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Extreme Exposure: Olympic surfing debated, Everest climb halted, more

This week in action sports, Courtney Conlogue closes in on a world title in the up-and-down race to win the World Surf League's Championship Tour, Mount Everest remains unclimbed in 2015, surfing in the Olympics and much more.

Welcome to another edition of Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. This week, Courtney Conlogue closes in on a world title in the up-and-down race to win the World Surf League's Championship Tour, Mount Everest remains unclimbed in 2015 after a climber's attempt is halted, surfing in the Olympics and much more.

Yellow is my favorite color

The yellow jersey hasn’t stayed with one surfer very long during the women’s title race this year. And it changed hands again this weekend when Courtney Conlogue won the Cascais Women’s Pro, 19 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Carissa Moore, who took the ranking’s top spot last week in Southern California, bowed out in the fourth round.

It definitely wasn’t easy for Conlogue, who won her third event of the year. The women’s field was forced to fight through windy, choppy conditions and Nikki Van Dijk had Conlogue comboed in the quarterfinals—meaning she needed two scores—before the Santa Ana, Calif.-native fought her way back from that deficit to get past the Australian. Conlogue then had to beat No. 3-ranked Sally Fitzgibbons before ousting fellow Californian Lakey Petersen in the finals. With two events left, the women head to France where both Conlogue and Moore, who sit within 2,000 points of each other, have a chance to make serious headway in the world title hunt.

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The edge of risk

In all likelihood, Mount Everest will remain unclimbed for the calendar year of 2015. Following a devastating earthquake in April that closed down climbing on the world’s tallest mountain, the routes were re-opened late this summer. Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki—who prefers to climb solo, sans oxygen (“It’s the purest form of climbing, and worth the risk,” he told the BBC)—was making his fifth attempt at the summit in the last six years, but he halted the climb after the snow became too deep and treacherous to go any further during the late-season expedition. Kuriki lost nine fingers to frostbite in a 2012 attempt when he was forced to spend two days in a snow cave in freezing temperatures. “I tried hard, taking all my energy,” he said on his Facebook page. “(But) I realized if I kept going, I wouldn’t be able to come back alive, so I decided to descend.”

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Will the 2020 Olympics look like this?

Take a look at the photo below, that’s Maui’s Albee Layer. He won the Redbull Unleashed event in Scotland two weeks ago at Surf Snowdonia, the only artificial wave park in the world. But that’s not why the photo is significant (even though it’s pretty rad to be surfing with a crowd that close). It’s significant because International Surfing Federation head Fernando Aguerre is waiting on a call this week from the International Olympic Committee to see if surfing will be included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (no word at press time).

If it does go down, the event will be held at an artificial wave park just like this one. According to Surfingmagazine, ground has already been broken on the $25 million project in Kobe. Surfing as a sport has always had a consistency problem when it comes to Olympic venues (ask anyone who’s spent hard-earned cash on a surf trip hoping for waves). Artificial wave parks may change that, especially ones with quality waves like Snowdonia.

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Going big, instead of bullying

Bullying is serious business nowadays. According to, an anti-bullying website, 75% of school shootings have been linked to revenge for harassment against the shooter. So instead of picking on other kids, pick up a sport. That’s what ASA Entertainment—an action sports content and event company—has encouraged high school-aged kids to do for the last 16 years with its ASA High School Tour, using BMX riders like Colton Satterfield and skateboarders like Josh Stafford to educate students about the pitfalls of bullying. The tour makes kindness its core message, and has 15 stops scheduled this Fall throughout the country. Below, Mykel Larrin goes big in Ogden Utah for a damn good cause. The ASA Tour is in Denver this week.

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Why be the same?

So if you haven’t caught Kanya Sesser somewhere on the web lately, you should. She’ll leave you with no excuses. The 23-year-old was born in Thailand without legs and abandoned by her birth parents. Adopted by a Portland, Oregon couple when she was a baby, Sesser never took to sitting idly on the sidelines. Instead, she took up skiing, skateboarding and surfing and is now showing up everywhere. She recently shot a scene for the CBS hospital drama, Code Black, and has done plenty of modeling for action sports brands and beyond.  “I love showing people what beauty can look like,” she says.