U.S. Open Recap: The Rise of the Air Reverse

Photo courtesy of surfersvillage.com

Photo courtesy of surfersvillage.com

The best—or craziest, or most crowded, or whatever adjective you choose—week of the year at Huntington has ended, and Julian Wilson walks away with the most prestigious contest win of his young career. There were lots of memorable moments from this year’s comp—anyone see Dane Reynolds’s backside tail-waft snap-things?—but what I might remember most was that this contest was defined by a single move: the air reverse.

I briefly started watching the heats on demand to count how many air reverses were attempted in the pro men’s division throughout the contest, but it just seemed too daunting. So I’m going to make the claim that this year’s U.S. open featured more air-reverse attempts than any previous pro men’s contest. If you want to try to prove me wrong by watching a few hours of heats on demand, go for it. But either way, anyone watching this year’s U.S. Open saw an enormous number of air reverses. As Kelly Slater said from the guest commentator’s tower, “Everyone’s sticking air reverses. It’s literally the new drop in. It’s almost like nothing.”

Let’s back up for a second. Even pro surfers and pro-surfing commentators can get a little loose on their terminology sometimes, but for our purposes here an air reverse is that it’s when a surfer and his board leave the water completely and rotates his tail in the direction they’re moving down the wave and land with their fins forward. If that’s confusing, check out the first four tricks on the U.S. Open highlights video. Those are frontside air reverses, and good ones too. Backside air reverses are the same thing but—you guessed it—when a surfer’s going backside. A lot of times you’ll see surfers continue to spin after they land so that they’re again facing forward, but don’t be fooled—it’s still an air reverse. If the full spin is done in the air, it’s a full-rotation, like this, and it’s generally awesome.

Photo courtesy of stabmag.com

Photo courtesy of stabmag.com

Okay. So now that we’re all brushed up on our terminology: why were there so many air reverses at this year’s U.S. Open? Well, the air-reverse is a cool, crowd-pleasing move and—unlike big barrels or gouging turns—air reverses are one of the few cool, crowd-pleasing moves that can be done on two-to-three-foot onshore semi-closeout beachbreak, a la the Huntington Pier.

And, more importantly, this was a contest, and air reverses are one of the higher scoring moves a surfer can do on a closeout. Some of the heats didn’t offer too many open-faced waves, which means that the surfers either had to settle for low scores or make something happen on a bad wave—and usually that something was an air-reverse. All of the quarterfinal heats were won with the help of an air reverse. Without a reliable air game, you can’t get far in a tournament of less-than-perfect waves.

But an air-game alone didn’t win the contest. Julian Wilson—one of the best air-reversers out there—won his finals heat with traditional turns, four meaty backside snaps on two different waves. He won his quarterfinal against John John with one air reverse and one wave that was just smart competitive surfing—all he needed was a mid-range three, and instead of doing an air reverse he did a small no-rotation air. It was an air Julian would probably be embarrassed of in a free surf, but it got him the score he needed to edge out John John. Julian showed that he had the whole package: smart surfing, top-notch turns, and, yes, a solid air reverse.

Team Etnies Autograph Signing at Jack’s in Huntington Beach

Stop by Jack’s Surfboards in Huntington Beach during the US Open of Surfing, August 4th at 11:00 am to meet Team Etnies. Autograph signing with Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro will all be on hand to sign autographs and do a few giveaways. Get there early! The fist 50 people get a free Etnies hat.

Meet Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro

Meet Ryan Sheckler, Brett Simpson, Mason Ho, Wilko, Nick Garcia, Tyler Bledsoe, Levi Sherwood and Chris Del Moro

U.S. Open of Surfing Hits Jack’s Surfboards in Huntington Beach

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The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing—the annual concert and massive beach party with a surf comp on the side—is descending on Huntington Beach this week. There’ll be concerts, skate comps, and thousands and thousands of beachgoers, but the real show is still in the water. Here are a few of the things we here at Jack’s Surfboards are looking forward to.

Watching Jack’s Team Riders

We’re used to seeing John John Florence charging at Pipe and South Pacific reefs, but a John John sighting at Huntington Beach is rare indeed. John’s been holding his own on the ASP World Tour this year, and no one would be surprised if he won the U.S. Open.

Team riders Pat and Tanner Gudauskas will also be in the pro men’s mix. They’re SoCal natives and no strangers to Huntington, and we’re hoping their local knowledge and top-notch air abilities will see them deep into the contest. Pat’s been known to throw the occasional rodeo flip, and Tanner rips on waves of any size. Whatever happens, these guys put on a show whenever they’re in the water and are always worth watching.

Junior Men’s Surf Comp

The Pro Men’s events tend to get all the attention, but the Junior Men’s division is where you can see future world champs cut their teeth. So don’t be surprised to see surfing on par—and sometimes even better—than the Pro Men’s division. We’ll be cheering on Jack’s Team riders Jeremy Carter, Derek Peters, and Bobby Okvist. These kids are good, and hungry, and definitely worth watching.

The Best Pros on Everyday Waves

The official forecast for the event predicts contestable waves for the start of the event, with a south swell filling in toward the end of the week. “Contestable” at Huntington Beach looks very different from “contestable” at Cloudbreak. Expect waist-to-chest high with decent conditions for most of the event. You’re probably not going to see ten-second barrels—in fact, we’ll guarantee it—but odds are you’ll see some big airs and deep turns. It’s cool watching the world’s best on the sort of waves most of us spend our time on—you see just how good those guys are when they pull something you didn’t think could be done on three-foot beachbreak.

The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing kicks off on Saturday, July 28, and will wrap up on Sunday, August 5. Full event schedule and webcast are at usopenofsurfing.com.

Rip Curl’s Taco Tuesday at Jack’s Dana Point

Rip Curl’s Taco Tuesday Retail Tour rolls down to Jack’s in Dana Point. FREE TACOS!!! Also free custom Rip Curl hats for those who attend and with the purchase of any Rip Curl Mirage boardshort receive a free Rip Curl t-shirt! Plus a surprise athlete guest appearance.

Rip Curl Taco Tuesday

Rip Curl Taco Tuesday