I heard a couple of the H.B. boys, Mike Hoisington and Danny Misken, traveled south to Blackies in Newport Beach and scored some good-sized A-frame offshore peaks and barrels in the first part of the week. And M.D. and a few of the locals went north to check out that super-hollow, Seal Beach, Southside, shacking shore break.
Farther away, the local mountains received a much needed 5 to 8 inches of new snowfall. The snow gave a powder surface and filled in the thin spots, making it soft and shreddable and opening up some new terrain as well. Most resorts have a 6- to 18-inch base, and with the cold weather they were blowing the artificial snow too. Chains were required then, but all roads are open now, so you can try out those new snowboards you got for Christmas.
The top amateur surfers were over in Oz on Jan. 1 for the Billabong World Junior Championships at Narrabeen Beach in Sydney. The event includes the best under-21 surfers, invite only. Forty-eight junior men and 18 junior women from North America, South America, Hawaii, Europe, Asia, South Africa and Australasia will compete for top honors.
So far the surf has been in the 3-foot range with heavy offshore winds and some hot air temps, because it's summer time on that half of the world.
Standouts thus far in round one have been Brazil's defending champ, Pablo Paulino, as well as Jean Da Silva and Aussies Matt Wilkenson and Ben Dunn. South Africa's Jordy Smith, Hawaii's Kekoa Bacalso, Dustin Cuizon and the "G-Man" Hank Gaskell all won first-round heats.
Among our West Coasters, the South Bay's Alex Gray went big, winning his heat; and San Clemente's Tanner Gudauskas placed second in a tough one in the early going.
In the women's, the Australians are going off, with Stephanie Gilmore and Jessie Miley Dyer both ripping it up, and Hawaii's 13-year-old shredder Carissa Moore got some big scores in advancing to the quarter finals.
The top U.S. women's surfers, Karina Petroni and Connie Arias, placed third in their first-round eliminations after having a great showing here in H.B. at the last worlds just a few months back.
Top pro surfer Luke Egan, who just retired from the world championship tour this year, is the contest director.
Former winners of this event include three-time world champ Andy Irons in '98; World Championship Tour ripper "Parko" Joel Parkinson in '99 and 2001; and hot up-and-comer Adriano De Souza in 2003. We'll keep ya posted.
Schralp it. Fig, over and out. 20060105gzcyauke(LA)