Top 10 Stories Of 2010


Above: Monster Cloudbreak takes on all challengers…not just those staying at Tavarua.

10. Cloudbreak Opened To The Public

Fiji has always been a world-class surf destination—just think of its two most famous breaks; Cloudbreak and Restaurants. But because Tavarua Resort had exclusive rights to those two waves, random boats and surfers couldn't just pull up and surf. For some, it was like surfing's version of the Garden Of Eden, but for those who couldn't afford it, they were relegated to less quality spots.

But everything changed in July when the Fijian Tourism Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum instituted the "Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree," which allows access to any surfing area in Fiji without payment or compensation, and will enhance Fiji's image as a premier surf travel destination.

The first swell to hit Cloudbreak after the decree was for all accounts and purposes, a shit show. Some guy on a kayak got cleaned up, the lineup was packed, and tension was high. According to reports, it's since mellowed out after the novelty wore off and Tavarua lowered their prices.

Check out the full article as well as the 60 or so comments HERE

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9. Wacky Weather In 2010

Chris Gallager and CJ Hobgood bundled up at Lowers in September. Photo: jackenglish.com
Chris Gallager and CJ Hobgood bundled up at Lowers in September. Photo: jackenglish.com

As surfers, we are innately in tune with the weather, and in 2010 everything was out of whack. With all the talk of "Global Warming," California had the coldest summer since the 1920s and the water temps never got close to the magical 70-degree mark. Surfers in California were left scratching their heads while wearing 4/3s at Lowers in August while those in the northeast were sweltering through triple-digit heat spells. In California, "May Gray" and "June Gloom" were joined by the newly named "August Fogust." It was truly a bummer summer for West Coast sun worshippers.

A La Niña was predicted for Fall and we were assured it was going to be warm and dry. It turned out to be quite the opposite and California had one of the wettest Fall seasons in 21 years.

SoCal wasn't the only place to experience wacky weather either. Just a few weeks ago, San Diego basked in 82-degree temps while the North Shore of Oahu topped out at 66.

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Like the rest of us, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson look confused as ASP president Brodie Carr breaks down the changes to the World Tour. Photo: jackenglish.com
Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning inspect the new ASP World Tour format while ASP president Brodie Carr breaks down the changes. Photo: jackenglish.com

8. ASP World Tour Trims Its Ranks

In an effort to cut down on the number of days it takes to stage an event and showcase only the best talent, the ASP culled its ranks from 45 to 32. The "Chop" as it was called, signaled the end of the WQS (World Qualifying Series) and a new "One World Ranking" was born. While at first it seemed confusing, the new format allows contest organizers to better utilize a three-day swell as well as allow fresh talent to head up against the world's best. While the changes aren't over yet, it's good see surfing following the lead of other major sports with a One World Ranking and a rotating crop of talent.

Click HERE for a more comprehensive breakdown of the changes

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Hometown hero Brett Simpson goes back-to-back at the US Open of Surfing. Photo: jackenglish.com
Hometown hero Brett Simpson goes back-to-back at the US Open of Surfing. Photo: jackenglish.com

7. Brett Simpson Repeats At The US Open Of Surfing

Proving that 2009 was no fluke, Huntington Beach's own Brett Simpson won the biggest surf contest in the world again in 2010. Not since Occy did so in 85/86 had a surfer won the US Open in back-to-back years. Simpo's list of scalps was impressive and included Dane Reynolds, Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith. Perhaps even more impressive was his whopping $200,000 in prize money he earned in just two events.

Get the whole story at Brett Simpson Wins The US Open Of Surfing

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oil-spill

6. Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

11 workers lost their lives. An estimated 5 million barrels (about 206,000,000 gallons) of black gold ruined fishing and tourism industries, as well as upwards of 6,000 animals' lives. As well, it took nearly five months to cap the broken well after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf Of Mexico.

For surfers, the closure of the Gulf coast was catastrophic. For Americans in general, it should be taken as a big wake up call regarding our utmost dependency on oil. Sadly, the beach clean up is still not finished and oil still wrecks havoc and health problems for Gulf Coast residents.

