Surfing you must see to believe!
This video affirms two long-held beliefs.
1. John John is the best surfer in the world (sorry, Dane).
2. Competitive surfing is soooooo dull.
The contrast between the front half of this clip and the back is startling. John wins Haleiwa surfing to maybe fifty percent of his abilities. He then loses at Sunset with aggressive, committed surfing and flunks at Pipe because of poor wave choice.
But the second half of the vid… by gosh some of the best surfing I’ve seen. Better than Dane in Sampler, better than Jordy in …whatever his movie was called. It’s just fantastic! Full speed, full-rail, full commitment in waves of power and pain. No one looks more comfortable on a surfboard than a jersey-less John.
At the end of the clip he states, “I’m gonna go after another world title, one-hundred percent.” While this thrills part of me — for I want nothing more than a decade-long duel between John and Gab, wherein the white man eventually reigns supreme — another part can’t help but wonder what we’re losing in that pursuit. I know I’m not alone in that.
For instance, Albee Layer had this to say after being asked about his and John’s battle to land the first backside 540/720: “[John] showed me a clip of him over-rotating a backside spin, and I showed him one of me doing the same thing. So it started a bit of a battle. I mean, I think if he put half the energy I did into it he probably would have made it, but this year he just shifted his whole focus onto contest surfing. Which personally, I just hate [laughs], thinking about the progression he could do for surfing.”
John is great for competitive surfing, but he’s an even greater barometer for what’s physically possible in the sport. If he’s working towards titles, that means he’s at least partly forgoing the pursuit of progression. Woe is me.