Stab Magazine | Reckless Voodoo, Pt II

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Reckless Voodoo, Pt II

The Kustom Airstrike boat just docked. John Florence, Albee Layer, Matt Meola, Chippa Wilson and Ryan Callinan were floating around the Mentawais for 10 days, trying to land the best air conceivable and push the limits of innovative surfing. Did they succeed? For visual proof, you’ll have to wait for the webisodes to filter out […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Kustom Airstrike boat just docked. John Florence, Albee Layer, Matt Meola, Chippa Wilson and Ryan Callinan were floating around the Mentawais for 10 days, trying to land the best air conceivable and push the limits of innovative surfing. Did they succeed? For visual proof, you’ll have to wait for the webisodes to filter out in the coming weeks. But for now, we debriefed with Ryan on what went down, out there in the Indian Ocean.

Stab: Were the waves productive?
Ryan: It wasn’t ideal but it was fun. We did most of our surfing at Bank Vaults. There’s the biggest ramps out there, it’s so wild, you take off with so much speed and just come into this nice little fluffy section. It’s actually kinda hard to land. I mean, the boys didn’t seem to be having too much trouble. But it’s really dumpy, there’s a lot of power. I guess ’cause you go pretty high out there, too, so it’s a bit sharp to land. But it’s definitely the spot for airs over there. We surfed Macaronis, too. They were the main two spots where most the stuff went down.

So, gimme a rundown of each man’s best air. That’s a hard one. There was no, like, one crazy air. I thought there was gonna be one where everyone went, oh that’s won for sure. But it was more like there’ll be a lot of stuff that’ll be really close.
John Florence did a bunch of crazy stuff. Some big alleyoops and a couple of full-rotations. He’s gnarly. That was the first time I’d met him and surfed with him. He’s super cool. Watching him in real life, he’s so consistent. I reckon he’s the best or at least top three guy in the world right now.
Chippa Wilson was going nuts as well. He was doing these indy backside and slob backside rotations. Then when we went to Macaronis he did a big frontside stalefish full-rotation and landed in the flats. It was so sick, everyone was tripping on that.
Matt Meola tried some crazy things, landed one really cool rotation, but he tried a flip and hit his head on the reef. I think it freaked him out a bit. He got some stitches and didn’t surf for the last four days. It felt to me like he was gonna win, just the way he was thinking and what he was trying, but then he got rattled, which was a bummer.
Albee Layer didn’t make much, but the stuff he was trying was… he was trying 720s and stuff. The last couple of days especially, I think he was like, “fuck! I just need to make one of these and I’ll win!” He got so close three or four times, it was… wow.

The whole thing’s obviously about innovation, but the $50k has gotta be a cherry you can’t ignore. It was weird, the first day or two I was just all about landing that one air. Like, I’ve just gotta keep going big and if I make one I could win. Like, if I try the biggest thing I can and don’t make it 50 times, even if I make it once I’ll win. But then, after the first couple of days falling off, I was like, fuck this, I just wanna get some clips for the webisodes now! It was funny to see the different mindsets of everyone. I think most people were there for the money. I was just coming back from injury and I was kinda there to get some clips in the webisodes and get myself back out there, I guess. Get back in the water, back in the zone.
I think John was there just to have fun but mainly to win. And, not for the money. Just to actually win. He was really competitive, which kinda surprised me. If someone did something crazy, he had to better it, next couple of waves. He just won Brazil and won $100k, and he’s probably paid pretty well for being at the top of the world tour, so I guess he maybe doesn’t need the money as bad as the other guys.

Was anyone trying something crazy that they didn’t quite get? There was Albee with the 720s. Meola had some flips, the frontside double-grab flips and the Kerrupt backflip things. John went really big on everything and Chippa was trying some crazy board spins. It was actually really exciting ’cause someone would take off and you’d be sitting out the back, going holy crap, he could win $50k on this wave. And you’d see them trying the biggest thing possible. I landed this one ok Kerrupt, which is weird ’cause I never do them. But I did it at Macaronis and that was probably the best thing I did. I’ll have an awesome fly-away and almost-make section (laughs).

Was there unspoken competitiveness? There was, kinda. Everyone was vocal about how competitive John was, he was getting roasted (laughs). Obviously everyone wants to win. Sometimes you don’t wanna discuss what you’re trying out in the surf with other guys, but it wasn’t like that at all on this trip. Everyone was talking about it and what was weird was that if someone did something sick, everyone was psyched. Everyone was hooting and yelling each other, which is the opposite of what I expected kinda. Everyone was suggesting tricks to the opposite stance guys at different spots. So, if we were at a right, the goofies would be telling the regular footers, “try this on your frontside!” But no one was saying that to the other guys with the same stance as them (laughs).

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