Surfing Life 313: Slabs and Punts.
There is nothing else that matters in Australian surfing. Not bottom turns, reos, cutbacks or floaters. Not head dips, noserides, carving threes and chop-hops. If you’re not paddling your guts out to hurl yourself over a vicious, triple-stepped mutant nugget, or hurtling down the line at warp speed so that you may huck yourself into the knee-threatening flats, then you’re wasting your, and our, time. Give it up. Quit surfing now. Buy a boogie board and a pair of rollerblades and a goat boat and a set of those little wooden paddle bat things, and some dick stickers and give it up. Retire now.
Not really, but kind of.
At the pointy end of surfing, the end where the boundaries are always expanding, slabs – paddling into mutant barrels – and punts – everything above the lip – are all that matter. The former is pushing the limits of what can be surfed, opening up never-before-attempted barrels to a brave few, while the rest of us are inspired by their escapades to put ourselves into liquid messes that before we wouldn’t have. Punt surfing is more about what the body is capable of than the mind, pushing performance higher and higher into the sky. We are at the tipping point of both disciplines, and we’re seeing unparalleled progression where it matters. It’s an exciting time to be a surfer.
For the SLABS section of the magazine Jed Smith takes us on a tour of slab surfing’s short, but very rich, Australian history. Shark Island, The Box, The Zone, Shipsterns, Ours. We find out who was first, what hurts the most, how it’s possible and who’s the best out there. Combined with the best images from recent swells, this feature is going to put you over the edge.
PUNTS is more of a what and why than a who, where and when. We’ll walk you through the naming of aerials, including all of the grabs that matter, and make some calls as to what’s hot and what’s not above the lip. Then we got Chippa Wilson to give us a little walk-through as to how to get it done. You won’t be punting like him any time soon, but you’ll be catching more totally radical air than you are now.
Josh Kerr lets us in on why he’s such a double threat when it comes to being above, or very far below, the lip. We objectify Lakey Peterson, the best aerial surfer with two X-chromosomes, Ryan Callinan tells us why it’s best to be a member of Merewether Boardriders and we test some gear, and ramble on a bit, in The Wire.
Oh, and we’ve got a guide to the best sunglasses in the biz. We call them “face improvers” and not only will these suckers make you look better, they’ll protect your beautiful eyes from the sun’s harsh rays.
Slabs and punts and sunnies, nothing else matters.