Extreme Exposure: Zietz makes history at Margaret River Pro
In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—injury replacement Sebastian Zietz makes history in Australia and Gerry Lopez shreds inland waves.
Not According to Plan (But He’ll Take It)
This probably wasn’t how surfer Sebastian Zietz envisioned his 2016 campaign but it seems to have more than worked out for the 28-year-old from Kauai. He made history this weekend when he became the first injury replacement to win a Championship Tour event when he took down Julian Wilson at the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia. After falling off tour at the end of last year, the downtrodden Zietz had to show up in Australia in February and hope for the best. With injuries to surfers Bede Durbidge and Owen Wright, he was given the replacement nod by commissioner Kieren Perrow. And he made the most of it. He finished 9th at the Gold Coast event at Snapper Rocks, 13th at Bells Beach, then went on a tear, winning at Margaret River and now finds himself back on tour and sitting second in the world as the tour heads to Brazil next month.
• MORE EDGE: Indoor surfing, wave machines gain traction
Gerry Lopez Makes Surfing Look Good Anywhere
Gerry Lopez is a certifiable legend in the surfing world as his name is synonymous with “style.” Known for his fantastic poise and body control, he made a name for himself in the 1970s and ‘80s at one of the most ferocious waves in the world, Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline (even garnering the nickname “Mr. Pipeline”). Always one to walk his own path, Lopez moved away from the ocean with his wife, Toni, in the early 1990s, relocating to Bend, Ore., where he followed his other passion: snowboarding. Lopez still got his surfing in on special trips and at events. But with the new Bend Whitewater Park opening in the Central Oregon town this year, he doesn’t have to travel as far anymore to get waves, as this clip released this week attests. Lopez shows the same easy-going style at the park that became his trademark during his illustrious surfing career. And the town of Bend has embraced his legend: this week nearby Mt. Bachelor will host the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge, where snowboarders ride a course shaped like ocean waves with banked corners, quarter pipes and spines and are judged on control, speed and power. Suddenly, Bend has become a surf town.
Innovative Snowboarder Bode Merrill Buried in Avalanche
Scary moment for one of the best snowboarders in the business. This week X Games Gold Medalist Bode Merrill (Real Snow) was hospitalized after he was buried in an avalanche in Alaska. Merrill—who starred in the film Broken Mechanism—was reportedly riding on Takhin Ridge, 30 miles west of Haines. He stepped out of the helicopter onto a cornice, which then gave away before he had a chance to grab his equipment, carrying him 600 feet down an open slope and burying him under three feet of snow. After crews rescued him he was flown to Haines, then to a hospital in Juneau.
Man on a Serious Mission
Ryan Dungey is quietly having an all-time year on par with any professional season in any professional sport. Dungey again held off Ken Roczen, this time in St. Louis, for his third consecutive win on the Supercross tour and his eighth victory of the year in the 450SX class. He tied his win total for a season from last year, made his 30th consecutive podium and notched his 30th victory. “I needed to eliminate some mistakes and put the hammer down,” he said. With three events left, Dungey holds a 48 point lead in the series heading into next week’s event at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.