Weight: 150 lbs.
Home: Tathra, New South Wales, Australia
Sponsors: Insight, Smith, Etnies, Beach Culture surf shop
Ask any of Kai Otten's mates about him, and the first thing that comes out of their mouths is “frother.” By that they mean amped, because “Ottsey” is freakin' out of control. He surfs all the time, as much as he can, and gets a million waves every session–sometimes even yours. Surfing's his main priority, and anything else, even his beloved time with the ladies, is secondary. He's a country kid (they also say he has a firm handshake), raised on the south coast of New South Wales surfing big, powerful reefs. At the age of eleven, Kai went to Bali and surfed solid ten-foot Uluwatu and was getting stand-up shacks wearing a Gath helmet. Five years ago, he got an offer to work in a surfboard factory in Sydney, so he packed his bags and made the move north to further his surf career. The kid's a talented surfer whose solid all-around repertoire includes a wide variety of airs as well as charging at places like Deadman's–the heaviest wave in Sydney. Word has it that Kai's ready to move back home for some of that good cooking he missed on the South Coast's reefs. What it really means is more waves for the boys in Sydney.–Checkwood
Rodrigo “Sino” Tavaras
Weight: 145 lbs.
Home: São Paulo, Brazil
Sponsors: Volcom, Reef, Ripwave surfboards
Have you ever gone on a trip to find fun, uncrowded surf, only to be greeted by a pack of overly aggressive Brazilians? Well, on a recent excursion south of the border to Mexico this was nearly the case for us. Our first day, we were greeted by lovely overhead lines with only a couple heads out. As we entered the water, a pack of what we thought were frothing Brazilians appeared from out of the shadows. As our two crews merged, the eventual yells weren't from overeager surfers trying to catch every wave, but hoots of encouragement from each side. These guys weren't there to spaz, they were there to cruise and have fun.
One member of this crew would soon be chilling with us all day, every day. His name is Sino, and he's down for whatever. Whether it's pulling into giant closeouts or playing endless hours of Tony Hawk, he was up for it.
Turns out Sino's rolling through a pretty sweet year. He spent a month in Hawai'i (at the Volcom house) surfing Pipe as much as possible, a week on the Amazon riding the world's longest tidal bore, and now a month deep in Mexico, scoring stand-up tubes day after day.
Sino is the new breed of Brazillian freesurfer who's more concerned with buttery style than flapping eight turns to the beach. He's ready to hit the States and fly into some air shows, so watch out, this South American shredder will soon be breaking the Brazilian stereotype in a town near you.–Seth Stafford
Jonny Daniel Craft
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hometown: Carmel, California
Sponsors: Ezekiel, Al Merrick, Dragon, On The Beach, OAM, and Osiris
Residing in beautiful Carmel, California, where the famous golf course Pebble Beach is located (about a half-hour drive south of Santa Cruz, California), Jonny is one of the first surfers from his area to show some serious potential for becoming a professional surfer. By making the semifinals of the NSSA Nationals in 2002 and the quarterfinals in 2003, Jonny has put himself in the same league as many other hot up-and-coming amateur surfers from all around the United States. If he stayss on the path he's on right now, he'll have a good chance of making it in surfing. I called Jonny and asked him what he wanted to do with his future in surfing, and he replied simply, “I just want to travel as much as I can to surf good waves and get better at surfing.” Sounds like a good plan.–Omar Etcheverry