Incessant rain, turkey day and the biggest swell of the year. Early in the week, with swell lacking and lots of rain the party hats were on. The Gudauskas’ turned 22 with a b-day bash at the O’Neill house where Ian Walsh cooked up filet mignon and Jordy Smith put on a techno karaoke show that brought the house down. That wasn’t the only party in town though, the newly married Andy Irons’ bachelor party went down at the Oakley House and was a sight to see. Unfortunately for all in attendance the Haleiwa contest fired up the next morning. It didn’t seem to have any effect on Jordy Smith though who put on a show stopping performance at Haleiwa and posted a 9.5. Going on to win the event was O’Neill’s own Roy Powers in one of the most incredible performances in the contest’s history. Roy comboed the entire field by the 20-minute mark. Not bad when you see that his competitors were Parko, Bede Durbidge, and local Sean Moody.
The big story on Thanksgiving Day though wasn’t the mass quantities of turkey put down at any of the team houses, it was the Aussie’s annual footie match which pitted teams from New South Wales versus Queensland. And while it sounds like a friendly game between friends –– it’s anything but. These guys are out for blood. Tom Whitaker broke a finger. Phil Macdonald was in tears the next day walking around. And Dean Morrison was forced to spend about 3 hours stretching out afterwards. It’s pretty brutal.
In other good times activities the O’Neill girls team put on their Team Challenge contest at Pupakea. The idea is to dress up in weird costumes, paddle around the lineup in inflatables and have the time of your life. O’Neill team manager Karin explains, “It seems like whenever these girls compete they’re out for blood, so I just wanted to come up with something fun we could all do together and have a really good time.” And a good time it is. After a full day of screaming girls in ‘80s costumes cluttering the lineup it was Team Billabong who went home victorious. But if you got a chance to watch or participate, you know you’re the real winner. It’s about as much fun as you can have at the beach.
And now looking ahead. Sunset. It’s on. John John Florence has been training every single day with little brother Nathan who is his board caddie. “I’m sorta ready,” said John John. “It’s just such a tough wave to figure out.” Not an easy task for anyone let alone a 14-year-old. But if anyone can handle it, John John is your man. Watch for him this week in the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach this week.
Another notable guy to make an appearance this week: Kelly Slater. After a few weeks at home Slates made his inaugural shred at Pupakea with the rest of the young guns in sloppy but fun surf. With some of the best swells of the season slated for this week, and Slater in town, it’s looking like an epic week to come on the North Shore. They just keep getting better and we’re here to bring them to you live at www.SURFINGMAGAZINE.com
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