Don’t Be a “Surfer Flat Earther” Like Kelly Slater | NY Times investigates why surfers shouldn’t rename decades old tricks
Surfers. They aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, but ya gotta love’em. Legendary filmmaker Pierre Wikberg has been on a quest to learn these fools on proper trick naming etiquette and it’s reached all the way up to the NY Times. Of course surfers are the first originators, but since then as far as tricks go they are a few decades in the past compared to sister sports skateboarding and snowboarding. Due of course to the technical nature of riding a moving surface, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to rename a trick that was invented decades ago. A quick search on the Internet about this subject will dive down numerous rabbit holes, so we’ll just say this. It may not seem like a big deal now when a 720 or progressive ally-oop like Albee’s is only landed in surf once or so a year, but fast forward 20-years. If moves like 720’s, mctwists, 900’s, and alley-opp 540’s etc. all start getting landed in every contest there’s going to be problems. Stick to the proven formula now or risk getting taken into wack wakeboard territory.
A wave is a moving quarterpipe, no more no less. Therefore all tricks should be named off that. End of discussion. Don’t be a surf flat earther like Slater.
Skateboarders and snowboarders think they know what to call these tricks because they have been looking at bodies moving in a similar way for close to 40 years. But this is new in surfing, and progression deserves to be rewarded. So who gets to name a move?
Skateboarding evolved from surfing but quickly developed its own identity, and snowboarding drew from both surfing and skateboarding but evolved as well. Even though skateboarders were emulating surfing by riding in pools and on ramps, the progression resulted in techniques not easily transferred to surfing until recently.
When I asked Wikberg about this, he told me: “Kelly Slater is the most famous surfer in the world, and for him to be pushing the ‘wrong’ names for tricks deserves to be called out.”
Slater explained his position by saying: “In surfing, you are going in one direction, forehand or backhand. Maneuvers are strictly named so on a wave. Skaters and snowboarders can hit nearly any surface forehand or backhand, natural stance or switch, and so it’s defined differently in my opinion.”
“Surfers are going to look ridiculous calling something that has been done in a different sport by a different name,” Todd Richards said. “It is about paying respect to the people who came first and pioneered the tricks. They killed themselves to put their names on tricks.”
Click to THE NY TIMES for the feature on When a Surfer Lands a Skateboard Trick, Who Gets to Name It?