Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80's Surfers - Stab Mag

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Is style like this the product of nature or nurture? Who knows.

Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit ‘Sonic Youth’ now.

cinema // Sep 22, 2022
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 2 minutes

By the general surfing population, style and technique are sometimes held as mutually exclusive virtues of wave riding. It’s easy to succumb to the belief that top level competitive surfers lack the style of their alternative counterparts, while thinking that certain smooth operators might be wanting for more technical prowess.

Taro Watanabe is one of the few humans sprinkled on this planet that demolishes this preconception — he rides waves with calm, inventive poise and undeniable technique. The fiberglass under his feet seems to be an intuitive extension of flesh, reminiscent of the fundamental glory of latter day surf saints. 

Brad Gerlach, a quintessential So-Cal surfer, — who was ousted by Damien Hobgood from the ASP tour in 1992 — has inspired Taro’s approach on surfing and life. Brad has worked closely with Taro for a handful of years, and it shows. Both of their styles have seemed to evolve while their surfing remains cemented in technical perfection.

Crouching Taro, Hidden Dragon.

“All eras inspire me to surf. I love watching good surfing, old and modern,” says the 18-year old from Malibu. “Gerr has influenced my surfing the most. I have learned so much being around him. Also Kelly and Dane. I think I’ve watched almost every video of them on YouTube.”

Directed and edited by Quinn Graham, Taro’s new edit, ‘Sonic Youth’ is five minutes of hi-fi surf clips from Indonesia. The back-hand drag to drawn-out tube will linger with you like a Kim Gordon vocal flex to curtain close. We appreciate the cadence of Taro’s soulful string-out. 

Click above for a few minutes of entrancement.

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