Boxing The Compass

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YouTube-search Jared Mell, watch four or five clips, and then try to sell yourself on the notion that he isn’t one of the planet’s most stylish and expressionistic surfers. Improvisation plays a large role. Mell doesn’t telegraph his moves. He’ll affect a parallel stance in outlandish situations. He’ll surf switch with total alacrity. And he’ll do all of the above with a quiet upper body, hands foiled just so. It’s pure surfing, but never constipated and stagey. He’s had a rough upbringing, and to this day seems to live by his wits. The benefits of not having been helicopter-parented and surf-coached are obvious—Jared is endlessly creative, streetwise, and resourceful. Nathan Myers reports.