Bells Beach WSL Longboard Tour
Since the inception of Creative Army, I've wanted to better share my knowledge, experience, and stories from the world of surfing, including a more in-depth look at my collection of surfboards and all things that make up Creative Army.
'Up in Arms' is our new monthly newsletter, where I'll be bringing to you something new—perhaps a tip or two on how to get the best out of your surfing, or my latest R&D in surfboard shapes (coming soon!)—but always keeping it entertaining and informative.
Imagine it as if you are watching your friends out in the line-up, catching the waves of their lives, and you are celebrating their stoke, arms raised in the air, as they pass you by on the wave of the day!
To kick it off, I have a quick story from my recent experience at the WSL Longboard event at Bells Beach and a little about the board I shaped specifically for the visit.
Bells Beach WSL Longboard Tour
I had the amazing opportunity to co-commentate a world tour event in my home country. It was a surreal and weird experience, I must say, turning up at a location where I've had great success in the past. However, this time, it wasn't to compete but to be part of the commentary team for the live broadcast—a first for me!
Being back at Bells brought back so many cool memories. It was where I won my second Aussie title in 2004, with a lucky wave that I still clearly remember, scoring me a perfect 10-point ride. Those waves at Bells have real energy, and the buzz they give you is incredible, very different from my home in Noosa.
The place is raw and wild, with the powerful wind, waves, and cool water all adding to the experience. I managed to sneak in some great free surfing sessions throughout the event, which was an awesome bonus and got me all fired up!
The competition surfing was unreal, I have to say. I was super impressed with the Brazilian goofy-footer, Chloe Calmon, whom I have admired for her power and poise for some time now. Equally, I was impressed with the progression shown by Noosa hometown girl Mason Schremmer. Giving Mason some tips learned from previous experiences there was really cool, and watching her grow in confidence throughout the competition is a testament to her focus and work ethic on the world tour this year. Both ladies could have made the finals in my opinion, and I'm backing them to go further in El Salvador.
In the men's field, things were again so close, with the luck of wave selection sometimes making the difference. My favourites wereTaylor Jensen, known for all his footwork, powerful turns, and wave-reading craft, and Kai Sallas, who was the eventual and deserved winner. Their semi-final heat felt like a final and was unreal to watch.
The Aussies put on a good show with a strong final’s appearance for Declan Wyton and a breakout performance from young Noosa local Landen Smales. Great to see!
Now, I have a huge thanks to give to the broadcast crew at the WSL for making me feel so welcome. I had never called an event live like that with a global audience before, not even close. So, to say I was a little nervous at first would be a slight understatement. However, as soon as the heats got going and we were all being entertained by the calibre of surfing, and with some of the larger swell days, it just became a real privilege and honour for me personally. I hope I get the chance to do it again.
The entire week was simply one of the best surfing eventsI've ever experienced, and I would absolutely recommend making the effort to go see Bells firsthand should the tour return in 2024.
As for putting the rashie back on, who knows when that may happen next, but being around the event had me feeling like I should have a crack again.
Check out the WSL website for the replays!
Bells Beach Board
So, you may be wondering what the big banana I’m holding underneath my arm at Bell’s is all about. Well, to be honest, if there was ever a chance to shape myself a new board, what better opportunity than a trip toBells Beach and shooting a Tourism Victoria commercial with my good mate Sam Bleakley.
I’ve had the Jet board model in my collection of shapes for over 10 years, and I’ve had a few little tweaks in mind to enhance its overall performance. The Jet is so versatile, from knee-high sliders to double over head and more. With a little more concave up front for those extended nose rides out of the pocket and a nice rolled V in the tail to help lay down those smooth carving turns back towards the power section of the wave; this board is now even better than ever.
When the waves bring a little more consequence like Bells on a solid day, the positiveness feel of the side fins and a touch more edge through the tail create a nice drive, giving you confidence to push hard in bigger waves.
So given I’m 6’3" tall, I shaped this board a little longer at 9’10" to give me an easy paddle into the wave and great glide on the big open faces. This also helps with smoothing out my surfing, creating better flow in the bigger waves. Sometimes it is about less being more in bigger surf; trim, nose ride, and big sweeping turns. All I can say is, I was stoked with how the board turned out down there. It felt amazing!
Model: The Jet 9’10" x 23 7/8" x 21 3/16"with a 2+1 fin set up, squaretail with nose concave into flat into rolled V through fins with an edge in the tail section.
If you need to contact me, don’t hesitate to send me an email directly. I’m always here to help, whether you have a question about my boards or anything Creative Army related.
Till next time, keep surfing.