Power Surfing vs Modern Surfing

October 18, 2012, 11:45 AM HST · Updated October 18, 1:35 PM
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 By Carlos Rock

In most of the modern surf movies and clips out there today, the air, the air reverse and the massive throwtail/tail slide has been receiving more praise from the surfing world than traditional power surfing.

Surfers on the ASP World Tour are getting 10s for one huge air. Check Kelly Slater’s air during the Quiksilver Pro New York last year.

You have to hand it to him though, it was really amazing given the circumstances (Kelly needed a big score to beat Taj in the closing minutes and got a 10 with one maneuver on a wave.)

But why is executing a number of solid snaps, hacks, and floaters not getting 10s anymore?

There is something wrong with that. Or maybe it just goes to show that surfing is evolving. We can’t always surf perfect down the line peeling perfection so we are forced to surf often times less than ideal waves that only offer one or two maneuvers.

And that one maneuver has become the air, the throwtail, or the reverse.

Actually surfing a wave from start to finish with speed power and flow, and utilizing every part of the wave to perform a variety of maneuvers has become a thing of the past.

Doing turns has turned into hunting for the big air section and instead of surfing the wave, most people are trying to fly above it and hopefully land it.

However, a wave is usually not a stable landing pad and the surfer will most likely land awkwardly and without any control, wasting the rest of the wave.

You see it all the time; aerialist surfers take off on a wave with one thing in mind, to fly in the air, or blow the fins out losing all control. Yes the move is flashy, but are they wasting other parts of the wave in order to find that one perfect section? Maybe.

Power surfing will always have a place in the surfing world, but it is not receiving enough attention as it should be getting.

However, you do need the proper wave to execute proper power surfing. Laying down power hacks, snaps, floaters, and roundhouses with style and flow are really only suitable for down the line waves like point breaks and reef breaks.

And if it is a barreling wave, good luck trying to bust some airs (Teahupoo, Off the Wall, P-Pass etc.)

Surfing is changing, but power surfing will forever stand the test of time. Especially in Hawaiian heavy waters, it will never get old seeing some guy throw huge buckets of spray on a perfect wave.

For the average surfer, you are better off trying to polish your style by surfing the entire wave with speed and flow, and if the opportunity presents itself, launch one.

But doing a proper top turn and not losing any speed will always be the second best feeling in surfing right behind getting barreled.

For a lesson in power surfing, here’s a clip from the movie One Track Mind.

For the one move on a wave type surfing, here is a clip from a more recent/modern surf movie Lost Atlas.

And, for surfing that will never get old, here’s King Kelly ripping Rincon.

Anyway, something to keep in mind as you feel the pressure to perform the more popular moves of modern surfing versus the traditional solid surfing.

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