Weight: 158 lbs.
Hometown: Coolangatta, Gold Coast, Australia
Sponsors: SMP, Smith, Xcel, Vezix, 100% Surf Shop, Darcy surfboards
Asher Pacey grew up in a shack, on his own, on the north coast of New South Wales. At fifteen he was just hanging at the beach, exploring in the dunes, when he came across this little hut. Says Asher, “We found out this guy from Scott's Head built it to meditate in. We asked if we could live there and he was cool with it. Me and my brother lived there from when we were fifteen till about twenty.”
Asher Pacey is not your regular grommet. He fishes but won't buy bait. He also plants his own fruit trees. “Me and my brother planted a huge plantation of macadamias, lemons, fagellas, plums, limes, oranges, and apples when we were really young,” recalls Asher. “Now it's really nice when I go and check out the orchard, 'cause there's a huge variety of fruit I can pick. It's really amazing.”
He lives in Coolangatta now–he moved to the Goldy when he found it too hard to get to the airport all the time. Asher is an air specialist. His passion for airs came as a young fella when he'd sit back and watch the boys on The Search For Animal Chin punting airs. Then he saw Martin Potter and Christian Fletcher pulling 'em off in the surf, and he was sold on the idea. Asher has an attitude different than others of the same age, has made numerous contest finals in America and Australia, and continues to be at the forefront of Australia's air movement.–Tommy Herschell
Weight: 145 lbs.
Hometown: St. Augustine, Florida
Sponsors: Hurley, Gravis, Spy, Dan Taylor Surfboards, Nixon, Surf Station, Gorilla Grip
Have you ever found yourself critiquing a surf magazine's editorial and had to ask, “Jeez, do these writer geeks even surf?” The answer is yes, most surf journalists do indeed surf. Some surf quite well, in fact. At least better than your average pale, brooding coffee-house poet.
Take St. Augustine's Alexander “Zander” Morton, for instance. The former (2002) ESA Junior Men's champ had no problem adjusting to the professional scheme last year–bagging solid results throughout the '03 East Coast pro comp season and in the many Billabong Pro Junior events. And why wouldn't he? Zander happens to have the same bloodline as North Florida sensation Asher Nolan–his first cousin. And dizzying hometown inspiration from St. Augustine pacemakers like Gabe Kling and Jeremy Creter have helped Zander to develop a well-rounded, powerful style that's notoriously lethal in both competition and the freesurfing circuit. But despite all the globetrotting and tactic planning, he still manages to provide detailed reports on all the 'core East Coast contests as one of Eastern Surf Magazine's favored assignment writers.
And what does this hot surfing scribe have to say about his wordplay/waveriding balancing act? Well, as of print time he actually had nothing to say. The truth is he couldn't be reached for comment, as he was busy throwing heat on a photo trip in Puerto Rico with Hurley's Eastside squad. After all, Morton may have a promising future in surf journalism once the pro surfing gig is over, but let's face facts. The pen may be mightier than the board in the end–but first thing's first. –Matt Pruett/Eastern Surf Magazine
Weight: 128 lbs.
From: Saquarema, Brazil
Sponsors:/B> Billabong, Von Zipper, Lui Lui shoes, and Star Point surf shop.
Andy Irons won the Billabong World Junior Championships the first year they were held in 1998. He was already internationally recognized and highly regarded, but it was definitely a significant stepping-stone toward the two ASP World Championship Tour crowns he's now defending.
Joel Parkinson won the Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay as an eighteen-year-old wildcard, leaving most to predict he'd convincingly claim the junior title later that same year on Maui. He did and made the tournament even more prestigious as a result.
Along came 2000–the Championships were held at Makaha, with 48 of the world's top under-21 surfers in the field. Parko was there following his first tour of duty on the WCT, and consensus said the Coolangatta kid would score back-to-back titles. That year, the backhand surfing of an unknown (to everyone except fellow Brazilian contestants) named Pedro Henrique demonstrated a lack of concern for what others thought would unfold.
Round by round, his compact bottom turn shot him toward the lip, and once there he'd reverse the action with equal speed and precision. He began turning a few heads, but so were most competitors in the business end of the draw, so his name was still easily overlooked.
Then, against three better-known youngsters–Tiago Pires of Portugal, Hawai'i's own Jamie O'Brien, and Australian James Noble–eighteen-year-old Henrique reached the final. After eliminating Parko in the semis, he'd definitely moved onto the radar, and at the completion of the 35-minute decider, had become Brazil's first surfer to clinch a world championship crown.
Since then, he hasn't exactly received the attention you'd expect from such a major accomplishment, even though his ability was proven beyond doubt. Nonetheless, a certain goofy-footer was blowing up at Rocky Point this past winter on the North Shore, and again, most couldn't put a name to the style or maneuvers.
Hailing from Saquarema, a couple of hours north of Rio de Janeiro, the quiet-spoken Henrique continues to do his thing–he finished 2003 rated number 73 on the WQS ratings and looks to qualify next season. Remember his name or not, chances are you'll be hearing a lot more of it down the line.–Jesse Faen