolitan area is also widely known for hosting world-class surf spots.

While tourists and sports fans from all around the world are in the city for the Summer Olympic Games, local surfers will be riding their daily waves. In fact, the Chiba region, which is near Tokyo, is considered as the birthplace and capital of the Japanese surfing culture.

Onjuku, Choshi, and Ichinomiya, which are located 40 kilometers away from Tokyo, are some of the best surfing spots in Chiba. Pollution and fishing harbors are the greatest threat to wave and surfing here.

Niijima, Oshima, and Hachijojima are three islands that are located off the coast of the capital, which often offer great surfing experiences for the local board riding community. So expect a laid back lifestyle and stunning sight-seeing.

Shonan and Shichirigahama – in the Kanagawa prefecture – are two famous wave peaks that face southern swells coming from the Pacific Ocean.

Shikoku, the fourth largest island in Japan, also offers impressive river mouth waves. Ikumihama, Uchizuma, Shishikui, and Niyodo are the best choices; however, they are not free of local wave warriors.

The province of Fukushima was once famous for its top right-handers ridden in front of the nuclear station. Nowadays, it is a radioactive surfing cemetery, where surfers won’t surf and human beings won’t live.

If you are planning a surfing trip to Japan – the Land of the Rising Sun, you should do it during spring, between April and May. Remember that local surf shops are so expensive and trains are the best way of traveling from spot to spot there.

The 2020 Summer Olympics will take place between 24th July and 9th August, in Tokyo. Because surfing is very popular in the country, so it would be nice to have surfing as an Olympic sport, in a high-tech artificial wave pool of Japan.


The most influential surfers of all time (part 2)

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The most influential surfers of all time (part 2)

3. Tom Blake

Born in Milwaukee in 1902, Tom Blake became famous and eventually change the face of surfing. Being a lifeguard in 1924, Blake began surfing after proving himself as a talented swimmer, even competing against The Duke. He took seasonal trips to Hawaii as surfing was injected into his blood.

In addition to his contributions through surfing performance, it was surfboard design which cemented his place in the history of the sport. During Blake’s time, the solid redwood surfboards were extremely cumbersome, but he experimented with hollow boards which might lighten the surfing load. In 1926, he created the first hollow board that lightened the standard board a whopping 60 pounds, leading to a spike in surfing performance and helping the surfboard become basic equipment for lifeguards.

In 1928, Blake won the initial Pacific Coast Surfriding Championships in California and in 1930, he took part in creating the first waterproof camera. Moreover, he then became the first to attach a fin to a surfboard.

4. Tom Curren

On his road to his first 2 world championships, Tom Curren‘s clashes with Mark Occhilupo became legendary. Any surfer from the ‘80s will remember these shattering moments which were immortalized in videos and plastered across magazine pages.

Competitive greatness was not Tom Curren’s swan song but he fashioned a path which would lay the groundwork for many of the present’s pro careers. He embarked on boat trips to wonderlands that had never been surfed, let Sonny Miller film them and packaged them as “The Search” series, a beautifully filmed journey that was spiced with jazz and rock tunes, some of which were performed by Curren himself.

In 1990, he roared back to competition, which laid claim to the first event of that year at the Coldwater Classic in order to make a red hot Gary Elkerton look shaky in comparison. He convincingly won a third world title after having surfed through the trials of every event that year.


The most influential surfers of all time (part 1)

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The most influential surfers of all time (part 1)

Defining greatness in most sports is a pretty hard task. But surfing is a different matter ad it is a sport known as much for its cultural, daredevil, or iconic elements as who racks up the most victories in competitive circuits. Here we’ve tried to enlist five of the most influential surfers of all time.

1. The Duke

Duke Kahanamoku is considered the undisputed father of modern surfing. Kahanamoku himself exposed the sport to the rest of the world, despite the fact that Hawaiians had started riding waves before the arrival of Captain Cook. After attending the Stockholm Olympics and winning a gold and silver medal in swimming, he traveled around the world, demonstrated his talent and subsequently introduced surfing to Australia, New Zealand, and the East Coast, spreading Aloha to scores of enthralled spectators.

Kahanamoku continued to win another Olympic gold and silver medal. After rescuing 8 fishermen at Newport Harbor, riding one of the longest waves in history in Waikiki, he solidified his waterman status and was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame and Swimming Hall of Fame.

Kahanamoku fraternized with royalty, dignitaries, movie stars, and certainly, some of the greatest athletes in early surfing. Surfer magazine called him Surfer of the Century.

2. Kelly Slater

It’s amazing how an athlete can redefine the boundaries of a sport. Jordan, Tiger, and Tony Hawk have set standards that others can only dream of reaching. And Kelly Slater is a typical example, closing the book on the old school and writing a new chapter only he could conceive. Before annihilating the status quo, he snaked and won at Trestles with such speed and precision that the world was aghast. Then on the professional tour, he rose through the ranks and easily disposed of the veterans. Some realized the inevitable was upon them while others responded with anger and fear.

