McCall Family, Byron Bay, AUSTRALIA
For anyone that has seen the recent bodyboard movie “Holding On” you would’ve been amazed by the crazy antics of the Pommy immigrant who first surfed Shark Island named Chaz. However, there is a little more to Chaz’s name and family legacy than the movie lets on.
Chaz McCall is THE original charger of bodyboarding in Australia. He was the first bodyboarder to regularly charge Shark Island back when it was considered an unrideable wave by surfers in the early 1980's.
He was the major inspiration to Australia's first wave of professional riders like Ross Hawke, Doug Robson, Steve MacKenzie and Evan Penglis.
Over the next few decades as generations of Aussie pro bodyboarders came and went, Chazzy's name would surface from time to time as the original and mythical Island charger. Only in recent times have Chaz's youthful antics been revived and revisited through the riding and reputation of his two sons, Winston and Oscar.
Both sons possess incredible natural talent on the boog and have both featured in several bodyboarding movies in the early naughties. Winston found himself in the limelight of bodyboarding media regularly, gracing the cover of Riptide twice and to this day still remains as one of the top sponsored riders for Unite Clothing Co and more recently JG boards.
In the early 2000's, both brothers obsession for bodyboarding gradually subsided for a newfound obsession, hardcore punk and metal core music.
Fast forward a decade and Winston and Oscar's love for music has landed them successful vocalist careers in their respective bands, Parkway Drive and 50 lions. Both brother's bands have received huge national and international success and their is no doubting that the McCall name will live on in Australian bodyboarding and hardcore music for generations to come.
Shark Island victory 2010, FIFO style
This is a contest victory that I will never forget. Not so much for the epic waves or the stiff competition, but the mission I endured to eventually hold up the winner's cheque...
On the eventual day that the event ran, it was incidentally my third flight from Perth to Sydney for the contest.
The first flight I had made the effort to fly over for the check-in promo and receive my 'Hardy' comp rashie. The second flight, over two weeks later, was a huge fail. Huey didn't provide the swell that had been forecasted and the event was postponed.
The third flight another week later, I waited till the very last minute to ensure the swell would come through and the event would run. I sure as hell didn't want a repeat of the previous fail!
So sure enough, I boarded the four hour midnight flight from Perth, arrived in Sydney at about dawn and raced straight to the island to arrive just in time for my first heat.
I was tired and groggy in my first heat, but managed to put some good waves together despite the fact that I was getting some mild cramps. At this stage I seriously doubted my chances because as anyone knows, once cramping starts, things generally go downhill fast! In my quarter final though, my body felt great and I guess adrenaline had kicked me into gear. Now the waves were pumping and I felt amazing! Before I knew it I was in a hotly contested final in sick 3-5ft Island against Benny P, Kingy and Shaun Pyne. I managed to score some fun ramps and pits in the final and come away with a win! Once the presso was done and Boogie Boss, Alex Leon, had handed me my trophy and 8k winners cheque, I was straight back to the airport for a 7pm flight to Perth. The 3 return flights in excess of $1500 had all been worth it and the Fly In Fly Out gig had paid off in the end, stoked!!
Kainoa McGee, Hawaii
Kainoa is by far the biggest waterman of our sport. He does it all; prone, DK, SUP, shortboard, longboard and all with his powerhouse Hawaiian style.
He is as loveable as he is intimidating and is by far the friendliest north shore heavy that you'll ever come across.
He's had more Second Places at the Pipe contest than any other bodyboarder, almost always finishing behind Pipeline legend Mike Stewart.
When it comes to versatility, however, Kainoa is second to none. He is one of the best bodyboarders to have ever surfed Pipe and arguably the best dropkneer next to Jack 'the ripper' Lindholm. He is one of the best Stand up Paddle Boarders at Pipe and has also placed highly in the WQS Pipe Pro amongst some of the best stand up surfers in the world.
I've personally been fortunate to watch Kainoa give amazing performances at Pipe on all his different crafts. For me, the most mind blowing and skillful performances that I've witnessed by Kainoa has been dropkneeing big Pipe. To be able to dropknee at Pipe takes a ridiculous amount of guts and skill, so to see Kainoa charging 8 to 10ft Pipe on the knee, particularly during the late 90's, was some of the most incredible bodyboarding I've ever witnessed. I'm sure to this day, given the chance, Kainoa would throw up the knee on a bomb at Pipe and I sure as hell would love to be sitting there in the channel watching!
