Let the J-Bay games begin! Starting tomorrow until July 15th, the 2012 Billabong Pro Jay-Bay, which was revised this year from a stop to an ASP 6-Star event, will once again showcase the best of the best surfers at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay. With the changed status, the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour calendar moved from 11 events to 10, with surfers now counting their best 8 out of 10 results towards their ASP World Title ranking.

Also with this change, there are now two qualifying events back to back in the South African region. It also provides the perfect opportunity for South Africa’s aspiring pro surfers, for the first time in 20 years, to compete at the best waves in the country against some of the greatest surfers in the world. Plus, it ensures continuity of the event for the local businesses in Jeffreys Bay.

Regardless of the contest status, 11 surfers out of the top 34 surfers from the World Championship Tour have entered and chosen to travel to South Africa and surf J-Bay, including Adriano de Souza, Pat Gudauskas, CJ and Damien Hobgood, Brett Simpson, Travis Logie and Jordy Smith.

The prize purse is over US$155,000 (R1,2 million). In addition, Nixon will again be running their Winner Takes All prize at the Billabong Pro. The Nixon WTA is an award of a US$10,000 (R85,000) jewel-encrusted one-of-a kind watch for the highest heat score in the event. Any competitor can win this prize, so we look forward to seeing who will capture the best wave and score a sweet watch.

Big and perfect surf has been predicted for the opening day of the Billabong Pro J-Bay 2012, and the surfers in town are having great practice sessions as six-foot lines pour down the famous Supertubes point. The great wave conditions look exciting and are set to continue through the first three days of competition. July is historically one of the best months for large swells and favorable wind conditions at Supertubes, and the competitors are sure to score excellent winter waves for the event.

Who do you think will take it? And who’s your best guess for winning the Nixon watch?

For more event details go to the event site on www.billabongpro.com.

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Veteran surf filmmaker Taylor Steele hopes to once again redefine the surf movie. Premiering last month on International Surfing Day with the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and in Australia, Steele’s latest film with Nathan Myers, “Here and Now,” is an epic effort to document the world of surfing in a single 24-hour period: May 2, 2012.

The Rockaway Beach Surf Club and The New York Surf Film Festival will host the New York City Premiere on Saturday, July 7th, on an outdoor screen at The Spot at 302 Beach 87th Street in Rockaway Beach, NYC.

Steele has been redefining surf cinema for two decades, ever since his groundbreaking 1992 flick, “Momentum.” It was a low-budget flick that featured Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Ross Williams and Rob Machado but included none of the genre-standard elements, such as slow-mo or narration or plot or water photography. It was groundbreaking, and Steele’s methods were emulated by video makers everywhere.

This time, Steele dispatched 25 cameramen around the world to shoot the likes of Kelly Slater Rob Machado, Stephanie Gilmore, Dave Rastovich, Alex Knost, Ozzy Wright, Conner Coffin, Matt Meola and others to make “Here and Now.” This project brings together shapers, photographers, legends, beginners, third world, first world and surf world. Some found epic waves. Others couldn’t find a ripple. It’s all part of the surfing experience, ultimately showing the best place to be is here and now.

When asked about his new film, Steele recently told a reporter, “I think there just needs to be an emotional attachment to the surfer, however you get that, so that when you watch the surfing you can relate to that person or you’re rooting for them, in a way. In this film, it’s an overall attempt to humanize these athletes and make their lives more relatable. The surfing is almost secondary, in terms of what’s entertaining. It’s just a real intimate view of what these lives are like.”

The film will be preceded by a live performance from legendary local surf punk band The Supertones. Sixpoint Brewery, Vita Coco, and Kanon Organic Vodka in collaboration with DiCosmo’s Ices, will be providing complimentary beverages. Roberta’s will be selling a selection of pizzas from their mobile pizza oven.

Doors will open at 7:00 pm; The Supertones will perform at 7:30 pm; and “Here & Now” will screen at 9:00 pm. Admission price is $12.

