The True Aqua Athletes
by Corky Carroll
Through the years there have been many great surfers that more than less were specialists in a certain aspect. Some have been expert big wave riders, others expert small wave riders and some expert middle size wave riders. For instance, you have guys like Greg Noll, who was famous for fearlessly riding giant waves yet was pretty much an average small wave rider. One the other hand there was the great East Coast Champion Gary Proper, the dude could ride tiny waves better than just about anybody ever could. But didn’t like the big ones.
There have also been many surfers remembered for certain parts of surfing that they were really good at. Like David Nuuhiwa, who was the greatest “noserider” of the great noseriding era of the 1960’s. Barry Kanaiaupuni was well known for his monster bottom turns at Sunset Beach, on the North Shore. Mike Purpus was well known to have “the best Cutback in the business.” Billy Hamilton and Skip Frye were both respected to have extremely beautiful surfing styles. Gerry Lopez was the man when it came to “tube riding,” and in fact was dubed “Mr Pipeline,” taking the title from the great Butch Van Artsdalen.
There have been some that have been able to ride anything thrown at them well. These are special human beings. Kelly Slater would be one that immediately comes to mind. From tiny Cocoa Beach, Florida ankle snappers to giant Waimea Bay on the North Shore, no problemos. Also on the dance card in this category would be guys like Peter Townend, Jock Sutherland, John Peck, Michael Ho, Reno Abellira, Rolf Aurness and Jeff Hackman. There’s more but my space is limited here.