MR Twinnys at Snapper, Simon Anderson thrusters at Bells and Lopez Single Fins at Pipe.
Apparently I wasn’t the only fan of the WSL’s experimental, twin fin expression session at J-Bay. Surfing fans grooved on the high-lines, the down the line flow and the buttery carves; even if Jordy looked a little cumbersome trying to reimagine himself in a different era.
According to You Tube, the heat’s already had nearly 70 000 views and if Toledo’s double alley-oop was J-bay’s pinnacle moment (after the shark and the boat’s wave) the twin fin heat was certainly a major talking point, post contest.
By sheer coincidence I watched the WSL’s retro leap of faith alongside a bunch of pro surfers, including Asher Pacey and Tyler Warren, two of the world’s best-recognised twin fin aficionados, while we were on a twin fin trip in the Maldives (full feature coming up in the mag).
One might have expected two peripatetic Freesurfers, who have devoted much of their lives to riding twinnys, to be a little dismissive of the WSL’s double-fin dabbling. Like a class act that has had its show ripped off by rank imitators. Instead Pacey and Warren were intrigued by how the world’s best jersey-wearers would interpret pumping J-bay minus the security of a trailer fin. I can assure you that Tyler Warren’s ten-beer-deep running commentary would have added a whole new dimension of entertainment to the webcast, and truth be told Pacey would have won the heat hands down.
However, reigniting the old freesurfer vs comp surfer debate is not the main agenda here; it’s building a bridge between the two worlds and acknowledging the WSL has an incredible platform, which it can afford to be a little more creative with. Why shouldn’t the scaffold builders capitalise on the fact that surfcraft from different eras are enjoying a renaissance? Maybe they will have to, to get more clicks and sponsorship cash.
Not long before we were in the Maldives the Four Seasons Hotel, Maldives, hosted its annual championship trophy, which stipulates entrants must compete on single fins, twin fins and thrusters over the course of a three-day event. Former, upper-crust WCT surfers Taj Burrow and Rob Machado embraced the ride-everything concept and went fin-for-fin in an event, which combined design intrigue with enough competitive edge to make it interesting. The waves looked pretty good too.
The possibilities are endless for the WSL, but here are three unique heats I’d like to see, which use board design as a catalyst for generating interest amongst surfers and fans.
The MR Twinny at Snapper
Mark Richards is still Australia’s most successful competition surfer. He won all four of his world titles predominately riding a twin model fin he designed, shaped and later refined. MR is still a major presence in the shaping world. On the trip referenced above the ‘MR Supa Twin’ proved itself to be a high performance board, suitable for barrels, belting the lip and launching beyond it. Plenty of the pros have toyed around with an MR twinny over the years. Imagine six of the world’s best breaking speed limits at Snapper during the Quiksilver Pro. What better way to honour MR’s legacy to the sport? Watch out boys, Steph Gilmore could take this one. Asher Pacey as the wildcard.
Simon Anderson Thrusters at Bells
After the shortboard revolution it’s probably fair to say the thruster was the most influential design concept on modern, surfing. Simon’s win in the ’81 Bells event crystallized the performance advantages of three fins. However, he also shaped the board Kelly Slater won Bells on in 2006. This year Simon recreated his revolutionary 1981 board in conjunction with WQS surfer, Cooper Chapman. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a heat with surfers riding either a modern, Simon Anderson custom or a remake of his 1981 model? Cooper Chapman (or Kelly if he's not on tour) as the wildcard.
Lopez Single Fins at The Pipe Masters
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Sliding through Pipe chambers on his alluring, Lightning Bolt pin-tails, Gerry Lopez speared his way into surfing history and back to back Pipe Masters victories in 1972 and 1973. Gerry is still making boards and wouldn’t we love to see if a modern batch of pros could negotiate Da Banzai with the kind of elan and cat-like poise that Lopez displayed. Effortless bottom-turn, soul-arch, nonchalant barrel ride, nose blow – ten points. Kalani Chapman as the wildcard.
As suggested the options for design-inspired creativity are endless for the WSL. The main point is to encourage the organisation to continually come up with concepts that offer a little more intrigue than the regulation expression session on modern short boards. We’ve already got round four for that.