An old dog and the value of old tricks   Leave a comment

I consider myself a pretty old school guy when it comes to surfing. I don’t use a deck pad. All of my boards have glass on fins. I even employ the use of a back zip wet suit. Technology? Ha! That’s just what appeals to me in the art of riding waves. I marveled at Occy’s rail burying turns and his facial contortions that accompanied them as if it caused him pain to push that hard. I admired Tom Carroll’s courage when he gouged a huge snap in the pocket at massive Pipeline en route to his world title. I got lost in watching Curren weave through corduroy like J-Bay and holding his lines through the powerful offshore bowls. Call it what you will but no one can deny its place permanently cemented in surfing.

So when the rest of the Quiksilver Pro France contest concluded there was something else that caught my eye. Yes, I commended Julian Wilson’s well-rounded approach and his refreshing blend of carves and aerial blasts. Yes, I was mesmerized by Gabriel Medina’s seemingly effortless boosts and the fact that he seemed to use his entire board. My favorite part is when he stuck a gigantic reverse on a left with his front foot nearly at the nose and he somehow managed to distribute his weight evenly enough to ferociously blast the lip one more time. Who does that?! No, check that…who CAN do that?

Yes, the freak show is entertaining. There’s no denying that. It’s viscerally pleasing to people that don’t even know what good surfing is but I get bored after the first ten minutes in “Lost Atlas”. So while I will congratulate Medina I was even more delighted to see the handle bar moustache laden Taylor Knox taking names with his old school but powerful, quick, and decisive approach. At age forty, he’s still throwing more spray than most of the top ten. He may not be the guy to look to for the most tweaked out air reverse but he still sets the standard for the most buried rail and, this includes Slater, potentially the most technically perfect style in the world. There’s not a raised arm or bent knee or extended leg that seems out of place and did I mention he’s 40?!

While Knox isn’t expected to contend for the title this year or maybe even an event this year, he is contending for the iron man award. I’m not sure he’s consciously trying to break Occy’s record but when you look at how much work he’s put into taking care of his body and his mind he’s probably going to. It’s a mystery to most why Knox doesn’t own places like J-Bay, Bells, and Lowers where his style and skill set translates almost too well. However, it’s more rewarding to see him schooling the next generation in punchy beach breaks where his approach doesn’t fit in but he’s capable of making it work. He gets a third in Brazil last year and a third in France this year and both come at the expense of the ultra competitive, overly prepared, silent assassin that is his white haired, fast twitched good friend Mick Fanning. Fort Knox over the White Lightning? Interesting.

This time next year Owen Wright will be attempting to ward off the new generation of Smith, Wilson, and Medina and fans will be enamored with a potential Kelly-less tour and much more parody. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be paying close attention to that but I’ll still be waving that Bear flag and pulling for the guy sporting amber alert provoking facial hair and sickening man hacks. Party on, Knox!


Posted November 17, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

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