The Death Of The Superman
“The only reason they went away is because people started doing small ones.”
Can you imagine a superman to sushi roll to passion pop to shrink wrap combo?
I can. But my brain starts to hurt somewhere around the i in sushi. And if all those words were gibberish to you, please allow me to expand them into more elaborate gibberish.
Superman: Doing an air, kicking your board into your hands, then planting it back under your feet.
Sushi roll: A rodeo flip with a superman.
Passion pop: A superman with a shuvit.
Shrink wrap: Not even going to try. This is a shrink wrap:
So that combo is technically possible, but it’s not morally possible. Nobody would want to make so many brains hurt. Plus, the root of all those manoeuvres – the Superman – is dead. It’s somewhere up in that great blue sky, accompanied by a close circle of regional pro surfers.
Let’s talk about how it died. But first, let’s talk about how it was born.
There was once a strange and euphoric time called the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Denim was light blue and baggy, shoes had tongues thick as cows, bands like Sublime were somehow able to forge successful musical careers and slick Willy Clinton was getting his deal gobbled in America’s White House. Strange.
Surfing was at the peak of its coredom. Mags were well worth the deforestation. Acai bowls weren’t a thing. Kelly and Andy were winning the Titles, with a Sunny-Occ-CJ sandwich in the middle. Jocks didn’t exist and there were airshows! Airshows: where a bunch of punters would get together, do airs in comp jerseys and make enough money to buy some weed and the new Sublime CD. Euphoric.
None of the air show crew had full-time filmers. What you’d see is what you’d see. So, you’d go to an airshow and see people trying everything they could in three-foot ramps. The waves were perfect for such an event, but there’s only so much a man can do on a wave like that. Anyway, somewhere in the progressive haze of the airshow generation, the Superman was first stuck.
According to Troy Brooks, Timmy Curran was the first person to do it. But according to me, Brooko is the king of them. Nobody’s men were as super as his. I asked him how they were born.
“I think in any sport, everybody wants to be the first person to do something. And back then, it was all about grabs.” Then I asked him how they died.
“Because you can’t beat the best,” he said with a chuckle. So I asked Albee Layer, who lands things nobody else can.
“Supermans were the best bullshit thing ever,” Albee Layer told me in something of a eulogy. “I remember watching Seabass do a few proper ones and that shit will never not be cool to me. Honestly, the only reason they went away is because people started doing small ones. I think Jordy killed the Superman for all of us. [laughs]”
So. There you have it. A fully functional grab – one that could easily be used in a combo, one that allows for different spins and variations – is dead. RIP. 2001 – 2007 or 2011.
But this story is more than just a funeral for a frog hop. Really, it’s about the current state of surfing. Right now, progression is all about going bigger. Eight-foot death bowls are air waves now, not chest-high Newport, and there ain’t no room for gimmicks. It’s about getting higher. Spinning more.
Nobody’s trying to land the biggest stalefish* air reverse ever.
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