ASK CAPTAIN BLACKSHORTS

posted by / Magazine / April 6, 2004

THIS MONTH’S CHALLENGE:
Who was the first person to do an aerial?
Asked by {{{Jimmy}}} Boyes

Well, wee Jimmy, for that answer ye best climb up into the SURFING Magazine crow’s nest where we’ve kept close watch on surfing’s skies since flight began. Aye, it was in on our very cover in 1976 that Kevin Reed first “aired out” over Santa Cruz. And while there’s always a chance some rogue somewhere else was flying below our radar, that photo is still recognized as the first documented evidence of “the aerial.” Of course, by today’s standards, Reed’s catapults were really more of a kickout. And while he’s rumored to have landed more than his share, that was hardly the shot to launch a thousand boosts. No, the aerial movement actually first sprang up years later, leagues away in Sebastian Inlet, Florida, where Matt Kechele’s skate-inspired, no-handed ollies spawned interviews, ads and shots all screaming, “Kech Air!” “I’d never heard of Kevin Reed until years later, actually,” says Kech, who still flies at the ripe age of 40. “Jeff Klugel started practicing ‘em in 1979 after we were skateboarding, and by ’81 I had ‘em down to where I was doing ‘em competition. Then John Holeman started doing 360 rotations regularly around 1982 or ’83 and took it to a whole ‘nother level.” With all the spirit soaring from out of Sunshine State, it wasn’t long before the whole world would take flight. And in July of 1984 Martin Potter came flying across our cover inspiring a whole new generation of stargazers such as Christian Fletcher and Matt Archbold, and ensuring our sport would spend the next 20 years above the mast.

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