Brad Gerlach on who lights up Lowers on the occasion of the Hurley Pro, day one…
Brad Gerlach is the 40-something former world number two, fashion maven (Banks) and surf coach (with book of advanced surfing techniques coming out next spring) who, let’s be honest, ain’t so into stroking his days away at surf events.
“I don’t fucking watch that much,” he says. “My life is fucking exciting and fun and to stop and watch… it’s a fucking arrogant thing to say but the contests are too slow a lot of the time. I have my favourite guys and I watch the replays.”
As part of the event, Gerlach will surf a heat with commentator and ’89 champ Martin Potter. And to bring a little show into the game, Gerlach had the LA-based fashion photographer Kane Skennar shoot this rad photo (with notes of Grace Jones, David Bowie and Steve McQueen) to publicise the heat. The ASP, howevs, reacted with horror.
“They thought it was too racey, too much bikini in it. Dude, it’s laughable. Don’t we do our fucking sport at the beach? And don’t they wear bikinis at the beach? It brings a bit of showmanship to the fucking thing. Instead of (and here Gerr puts on mid-west hick voice) ‘Oh! Two old dudes, you got a couple of old dudes!’ Fuck that! If I was still on tour, I’d be fucking bringing the show. These guys need some serious consultation!”
As far as an observer of technique goes, Gerlach is without peer. I wanted to find out whose surfing at Trestles hits him just… there.
1. Gabriel Medina
You wanna know why? Medina’s posture is really good. His arms are a little fucked up but he has this spring in his legs and he doesn’t look too predictable. He has a lot of spark in his surfing and if he cleaned up his arms a little bit, if he hired me to coach him for a couple of weeks, I’d find all these places to make his surfing look prettier and make his transitions smoother. But right now he’s so fucking good and gnarly and fun to watch. I learn from him every time. I don’t think he knows how to do a nuts frontside carve, however. He kinda slams it and he doesn’t torque it enough. I’d love to teach him that one.
2. Jordy Smith
He’s a big smooth cat. His technique is so good and his ass is really, really low. The whole magic to a good surfer is having that low centre of gravity and having a straight back. Because if your posture is really good you barely have to put weight on your toes or your heels to turn. Think of the best golfers in the world and their swing. It’s effortless because the posture is really good and the head of the club does a perfect circle. There’s very little effort but the goes 350 yards. It’s the same with posture and surfing.
3. Felipe Toledo
He’s unpredictable with a lot of board control. His posture is good but his arms are fucked up a little too. But so were mine at 18. But there’s substance coming through. His back is good and straight and he’s low to his board. He’s technically really, really good.
4. Dane Reynolds
I’d love to see Reynolds in the event. His technique is so fucking good. But what’s interesting about Dane is when he’s going down the line he looks horrible. He does so much shit with his arms. I think he does it on purpose. He has to. I think he does it to look ugly. He’s such an artist that he wants to look raw; he doesn’t want to look too polished. He has the best style in his turns. His arms are amazing, his butt is super, super low and he’s very, very powerful without being a brute. He has that hidden competitiveness and comes across as an annoying underachiever, like Rob Machado, sometimes. It’s so annoying! Why don’t you just try so we can watch you? You fucking asshole! It’s okay that you care! We won’t think you’re uncool! Dane’s a funny speech giver too. He’s a rad dude
5. Conner Coffin
Yeah, I wish Conner was in this event. Because I fucking coach him, of course, but he really fucking gouges the wave. When he connects on a turn you can… feel it. Conner’s got that thing that just gets you in the guts.