Stab Magazine | The Buck-Fifty Club: Surfing's Most Exclusive Clique

The Buck-Fifty Club: Surfing’s Most Exclusive Clique

One of the few titles John Florence doesn’t hold. 

news // Nov 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The only honour in surfing that has fewer laureates than The Eddie is The Buck Fifty Club. A society that was founded by Kelly Slater in Portugal in 2014, and perpetuated by us, today. It started when Kelly spun beyond the regular full-rotation, into what has since sparked wild debate; is it 540? Or, 720? And no, you can’t compare surfing to skate or snow vert moves, because a surfer never leaves the lip pointed at 12, nor lands pointed directly down the face at 6 o’clock, the way skaters and snowboarders do. But anyhow.

Albee Layer is the only other gentleman to join the club of surfers who’ve successfully spun beyond one full rotation (we’ll talk about Matt Meola later). And, he’s also the only surfer who has landed a spin of that degree both front and backside – although, his alley-oop version, shot while filming for Attractive Distractions, is somewhat debatable. But if we’re gonna split hairs, so was Kelly’s. Regardless, in 2014 we started drawing comparisons.

The next closest thing to the past-full-rote spin, was Matt Meola’s 2015 Spindle Flip, which lost out to John’s massive Alley-Oop from VFABM at the Surfer’s Poll awards last December (and was further disputed on social media… where else?).

However, Matt’s Spindle Flip is a manoeuvre that stands alone; When it comes to what in mechanical essence is a backside rodeo, only performed frontside, Matt is the dean, teacher and student. No one else has landed (or at least been caught on film landing) one of these other than Mr Meola, nor has Matt landed another (on film) since.

Julian Wilson also landed his Twirly Whirly in Bali last year. A move that’s close in rotation, but we’re talking a straight double spin, and although all of these are lovely on the eyes, they aren’t granted into TBFC. 

And since Kelly’s, a true double spin has almost gone dark. That is, until last Friday, at exactly 4:20 pm (a time that simultaneously thrills and induces drowsiness) in Maui, Albee landed the cleanest, most indisputable backside 540 to date. And, Albee has been the man pushing toward the 540 audaciously. It’s safe to say Kelly’s was a one off; he over rotated into the wind, and because he’s Kelly Slater, he stuck it and called out John John afterwards. However, John has yet to complete the double spin (he’s been busy winning World Titles and searching for his third Triple Crown). And surely, if he were to attempt them with the diligence that Mr Layer has over the last year, he’d add a place in the Buck Fifty Club to his ongoing list of titles.


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