The Surfer’s Journal is proudly reader-supported since 1992. We rely on membership rather than advertising to remain commercially quiet. Become a member below and gain access to every article ever published along with many other TSJ member-only benefits.
There’s not much theater in a sure thing. A break-even hedge doesn’t get the heart racing like a 12-team parlay. And it’s not just the risk that keeps us fascinated, entertained, engaged, and coming back for more. It’s one’s willingness to take it, and that their low odds might just pay off. Nobody struts quite like a bull rider who’s earned his limp.
Surfing, of course, follows the same pattern. It runs on moments marked by feeling something Photos by Tom Carey dangerous—both the literal and the figurative. Think Phil Edwards’ first steps at Pipeline. Greg Noll’s walk-off at Makaha. Larry Bertlemann’s spin-outs in Town. Flea’s free fall at the Eddie. Bruce Irons’ moon shots at Hollow Trees. Clay Marzo’s fully torqued laybacks, as seen here, the product of high-speed gut reaction. The list goes on. Hell, recall your own high points. There’s guaranteed to be some make-it-or-break-it involved.
What all of them share is a reliance on a lifetime of instinct and a full dose of “fuck it,” all for the sake of the thrill. And that approach, at its core, drips in one of style’s most unmistakable and unfakeable traits: supreme, devil-may-care confidence.