"They've Had The Old Bulls, Now They Want The Young Calves" - A Fresh Herd Of Young Guns Graze Europe - Stab Mag
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Japan's Riaru Ito, Basque boost (on a Warner no less). Photo by Juan Fedez.

“They’ve Had The Old Bulls, Now They Want The Young Calves” – A Fresh Herd Of Young Guns Graze Europe

“Ah send ‘em to France and book ‘em a van”

Words by Alistair Klinkenberg
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Quiksilver’s Young Guns wing has been through various transformations, but it’s returned to its roots in vintage style for the 2021 rendition.

For those with foggy memories (or too few years to have copped the originals) it’s well worth revisiting Young Guns I, and YG Two and Three in particular to re-familiarise yourself with the form. Two was Jflo, KS, Freddy P, Troy Brooks, Reynolds, Julian Wilson and (relative) fresh blood Marzo and Ry Craike on a flash boat in the Ments in peak 2000s surf boom indulgence. Wolfmother and helicopters, it was awesome.

New guns: Joel Vaughan, Jackson Bunch, Riaru Ito. Photo by Juan Fedez

Then three was wet season Bali before the east coast got filmed to death, empty off-season G-Land and INXS. Possibly even more awesome.

Mateus, mid-pivot. Photo by Juan Fedez

So the current crop of Young Guns had pretty big shoes to fill. However, as the list above highlights, Quik’s record when it comes to identifying talent isn’t too shabby. And the current crop, who are dripping with ability, have done a top drawer job on the film.

Mr. Bunch, about to pick his nose. Photo by Juan Fedez

Young Guns 2021 features the peak of Quik talent in the 17-20 range, in Europe, relatively unleashed. In fact the whole thing has an air of, “Ah just send ‘em to Europe and book ‘em a van,” which is refreshingly old school and a nice departure from the Instagram-led, high impact surf content formula that’s dominated the “grom” space lately. The fact that Joel Vaughan’s a dead ringer for a young Cheyne Horan only furthering the echoes of pro surfing eras passed throughout the film.

Shades of Cheyne. Photo by Juan Fedez

Firstly the cast’s from all over the place and they all looked like they were having fun, which is a good start for a road trip film. Rio Waida’s from Indo, Mateus Herdy from Brazil, Joel Vaughan’s Ozzie as, Kauli Vaast’s a Tahitian you’ve probably heard of, Kade Matson’s from the States, Jackson Bunch is from Hawaii, Noa Dupouy’s French, then Riaru Ito’s Japanese, but rides Warners which is cool. So it’s a multi-cultural cast, and the general consensus was start in Hossegor, hug the coast and head south. Which anyone who’s done it knows is a dream brief for waves, wine, food, song and everything in between.

Class of 21′: Rio Waida, Kade Matson, Jackson Bunch, Noa Dupouy, Joel Vaughan, Mateus Herdy, Riaru Ito. Photo by Juan Fedez

The groms got a bit trap music and Tiktok for a while there, but this bunch seem more cut from the classic surf rat cloth. Their surfing to a man is technical and maturing to perfection, but what stands out is the smiles and the general air of fun. They get barrelled, surf some funky wedges, snag some inside drainers on the Mundaka Bar, drank a bit of plonk and generally had a good time. The kids are alright and the Young Guns lineage is in good hands.