When I was a grom I used to obsess about carving 360’s. Whenever I used to surf my home break, which is a good beachbreak peak with a long tapering left off the peak, and a short, bowly right, I always used to go the right. I would take off, go straight down, or maybe even fade a bit off the bottom, then crank the squarest bottom turn I could. I would head up the wave as straight as I could go, then I would hit the lip and try twist my board and my body around into a carving 360. I must have tried this turn a thousand times, I must have blown as many waves. I came so close so many times but never actually pulled one off cleanly. I never got around to continue riding the wave out. I got stuck in the whitewater, lost speed, dug rail, fell off sideways. Yet I carried on trying.
My friends always told me to leave them, and to concentrate on cut-backs, carves and other such classic, perennial moves, but I wanted to be the first to pull off a carving 360. I was determined, and the determination over-rode common sense by quite a long way I guess.
In mags and on websites, every single new move and classic move has been described, freeze-framed and analysed for the world to see, and to copy. Every air and aerial variation, every Superman, Shove-it, Kerr-rupt Flip, board swapping stupid stunt or whatever else has gotten ink in some mag somewhere for the groms and kids to study and to copy. Every reverse, flip, slide, snap, barrel, style and boost has been examined, broken down and explained. Nothing is sacred. Occy learns how to do airs from AI, AI learns from Bruce, Tim learns from Nathan who learned from Pottz who described every nuance of new school surfing to the mags, who forwarded the message to the adulating readers. It’s a natural thing in this ever-evolving and dynamic sport of ours – we all want to learn, to be cutting edge, new school. We all want to rock. Yet no one ever bothered to reveal the secrets behind the carving 360. This is something I just can’t fathom.
Is it too hard? Is it like one of those impossible backhand 360 airs that is only ever pulled off by world champs and such like? Or is it like the backhand 360 pulled off by Cheyne Horan seconds after the siren – a fuck you statement to show that you’re a master, in control of the waves, dominant amongst a scurrying pack of alpha males? Or is there some sort of secret? Do the top surfers want to keep some things secret, ‘coz let’s face it – there sure are some big secrets out there.
For example – how does Dorian keep his line at Teahupoo and not get eaten by the biggest, most ferocious foamball on the planet? How does Occy not bog his rail on those power gouges? How does Koby manage to negotiate those lumps at Ours? How does anyone actually make a wave at Shipsterns? Why do the North Shore thugs not get arrested for assault? Why is there so much emphasis on the girls’ tour? How the hell do you do a carving 360?
I want to pull off one carving 360, regardless of how many waves I waste or how much my mates tell me to stop.
It’s not like it’s a lame move either. I got a copy of Campaign 2 on DVD the other day, and everyone is still doing them. From Kelly, to Andy, to everyone else on the movie. They do it so easily as well, kind of looks like a bit of a bore to these guys, just a quick move to do when there isn’t enough lip line to launch a massive air or not enough face to gouge it away, quickly throw in a carving 360.
Well, maybe it is a secret. Maybe the top surfers don’t want to reveal this one. Maybe I’m just being paranoid and the mags have covered it in the past and I’ve just never seen the coverage. Maybe I’m just whining because I can’t do them, can’t work ‘em out, and need some help..
Some people want to win another world title, some people want to win their first. Some people want to surf a 100-foot wave, others want to surf Chopes as big as it gets. Some hardy surfers want to find new waves off the coasts of Russia or Taiwan, others want to find their private waves amongst the atolls and warm waterways of the Maldives or the Mentawais. Some older surfers just want to have a quick session every day. Some want to visit J-Bay for the first time, some want to visit for the last time. Some people want to give up drinking, others want to start smoking. Me, I want to pull off one carving 360, regardless of how many waves I waste or how much my mates tell me to stop. It’s my 2006 resolution. What’s yours?
Images: Andy Irons endures the almost unbearable tedium of yet another (yawn) carving 360 in the Mentalwais. Sequence: Screen grabs from Campaign 2