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The Top 10 Stories Of 2009

2009 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning. Photo: Noyle/SPL
2009 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning. Photo: Noyle/SPL

Mick Fanning Wins His Second ASP World Title

In what was one of the most dramatic ASP World Title races since the days of Kelly versus Andy, Mick Fanning made a remarkable late season run of the table, winning an incredible three out of the last five events. What made it all the more interesting was that early in the year, Fanning's good friend and fellow Coolangatta resident Joel Parkinson won three of the first five events. Going into the final event at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, all eyes were on the two at surfing's most hallowed battleground. In the end, Parko was unable to get past an event wildcard, Gavin Gillette from Kauai, and the title was Mick's. To add even more drama to the storyline, Parko was in the water with Mick by virtue of the overlapping heat format that was being used and he was the first one to paddle up to Mick to congratulate him. According to a source who was right there in the water, Parko was quick to remind Mick things would have been different had he not injured his ankle mid-season…—Justin Coté

Click HERE

for a photo gallery from the wild celebration that followed Mick's second ASP World Title.

Click HERE for an all Mick Fanning photo gallery

Alana Blanchard. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
2009 ASP World Tour rookie Alana Blanchard. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Girls Gone Wild On The ASP World Tour

When we ran an article online called "The 10 Hottest Girls In Pro Surfing" it set off a virtual firestorm of comments and page views. Never before had an ASP World Tour rookie class of female surfers generated such, well, let's just say energy. With Alana Blanchard leading the pack with her teeny tiny bikini bottoms and frontside bottom turns, right behind her was Brazilian bombshell Bruna Schmitz, cute-as-a-button Sally Fitzgibbons, and Kiwi girl Paige Hareb. Come to think of it, Three Time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore is quite easy on the eyes as well.—Justin Coté

Above: Alana Blanchard ripping in her signature bikini bottoms.

Andy Irons at the 2009 Hurley US Open Of Surfing. Photo: jackenglish.com
Andy Irons at the 2009 Hurley US Open Of Surfing. Photo: jackenglish.com

South Swell Of The Decade At The US Open

The Hurley US Open of Surfing, an event that can trace its roots back to 1959, is usually associated with the infamous "Huntington Hop" and massive summertime crowds. This year, thanks to a massive south swell that lasted for three days, there was no hopping needed to make it to the shorebreak, instead, jet skis were put to use just so surfers could make it out past the thumping double overhead peaks. Over 400,000 surf fans made it down to Huntington Beach Pier to witness Southern California surfers Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach) and Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana) take down an international field that included Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Coco Ho, and Carissa Moore. With two hometown heroes winning the event and a record $100,000 going to the men's winner Simpson, the 2009 Hurley US Open Of Surfing will go down as the best surf contest ever on mainland American soil.—Justin Coté

2009 Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau Champion Greg Long. Photo: Noyle/SPL
2009 Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau Champion Greg Long. Photo: Noyle/SPL

All Time Eddie

Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu delivered surf of absolutely epic proportions on Tuesday, December 8th. With the best big wave riders in the world conveniently on Oahu for the annual surf contest season, the 25th annual Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational Fueled By Monster Energy will go down as the best big wave contest ever, hands down, no questions asked. Cementing his reputation as one of, if not the best, big wave rider in the world, California's Greg Long edged past Eddie champions Bruce Irons, Kelly Slater, and Keone Downing to win a whopping $55,000.—Justin Coté

Click HERE for a supersized Eddie Photo gallery and the chance to win a signed poster from the event!

Above: The worst wipeouts from the 2009 Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau

A Hurricane Bill generated clean up set.
A Hurricane Bill generated clean up set.

Hurricane Bill Rocks The Eastern Seaboard

The most viewed hurricane photos in transworldsurf.com history. It was on the radar right from the start when it formed on August 15th just southwest of Cape Verde off the African coastline. Throughout the following 10 days Hurricane Bill morphed into the fifth largest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record. The outcome resulting in solid, groomed groundswell up and down the Eastern seaboard. With readings rocketing upwards of 10 feet at 16 seconds, it was easily a hurricane swell for the ages. Hell, even jet setting surf pros Ian Walsh, Andy Irons, and Benji Weatherley touched ground on the East Coast to see just what Hurricane Bill could offer up.—Ryan Brower
Round 1 photos
Round 2 photos
Round 3 photos
Best Of Bill Gallery

Jordy Smith's flip hear 'round the world. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
Jordy Smith's flip hear 'round the world. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Jordy Smith Flips Out In The Mentawais

It was the flip heard 'round the world. During a session at Macaroni's in the Mentawais (Indonesia), South African sensation Jordy Smith pulled off what was immediately deemed "The Best Trick Ever". Perhaps it was the all-star Red Bull crew (Mick Fanning, Michel Bourez, Kolohe Andino, and more) that inspired him to do something that groundbreaking and futuristic. For his efforts, Jordy was awarded the cover shot on the October issue of TransWorld SURF which was later blown up large enough to fill an entire room at O'Neill headquarters in Irvine, CA.—Justin Coté