Tickets are available at: http://hereandnownyc.eventbrite.com

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Now that summer’s here and we’ll be spending more time at the beach, here is a list of the 12 cleanest beaches in the nation. For the 22nd year in a row, the Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a report on the nation’s cleanest and filthiest beaches. They also discovered that the number of days beaches were closed or under health advisories last year hit 23,481. That number is the third-highest in the report’s history, just one day better than last year.

So, forget sharks! It is bacteria lurking in the water that is the most threatening issue at the beach. The beach ratings factor in various potential health hazards, including pollution levels and the quality of beach monitoring. Harmful water bacteria often come from animal or human waste. The germs can cause diarrhea, skin rashes, stomach flu and respiratory problems. The risks are higher for young children, according to the report, who generally spend more time swimming and dunk their heads underwater more often.

Here is the list of the country’s cleanest beaches:

The Nation’s 12 5-Star Beaches

California Newport Beach (38th and 52nd and 53rd) in Newport Beach, Orange County
California Bolsa Chica Beach, Orange County
California Huntington State Beach, Orange County
Alabama Gulf Shores Public Beach, Baldwin County
Alabama Gulf State Park Pavilion, Baldwin County
Delaware Dewey Beach, Sussex County
Maryland Ocean City at Beach 6, Worcester County
Minnesota Park Point Franklin Park, St. Louis County
Minnesota Lafayette Community Club Beach, St. Louis County
New Hampshire Hampton Beach State Park, Rockingham County
New Hampshire Wallis Sands Beach, Rockingham County
Texas South Padre Island, Cameron County

Source: NRDC

Check out the study here http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/default.asp to see the list of the filthiest, which include Avalon and Doheny beaches in California and several beaches in Louisiana — again. These “repeat offenders” included those with more than 25 percent of bacterial samples that were higher than allowed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for each year from 2007 to 2011.

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Summer is here and the kids are out of school! If you have a young’un looking to be the next Kelly Slater, now is the time to send your budding grom to surf camp or surf school.

We know that there are thousands of surf camps to choose from so do some research and make sure you’ve picked the right camp that perfectly suits your kid. Location, wave quality, skill level, and other personal reasons should all factor into play when picking the right camp. Some are even all-inclusive, so make sure that’s something you want.

In order to help narrow down the field, here is a list of summer surf camps we’ve spotted (or heard) that could get your child hanging ten in no time:

Endless Summer Surf Camp
San Onofre, CA and Costa Rica
949.498.7862
Endlesssummersurfcamp.com

Surf Diva: The Original All-Girls Surf School
La Jolla, CA (Plus all-girls overnight camp in Costa Rica and Australia)
858.454.8273
surfdiva.com

Paskowitz Surf Camp
Pacific Beach, CA (Plus Cabo, Mexico, and day camp in Montauk, NY)
949.728.1000
paskowitz.com

Hans Hedeman Surf Camp
Honolulu, HI
808.478.5778
Hhsurf.com

Action Sports Maui
Maui, HI
808.871.5857
actionsportsmaui.com

Sol Surfers Surf Camp
Folly Beach, CA
843.881.6700
Solsurfers.net
The Surf School
Virginia Beach, VA; Gilgo Beach, NY; Fenway Beach, RI
BillabongCamps.com

OC groms Surf School
Ocean City, MD
443.880.0905
Billabongcamps.com

In the meantime, make sure they’ve got the right look down with summer fashion essentials including the Billabong Change Up T Shirt (Boys) ($14), the Billabong Songbird Top (kids) ($34), the Volcom 4S Stripe Boardshort (boys) ($45), and the Roxy Daisy Gypsy Bikini (kids) ($40).

Image Source: Photo credit for Kids Surf Group courtesy of Action Sports Maui. Continue reading

Can you believe 4th of July is next week? In the spirit of our Independence, we’ve got some cool gear for your sun, surf, beach and BBQ plans, and get you all patriotic in the spirit of red, white and … Continue reading