Supermen of surf take to the air
By ANDREW McKINNON
THE extreme evolution of surfing moves continues to blow minds with the latest aerial attack. The influence of high-flying skaters and snowboarders on the half pipes has pushed the boundaries of the surfing elite. If you're a serious pro, especially on the ASP World Tour, in order to survive you must be able to surf your head off. There was a big shift in the judges' thinking during the late 1990s, realising that power and airs could be part of the judging criteria by including the moves in the latest modern surfing. All the top guys have their favourite airs as part of their arsenal and a radical air in the competitor's repertoire can turn a heat right around.
But as Parko says "the airs have to be more than a credit card between the board and the wave to count." One of Joel's favourite moves is the "Superman Air", where the Parko hits the lip on a vertical ascent, double hand rail grabs, then releases his body, "look Mum no feet". holding on by hands only, then pushing the body out to fly laterally like Superman and then pulling all the "landing gear" in and resuming with both feet on the board.
Josh Kerr's "Kerrupt" air is a full-blown air reverse 360, a clean high rotation with a super slick completion. His inverted 360 under the lip, while not an aerial move, is just as crazy, and he almost beat Mick Fanning with the move of the contest during the quarters of the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper according to Kelly Slater. Kerr's "Houdini Spin" is an inverted rail grab, reverse 360 turn under the lip or buried from view inside the wave and then busting out in controlled recovery at the bottom.
"Rodeo Clowns" one and a half rotations perfected by Hawaii's Jamie O'Brien and Kelly Slater are done on the backhand as an air reverse 360 turn and then a flip turn recovery. Just when you thought you'd seen it all, along comes Sunshine Coaster Julian Wilson's "Superman Roll". Julian has won his last three finals: Bali, Wollongong and then the final Billabong Pro junior for the year in perfect waves on the Bells Beach bowl. Rated number two behind fellow Sunshine Coaster Mitch Coleborn in the ASP Australasia Pro junior rankings, Wilson has been experimenting with his free surfing and created his latest aerial weapon combining a roll and air. Wilson hits the lip vertically and uses the lip to bounce backwards like a somersault turn. It has to be vertical, otherwise he will land off the back of the wave. As he spins backwards, holding on with double hand rail grabs, he then pulls the board underneath his feet to release into a Parko "Superman" to finish. It's a super-radical move that got everyone shaking their heads.
Julian features heavily in Quiksilver's latest DVD, Young Guns 2, voted best video of the year in the recent Surfer magazine awards. The other stand-out is Hawaii's Clay Marzo and his incredible 360 lip airs. The big question in surfing is, What's next?
SNAPPER'S Nick Vasicek's runner-up position at the recent Philippines Invitational was a huge result for the super-talented backhander. Vasa placed second to good mate Wade Goodall and held off a barrage of natural footers to make his first pro junior final in perfect right-hand barrels. There was no time to celebrate for Vasa, who then hopped on a plane for the last pro junior in Victoria and was just in time for his heat at Bells with no warm-up. From the warm water temp of the tropical Philippines at 26c, Nick had no time to adjust to Bells Beach, where the water temp was 16c for the Billabong Pro Junior. Luckily the waves were pumping at Bells and Vasa's backhand warmed him up enough to reach the round of 12 and finish equal ninth.
Brent "Brenno" Dorrington reached the round of 24 at Bells, but more importantly headed off to the final Oakley Pro junior at Santa Cruz, California where Brenno is a contender for the Oakley series.