Hometown: Angourie, New South Wales, Australia
Weight: 176 lbs.
Sponsors: Salomon, Arnette, Creatures Of Leisure, Aloe-Up
Daniel Ross is bigger than you, and he has been since the age of fourteen. A baby’s head on a pro wrestler’s body, this man-child from Angourie could easily have spawned a successful career sliding his chiseled rig up and down a chrome pole in some exotic gay bar. Instead he surfs, and good lord, he surfs well. A full-rail power machine capable of throwing tail and destroying waves of any size. Rossy’s sure living up to his reputation as the next big thing from Oz. Having already obliterated his opposition on this year’s Australian Junior Series (the very same circuit that brought you Taj, Parko, Dean, Mick, and Lowey), he seems on track to do the same once on the ‘QS. But until that day comes, it’s nothin’ but the good life. A fat contract from Euro-based innovators Salomon, a garage stacked with riches (a V-8 Holden, a 300-horsepower shrimp trawler, a brand-new ski for big-day tow-ins out the local bombie), and more chicks filing in and out of his bedroom than Hugh Hefner in his prime. “Yeah, guess I can’t complain,” says a smiling Rossy in his typically good-natured Aussie drawl. Yeah, why on Earth would he?—Blako[IMAGE 2]
Matt “Rat” Schrodetz
Weight: 130 lbs.
Hometown: East Side, Santa Cruz, California
Sponsors: Sessions, Santa Cruz surfboards, Body Glove, Black Flys, B4, Santa Cruz surf shop
It’s cool when people let their surfing do the talking for them, and Matt “Rat” is a perfect example of just that. He’s the only grom in recent memory who actually turned down a major corporate sponsor ’cause he didn’t feel like he was ready yet. It took some time, but after winning the Volcom contest at 26th Avenue last year, people started taking notice of “the new goofy-foot East Side kid.”
Matt’s also creative—you have to be if you want to go left in Santa Cruz. While he rips backside, his frontside attack is what really stands out. He somehow finds all of the nook-and-cranny lefts in town and basically just demolishes them. Between his freaky board speed and his low center of gravity, Matt launches huge airs every session. Although he missed the Trestles event this year (he had to finish high school), you can bet he’ll be there and every other contest, unleashing his attack in the hopes of earning some more cheese.—Nelly[IMAGE 3]
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hometown: Hanalei, Kaua’i, Hawai’i
Sponsors: Volcom, Osiris, Wave Riding Vehicles, Electric sunglasses
Whether it’s slabbing at the Box, ten-foot Mexican beachbreaks, or bombing at Backdoor, Stephen “Steph” Koehne is loving it. Growing up in Hanalei has helped this young up-and-comer get a taste for real waves, and now that he has a few trips under his belt, he just seems hungrier. He’s a smart and very inquisitive person who just wants to learn about everything and everyone he can. He’s also competitive, just challenge him to a game of chess and you’ll find out. Steph spent last winter on the North Shore and got a chance to surf his first professional contests—the Xcel Pro at Sunset and the Hansen’s Energy Pro at Pipeline. When he isn’t traveling or looking for the deepest pits available, you can find him at home on Kaua’i surfing with his best friends Danny Fuller and Dustin Barca or helping out his family on their plantation.—Dave Troyer