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One typically sees Puerto Escondido front lit, big, blue and barrelling. But playing with light, color, contrast, saturation and grain's a photographers delight, as evidence by this moody bomb. Same wave we've seen a thousand times, different look. Photo: Luciano Hinkle

It was a slow, boring summer until a trio of chubascos lined up and turned the West Coast on. Finally, the doldrums were broken, there was sunny reason to go to the beach. The water temp's bumped up again, and while the storm activity has dwindled, hope has been restored. Photo: Jon Steele

What a difference some offshore wind can make. Take a stormy sea and turn it into a beautiful, dreamy environment that stirs the surfers imagination. It may not be perfection defined, but it does kind of make you want to get on an airplane and go somewhere. Asturias, Northern Spain. Photo: Elmo Hernandez

Pick a peak and win. Last week in Maine was better than a game of Wack-A-Mole. It hasn't been the best summer back east, hot and lake-like is how it was described by a friend of ours in Jersey, but to be sure, there have been moments. Photo: Michael Kew

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Modern Rivalry?

John John Florence and Kolohe Andino are the poster children for cash-infused grommethood. Both came up in the spotlight, one at Pipeline the other at Trestles. Two different styles, two different approaches to surfing, but one conjoined path, driven by their mutual towheaded marketablity. Ask either of them an they'll tell you how much they like and appreciate the other, but to be sure, like any good rivalry, a competitive fire burns between the two. With a breakout season on the ASP tour, so far Florence owns Andino, but considering neither of them are old enough to grow much more than peach fuzz in their respective chins, the drama is just now beginning to unfold. Photo: Tom Servais

Kirra on the 12th of June during the big swell. I havn’t seen it as big or breaking out so far since the late '60s early '70s. What I couldn’t believe was that the tow-in guys weren’t surfing it but instead staying close to the Point, getting short rides, and then getting eaten. Words/Photo: Mal Sutherland

"Surfing equates to living in the very moment of 'now.' When you ride a wave you leave behind all things important and unimportant, the purity of the moment is upon you.” - Bill Hamilton. Photo: Shawn Parkin

When it's pumping and seemingly getting bigger by the minute, sometimes a wave comes through that nobody wants a part of. This Cloudbreak beast would qualify. Even with both the world's best competitive surfers and the world's best big-wave surfers gathering on Tavarua for this swell event last week some waves bowled through unridden. Seems restraint can be the better part of valor...especially when you consider that the green board in the lip is about nine feet long. Photo: Tom Servais 

"It's feelin' great, ya know." And why shouldn't it? At 45 Occy's surfing somehow seems as relevant as ever. Maybe it's his use of rail that resonates. Maybe it's his charisma. Either way, there will always be an appreciation for turns like this. Photo: Jason Kenworthy

One last gasp of west swell energy. A lone bump rolls through into Santa Barbara County, offshore kissed and well appreciated. It'll be a few months before the North Pacific turns back on again, but nostalgia's a wonderful thing. Photo: Michael Kew

A perfectly sublime day at a headland that was created about 6,000 years ago as part of a lava flow from the Tweed Volcano (now Mt. Warning). Next stop Lennox Head. Photo: Tom Servais

When you get every good wave behind the rock at Snapper, you've earned the right to make everybody else look silly. While the sunburned hordes chaotically scurry for scraps, styled to the hilt, you can almost hear Parko whistling through this tunnel, as if to say, "Wow, this is fun." MP would be proud. Photo: Swilly

Anthony Marcotti has spent more time in Indo than most of us, be it on boat or land camp, so you have to figure that he's seen his fair share of "epic" surf, but he seemed exceptionally excited about this particular wave: "I think I just caught the best wave of 2012 at Rifles. 400-plus yards, 30 seconds-plus in the barrel over 6 sections, the most perfect wave I have ever caught." Kind of makes you envious, doesn't it.

Trevor Gordon on a tiny finless asymmetrical shaped by Ryan Lovelace. The board is the second version of the "Rabbit's Foot" design, and given how good the last few days have been around the greater Ventura/Santa Barbara area, Gordon's had ample opportunity to put it through its paces. Photo: Michael Kew

In a recent conversation with Santa Cruz surfboard builder Bob Pearson he noted that the last couple of months have been pretty good around town. "From one end to the other, we've been having fun," he said. Apparently the glass-off hasn't been half bad either. Photo: Ryan Craig