Stab Magazine | Who’s The Best Backsider Of Them All?
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Who’s The Best Backsider Of Them All?

Following Bobby Martinez’ stellar performance on the east Australian points, the question remains: Who’s best (ever) with their back against the wall?

style // Aug 14, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A few days ago, Bobby Martinez dropped a Monster x Stab clip from his annual east Australian visit.

While he didn’t score the chocolate brown tubes of super-swell 2016, Bobby did snag a few enjoyable point break sessions, wherein his Rincon-bred backhand put on a startling display of (dare we say it) speed, power, and flow.

Watching the clip, it was difficult to recall a surfer who has ever had a more commanding heelside approach. So we posed the following to our Instagram followers:

Name a surfer with a more aesthetically pleasing backhand than Sir Bobby Martinez.

Naturally the internet responded with a wide array of board riders which, depending on your perception of what constitutes “good surfing”, could perhaps be considered in this conversation.

For instance, Torren Martyn has an uncanny backside tube technique that is highly pleasing to the senses, but comparing that to Bobby’s metronomic swing would be a pointless endeavor. So we’re only going to consider the “performance” surfers for this particular debate.

Of that demographic, a few of the names that echoed throughout our comment chamber were Mark Occhilupo, Andy Irons, Italo Ferreira, Matt Wilkinson, and Dane Reynolds.

So let’s refresh the memory and decide!

Bobby Martinez:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/281720709

His first two waves in the clip above are the reason we’re even holding this backhand debate. Do you see the increible drive and release that Bobby generates with his cinder block thighs? Has anyone on the 2018 Championship Tour achieved equal levels of speed and control? Even riding a stumpy surfboard Bobby stays on rail 95% of the time, allowing this tennis-hating pro to achieve the ridiculous angles seen above.

Mark Occhilupo:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/gz0A1w5N63o

Occy’s tight stance and oversized boards bring an old-school dynamic to the discussion, but despite most of these clips coming from the 20th century, Occy’s backhand turns are noteworthy for even today’s standards,, which is certainly not nothing. Further, Occy has arguably the best backside style in the history of the sport, and according to Kelly Slater, the Australian’s performance at the 1998 Bells Skins event was the “best surfing [he’s] ever seen.”

Andy Irons:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/98848998

Andy Irons’ backhand was known for its general ferocity. The Hawaiian would attack terrifying sections like they were three-foot beach break, and in his prime he could thread a backhand tube as well as anyone – including Kelly Slater. The above waves at Cloudbreak might give you a true sense of Andy’s abilities.

Italo Ferreira:

What Italo did at Keramas this year was some genuine video game shit. His board was ping-ponging between the bottom of the wave and the lip at such an incredible pace that spectators got tennis-neck, but instead of the typical lateral whiplash, it was with an up-and-down movement. The 10 Italo bagged in the semis was as good of a non-tubing wave as can currently be surfed.

Matt Wilkinson:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CJ_A15Fl3ZQ

For the first two events in 2016, Matt Wilkinson’s backhand couldn’t be touched by any surfer in the world. On his cherry red craft, Wilko power-squatted his way off the bottom before shattering the lip with his tuck-kneed swing. While that type of form seems to come and go for Wilkinson, when his timing is on and his confidence high, there are few in the world who can match him.

Dane Reynolds:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/134356144

One of the most widely-adored backsiders in the world, Dane Reynolds has mixed his brute force with both a timeless style and a progressive flair, giving him the unlikely triumvirate of exemplary modern-day surfing. It’s been said that Dane has the best backside-bottom-turn-to-fin-throw in the biz, as his rail disappears beneath surface and guides him toward the lip with an enviable fling.  

And with those guys covered, we wanted to add a few of Stab‘s personal faves. 

Wiggolly Dantas:

This we can say without hesitation: nobody has ever thrown more spray on a backside snap than Wiggolly Dantas. The Brazilian inspires this mass aquatic exodus with a combination of strength, technique, and impeccable timing. It blows our minds every single time.

Trent Munro:

This clip from an east Australian wedge speaks for itself. Like Occy, Trent’s proclivity for big boards and a small stance allowed him to create incredible drive, and his grab rail bottom turns never cease to confound.

Mike Losness:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mo3FBGe7E9c

Losness might be considered a wildcard selection, but with his devastating snap and patented laid-out carve, the Californian’s backhand has been seared into our minds for all eternity. Oddly the internet doesn’t seem to contain any of Mike’s incredible chest-to-the wall hooks, so if any other Losness enthusiasts exist and have access to these breathtaking maneuvers, please share a link!

And now you can decide once and for all:

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