On the Air

posted by / News / April 30, 2007


IT’S BEEN PUNK ROCK, METAL AND HIP-HOP. It’s been flashy and fluorescent. Color and black and white. It’s had creepy crawly local legends and rodent nicknames. And today, what began as an underground sideshow is now the main attraction. If you’re going to make it big in surfing these days, you better know how to stick an air. A big air. Maybe even switch. When we initially called a handful of today’s most progressive surfers and asked them to participate in our “air” roundtable, they didn’t get it. “What are we going to talk about?” asked Dane Reynolds. “Just…airs? The whole time?” The reason is, today’s most progressive surfers aren’t called “Air Guys,” they’re “The Guys.” It’s part of the package that includes 12-foot Pipe pits, monster J-Bay carves and a flow that would make Curren proud. At the same time, we’ve seen an explosion of new airs introduced in the last few years, shattering what was once thought possible on a strapless surfboard. Tim Curran’s flip. Josh Kerr’s “Kerrupt.” Wade Goodall’s “Passion Pop.” The {{{Rodeo}}}. As Taylor Steele recently said, you pretty much have to pull a flip to get an air run in the next Campaign movie. To understand how it’s come this far, we assembled four of the sport’s most forward thinking surfers during a rainy lay day at the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro on the North Shore. Using Jamie O’s V-Land hideout as shelter, they shot the breeze, put down a few Pacificos and Vitamin Waters and — in the process — told us what’s up.

**(The un-edited, verbatim transcription of “On the Air.”)

AFTER ALL THE AIRS YOU GUYS HAVE DONE, CAN YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST AIR — THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL?

DANE: Start with you, Torrey.

TORREY: I think I was 9 or something and it was at this wave on the Big Island…

JAMIE: You’re doing good, buddy. We’ll help you through this one. Are you sure it wasn’t just an airdrop?

TORREY: Alright, it was an air drop. No, but really I still don’t think it was an air to this day, but my dad said it was and he was on the beach. So I was all psyched.

DANE: A touching story.

TORREY: Pretty good, huh. No, there were a bunch of people on the beach and they were all stoked, too.

WADE: I Love you dad!

JAMIE: Did you claim it?

TORREY: No, because I thought it was a floater.

JAMIE: So it wasn’t even an air?

TORREY: Yes, it was an air, Jamie.

WHAT ABOUT YOU WADE?

WADE: My first one was an air reverse, actually. When I pulled it I was double-fists in the air all the way to the beach.

DANE: I did the same exact thing.

WADE: I was like this, [raises both arms] all the way to the beach, and my dad nearly smacked me. He’s like, “don’t do that again Wade! Stop claiming it so much.” And he pulled me straight in.

JAMIE: Well, I don’t know if you would really call mine an air, but at that time it was an air 360.

DANE: Chop hop, huh?

JAMIE: Yep, Kalani Chapman was like, “I can do air 360’s.” So I was like, “Teach me how, brah.” So I started doing air 360s but in reality they were just chop hops. I was seeing how high I could get off of chop hops. That’s how it all started.


WHO WERE YOU WATCHING AT THE TIME GROWING UP? WHAT MOVIES AND SURFERS FIRED YOU GUYS UP?

JAMIE: I’d probably say like those old Astrodeck movies where Christian Fletcher and all those guys were doing all those airs were cool. And then Kelly Slater in Black and White where he was busting those straight backside airs.

DANE: When I first started surfing I was surfing with Geoff Brack a lot and he was probably doing the same thing as Kalani with the chop hops, but I thought they were so sick back in the day. It’s the same thing. I was like, “Teach me how! I need to learn those.”

TORREY: Just watching that movie Kelly Slater in Color.

KELLY SLATER IN COLOR? DIDN’T THAT MOVIE KIND OF BOG COMPARED TO BLACK AND WHITE?

TORREY: Nah, I swear, that was the only movie I ever had.

DANE: What was the other Kelly video?

CLEAN SLATE?

DANE: Clean Slate! Yeah, that was way worse than Color, are you kidding me!

TORREY: I never even seen Black and White until a little bit ago.

WHAT ABOUT IN AUSTRALIA, WADE?

WADE: Well, we didn’t really have the Astrodeck movies.

DANE: I never got into those either, Good Times, though. I watched Good Times like a thousand times.

WADE: I’d watch guys like Dave Nelson and shit. The most f—ked up people in Australia were doing airs back then…just inspiration. Dave’s a legend. He’s just this little short c—t that shaves spiders into his hair and shit and throws big punts. I was psyched on him.

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