Scenes From a Dream

DID HE LAND IT?

WaGaLiGong Dulan Surf Hostel Taitung Taiwan
Definitely NOT landed

It’s a common question in skate, surf and windsurf circles. Yes, he might have bailed a kickflip down a ten stair handrail, but that doesn’t really count as a land. In surfing you can’t claim airs that aren’t landed right back onto the wave face. In windsurfing, almost everybody can throw backloops, but it’s rare to see someone land one, and even more rare to land them consistently. A miss is as good as a mile. Photos can always lie..that is, unless they’re taken in sequence. So when a good sequence comes out it’s nice to see the move from beginning to end, landed successfully. Yes, he made it! Below are a few sequences, mostly of aerials, and other moves, captured by intrepid photogs Yong-yi Chen and others.

1.FRONTSIDE AIR IN THE DULAN BOWL (Nov 2019)

I got lucky during the 2019 Wave classic and nailed a frontside air just as the wind started to die and the waves were getting really good. I still remember backdooring this one, coming up and just going for it, not really thinking too much. I was so stoked when I landed it and even more stoked when Yong-yi told me she had got a sequence of it from the point. I like this sequence because it’s shot from an angle which is rarely photographed, ie from the point itself, not from the Cape. Landed? Yes.

2.TAKARA’s MAGIC AERIALS AT LEFTOVERS (Nov 2019)

WaGaLiGong Dulan Surf Hostel Taitung Taiwan
photo of the year – Yong-yi Chen

Takara Ishii from Japan is an aerial master. We lost count of all the aerials he was punting on this day’s sailing at Leftovers, Jinzun. The crazy thing about this is not actually the move, but the place itself – the inside bowl at Leftovers. Look at the photo above and you’ll notice, from a different angle, how close Takara is doing these aerials to the shore. If he was to fall here he would go straight to the windless beach via the washing machine shorebreak.

WaGaLiGong Dulan Surf Hostel Taitung Taiwan
Takara timing the sets to get back out

Takara landed several beautiful textbook aerials right at this spot, but he also did crash a couple times and got washed right through the infamous shorebreak onto the beach (see photo above). Instead of walking all the way back up to the safer launch area near the bunker, Takara would just time the sets, run down into the water and throw his gear and swim for it till he was in the safety of the channel.

Check out the full sequence of one of Takara‘s magic aerials below.

3.OFF THE LIP AT THE BUNKER, JINZUN (Nov 2019)

This off-the-lip, right in front of the bunker at Jinzun, should have been stomped, stamped and declared legit at customs..however it didn’t end up that way. It started well, the bottom turn put me in exactly the place I need to be to hit the lip as it cascaded towards me. I went up the face, got the kick as the lip pitched, but as I came down on the foamball, the turbulence just ate me up, spat me out and caused me a ragdoll drag almost all the way to the shore, holding onto my boom. Being violently dragged along for 50 meters, afraid to lose your gear, while your arm feels like it will be ripped out of its socket. Oh the pleasure and the pain. Hero or zero? Zero.

4.FORWARD LOOP AT BOB’S REEF (circa 2013)

I still remember this day. Bob’s reef in about 25 knots. It was Howard Chang‘s first trip to Taitung. Nico brought him down to show us a thing or two. It was an eye opener for all of us – we had never seen anything like it. A display of pure power, style and skill. Watching Howard was like hearing heavy metal for the first time. The guy was unstoppable and so much better than any of us that it was both inspiring and devastating at the same time. I remember this forward clearly because I doubt I will ever do anything like it ever again. And the only reason I did it was because of Howard’s unearthly presence at that moment. I had been having a pretty average session, crashing my wave rides and watching Howard do everything from grubbies to aerials to big solid hacks on every wave he rode. We were both racing out, maxed out on 4.5s, just meters apart, when this shoulder high ramp appeared and I just sent it right in front of Howard. I remember the wave whipping me skyward and I immediately started the rotation, going endo (end over end). It was surreal because time seemed to stand still and at the same time the ‘whip’ happened so fast. But I remember that at the apex of the rotation I sheeted out slightly and managed to slow down the descent. Therefore, I landed relatively softly on my tail. Howard had slowed down behind me to watch and saw the whole thing. He he gave me a yell of approval, which I will never forget. Like a shaka from Kelly Slater. Landed? 100%.

To be continued..