First of all, style is a personal preference—one man’s Crimo is another man’s Curren. That said, here’s our (it’s actually mine, like I said, it’s a personal thing) Top 10 list of all time style bandits… whoever posts a list better than this, judged by the staff here at TWS, will win a free TransWorld SURF hooded sweatshirt, a very stylin’ addition to your wardrobe.—Justin Coté
10 Best Styles In Surfing
#10) Matt Archbold. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
Born and raised in the fast lane of SoCal, Archy was built for speed—and has a tattoo on his neck that confirms the notion. A lot of guys can go fast though. What makes Archy unique is his ability to control all that speed—and look good while doing so. Archy now calls the North Shore of Oahu home, particularly the treacherous section of beach between Off The Wall and Log Cabins, and at age 42 still pulls into closeout barrels with reckless abandon and mad style. While you’ll never be able to emulate his style, you can rock his signature boardshorts from RVCA…
#9) Mark “Occy” Occhilupo. Photo: jackenglish.com
The “Raging Bull” isn’t only a power monger of a surfer; he’s also one of the most stylish. Who can forget Occy’s wild introduction the USA where his go for broke attitude, massive head snaps, and a legendary rivalry with Tom Curren made him an instant favorite of the Seppo Nation. Hell, I got a pair of trunks that hark back to those days…
#8) Richard Cram
Relatively unknown to kids today, Australia’s Richard Cram had the smoothest cutback ever, much like a bar of soap banking around in the bathtub. Once upon a time I delivered a pizza to Crammy, and as people with style do, he tipped well. To check out some of Cram’s handiwork get yourself a copy of one of the 80s premier surf flicks, The Performers.
#7) Rob Machado. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
Any conversation regarding style in surfing has to include Rob Machado. Rail thin and prone to ride any type of surf craft, Machado could be the poster boy for surfing with style. For some real poetry in motion, download The Drifter and watch Rob weave through barrel after barrel in isolated Indonesian perfection.
#6) Dave Rastovich. Photo: Stafford/SPL
Seeing as how going green is so in style right now, how could we leave Rasta off this list? I heard one time he got a 100-yard long barrel at The Pass in Byron Bay—bodysurfing. Now that’s style. Riding an alaia, high performance shortboard, retro fish, or simply bodysurfing, Rasta is another guy that you’ll never catch flailing his arms or floundering around the lineup like an injured bird.
#5) Gerry Lopez. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
At 62-years old, Gerry Lopez continues to be an icon of surf style. This past December, Lopez paddled out for a Pipeline Masters expression session with the likes of Rob Machado, Derek Ho, and Rory Russell, and showed the thousands of spectators on the beach what real style is as he swooped off the bottom at Pipe and into his patented down-the-line soul arch wave after wave. Still on top of his game, Gerry recently did the Volcom Pipeline Pro Web commentary with TransWorld SURF’s Chris Coté and Dave Stansfield where he wisely eschewed the tacky aloha shirt.
#4) Kelly Slater. Photo: jackenglish.com
Frontside or backside, big or small, Kelly Slater has the perfect style. Period. A student of the sport, Slater has successfully blended the collective steez’s of his childhood heroes like Tom Curren and Matt Kechele into an invincible specimen of a surfer that has racked up a record-smashing nine ASP World Titles. Unlike mere mortals, you’ll never see Slater digging a rail or bogging through a cutback.
#3) Dane Reynolds. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
With his massive aerial repertoire and self-deprecating self of humor, Dane Reynolds is the definition of style in surfing’s modern age. Seamlessly linking together huge maneuvers and writing himself off afterward has become a staple of Dane’s repertoire. All that’s missing from Dane’s resume is a win on the World Championship Tour. For a deeper look into Dane’s worldview go to www.marinelayerproductions.com.
#2) Tom Curren. Photo: Bielmann/SPL
The King of style. Back in the 80s, kids would try to impersonate Curren’s buttery-smooth style by painting their rails black, doing double pump bottom turns, and always making sure to mimic Curren’s arm placement. To further cement his rep as one of the most stylish (and copied) surfers ever, when Curren started riding fish type surfboards, sales of the shitty-wave-friendly boards skyrocketed.
#1) Joel Parkinson. Photo: Dorsey
It’s been said that Joel “Mr. Smooth” Parkinson is underscored at times because he surfs so smooth and makes things look too easy. Quite a catch-22, eh? Growing up in the long and reeling Gold Coast pointbreaks, Parko effortlessly connects maneuvers and smoothly links turns amidst the Goldy chaos. Despite being underscored occasionally (like I said, he makes everything look too easy), Parko’s results speak for themselves as he won three events on the 2009 ASP World Championship Tour.