We have opined elsewhere in these pages on the best poo-stances in the business, but what about the best surfing styles? And what does it even mean, anyway, to have a good or a bad surfing style?
Surfing with a poo-stance doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a second- or third-rate person, despite what (second- or third-rate) people may tell you. A link has yet to be established between unsightly arm-flapping and moral laxity or dull conversation or general unpleasantness.
By the same token, there’s little reason to believe that the stylish surfer will be a more reliable witness in court, a deeper thinker, or better value in the pub.
“Surf style reflects personalities and character,” reckons the Australian national coach Andy King. “You can watch someone surf and know straight away whether you would want to share a beer with ’em.” This is the worst sort of nonsense and you shouldn’t stand for it. No: good surfing style is just good surfing style, and something to be treasured in its own right.
As for the best surfing styles — let’s confine ourselves, for the sake of argument, to the thruster era and onwards — six of them surely belong to belong to Messrs Curren, Irons, Rastovich, Parkinson, Machado, and Miss Gilmore. Smoother than a newly shampooed otter, every one of them.
“Curren could surf better than anyone who could surf more stylishly, and more stylishly than anyone who could surf better”