Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jordy Museum

I was a big fan of Jordy Smith when he first came onto the scene, especially his smooth and swooping power hacks. His contest performances have been less than impressive the past two years. Given his mix of style, power, and progression, he should be in serious contention for the title every year. His ratings have slipped and I had previously blamed this on his over-training. As I've blogged before, I am not a huge fan of the new Mick Fanning-robotic-jock style of surfing occurring on the ASP world tour. In my opinion it's what stifled Kalani Robb's career. It stiffened up the flow and speed of Hawaii's best-ever prospect (before John John). Once the fastest surfer on the planet, Robb's style became heavy-footed and laborious. Jordy started hitting the weight room two seasons ago and in my opinion his contest surfing has suffered. Surfers like Jordy, Mick, Taylor, Adriano, and sadly now even Julian are too muscly and technical. There's no expressiveness to their surfing. There's no fun. No joy. Certainly no playfulness. At its best, surfing displays these elements. Parko and Dane seem to exude both muscle, playful progression, and style. Certainly Kelly and Taj do too. I had always seen Jordy Smith as capable of joining the company of those aforementioned surfers, but somewhere along the way he became committed to a mechanical style that appeases ASP judges.

I'd written Jordy off until seeing this video posted on Surfline the other day.

Why can't Jordy surf like this in heats? Playful, powerful, expressive! Jesus Christ! The waves look like New England on a good day and given their size this is one of the most exciting surf clips I've seen. Jordy is clearly on the same level as Dane and Parko and the ASP needs to find a way in which contest surfing resembles this type of surfing. It's amazing that a human being can ride a wave like this. This clip is like walking into the Louvre and standing before the Mona Lisa. No, fuck that. It's better than the Mona Lisa. This Jordy clip is the new way for humans to stand before the work of another human awestruck. The ASP is blowing it. Surfing is one of the most beautiful human activities and they've managed to stiffen it up and make it soulless. ASP heats reward playing it safe. They reward self-dehumanization. If they want to promote the true wonders of our sport they should reinvent surf contest heats. If they want to sell Quiksilver tee shirts to kids in Iowa, then whatever, keep promoting the overly technical, soulless aerial wizardry of Gabriel Medina and the robo-jock lip bashing of Mick Fanning. Surfing isn't just a sport. It's not quite art. It's something else and should be exhibited as such. It should always look something like this clip.