Tracks brings out the cracked, crystal ball for 2019. From foils to Bernard Fanning, below are the surfing trends you might be rubbing against this year.
The Continued Rise Of The Foil
Like the fish and SUP before it the foil will continue to surge in popularity becoming part of more and more surfers’ quivers. Like those once snubbed forerunners, anything that transforms shit waves into fun waves will always have a place in surfing and as the numbers go up and the price comes down, the foil will become even more accessible. “On the Gold Coast the waves are crap for at least half of the year,” Joel Parkinson told Tracks. “And that’s perfect for the Foil. I’ve been doing it for six months and I can’t even imagine how I managed without it.”
Surfing’s entry into the Olympics is now only 18 months away. After two decades of discussion of what the surfing’s inclusion would mean for the sport we are about to find out. The early stages indicate it mainly means huge amounts of coin being spent on government offices on prime coastal land, but as the countdown continues expect the Olympics chat to ramp up to hugely irritating levels.
Big Wave Surfers Are Getting Younger
Russell Bierke, Natxo Gonzalez and Lucas Chumbo are all established surfers on the Big Wave Tour and are all under 23. Kai Lenny, now considered a veteran, is still only 26. Once a fiefdom for 30 and 40 something grizzled veterans, big wave surfing is now being taken up by the post-millennials. The new breed tend to be talented surfers in their own right, just ones that have had exposure to giant waves in their teens. “Ty Simpon-Kane is now getting sets at Jaws on the big days and recently towed and pulled into a monster,” says Maui legend Ian Walsh. “The kid is 14 years old! It’s freaky what this next generation is doing.”
Surf Trips With Bolt Ons
The old days of grabbing six of your mates, plus your mate’s brother-in-law (to make up the numbers) and going on a surf trip is a so 2018. These days a surf trip is pretty lame unless you have a legend on board (take your pick from Barton, Occy or Kong). Or if all the legends are booked how about a musician? Bernard Fanning can serenade you post surf in the Maldives or why not pay double for Pete Murray’s happy hour gigs on the Bukit. If guitars aren’t your thing, you absolutely need to add yoga, meditation (with Taylor Knox thus completing the Venn diagram), freediving, macrame and paleo cooking classes to your daily itinerary. A surf trip isn’t just for surfing after all.
Surely this is the time for surfers to stand up and fight for the environment that sustains our sport? Whether it’s climate change, plastic pollution or threats to the Great Barrier Reef, to name a few issues facing the planet, surfers are on the front line in feeling the effects of environmental degradation. There’s no time left to be passive and be it through Surf Aid, Surfrider, the National Surf Reservers, or your own community programs, surfers will lead the push to fight for the protection of our oceans. Won’t we?
John John Vs Gabriel
Surely the only narrative that will dominate the WSL calendar year is the battle between the two best surfers in the world. They’ve taken different approaches to the end of the year; John John competed in the Sydney to Hobart, Medina partied with Neymar Jnr and Barcelona football star Melo, but come April (yep the start of the competitive year is that far away), surely these two will battle it out. Slater, Toledo and Wilson might offer some competition and/or distraction, but surely it’s these two that will be battling for surfing’s top prize in 2019.