Don't ever call it a 540, y'hear?
In the wake of Albee’s 720, the dead horses that are surfers have been beaten sufficiently when it comes to calling air rotations. However, somehow it is still flooding my newsfeed as a 540. I’ve been saying it since the Slater 540 fiasco. To a skater or snowboarder it is simply baffling that Slater’s air wasn’t a clear 720.
(BeachGrit/Kelly called it an 810. Read that here.)
Stab went so far as censoring my definitive Slater 720 explanation because they vehemently disagreed. It’s like trying to explain color to a blind man. It’s like talking evolution with a bible-thumper. It’s impossible. And annoying. And fruitless. However, I am yet to hear any logical arguments from the other side.
Below is an excerpt from my aforementioned, unpublished Stab breakdown of Slater’s air. While tedious, this should help lift the surf blinders just long enough to let the photo breakdown of Albee’s air penetrate the rational corners of your brain:
In the age of cyber-virality, Slater’s air is already old news, having even made the embarrassing mainstream rounds (queue the kooks at TMZ). However, surf media outlets at first seemed unsure whether or not to call the maneuver a 540 or 720. Now that the dust has settled, it would seem that the consensus reached by the surfing masses is: 540. And that, my friends, is bullshit.
Lets begin with the straight air and work incrementally towards Slater’s pioneering rotation. A straight air, technically speaking, is a 180. While none of the three major board sports would call it a 180 (skateboard/snowboard on a halfpipe/quarterpipe), when you go up a transition forward facing and then come back down the same transition forward facing, some increment of 180 degree turns has to of taken place. For a straight air, the minimum rotation takes place. Therefore, it is a 180.
Now lets move on to the air reverse. For the air reverse, you go up forward, land backwards and continue the rotation on the face/whitewater of the wave. The rotation in the air is therefore 180 degrees more than the previously mentioned straight air. 180 +180 = 360. While this is absolute common knowledge in skateboarding and snowboarding, for some reason this is the point at which surfing begins to get a bit muddled.
Next, we have the full rotation. Before Slater’s Baleal blast, this was the pinnacle of non-alley-oop rotations (we will discuss the physics of Albee’s double alley-oop another time). If we follow the incremental pattern, the full rotation is 180 degrees more than the air reverse and is therefore a 540. The full rotation occurs in the air, opposed to the air reverse where the final 180 is spun on the face/whitewater. When you go up forward and then land forward on the same transition, it is always going to be a 180 + any increment of 360’s. The initial 180 is the rotation which has you positioned to come back down forward. The only way to continue spinning and still come down forward is to do one or more full 360’s. Therefore, here are the degree spins in which you go up a transition forward and land again on the same transition forward: 180, 540 (180+360), 900 (180+360+360 (remember Tony Hawk?)), 1260 (180+360+360+360) etc.
We are now left with Slater’s self-proclaimed “aerial.” He goes up forward and lands backwards. As previously discussed, a 540 would always result in the rider landing forward again. What is it then? 540 + 180 = 720. It is that easy.
Now, the only real possible doubt about the rotation is whether or not he launched EXACTLY forward and landed EXACTLY backwards. This, however, is trivial. In skating and snowboarding this is also the case, but does not change what the maneuver is called. If surfing/surfers have such a big problem with this, the pattern of giving rotations alternative names must then continue. 180 = straight air, 360 = air reverse, 540 = full rotation and 720 = ??? Until it is given a name, people need to immediately stop referring to Slater’s 720 as a 540. It is embarrassing to both surfing and board sports as a whole.
Attached is a photo breakdown of Albee’s air, 180 degrees at a time. So easy, a dead-horse surfer can understand. Can someone please try and rebuke this? I am fascinated to see how you came to a 540. Cheers!
And watch again here!