Monday April 20th, 2015

Welcome to Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. If there’s one facet that binds these pursuits, it’s the imagery—photos of big waves, steep faces, the stunning landscapes and yes, even the selfies of beautiful people in beautiful places that make you pause and wish for a moment you were off exploring the world somewhere.

Start your week off right with Extreme Exposure:

Surfer or Savior? 

In 2014, after becoming the youngest World Champion since Kelly Slater at 20 years old (Slater was only a few months younger when he won his first in 1992), Gabriel Medina not only captured Brazil’s first surfing title, but validated a nation that has long hungered to be recognized on the world stage. As surfing historians would attest, surfing’s underground—namely in America, Hawaii and Australia—has a history of anti-Brazilianism, mostly due to a differing in styles. But Medina has largely changed that mindset with his radically progressive surfing. So it was fitting this week when TIME magazine named him to its list of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World." With so much surfing talent waiting in the wings, Medina’s win likely opened a floodgate which will see more Brazilians capture the sport’s top prize.

Kelly Cestari/WSL via Getty Images

Boxed Out

This week’s Margaret River Pro in sparsely-populated Western Australia was awash in stories, not the least of which was local wild card Jay Davies’ run through the bracket—he received a special at-large invite into the World Surf League contest at his home break. And Mother Nature cooperated, lighting up the Box, a below-sea-level, barreling slab that tested the skill—and courage—of the world’s best. When the contest switched over to “Main Break,” the surfers’ style was put on display as big, open faces allowed for drawn out turns and high-performance surfing in big-wave conditions. Davies delighted the hometown crowd, advancing to the quarterfinals before being ousted by Hawaiian John John Florence, who surfs in the semi-finals against Santa Cruz, California’s Nat Young when the contest resumes this week with another round of fresh swell. 

On a Roll

Carissa Moore has a serious streak going. The Oahu native has won three straight events dating back to last year’s Maui Pro at Honolua Bay and is set to surf in the quarterfinals of the Margaret River contest when it resumes this week. Moore credits a better mental state after finding herself out of the World Title hunt last year. “I have a great support team behind me from my sponsors, to my family and friends, to my coaches and trainers,” the two-time World Champ told SI.com. “I have amazing equipment and am in a really stoked mental state right now. I'm letting go of a lot of the expectations I put on myself and am just having fun.”

Kirstin Scholtz/WSL via Getty Images

On to the Summit

With the Himalayan climbing season opening up, guide Adrian Ballinger is preparing to make his seventh Everest summit. Packing for the three-month long expedition is always a big undertaking. “The logistics are never easy,” says Ballinger. “But the reward is huge.” 

Nooks and Crannies

Matt Segal recently stomped one of the hardest ascents in southern Utah’s Indian Creek area known as the Carbondale Short Bus (5.14-). He was only the second-ever to clean this extremely difficult route in one of climbing’s most hallowed destinations. “Hayden Kennedy, who did the first ascent, is pretty tall and the route is a lot harder if you’re shorter,” Segal says. “I’m only 5’7” and there are some really big reaches. It’s traditional climbing so you’re setting your own gear and the route only allows for really small cams so it’s definitely scary. If that gear rips out you’re going to hit the ground. But I rehearsed it and knew what I wanted to do.”

Banking It

Each spring since 1991, the cycling community has made the yearly trek to Monterey, California and the Sea Otter Classic, a celebration of all things two-wheels that regularly draws 10,000 professional and amateur cyclists. Here, Mitch Ropelato goes full focus on his way to second in the Dual Slalom event. 

Full Focus from @mitchropo at the @seaotterclassic Dual Slalom. #iamspecialized #funattheotter

A photo posted by Specialized Bicycle Components (@iamspecialized) on

Fleeting Moments

Powder days in the West were few and far between this winter (we’re pretty sure East coasters would have gladly shared a few of theirs). But a run of storms in early April provided moments of reprieve. “We had to work pretty hard to get any shots this winter,” says Utah-based photographer Lee Cohen.  “This shot of Tyler Peterson happened to be inbounds at Alta. It hadn’t actually snowed that much yet but it really filled in. I kind of knew what the light was going to do and (the photo) came together just like I hoped it would.”

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