Style Takes a Dive

Photo: Art Brewer
Bill Hamilton, 1968
Australia, 1967
Trestles, 1969. Photo: Ron Stoner
Durban, 1968. Photo: Alby Falzon

The shortboard revolution rewrote surfing's performance handbook. The drop-knee cutback, an elegant weight-leveraging move where the surfer bent and lowered his rear leg like a proposing suitor—gone. Parallel-stance trim, gone. Noseriding continued for a year or so, just out of habit, but the shortboard’s thin front end didn’t offer much of a platform, and any noseriding was followed by a quick retreat as the board began pearling. Surfers were inching their way toward the tube, but hadn’t yet...

Style-wise, all bets were off. Even the best surfers in the world had were navigating the new terrain with a lot of torso-twisting, leg-pumping, and arm-waving.