With all the gimmicks and stunts that have gone down this year it makes me think back to the early 2000’s in Santa Cruz. It was the epicenter of smoke and mirror surfing. We’d either go pull into closeout barrels or use jet skis to whip into 2 foot waves with many of the guys using straps on their surfboards. It was a sad time for the free-surfer. Not for the guys getting whipped in, but for the kids coming up. They were looking at these guys getting covers and spreads and how they were getting them. Get a loan for a jet ski, have a guy swim a flash and boom, you were on the cover of the next Transworld Magazine. It even convinced good surfers like Nate Tyler (pictured) to grab the rope. Luckily the gimmicks and stunts stopped after a few years and the jet skis were sent to the junk yard.
Enter 2015. Lighting yourself on fire. Motorcycling at Teahupoo. Flash. And the return of the whip-in. Recently Surfing Magazine wrote, “Towing into a slab with your buddy isn’t a good idea – it’s a great idea. And here, Leroy and Scott suggest that maybe it’s finally time to splurge and split the cost of that old jet ski with your friend.”
But we’ve already done that jet ski thing. And the winch thing. The smoke and mirror days should stay a thing of the past. Good surfing is what kids should be looking up to; not buying jet skis and holding onto flashes. Sure for a year or two you’ll get some covers or contracts. But what happens when that Indo boat trip doesn’t have a ski onboard? So ditch the ski. Ditch the stunts. Let’s get back to just good surfing. —Nate Lawrence