With Mick and now Parko off tour, will someone step up and fill the power vacuum?
“It’s going to be a really interesting year and we’ll see some big changes,” Glenn “Micro” Hall told Tracks. “For one there’s going to be a massive hole where Parko and Fanning used to be. I think we might find we’ve all taken their way of surfing for granted. And anyone that can replicate some elemental parts of their style might score big this year. Because those carves they did are so difficult to do well.”
Now Micro, who this year will be coaching Owen Wright, Ace Buchan and Conner Coffin on the Men’s CT, could be accused of pushing an agenda here. After all his team contains some of the surfers best placed to recreate some of the fluid power turns that Parko and Fanning’s retirements has retracted from the tour.
Yet Micro, who is more straight up and down then gravity, is more likely just making a solid point. And few right now are in better position to do so. His theory had me thinking about the role of the power carve in surfing. Is the move, once called a Man Turn before women started doing them just as well, about to make a comeback?
In the modern era of aerial whizzfuckery it is sometimes easy to forget the essential role carves play in this ridiculous pastime we call surfing. They require power, strength, technique and timing; all acting simultaneously. They can make you feel big and strong. They are muscular and superior. They are, like a new pair of ruggers (short leg, cotton twill) a very strong look.
This is because they require speed. Not flying-down-the-line-missing-section speed. No, you need proper torque. It’s not washing off speed, but harnessing the velocity of your surfboard for your own use. Think Mickey Wright coiling and waiting for the right section to obliterate. Or a perfectly timed Bryce Young lay back. It’s a compression of the body, a full rail sluice with total and utter control. Spray will be thick and all fins will be engaged in the most powerful part of the wave. If you do a real turn correctly you will feel the urge to release a guttural roar that comes from deep within your testicles or ovaries. Don’t be afraid to release this urge. Power turns are elemental. They come from a base and pure part of surfing DNA.
Of course Fanning and Parko didn’t event them. It could be said it was Nat Young brought the man turn to surfing. It was his animal approach that sprayed a big fuck you to the light footed and stylish Californian hotdoggers. MP took it a step forward and over the years and grunting big-thighed men like Kong, Tom Carroll, Pottz, Luke Egan, Pancho Sullivan, Matt Hoy and Trent Munro (to name a few) ate man turns for breakfast.
Of course Andy Irons took it to a new level, bending waves to his will that had no right to be so horribly bent. Dane Reynolds took up the reigns and at his peak his gouging turns made most other surfers look like feeble eunuchs, dribbling over walls of water with flaccid penises. Now of course John John and Gabriel, the two best surfers of their generation, aren’t lacking in the power turn department. It’s just that their arsenal is so varied that their inherent power is sometimes overlooked.
In 2019 though, as the spins get spinnier and the airs get airier, maybe the power turn will reassert itself. If Micro is right, and everything new is old again, we are in for some power fuelled treats.