Words and photos by Jimmicane
Until the Rip Curl Pro at Bells, I was finally starting to feel confident on something I’ve wanted for so long. Over time, it seemed that more and more people were realizing the hideousness of the double-grab air.
Veteran two-hand abusers were coming up to me informing of their switch to the bright side. Videos like Modern Collective came out with limited clips of people safety grabbing, and when they did, it was normally for doing a rodeo or superman air (which I still despise and will target to destroy later). And even Surfer Magazine came out with a little excerpt in which the author showed angst about the lamest surfing maneuver since the chop hop (although they do still run photos of people going straight on knee-high waves with sunsets in the background).
So I was feeling pretty good that I helped kill such a miserable part of surfing. Then, a week ago, I witnessed my first WCT since Lowers last summer.
There weren’t too many DGs being attempted in the Rip Curl Pro, but I also didn’t watch much of the contest because the waves sucked for most of it and I was busy drinking free beer. The people I did see doing them were the typical repeat offenders from whom you expect it — one being questionably the best surfer in the world, Jordy Smith; the other being one of the most consistent competitors in the world, Bede Durbidge.
I can only describe to you how bad these airs were by showing the moments in time and letting you see for yourself. Words just can’t explain them.
Still, because the surfers in these photos apparently “Went for it!” as the commentators on the beach stated, they were rewarded with scores in the mid to high range on these waves. Thankfully, both of them ended up losing their heats, but I feel they deserved to lose even worse.
Now here’s my plea:
In competition, when a surfer botches a snap in the middle of a wave, doesn’t it hurt their score for that wave? At the very least it doesn’t help their score and the judges will kind of ignore that it ever happened if the surfer follows it up with something solid.
So why does this not apply to a botched air? Why do they get rewarded for doing some thing as low risk as a floater, and as bad looking as a bogged cutback?
The degree of difficulty on these two photo examples is as low as it can get. The only way you fall doing something like that is on purpose when, in mid-maneuver, you realize what you’re doing and just jump off to save yourself the embarrassment of trying to land it.
Unfortunately, until the ASP judging panel wakes up, we will be stuck watching the best surfers in the world perform the worst air in the world, due to the simple fact that it will get them through heats.
Now that is some serious bullshit.