Did you spot history being made today? Maybe you didn’t recognize it—it’s often hard when it’s happening right there in front of you, but make no mistake, today is a day we in the media world will be talking about for years, because to date, it’s the day the New Millennials sent their biggest message of what the future is going to look like. Yes, Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith shocked the ASP establishment today by taking down two of its biggest leaders, Mick Fanning and Andy Irons, two surfers who just happen to be smack dab in the middle of a title hunt. This after they removed two other title contenders yesterday in Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson.
Perhaps, in the spirit of this day, we should probably remind you of some other pivotal surfing eras that have been ushered in at Trestles, take just a couple of guys you may have heard of, like say, Tom Curren, or that other guy, Kelly Slater. Yup, they both won their first pro surfing events at Trestles. Slater fans will never forget Black & White, the video that chronicled his historic week in 1990. Now, I know what you’re thinking… today wasn’t the final day, and this event is far from over, and you’re completely right in that regard. Yet let’s be real: history was made today. That’s because any time, in any sport, two highly touted up-and-comers deliver on the hype they’ve been getting by taking down the world’s best, changing the whole dynamic of the world title hunt in the process, well, let’s face it, this might as well have been the final day, because these are the guys we’ll be talking about when this event, and this whole season, is wrapped.
Even better was all the buildup surrounding these clashes. And for a change, the hype was well deserved, especially since Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds are sitting at the very top of the WQS ratings, having already clinched World Tour slots for next year, not to mention Andy is Andy and Mick is Mick.
In case you haven’t noticed, Reynolds and Smith represent the tip of a very long spear that is the next generation. They’re the first surfers who’ve had their surfing come of age in the 21st century. The first to have a solid aerial attack to be listed as a prerequisite to a solid foundation, much like a good roundhouse cutback.
They are the New Millennials.
These guys, and those rising along with them, will be changing things just like Slater and his New School generation did to Old Schoolers like Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo, and they’ll be doing it with a new level of acrobatics that were once thought impossible, but have become second nature to their breed.
Both Dane and Jordy used rotating aerial moves to take down their competitors— the kind of stuff normally reserved for videos. Yet, they are so confident in their abilities to pull these moves at will that they don’t hesitate to bust them out in heat situations, which is something the judges and their fellow competitors are having a tough time dealing with. Everyone seems a little shell shocked by it all. The new energy being pumped into the water is palpable. Trust me, this is just the beginning.
Of course, some are dealing with the new threat better than others. Kelly Slater went toe-to-toe with Dane Reynolds in their first round heat on Monday, trading blows, and eventually sending the rookie into the elimination round, where he put a serious dent in Taj Burrow’s title hopes. Meanwhile, both Fanning and Irons couldn’t quite match the stunts being put up by the duo. Both fell on their attempts to match them move for move.
Now that Reynolds and Smith have eliminated most of the big names in front of them, it looks as if they have an easier road to the late rounds, where one of them could easily meet up with the boss-man himself, Kelly Slater. Slater needs a very solid result to get the title firmly within reach. It’s very likely he’ll have to face one, if not both of these guys to make that happen. Ah…this is why history is my favorite subject. —Chris M