1 BRITAIN

After a solid 9th placing in the ISA World Juniors in Huntington Beach in 2005, Team GB will be looking for another strong showing in the 2006 event in Brazil this May. Team GB surf coach hacky Joel Gray, speaking from his winter training ground in Andorra reckons Bude’s Reubyn Ash and Aggie’s Jayce Robinson could be the standouts. Jayce has been in Oz for the Rip Curl Gromsearch finals, keep an eye on this young Cornish ripper. Incidentally Gray had his flash red Audi broken into in Hossegor this winter and had to drive back to Andorra in the buff. Customs officers shinning their torches into Gray’s car in the Pyrenees were greeted by a lapful of ginger Geordie pubes. Lately Cornwall has gone jetski bonkers, with countless crews buying skis to take on the winter juice. Sam Lamiroy and Mole, Russell and Spencer, Duncan Scott and Chris Ingram, Chris Bertish and Ben Granata are just some of the teams charging Kernow’s gnarl. Gabe Davies is even now a two-jetski family with one in Ireland and one down in France, which he rolled the first time he took it out with Gravis teammate Laurent Pujol. As this mag hits the shelves the O’Neill Highland Open 5 star WQS at Thurso will be underway. Go to www.oneilleurope.com to see how your favourite QS warriors fare in the bitter brown water rights. Lloyd Cole is off in Oz having a ball but will be returning to defend his Welsh title in May. Greg Owen has a bad leg after his trip to the Europeans in Portugal and has been spotted sitting out the back waiting for the softer ones. Double Overhead in Porthcawl have secured the rights to distribute Electric in the UK and are stoked to sign up Porthleven’s Mole Joel and Jersey grom Jake Powell to the Electric team.

2 FRANCE

Silky smooth Tim Boal is now riding for Reef and Pukas surfboards. The 22-year-old Biarritz based regularfoot is back on the 2006 WQS contest trail fired up. Moroccan Hossegor resident Abdel El Harim stunned the surfing world with his trials performance in the Rip Curl Pipemasters. Abdou knocked out Pipe stalwarts like Shane Dorian and Liam McNamara in solid 6-8ft surf getting through two rounds, the first time he’d ever surfed there. Roxy’s top European surfer Caroline Sarran from Anglet will be making a serious push for the women’s WCT in 2006, keep an eye on her.

3 SPAIN

Supremely talented Canaries pro Jonathan Gonzalez has also signed for Reef as his major sponsor. SE was over shooting in Tenerife this winter and Jonathan is fit, focused and shredding. Zarautz ripper and all round nice guy Hodei Collazo is now riding for Vans European team. Just down the coast, the world famous sandbar at Mundaka has been doing its best to recover from the dredging nightmare. Reports are that it is indeed back. Furthermore, the Billabong Pro Mundaka WCT is back on for 2006. The new EHSF website is online, lots of new links and content, check www.euskalsurf.com.

4 PORTUGAL

By now all is surely sorted out, but there was a lot of stress about the idea of bringing a WCT event to Coxos. Even if it was just an idea (if Mundaka’s magic lefts didn’t awaken) or even less likely, upgrading the Ribeira de Ilhas WQS to a WCT at Coxos, a lot of voices spoke out against running a big surf competition there. The locals are neither violent nor hostile to visitors, but they do run the place with a firm hand and are not willing to give up on their treasure. As one put it recently, ‘If people want to see the best surfers in the world surfing these waves, we have no problem with that, as long as they run the heats at Ribeira de Ilhas (where there are better overall conditions to run a surf competition) and then the pros can drive 5 minutes to Coxos to enjoy some free surf sessions. It was always like that, and it should stay that way. They are always welcome.’

5 GERMANY

Unsurprisingly, golden boy Marlon Lipke has been reported ripping by visitors to the Algarve this winter along with his lil’ bro Melvin Lipke, another red hot German-Portugeezer. Marlon is now a Goodwill Ambassador for Humanitarian Affairs (HLDF, www.hdlf.org) an organization run by Nicolau von Rupp’s dad, which fights against land mines, HIV and malaria. All Lippy fans can now click on www.marlonlipke.com to see photos and videos of him doing what he does best – blowing up. If you’re a German and you rip too, make sure you enter the 11th German National Champs which will take place from May 27th - June 3rd, St Girons, France.

6 ITALY

Taylor Steele and Dustin Humphrey have been in Italy shooting for Sipping Jetstreams, Steele’s forthcoming 16mm film (stay tuned for Sipping Jetstreams articles featured in SE throughout 2006). Guest star for the Italian section was Tim Curran who got really good waves in a remote outpost down south, while Mike Losness, Alex Gray, Yadin Nicol and Italian shredder Emi Cataldi were the lucky ones scoring some punchy beachbreaks in Egypt. Yep that’s right, Egypt.