Jeremy Flores, fakie floater, Panama. Photo: Timo
The 100 greatest surfers of all time seemed like a good idea at the time. A good idea in broad terms, and a better concept to celebrate the SE ton at least, rather than regurgitating pages and pages of mags past with that wretched self-fascination. ‘Look at our hair in 1999! And our baggy Carharts!’ That oft-perpetrated, nauseating navel gazing. No, not that. Because, really, who cares? So we sat down to compile the 100. There was no official vote. There was no Gallop sample of at least 15,000 to make it legit. This is not a reflection of our vast audience’s diverse, informing taste. None of that. This is just what we did.
We drank beer and also wine. We ate cheese and biscuits. We consulted the shaman. We meditated. We ohm’d. We thought deep and hard. Considerably deeper than we typically tube ride. Someone would say “What about so- and-so” and we’d frown and shake heads and snort, “you wanker.” Then, after a passage of time, climb down meekly, “oK yeah perhaps he can go in upper 80’s somewhere.”
We were conscious of our grom glory years, being mostly 30-somethings. We were paranoid about a Good Times/Focus love in. We mused identity issues like, “Should we push the Euros in it, bearing in mind the title of our rag?” We promptly decided to have no truck with racial quotas. A meritocracy then, even if, admittedly, a subjective one. After all, that was our only real shot at it. With this kind of thing only really being done by either American or Aussie titles before, herein lay our chance at giving bias to neither.
So in the end, this is what we came up with. We think it’s a reasonable little collection of 100 greats. Great meaning very big, great meaning very good. There are 7 women in our 100. 1 father son combo. 2 twins, 2 brothers, 2 Brazilians. I world title influenced by jihad. (not Khodr, actual). I bahai convertee, 1 former Hare Krishna, 1 transexual, 2 surfers who lost eyes to leash accidents. Images depicting one naked buttock, one member of INXS, one silk robe, one large glass of beer, one regular glass of wine, countless shakas.
We’d love the result to incur a wee sporting debate, perhaps even an argument, between passionate, partisan surf fan readers. If someone gives a bro a Chinese burn when the whole Damo vs. CJ debate gets a little heated, so be it. This is not aimed at being factual document, it is not Wisden. Statistics are few and far between.
It was meant as an entertaining, engaging, maybe even informative read between surfs. Which is something we’ve been thanked for/asked for a closer approximation of to varying degrees over the past 99 issues.
Here’s to a few more.
– Paul Evans