Noa Deane’s 10 Favourite Surfers
From Stab issue 80: Surfers who make Noa Deane wanna surf? It’s a generational educational! Interview by Lucas Townsend | Portrait by De’lon Photo by Chris Gurney 1. John John Florence: John John Florence is 20 percent better than everyone. He is probably 20 percent better than anyone will ever be. His new movie is about to […]
From Stab issue 80: Surfers who make Noa Deane wanna surf? It’s a generational educational!
Interview by Lucas Townsend | Portrait by De’lon
Photo by Chris Gurney
1. John John Florence: John John Florence is 20 percent better than everyone. He is probably 20 percent better than anyone will ever be. His new movie is about to drop and I can only imagine the airs he’s doing. Remember his last film, Done, his airs were three feet higher than anyone’s. He’s doing things that’ve never been done before, and he’s combo’ing everything. He’s got perfect style, no hands, always landing clean in the tranny (the lowest point of curve in the wave). He knows how much style to put into each move. He’s the only person who lands in the bowl, not on the flats, not on the roof, and comes out with more speed. In saying that, when he needs to no one can land in the flats like him. I just watched a clip with John John doing a backflip and a stalefish front-3 on the one wave and it was the cleanest thing I’ve ever seen. He rides out of it like nothing’s happened, he wouldn’t have boasted, he’s a super down-to-earth dude. It makes me want to go and try the biggest airs ever but I’ll land in the flats and break my board instead of landing in the good spot and making it like John.
Photo by Bosko
2. Matt Banting: He’ll do damage on tour this year. I was watching his heat against Mick Fanning and Jack on the Gold Coast in round one and Banting looked so clean and sharp. His turns have gotten bigger. He’s similar to Jack in that he can combo anything. Banting doesn’t usually go big but he can when he needs to. The tour will really step his surfing up a notch. I did a trip with him and we were going for really big stuff and we weren’t landing anything. He must’ve thought he should step it up and he straight away started hammering it. He was landing everything, big, clean, huge! He was so gnarly. It takes me three weeks to land something and he comes in with two days and stitches us up. Creed McTaggart and I used to be comp hounds with Banting. He smashed us for four years straight until we all quit. The reason why 20 people went and got jobs was because of Banting. No shit. I don’t think I ever beat him.
Photo by Tom Carey
3. Jack Freestone: After watching his part in Cluster, he’s similar to John John. He’s light on his feet and he’s a combo king. He’ll do a massive oop, know he can jam it a couple of times, and then do an air-reverse on the closer. It’s not a typical bitchy little air, his airs are upside-down cartwheel backflip things. They’re the sickest! Everyone’s going to see how good he surfs as this movie does its thing. He’s made the backside cartwheels his signature I reckon. I bet he trains a lot because he can get up from any layback. In heats he goes for it too. The first time I watched Cluster, I watched all the sections and Jack’s was my favourite. It was so clean. I think he had better combo’s than I did.
Photo by Ryan Heywood
4. Bryce Young: In Hawaii earlier this year he was throwing himself into sections, similar to Dane Reynolds, on an asymmetrical board. Not that I care about the board he was riding or that they’re hard to ride, but he did a couple of really unorthodox carves. When he came out of it he didn’t slide, he kept wrapping around and banked off the wash. Anyone else would’ve slipped and maybe have hung on. Bryce can grip the tightest carves and smash the wrap. I’ve watched other clips where he’s doing a big carve in Micronesia and he’s going as fast as you can go on a board, faster than Mick Fanning, and then he did a big layback turn where he holds the rail the whole way. He’s so talented on every single type of board. On a finless he’s doing shit better than people with fins in their board, which is incredible. He’s a super nice dude, too. Alex Knost has it all, but he’s a long boarder who can ride anything. Bryce is a short boarder who can ride anything. He skates really good as well.
5. Jai Earnshaw: I was sitting on the beach at D-bah after having the worst session ever. Jai Earnshaw paddled out and the first wave he got this mental pipe, and followed it up with a huge slash. Then, he took another wave, came off the bottom on a four-footer, he cracked the lip like Andy mixed with Occy, the second turn was a snap to slide, a full variety dude. The next one was a haymaker carve, into a bottom turn, into a layback. It was the nastiest layback, so much water moving. I was like, noooo! I was tripping out and he became one of my favourite surfers from one session.
Photos by Tom Servais
6. Christian Fletcher: His video sections were the pinnacle of what a part can be. He’s doing the craziest airs, spinning opposite ways, charging ten foot Wedge. You can tell by his surfing that he doesn’t give a fuck about anything, he doesn’t need to speak. It’s tough. It’s like watching a powerhouse at the bowl. They’ve come from working on the job site all day, their boss is a fuck, and he gets in the bowl at the skatepark and he’s grinding the coping like he hates everything. He’s going for it, and not giving a rats about what happens, about getting hurt. It’s so fucking raw. And that’s what Christian is like. There hasn’t been anyone as raw since.
Photo by Chris Gurney
7. Bruce Irons: Bruce in Campaign and The Bruce Movie is perfect style. His surfing at Lowers was full of moments of awkwardness but then he’ll bog, cut it back to the wash and come out and do the sickest lien grab and it’s all tweaked and it looks perfect. If I could have anyone’s style it’d be Bruce’s. I look nothing like him now but he had style nailed.
Photo by John Respondek
8. Jay Davies: I watched our video we made, Cheese, I played his part three times. He’s a powerhouse, especially at airs. I like it when guys power surf, but I don’t really care about it that much. It’s sick, and you need to be able to do it, but I think airs look cooler and Jay’s air game is insane. They’re a different style of airs, a bit like Dane’s approach. It’s because they’re big guys getting high, they get way more momentum and look like they’re going so much faster. Instead of floating and getting caught up by the wind, they huck really well and come down hard. Jay is super underrated.
Photo by John Respondek
9. Taj Burrow: Taj has the best backhand snap in the game. His backhand hangers have the coolest torque to them. He hits it, and I read it in his book (Taj’s hot book of surfing) that you’ve got to put your hand on your board when you do a backhand hanger and it gets you in the zone. That’s how I learned how to do it, it works, it was smart. He does that, pulls up vert, tweaks it, and then gets back round from vert just a little bit more. It’s such a clean turn, so legit. All the Macaronis footage of Taj is timeless. He is still the man.
Photo by Ryan Heywood
10. Dane Reynolds: So many people are going to be saying that Reynolds is done, but he’s been the absolute lord for the last six years. It’s funny that his last name is Reynolds because he’s like the Andrew Reynolds of skateboarding, just fucking straight power at everything. His tube riding is mental, his carves are more powerful than anyone’s and they’re like Curren, he’s done some of the biggest airs ever done. He should never be forgotten about or ever labelled as D O N E. He created all of us trying to push it, even John John, it’s all because of him. I’ve learned a bunch from watching Dane. For example, doing carves and not grabbing the rail but putting your back hand near your foot will help you carve around instead of having to nurse it and risk slipping out. The carves he’s done in his time are some of the most hectic ever seen. He’s the only person who’s rode different boards well. Slater’s done it, but I don’t think it looks as good as when Dane’s riding something experimental. It’s like he needs to have that struggle with the board, it makes him shine better, rather than him having the magic board. When the odds are against him, that’s when his surfing comes out. You saw it at the Lowers Pro in 2010. It has to be some of the best surfing ever done in a comp. There’s not enough recognition for how good he is, there probably never will be. He should get more credit than some guys who’ve won world titles, just for how much he’s done for progressing surfing.
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