While a fierce battle for the ASP world championship is being waged in the grinding beachbreak of La Graviere in Hossegor, things are decidedly more mellow this week down in Biarritz, at Les Cote des Basques, a languorous break more suited for most surfing mortals.
That’s where Vans and Joel Tudor are hosting another round of Joel’s Duct Tape Invitational, a series that is undoubtedly (sorry ASP, ISA, and the rest) the world’s premier longboard tour. There’s a simple reason why: these guys actually longboard. In fact, if any competitor is caught partaking in blasphemous movement — hopping, doing layback snaps, off the lips, etc. — there’s a good chance that Tudor, an ardent traditionalist (and a Jiu-Jitsu champion in his spare time) will have their head when they come to shore. Fortunately, this series doesn’t attract that type of surfer.
What it does do is remind everyone how beautiful good longboarding is, while showcasing just how “progressive” it’s become thanks to the latest crop of diehard style masters, including Alex Knost, Tyler Warren, Harrison Roach, etc. Unlike the hideous hopping longboarders we’re exposed to in most international competitions, with their ultra-light swizzle sticks, the Duct Tape Invitational demands a more traditional approach because the boards have to be a certain weight: heavy.
As a result, there’s little faking it. Hips must turn. Knees gotta drop. And toes can only hang over after the feet have crossed over in silky smooth style. There’s no faking style in this league. Titles or not, this is the real deal in longboarding.