Words and photos by DJ Struntz
The crucifixion of Damien Hobgood. The media loves to lament Damo’s seeming lack of new-school maneuvers in heats; truth is, if you could barrel ride or throw massive backhand hooks like Damo, would you really care if you couldn’t do a stalefish?
Yadin can throw some of the loftiest maneuvers of anyone, but on our recent trip to France (look for it in SURFING soon!) I gained a whole new respect for his critical barrel riding skills. Yades, flying the Indo skies a lot more stylishly than Garuda Airlines could ever hope to.
My 70-200 mm port flooded (Airlines crushed the carbon fiber port, in a Pelican Case — go figure) so I swam with a 24 mm. Wave can be a skatepark on the right tide and CJ was wreaking havoc on a little fish until it snapped. Oh well, bad day for equipment.
Everybody knows Nate can throw and land ridiculously high and technical airs, but you seldom see shots that show how stylishly he surfs below the lip. This shot reminds me a lot of Machado — nimble, quick, super light on his feet, but explosive in the same instant. Now if I can just get him to pull into some big closeouts for me…
First day of the trip and waltzed right into the tail end of a solid swell. CJ and Damo have both been really focused the past two years on technique and smoothing out their surfing — almost to a fault. These days their surfing is so subtle and refined it almost makes it look like they aren’t attacking, but if you look at the track CJ is leaving in this wave, you can see the power behind the silky smoothness.