Building on Curren and Potter, Slater combined supernatural talent, contest strategy, and fitness to inspire 3 successive generations and garner 11 world titles.

Slater has redefined the limits of career, performance, and age, and has influenced style, maneuvers, and design.

Surfing Places

The best surfing spots in the world

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The best surfing spots in the world

Many people think that the best trips to the beach involve ideal surfing conditions. Some cities in the world are better for surfing than others thanks to their tide schedule, wind patterns, and terrain, which together create the perfect waves for surfing. There are many great surfing spots along the coast of every continent.

Bondi Beach, Australia

Bondi Beach is an iconic surfing destination that is synonymous with the surf-side good life. The name Bondi is aboriginal, translated as “water breaking over rocks”, and it has long attracted a laid-back surfer crowd. The first surf lifesaving club of the world was founded here in 1907 and thrill-seekers have flocked ever since.

Bells Beach, Australia

With a cliff-flanked sandy beach and large ocean swells, Bells Beach is recognized as one of Australia’s best stretches of surfing coastline and a top destination for experienced surfers. Bells beach features in the cult classic movie Point Break which stars Patrick Swayze as a die-hard surfer with the ultimate ambition of surfing Bells Beach.

Kuta Beach, Bali

With perfect white sands and palm-fringed beaches, Kuta Beach is the most surfed beach of Bali. It can get crowded although it is still regarded as an epic spot. Kuta Beach is the place where surfing began in Bali.

Santa Cruz, California

The breaks of Santa Cruz are known for their difficulty and tricky locals. Choose your beach with care because many local surfers don’t take kindly to newcomers cutting into their waves. It was home to the O’Neill brothers, who created the first surf shop in the 1950s, selling boards and vests to make a wetsuit.

North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii is undisputedly the home of surfing and hosts numerous world class competitions every year. North Shore of Oahu is frequented by dedicated surfers who want to surf the world’s most famous waves.


Six Helpful Tips for Beginner Surfers

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Six Helpful Tips for Beginner Surfers

Here are the most helpful tips for beginner surfers to help you attempt to start the adventure. However, always remember that there is nobody that can snag a barreling overhead wave just after jumping on a surfboard for the first time. Like any other sport, you need to put in your effort and time to learning and getting better at it.

1. Don’t Learn by Yourself

Although you may think surfing looks easy to learn, never approach surfing by yourself. You should get an experienced friend or a good teacher to teach you in order to avoid injuring yourself or even putting your life in danger.

2. Use a Big Surfboard

Using a big surfboard is one of the most useful beginner surfing tips that you could follow. A big surfboard can help you develop better fundamental mechanics and catch more waves in the early stages.

3. Surf a Beginners Wave

Surfing on a beach that is appropriate for beginner surfers is necessary for your surfing success. Tackle small waves before attempting larger ones. Remember that you’ll be able to upgrade your surf spot with the right amount of dedication.

4. Spend Some Time on Dry Land First

Instead of rushing in the water once you’re at the beach, spend some time on the beach doing your stretching. Check your surfing equipment and watch the waves for a time as well as learn from the other surfers.

5. Pace Yourself

You will need to pace yourself to avoid risking injury once you get into the water. Remember, you can have all the time in the world to enjoy surfing.

6. Have Fun

Whatever you do and wherever you are, if you are not having fun while surfing, it’s not worth doing it. Always remember that there is an amazing quote by Phil Edwards: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”


Benefits of Surfing

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Benefits of Surfing

Not everyone has the advantage of living near a beach and being able to go surfing daily, but for those who do, it is a great opportunity to help you live healthily. It’s also a recreational activity and offers a number of health and fitness benefits.

1. Cardiovascular and heart health: Surfing is a great cardiovascular exercise, that uses leg muscles to guide the board once you’re up and riding, and mostly upper body muscles to do the paddling work. Involving more time paddling, surfing provides an intense upper body and core workout.

2. Mental health: Like other physical exercise, surfing helps to offset the negative effects of stress.

3. Vitamin D: The vitamin D from the sun that you can get while doing outside activities like surfing is essential for strong bones and the growth of skin cellsby regulating the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

4. Better sleep: Many studies show that regular exercise, including surfing, increases the positive benefits of sleeping. Sleep is important as it allows time for your muscles to repair themselves and helps you feel refreshed in the morning.

5. Workout: Surfing develops your body and strengthens the core and legs through the constantly changing movement.

6. Muscle strengthening: Paddling helps strengthen your back and shoulder muscles, and you can get toned legs by surfing due to the balance required while you’re up on the board.

7. Improved balance: One of the best exercise benefits of surfing is the improvement that it creates in your balance. To stay firm on the surfboard, you must have the ability to maintain your balance and this skill carries over into everyday life.

8. Self gratification: Surfing is not the easiest sport to learn because it takes time, commitment, and perseverance to progress. But once you can overcome this barrier, the rewards are huge. Besides the physical and mental benefits that surfing has to offer, it also helps you have prove to yourself that you can achieve goals that even seem unattainable.