Go to Gulf Oil Spill For More

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The fin gash heard 'round the world. Photo courtesy joelparko.com
The fin gash heard 'round the world. Photo courtesy joelparko.com

5. Parko's Nasty Foot Gauge And Subsequent Recovery

On July 9th, 2010 Joel Parkinson was surfing his homebreak of Snapper Rocks when he pulled into a barrel and was taken out by the foamball. As Joel said, "Straight away I felt the board hit me. I knew immediately it was a pretty serious cut. I didn't want to look at it when I came in because I knew it wouldn't be good." Joel was helped up the beach to a waiting ambulance by good friend and three-time world champion Andy Irons who had been surfing with him. At the time of the injury Joel was sitting at 8th in the world.

After nearly three months of sitting on the couch, Parko finally surfed again for the first time in mid-October. He decided to forgo the next event, the Rip Curl Pro Search in Puerto Rico, to prepare for the Hawaiian leg to cap off the year. Being the two-time defending Triple Crown champ Joel came out swinging in his first event back, the Reef Hawaiian Pro, snagging a perfect 10 and eventually the contest. Joel went on to defend his Triple Crown title and become the first three-time winner since Sunny Garcia. Not a shabby road back to the top.


Above: Video footage of the wave that Parko cut his foot on.

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Tsunami damage in the famed Mentawai Island chain. Photo courtesy SurfAid.
Tsunami damage in the famed Mentawai Island chain. Photo courtesy SurfAid.

4. Tsunami Hits The Mentawais

On October 25th, 2010 a major 7.7-magnitude undersea quake hit Kepulauan Mentawai and caused loads of destruction. The earthquake created a 10-foot tsunami that stormed through the area, most notably at the famous wave Macaronis. A charter boat at Macaronis, the Midas, ended up colliding with a boat anchored next to it, causing the Midas to go up in flames. All crew and passengers on the Midas reached shore safely though, climbing into trees to wait for the surge to pass. The latest estimated death toll from the disaster hovers around 450 people.

Following the catastrophe, Surf Aid went into full on rescue mode despite some of the worst weather the area had seen in years. For more information and to help out, go to SurfAid.org

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3. Stephanie Gilmore Wins Her 4th World Title In A Row

Stephanie Gilmore on the August 2010 issue of TransWorld SURF.
Stephanie Gilmore on the August 2010 issue of TransWorld SURF.

Four-for-four. Perfect since stepping onto tour. No one else has done that. Not even Kelly—Derek Ho made sure of that in 1993. It makes sense that this year Steph took four events to settle the title before even heading to Hawaii, the first time she's ever held that cup anywhere other than the North Shore.

Younger and younger women continue making the tour to challenge Steph, yet the 22-year-old still keeps smashing them. She wasn't done with just the World Title though, as she went on to also win her third Triple Crown title in a row. Think she's eyeballing those 10 World Titles Slater's got?

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Kelly Slater in 1984. Click onto the photo to see a retrospective Kelly Slater photo gallery. Photo: Dugan
Kelly Slater in 1984. Click onto the photo to see a retrospective Kelly Slater photo gallery. Photo: Dugan

2. Kelly Slater Wins His 10th ASP World Title

Just three days after the tragic passing of Andy Irons, Kelly Slater won his unprecedented 10th World Title in Puerto Rico. It was a bittersweet moment for the man who we believe is the greatest athlete ever. Andy and Kelly were sparring partners through the years and Irons was the one guy who could lay claim to consistently beating Slater. Devastated by the loss of his friend, Kelly dedicated his championship to Andy, stating, "It's been a week of extremes for me. If it wasn't for Andy (Irons) there is no way I'd be here in this position right now. I don't really know what else to say, I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I want to dedicate this to Andy and to my family."

Click HERE for an exclusive Kelly Slater interview with Sal Masekela

Go to Kelly Slater Retrospective Photo Gallery

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andy-irons

1. Andy Irons Passes Away At Age 32

The surf world was shocked and saddened by the loss of one of its favorite sons when Andy Irons passed away on November 2nd in a hotel room at the Dallas airport. Memorial paddle-outs in honor of AI were held worldwide as well as in Puerto Rico where the World Tour was gathered for the Rip Curl Search Puerto Rico.

Andy's wife, Lyndie, recently gave birth to their son, Andy Axel Irons so in a sense, his name will live on through his child. If anything, Andy's death reminded the surf world that we are all connected by the ocean and must look after one another in times of need. We'd like to once again extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Irons family.

Andy Irons is gone but not forgotten.