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Albee Layer Lands Surfing’s First Backside 540

Posted November 21, 2016, 07:27 AM HST Updated November 22, 2016, 09:53 AM HST
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Today, Albee Layer shut down the Internet with the release of his latest edit; in which he made history and landed a backside 540 air (again). He actually landed it for the first time about a month ago but it wasn’t filmed. No other surfer has completed a maneuver like this and now Albee’s pulled it twice. Three days ago on Nov. 18, after a year and a half of attempts, everything finally came together.

“You know, the beginning of last year I got so close I thought ‘I can actually do this’. The mental step was done. Then all of a sudden, it was Jaws nonstop. I think I tried one air in the barrage of swells.” he said during a video interview with Dan Norkunas. “I was pretty much just furious by the end of the year, after so many tries, broken boards, and hurting my body. I was really focused this year to get it done, and get it done early. Every session was a failure if I didn’t land it. For me to do a trick like this, I needed to spend more time on it than anyone else.”

Albee’s name is synonymous with progressive surfing, whether he’s getting barreled at Peʻahi, or stomping huge technical airs. And with no shortage of talent here on Maui, things are moving fast. Very fast. Since his 2012 $100,000 win of Innersection, an online video contest, his name and pursuits have only gotten bigger and better.

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“Everyone has their own pursuit in surfing. I made a conscious decision to put all my focus and passion into progression. That’s what gives me the most joy. I don’t even think we’re close to what we can do on a surfboard. We’ll be looking at this in ten, fifteen years and laughing at it like,’how’s that double chop-hop’. It’s just a matter of trying to dream up what’s next, as soon as possible.”

As for the future of surfing, I can barely even imagine. It will be exciting to see what the 26-year-old from Haʻikū will come up with next. Congrats Albee. As for filming and editing, great work by Dan Norkunas of Take Shelter Productions, and Marc Chambers. Dan said it best, “Inspiration runs deep on the Valley Isle. It’s amazing that so much is accomplished by such a strong group of individuals in such a small part of the world.” To me, that is exactly why Maui is Nō Ka ‘Oi.

 

Nick Ricca
Nick is a surf photographer, filmmaker, and writer from Maui. He has built his career shooting locally and alongside major brands, such as Vissla. He is a contributor to Freesurf Magazine.
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