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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

The Weird Finless Soft Top Movement Is Upon Us

There is a movement sweeping the globe, spreading like a plague. It is transcending cultural barriers and surfacing at lineups from Byron to Bilbao to the other part of Byron. It is made of soft foam and has no appendages that resemble those of a shark. It looks something like this.

In other words, it is riding a wave like a penis man. Or a potato eel. Or a soft spaceman? To the best of my knowledge, this genre of surfing(?) does not yet have a name.

While lying on your board and behaving like an erratic dildo is nothing new, it has surged in popularity of late. I first noticed its uprise when a crew from Byron Bay saw, through purposely weird sunglasses, a standard of wave riding that was all too bland. So they got weird. Real weird. I’ve since seen everyone from 6x World Champ Stephanie Gilmore to 13x Victoria Bitter medalist Noa Deane participate and it is now officially a thing. 

How did this happen? I blame the jocks. Almost any movement — in life, in culture — is a reaction. The wild beat and hippie generations would’ve never existed if not for the tight-ass times that preceded them. So this, the potato-eeling, probably came from the WSL and the Red Bull hats and the general seriousness that pulled its hand away from an ice cold beer and gripped the neck of professional surfing into a sombre stranglehold. For every meaningless post heat interview, a fin falls out of a thruster.

I back it.

I've tried becoming a penis man and while it does feel a little bit insensitive to those who have been pulled out of the water unconscious at Pipe, it is incredibly fun. I’ve also laughed at the disgusted faces of the lineup when someone comes sliding by on a wave in the potato fashion. And you’ve disgusted the serious, you must be doing something right.

The hard thing with surfing, though, is that there is no definite right. Which should mean there should be no definite wrong, but we’ve all seen enough to dispose of that cute little fallacy. Still, we’re cursed by subjectivity — what really makes three of Mick’s turns better than one of Jadson’s airs? Is it speed? Power? Flow? Fluent English?



We should consider ourselves lucky that when people decided there was more to life than cowboying down the line on a 9’2” single fin, surfing evolved. Imagine where “progressive surfing” could have gone. Shit could’ve got real ugly. Although we should still probably give Junkyard Johnnie of Kalbarri some sort of lifetime achievement award for his efforts.

So, let’s appreciate modern surfing and welcome the penis man movement with open...nevermind. But still, welcome it. Much like the WSL saying they won’t favour men over women in terms of running when the waves are actually good, this will all just be a fad.

And after all, isn’t surfing supposed to be fun?

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