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World Surfing League opens 2015

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The World Surfing League, the yearlong tour that showcases the world’s top surfers from around the globe, has kicked off its season in Australia the first week of March. Surf fans from around the world have tuned in via webcast, television and in person to witness the spectacle of talent that is professional surfing. Students and surfers at BYU-Hawaii are looking forward to seeing the younger generation take the reigns from the long time veterans of the sport on tour and dominate the competition. Scott Messick, a senior studying business said, “The younger generation on tour are just figuring out how to find the middle ground with free surf and strategy out there in their heats. The older guys like Kelly Slater (11x World Champ) and Mick Fanning (3x World Champ) still shred, but they do the same things every heat. That's what's so special about the younger guys like John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, and Gabriel Medina; they bring the rail game, along with the air game.”Luke Facer, a junior studying biology from California said, “Seems like the younger guys are starting to make a good run for the title. All the normal top contenders and past title winners like Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning are beginning to fade. I think they just have a couple more years to possibly get another title. Then it’s going to be all the young guns. The older guys are not out of the race yet though. They have been training hard during the off-season and come with a lot of experience that the younger boys on tour don’t have. Facer believes things could sway Fanning’s way this year again. He said, “I think that Mick Fanning, who came in second last year, is hungry for another world title and he was so close last year. He is fired up to take it. So far in the first couple of heats he looks on point.”The World Surfing League’s yearlong season moves to some of the world’s top surf locations to test the skills and talents of the world’s best surfers. This year’s tour starts in Australia and will move to places such as South Africa, California, Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii throughout the year. Facer said, “Jeffery’s Bay, South Africa is one of my favorite spot to watch. It has everything, sections for big turns and radical moves as well as barrels and air sections. It is a wave that really shows the weaknesses and strengths of the surfers.” Many from around the island feel a special connection to the Hawaiian surfers on tour and are always hoping to see a good result from them. “John John is one of my favorites to watch,” said Ikaika Kaulukukui from Kaneohe. “He is explosive, unpredictable and does really well to represent our island. He understands waves of consequence and shows the world what Hawaii is producing.”Gabriel Medina was last year’s title winner and will be fighting to defend the title again this year. Messick said, “JJF is going to take this year's title. No question. He has been surfing so well for the past six months. He has grown up a bit and puts some strategy into his heats now and doesn't just free surf.”Watch all the World Surf League action online at March 10, 2015
Writer: Trenton McCullough