Weight: 175 lbs.
Hometown: Burleigh Heads, N.S.W., Australia
Sponsor: SMP, Smith, Etnies, Maurice Cole surfboards, Voice
Jay Thompson has no worries when it comes to getting waves on a good day at Burleigh Heads. At Duranbah he blows in from the north and still gets numerous waves. Over on Straddie he dominates. The reason, you ask, for the ‘fro-haired youth getting so many waves—he bloody rips! And he’s a deadset legend who would buy you a beer with his last two bucks. Jay resides at the back of Burleigh Point—a stone’s throw from the fabled right pointer that has tuned his surfing into a mind-blowing array of solid hacks and expert tube sense. “Bottle,” as he’s known to the surfing fraternity and Gold Coast friends, travels year round following the circus called the WQS trying to collect points on tour.
Bottle has also shared the dinner table with some of surfing’s finest. A few years back in France he rocked up to his mate’s pad where he has been shacking up for years, and it turned out he was sharing the place with Tommy Curren. Bottle reckons, “Yeah, he’s not a bad bloke.” Bottle’s passport has seen the smiles of most custom officials around the world. He’s done a shitload of time in Europe, stayed in a haunted house near Elvis’ old pad on the North Shore, and has made the Maldives “Love Boat” his home each May for the past five years.
Can he make it? He’s a hard worker who’s severely determined and is successfully forging his own path. I’d put my last two bucks in the circle and say that this guy will be on top someday.—Tommy Herschell[IMAGE 1]
Hometown: San Clemente, California
Sponsors: Ocean Pacific, Hoven, Converse, Ocean Minded
Greg Long’s adventure plots are forged out of the love for fiery
surfing and spiritual quest, rather than a flash before the lens. Greg’s the sort of guy who never hesitates to drive twenty hours straight to meet a swell, surf it, and in turn take the wheel the whole way back. When I met Greg, he was a fearless, chubby, speech-impeded first-grader offering to share a fistful of Red Vines. Still fearless, he’s no longer chubby, and his early impediment has transformed to learned articulation.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching from the sidelines—or the impact zone—Greg’s rise in surfing. You might know a bit of the story. Open Men’s National Champion 2001. Following that win, the adventure continued: Todos Santos time, traveling to obscure heavy-water islands in the middle of the Pacific and Atlantic, the purchase of two wave skis, a break-out tow day at Todos keeping up with Pete Mel, Skin Dog, Adam Repogle, and Josh Loya, winning the Red Bull Big Wave Africa 2003, a Mavericks contest invite, that absurd wave at the Cortes Bank, and new inspiration and learning every day. Greg plans to do a competitive tour run when he feels his surfing is ready. For now, it’s more of the same, because he would be doing this anyway.—Tim Dowell[IMAGE 2]
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Kuta Beach, Bali
Sponsors: Rusty, Gravis
Marlon Gerber is the latest Balinese surfer looking to make his mark on the international surf scene. Born in Bali to a Swiss father and Indonesian mother, Marlon grew up living at Unz, his family-owned hotel located in the heart of Kuta Beach. Unz has always been a popular spot for surfing pros to stay when in Bali, so he always had talent around him to help push his own surfing. Marlon also had Rizal Tanjung as a great mentor who actually is now his brother-in-law. The influence shows in his style and approach to a wave—it would be hard to tell them apart if Marlon wasn’t a natural-footer.
Marlon movved to Australia for high school, and since returning to Bali after graduation, has broken out of the shadow of his mentor to become Bali’s top young surfer. In 2003, he raised his surfing a few levels by not just doing nice turns and big airs in Bali beachbreaks, but he also showed poise in big Padang Padang, over-sized G-Land, and recently spent two months on the North Shore. Marlon’s a funny guy who’s serious about his surfing career and hopes to follow in Rizal’s footsteps.—D.Hump