Albee Layer doesn’t hesitate to tell it how it is.His insight’s as polarising as it is astute. After they called off the first round of The Margaret River Pro, the winds kicked and John Florence blasted an air that eclipsed anything done in a jersey throughout the course of a carve-filled day. After the footage dropped, Mr Layer wrote on Instagram:
Haha hate to say told you so…. Wait I love saying that haha duh but see devil winds not what it used to be, the boys wanna fly let um.
Some of the best contest manoeuvres have been executed in less than favourable conditions. Last year at Peniche, in sloppy surf, Italo Ferriera launched a backside air reverse that rivalled that of John’s oop at Keramas and Julian Wilson’s oop in Portugal. In 2010 Josh Kerr won Margies with two airs into the wind for a perfect 10, back when it was a six star prime. As rail work has always been the solidifier for well-rounded surfing among the youth, aerial progression continues to advance exponentially and no one’s leading the evolution more than the Maui crew. Albee, when he’s not getting more slotted than anyone ever thought possible in the Jaws bowl, is spending his time kicking 540s, Judos, and a stack of shit you have to rewind to fathom the physics. It’s a brave new world out there, so should we be clipping the wings of the tour’s best fly-boys? Here’s Mr Layer’s take:
Stab: Can Margaret River be a more progressive spot on tour than say somewhere like Lowers?
Albee: Yes, absolutely, the constant trade winds into the rights create some of the best air winds in the world. That’s why every film crew makes a trip to West Oz every year. The waves there are really punchy and with the combo of strong winds it creates the perfect scenario for good airs.
When they called it off, the waves looked like shit and it was boring. You think they should wait to run the event until winds are good for airs? No, I think they should’ve run straight through. It’s super fun to watch when it’s glassy and guys are ripping turns. But the CT is supposed to be the best surfers in the world and if they can’t adapt to good air waves as well as good turn waves, then that’s not being the best surfer in the world. Surfing good in one kind of condition doesn’t make you that, surfing everything does. If they ran through, a lot of guys on the CT would adapt and think, ok, I’m going to stop doing turns, now it’s time for airs.
Do you think guys are afraid to take to the air because they fear being underscored? I think they get discouraged in the judging. The risk isn’t worth the reward a lot of the time. What bothers me most is it seems like the longer somebody’s on tour the less airs they do. From what I can see, everybody goes in surfing different and comes out surfing similar in a way, and that sucks… The beauty of surfing is it’s about individual expression, that’s the way I feel about it at least.
Who are the best aerialists on tour? John John obviously, every single one of the Brazilians do good airs, and Jack Freestone.
I’ve heard you talk about how there should be a reward for the guy who puts together the best clip at the end of the year based solely off the surfing they do in heats. That’s a great idea. How would it work out? I’m pretty sure it’d be easy to do. They could make all the heat recaps downloadable, then have a contest where kids everywhere have a chance to edit their favourite surfer’s part. They wouldn’t have to pay to edit and there’d be a little prize for whoever put together the winning clip. They’d get all this free edited content and the winning part would get at least 100k views, for sure. The person with the best highlight reel is getting just as many people watching the tour as the person winning the title, and that’s not always the same person.
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