Stab Magazine | Watch: A Best-Of Reel From The Dark Prince Of Newport, Mr. Andrew 'Droid' Doheny
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Watch: A Best-Of Reel From The Dark Prince Of Newport, Mr. Andrew ‘Droid’ Doheny

What’s your signature move?

cinema // Jul 12, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

When I was just a young boy, my family would spend a couple of weeks each January on the Caribbean island of Tortola. It was our annual getaway from the frigid Pennsylvanian winter, and one that sparked my love for surfing. With warm blue water, limited crowds, and a playful reef pass just down the hill from our yearly rental, it’s no wonder I grew fond.   

Tortola being a surfer’s paradise, my Northeast-based family was one of many who wintered in the British Virgin Isles. Among the pack was a couple from New York, whose bodyboarding matriarch’s name I can’t recall but whose male half, Gary, I will never forget. 

Gary was a good surfer. Probably in his mid-forties. He wore a short-john wetsuit every single day, regardless of the conditions. And at the A-frame peak of Apple Bay, Gary only ever went right, because his signature move was the roundhouse cutback. 

“Cutback Gary”, we called him, would drop horizontally down the face, pump once (maybe twice) out to the corner, then in one smooth, flowing motion, he’d turn his head over his left shoulder, rotate his hips toward shore and wrap his board all the way back to the pocket, which he’d then use to propel his energy back down the line for another swing of the pendulum.

It was poetry in motion, a true masterclass of the cutty, but it was also very funny. Day in and day out, Gary would do the same thing every single wave, despite what each individual section appeared to call for. Gary loved the cutback like most people love their children, which made at least partial sense, because Gary didn’t have children. Gary’s dedication to the roundy was more robust than his dedication to his own potential progeny. (Cutback Gary died a few years after I stopped going to Tortola, I believe from a heart attack. May his wrap-around rest in paradise.)

Having watched Andrew Doheny for the past decade-plus, and having been reminded of his ability in the video above, I can’t help but notice a similarity between Gary and Droid. The shaggy-haired dark prince from Newport has a signature maneuver, too. 

Droid’s “cutback”, of course, is this sort of layback/nosepick/reverse combination that very few in the world can achieve. I think Dane Reynolds probably invented it, but Droid’s dedication to the maneuver has been unwavering over the years, making it more or less synonymous with his surfing. 

This is one of the most impressive turns in surfing, so here’s roughly 14-minutes of it. 

At least it’s not an air reverse! 

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