This picture of the superlatively talented Mr John Florence tells us everything we need to know about where top level surfing is. Three feet above the lip and flowing into the embrace of the wave for a gouge , executed with power and grace.
Pro contests held in great waves are one of my guilty pleasures. Some folks watch golf on the box, I watch surf contests on the web. I have followed the dominance of MR, Carroll, Curren, Irons, Fanning and Slater and the briefer eruptions of Occy , Garcia, Potter et al. First by bi monthly magazines, video and now live broadcasts from the web. The sport has changed extraordinarily in recent years under Mr Slater’s will to progress from the ‘three to the beach’ status quo of the 80s beach break contests.
Time moves on though. Finally there are two of the cream of competitive surfers that have moved out from under the Slater performance quantum and have moved up one. They have plundered from previous generations. Florence exhibits the grace and style of Jerry Lopez whilst Dane Reynolds has the power of a Barry Kanaiaupuni bottom turn mixed with the jazz of a modern skater. Finally we can witness the confluence of the two sports where the wave rider selects manoeuvres from both disciplines and applies them to the most radical situations and then continues to flow down the line. The key here is flow. These two surfers in their very different ways make the spectacular merely the music notes along the staff lines of the sheet music that is the wave’s tapered lip line.
How did these guys get here? They are surfer/skaters. The long lineage that gestated with Herbie Fletcher and budded under the Z Boys/Wally Inouye has broken through. Hail the surfer/skater your time is now.