9-Time ASP World Champion and "Rebel Tour" proponent Kelly Slater. Photo: jackenglish.com
9-Time ASP World Champion and "Rebel Tour" proponent Kelly Slater. Photo: jackenglish.com

The "Rebel Tour"

It's on, it's dead, it never died but we can't talk about it. Technically, this isn't a story because there are no facts since no one involved is allowed to talk about it—so it's all just rumors and hearsay. Something about ESPN coverage, more money, less events, less surfers, and of course, Kelly Slater. And apparently former boxing promoter Matt Tinsley is playing ringleader in all this.

One thing is certain though: after all these years Kelly Slater is getting bored with the ASP World Tour. And when Kelly gets bored, it becomes known. The news of a "Rebel Tour" first broke after meetings were held during this year's Billabong Pro at Jeffrey's Bay and immediately the internet buzzed, labeling it a 'rebellious' act in creating a dilemma of official future World Champs. Throughout the summer it felt like progress was being made on the new tour, but evidence pointed to the contrary. As we usher in 2010 we're seemingly at the same point with it and some of the world's best surfers, like Mick Fanning and Parko, have already come out and said they are committed to the ASP World Tour for 2010. It remains to be seen where Slater stands but to the best of our knowledge, he has yet to commit to anything in 2010.—Ryan Brower

Check out the real deal HERE

3-Time ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore
3-Time ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore

Stephanie Gilmore Goes Three For Three

Never before in the history of professional surfing (make or female) had an athlete won the ASP World Title every single year they've been on tour—until Stephanie Gilmore from Tweed Heads, Australia did just that. From her rookie year in 2007 until now, Stephanie has simply dominated women's surfing with her smooth and progressive style that was honed on the Gold Coast pointbreaks. Not only an amazing surfer, Gilmore has legs for miles and an infectious smile that has her leading the road to the revitalization of attention and interest in women's professional surfing.—Justin Coté

Stephanie Gilmore by the numbers in 2009:
-1st place at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast
-Runner-Up at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach
-Runner-Up at the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic
-5th Place at the Rip Curl Pro Search
-Runner-Up at the Movistar Peru Classic
-3rd place at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach

"USA, USA, USA!" Photo: Watts/Surfing America
"USA, USA, USA!" Photo: Watts/Surfing America

PacSun USA Surf Team Wins Gold At Billabong ISA World Surfing Games

It's hard to believe, but it was thirteen years since a U.S. surf team has won the ISA World Surfing Games. After dominating the World Games in 1996 to win the gold, unfortunately what followed was a bumpy road for the U.S., with some legendary embarrassments including a 19th place in the 2004 event, where they finished behind Switzerland. However, after Surfing America took over as the National Governing Body in 2004, things rebounded, though the overall gold eluded them until 2009, when a solid U.S. team including Cory Lopez, Nat Young, Courtney Conlogue, and Ben Bourgeois quenched the dry spell. Coached by Ian "Kanga" Cairns, the U.S. team put on a dominate performance in Costa Rica, with five of their eight members reaching the finals, and Conlogue winning gold in the women's division. Here's to the dawning of a new era for Team USA surfing and future gold medals.—Ryan Brower

Click HERE for the full scoop

Supertubes in Portugal will paly host to another WCT stop in 2010. Photo: jackenglish.com
Supertubes in Portugal will paly host to another WCT stop in 2010. Photo: jackenglish.com

ASP World Tour revisions

Fueled by whispers of a competing tour and prolonged frustrations with underpayment and a watering down of eliteness, the ASP has set in motion some noteworthy revisions for 2010 and beyond.

First off, a one world ranking system. Think tennis. A surfer's rank will follow him further, not just restart at the end of a year. This ultimately makes it easier for World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfers to get slots into World Championship Tour (WCT) events and it will shuffle the playing field throughout the year. This also includes shrinking the World Tour halfway through the year from the 45 to the top 32, letting the cream of the crop shine brighter.

More loot. An increase in base prize money for every ASP World event from $340k to an even $400k. Surfer's have long been underpaid compared to other world-class athletes, and this is a step in the right direction. Along with this comes an increase in surfer's benefits, including full health care and a pension plan.

Goodbye Mundaka, hello Supertubos. 2010's World Tour schedule has also received a facelift. Supertubos in Portugal will now take over as the second part of the Euro leg duo, meaning Mundaka and the World Tour are ending their love-hate relationship. Was it a Brazo's victory, Chas Smith's deviating internet coverage from the event, or was it simply the spit in the face that Mundaka handed out by going all-time only days after the completion of the event?—Ryan Brower

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