We have been loud and clear about it from day one here at What Youth. Three to the beach isn’t really our jam. The format of professional surfing castrates progression and awards consistency. Time-limits, jerseys, hassling for priority- the whole scene makes us cringe.
The folks at Life At Sea want to change that. They have launched an international surf contest appropriately titled, “Planetary Punt” in which they’ll be awarding $20,000 dollars for the best air posted on Instagram. But before the world’s aerialists head off to Waco, Texas to launch off those mechanized ramps or fire up the jet ski- they should read the fine print because neither will fly in this comp. Nor will drones or surf-cam rewind which makes sense since Life at Sea will be generously kicking the photog back 3K for their efforts.
According to Planetary Punt’s creator Tim Ward, the no-wave pool rule isn’t a dig at artificial waves but rather a celebration of our playground. Ward’s sticker biz has raised $50,000 for ocean cleanup. “It’s not screw wave pools. This is a Life At Sea event so it makes sense for it to be in the ocean.” High flyers like the king of the air show, Josh Kerr, are hyped on the format. “I love these events popping up and giving opportunities out of the conventional approach to surfing. To me surfing is a creative expression and aerials are a huge part of that!” said Kerr and we have to agree.
Until now, there wasn’t really an incentive for pros to blow out their knees trying shit that’s never been done before. Why waste a wave in the WSL to push the sport when judges will gladly hand out high scores for a couple basic lip bashes? If there was a man to bet on to do some new-age shit, it would be Matt Meola. His “spindle flip” still hasn’t been replicated by anyone else. “This is insane for free surfing. It gives us a way to earn a little cash without having to do a normal contest. It’s also good for the progression of surfing because everybody will be going a little harder in hopes of winning. Not sure what it will take to win. I guess that depends on how many guys send in clips. Hopefully there’s a few airs that have never been done before.”
If the Planetary Punt format sounds familiar, it’s because last year they held a similar online contest in Santa Cruz called the “Hometown Huck.” Noah Wegrich took the win with a fucked-up massive straight air he pocketed ten grand for. Now, Life At Sea wants to get the whole world involved. The deadline for submissions ends the first of June in 2019 but for a full list of rules and regulations check out at. – Jake Tellkamp