1st tow-out cover, 'Riptide', January 2003
This cover shot was taken from the early days of tow out surfing with tow-out innovator Chris White. We were filming for Tension 4 when this sequence was taken by Perth photographer Scott Farris. I'd had some decent boosts this day and then Whitey slingshotted me into this 3ft closeout ramp which launched me higher than I'd ever been in my life! It felt like the closest I had ever been to actually flying. I flew way higher than I'd ever been on my trampoline and it was amazing how much I could see from up there with the birds eye view! I landed way off the back and still got slapped and a bit winded when I bailed onto my back in the hard water.
Tow out bodyboarding in the past 13years has gone in and out of fashion in the bodyboarding media, but the one thing that remains the same is the ridiculous amount of air you can get off a 2 to 3ft wave!!
In June 2000, at age 20, I had a career breakthrough when I won the Tahiti Skins International against my greatest rivals and childhood heroes at big heavy Teahupoo. Apart from being my first major International victory, I was also featured on the cover of 4 different international magazines which spread my name across the bodyboarding world instantly.
I caught this wave the day after the Tahiti skins event had finished. I was naturally still on an extreme high from winning the contest the day before and I was charged up for one last freesurf at solid Chopes. It was glassy and 8-10ft this morning as opposed to the lumpy, rogue 10-15ft bombs we'd surfed in the contest the day before.
I'd had a really enjoyable morning freesurf with mates like Kingy, Thorto, Ben Player and Ben Holland. By mid morning it was pretty crowded cause everyone was onto the idea of getting one last Chopes pit before we all flew home.
I'd drifted wide and was chatting to mates, waiting for one last wave, when a big double up set came in from the west. The main pack were all too deep on the reef and my mate Eddie Solomon, who had recently nicknamed me 'Hardballs' during that trip (a nickname which has stuck ever since!) was a bit further out than me and yelled at me "Go Hardballs!" Eddie sadly passed away recently, but that excitable yell in his machine gun American accent will echo forever in my memory.
I had to paddle hard to get over the ledge and my comp winning confidence combined with Eddie's yells of encouragement helped launch me over the ledge and into a big, open barrel. I was so amped at the time, I just remember looking up at the lip once I'd set my line and feeling such a rush of happiness and amazement at being inside this huge Chopes pit.
My arrival onto the international bodyboarding scene was definitely fast-tracked by winning this contest and having this wave featured on the cover of four of the worlds most prominent bodyboard magazines at the time.
Word has it that there is a strong possibility that the APB World Tour may be returning to Teahupoo in 2016. With the amount of talented big wave chargers around the world today that will make one hell of a show!
- Ryan Hardy
Welcome to my Hardy Blog!
Each day that I am in here at the Good Earth Margies store I will be posting about our incredible sport that has given me so many epic experiences and continues to amp me up on a day to day basis.
If you’re dropping through Margaret River, feel free to come by the shop and share your bodyboarding experiences and check out some of the latest gear on offer from today’s leading brands.
To get this HardyBlog off to a kickstart, I’m going to give praise to the undisputed King of bodyboarding.He’s been labelled the chairman of the board, the godfather, the best surfer in the world of any kind.
He is the living legend, 53yr old Mike Stewart from Hawaii…
It's not the 9 World Titles or the 11 Pipeline titles that put him in the legend books for me, but rather the fact that Mike has personally paved the way for all bodyboarders that follow him. All the best riders of this entire sport have in some way been influenced or affected by the style of Mike's riding or the fierce nature of his competitiveness. He has led bodyboarding through every stage of progression from air moves and charging big pipe and Teahupoo, to towing into big jaws and Chopes. Mike was the major player in taking our sport to the 'super tour' stage where we now see our tour held in epic venues like Fronton, Pipe, The Box, Chile and Puerto Escondido.
Your legend will live forever in this sport Mike, thankyou and see you for a heavy session soon you 53year old freak!!
Thanks to James Murdoch for creating this killer collage - Mahalo's Cuz!!
- Ryan Hardy