5. The Recession
Budgets were cut. Surfers were dropped. Employees were sent packing. Stock prices tanked. Brands went out of business. No one was safe from the 2009 Velcro Valley Chainsaw Massacre. In 2010 surf company executives won’t be counting barrels in Tavarua. They’ll be counting their fingers hoping whoever they borrowed from to keep afloat doesn’t come looking to collect. Some say the worst is over. If the fat lady is singing, she’s a little off key at the moment.
4. The Modern Collective and the Emergence of the New Guard
I’m still no buying the whole “fuck perfect surf for onshore breakbreak blowouts,” credo but you have to hand it to Kai Neville and cast for producing the most talked about surf film in years. It lived up to the hype. Jordy Smith amazed and Dane breezed into the top 10 of the ratings. With the addition of Dusty Payne, half of the MC crew is on the WCT tour and ready to Rock the Casbah. Conversely, Owen Wright might just expose What is Really Going Wrong.
3. The Rebel Tour
It’s on. It’s off. It’s on. It’s off. It’s ON? Rumors and speculation ran rampant. Nobody is talking about it yet everyone is talking about it. The ASP surfers, with agreements in place to not comment on the situation, are like Skull and Bonesmen at this point. Talk about the Slater/Rebel Tour and ASP brass will don gothic cloaks and give it to you “Thank you sir may I have another” style. If nothing else, Slater forced the ASP to take a hard look in the mirror. Adjustments to structure have already been made and we’ll be watching as the evolution of pro surfing takes a new-fangled shape in 2010.
2. Mick Fanning Wins Number 2
Say the following sentence out loud. Mick Fanning is a two-time world champion. Repeat. Mick Fanning is a two-time world champion. Now wash your mouth out with soap. Are we Inglorious Basterds for wanting more from an ASP champ? Hardcore surf fans want drunken debauchery and surfing with reckless abandon, not protein shakes, core training and tactical two-to-the-beach jerk off sessions. You have to hand it to Mick regardless. It was a hard-fought duel with best mate Joel Parkinson and Mick came out on top of the bromance. Somewhere in Australia Damien Hardman is doing a Jersey Shore fist pump but secretly hoping Mick (like the rest of us) doesn’t win a third.
1. Eddie Does Go
The most prestigious event in surfing was held for the first time in four years and only the seventh time in its 25-year history. It was worth the wait. When Clyde Aikau, 60, brother to legendary Hawaiian patriarch Eddie Aikau, dropped into a 20-foot Waimea beast last week all felt right in the world. San Clemente big-wave specialist Greg Long rode into surfing history by beating Kelly Slater. Arguably the best big-wave surfer in the world is from San Clemente. The best surfer of all time hails from wave-starved Florida. At this point I would not be surprised if an Asian driver named Long Duk Dong wins the Indy 500. As we say aloha to 2009, Eddie Aikau is looking down from the heavens and smiling.