Surfer haircuts, the good, the bad and the ugly.
A few years ago I had the misfortune to be at the US Open in Huntington. It was a weird scene of motocross fumes, dust, pubescent breasts, bad tattoos, loud music and a little bit of surfing. Amongst the mayhem I was surprised to hear announced that Richie Collins would be surfing the next heat in the round of 488.
For those of you not born in the paleolithic era, Richie Collins was a brash pro surfer from California, famous for making his own “Wave Tools” boards, doing floaters and his signature mohawk. For a Seppo, he was a pretty colourful dude who had a fair bit of success in the late ‘80s, winning Bells in 1988 and the OP Pro in 1989.
As a grom I was a bit of a fan of “The Skeletor” so I went down for a closer look. It was him all right. And you know the weirdest thing? Not that at age 41 he was making a comeback. Not that he was still riding Wave Tools, with the exact same spray. Nope the thing that blew my tiny, aged, brain was that he was still sporting a Mohawk. Now that is commitment to a do. It had me thinking about haircuts. As a surfer, just what are the options are out there. Looking back over the years, there seems to be about only so many different ways you can have your ears lowered.
The Hair Farmer
For around two decades Rob Machado flew the flag for the Hair Farmer, traveling the world in his own follicle expanding universe. It seemed he was destined to be surfing’s sole hair farmer, until Craig Anderson came along. Ando suddenly made a mass curly mop de rigor. These days, such is the popularity of the do, it’s hard to walk down the beach without stepping on some 18-year-old’s trailing ringlets.
No it's not the paddle pop lion it's just Rob Machado looking steezy. Photo: Joli
Determined by what David Beckham is sporting right now, the cut tends to be characterised by an ultra groomed short back and sides, side part and longer top. Mitch Crews is the highest profile surf proponent right now, and as you can see here, makes sure the sweep over is always in place, even when leaving the surf.
From the catwalks of Milan to the shorebreak at Bells beach. The Beckham has got you covered. Photo: Joli
The Flat Top
Famously sported by Kong for over two decades, the Flat Top is a dying cut only being preserved by members of the armed forces. My mate Jonesy had one from age 7 to 29, and even now 10 years on he looks a little lost without it. Can it make a comeback? God I hope so.
Kong's flattop only adds to the legend. Photo: Joli
Richie Collins was just one surfer who utilised a Mohican to make themselves look more interesting. Over the years Martin Potter, Tom Carroll, Danny Wills, Matt Hoy and Christian Fletcher have all sported the do. It is an edgy, punk and rebellious finger up to the establishment? No, usually it is just the result of a drunken night out.
Richie Collins and the mohawk that fails to give in generation after generation. Photo: Rob Gilley
The No Frills
Ever seem Mick Fanning with a hair cut that you can remember? Or Damien Hardman, or CJ Hobgood? Nope, they tend to either just cut it back to the scalp, or grow it till it becomes an annoyance in the surf. High on performance, low on trend, the No Frills does exactly what it says on the tin. Sweet FA.
The most no bullshit haircut in pro surfing, expertly worn here by 3x world champion Mick Fanning. Photo: Joli
Faced with a ginger melanin, it doesn’t matter how the Ranga cuts his hair, no one can see past the strawberry hue. While it remains the only acceptable form of racism, the Ranga could have all the haircuts listed here, done all at once (like Mick Campbell here), and still no one would get over the carrot top.
The ginger ninja, Mick Campbell with one of the more flamboyant hairstyles of his career. Photo: Joli
The Chrome Dome
You can’t stop going bald, but you can stop trying to hide it. The Chrome Dome is a coming out. It’s a Bald Man saying, “I am Bald hear me roar.” It is embracing the hair that isn’t there, rather than cultivating the (diminishing) hair that is. It is a Bald Man’s future. The earlier that is recognised, the happier the Bald Man will be.
Kelly Slater, probably the most famous bald man in history. Photo: Joli
The Long Hair
Currently out of favour, perhaps a victim of the hair farmer, the long hair is a cyclical beast that will always return. The late ‘80s was the halcyon era, led by the likes of Brad Gerlach, and where would Occy be without the backhand hair flick, arguably more important than the turn itself. In the modern era Owen Wright is having a half hearted attempt, although his use of the top knot is not something that should be ever replicated by anyone, anywhere.
Brad Gerlach streamlined with his ear warmers. Photo: Joli