Wiki Post Project: How could we forget about airs? (Archival)

(This is an old piece from my minor in writing and rhetoric at Chapman University. Since most of my writing is pretty loose on here, I figured it would be cool to post something that had more structure. I wish I could find the prompt, alas I cannot. I also could not find the grade. I do recall it being a rather large chunk of your overall grade.)

While I don’t exactly remember the prompt, the basic gist of it was this: find an article on wikipedia and add to it based on your knowledge or knowledge you would find that was absent from the page. It was a cool out of the box assignment that would have you etch your name into the Wikipedia archives. 

Initially, when I learned about the Wikipedia project and that we were going to be editing a page within our discourse community, the gears in my head began turning. At first, I thought about making a page dedicated to the chop hop, maybe one of the grossest maneuvers in surfing and a facet of surfing that should never get any exposure (besides the ones mason ho does).

Here is a video depicting what I am talking about:

Note: the comments on the video show the surf community’s distaste for the maneuver.

When I got over the idea of doing a sarcastic page for the chop hop, my next initial idea was to edit a favorite athlete of mine in the sport. Kolohe Andino is one of Americas hopes for a world title in surfing since Kelly slater is becoming less of a competitive threat over the years. Kolohe has been in the surf spotlight for almost 10 years, starting to gain lots of exposure in his teens. While he doesn’t have the most competitive success, I definitely expected his Wiki page to be a little more developed than it is. I thought I would be a hero and give my favorite surfer the credit he deserves. Scope his wiki HERE.

When I sat on the idea of editing Kolohe’s page, I realized one thing that could potentially be problematic. I asked myself, “what can editing this post do for the surf community/how relevant is it to the overall sport?” On top of this, I only know Kolohe from a fan perspective. Sure, he faded me that one time out at Lowers before the Hurley Pro years ago, but that’s about the closest I’ve ever been to the guy. I figured there had to be something better I could edit and maybe know some more knowledge on. I headed over to the Wikipedia page for surfing, and braced myself for the kookiness that ensued.

Believe me, I could probably edit half the page. It also is just weird seeing all these terms in there most proper form. Everyone knows the slang surfers uses to describe certain things could almost be translated to a whole new language. While I thought most of the page was trash at first sight, there honestly I suppose is a lot of good information for someone that didn’t know jack shit about the sport I surround myself with daily. So as I scanned the page for something I thought was lacking for the sport, I stumbled upon the maneuvers section.

While there were some cringe worthy explanations most likely written by someone that can’t even perform the maneuver that well, the one that crossed my mind as the weakest part of an essential aspect of modern day surfing was the air/aerial. The first air was landed around the 80s or 90s and they really have come along way. Check out these clips to see the evolution from early on to modern day:

Here is a clip of Christian Fletcher, regarded as one of the pioneers of aerial surfing. This is earlier in the evolution of the air, notice the lack of rotation and low height in comparison to the ones below.

Kelly Slater doing one of the most innovative airs to date, a 540/720 depending on how well you can count (there is a longstanding argument between surfers and skaters alike on whether it is a 540 or a 720). Kelly is the best at every aspect of the sport, so including him is imperative.

John John nabbing one of the biggest if not the biggest alley oop to this day. It graced the cover of Surfing magazine and was one of the last clips in his critically acclaimed film “View From A Blue Moon.”

Felipe Toledo, one of the best modern day aerialist and is known for a crazy completion rate for airs in and out of a contest singlet.

So, we can see a lot has changed in the world of surfing in the aerial department, and new surfers post clips to instagram same day as they landed a massive air. My feed is always clogged with boosted airs and crazy rotations. It only seemed right to elaborate on an aspect that is pushing the sport in an innovative and crazy direction, since before my edit there were 2 sentences on the subject matter.

After my addition, I believe the community will easily be able to identify airs they see or even if they are competent enough figure out what to call the air they pulled last session to tell their friends. It has taken a long time being around the sport for me to be able to call airs based on grabs and rotations, but once you get the hang of it its not the worst thing in the world.

Note: my wiki name is surfbro808 (Here is the LINK to the page I am talking about. If you don’t want to scan on the wiki for the piece I wrote, here it is below)

Airs/Aerials: These maneuvers have been becoming more and more prevalent in the sport in both competition and free surfing. An air is when the surfer can achieve enough speed and approach a certain type of section of a wave that is supposed to act as a ramp and launch the surfer above the lip line of the wave, “catching air”, and landing either in the transition of the wave or the whitewash when hitting a close-out section.

Airs can either be straight airs or rotational airs. Straight airs have minimal rotation if any, but definitely no more rotation than 90 degrees. Rotational airs require a rotation of 90 degrees or more depending on the level of the surfer.

Types of rotations:

  • 180 degrees – called an air reverse, this is when the surfer spins enough to land backwards, then reverts to their original positional with the help of the fins. This rotation can either be done frontside or backside, and can spin right or left.
  • 360 degrees – this is a full rotation air or “full rotor” where the surfer lands where they started or more, as long as they do not land backwards. When this is achieved front side on a wave spinning the opposite of an air reverse is called an alley oop.
  • 540 degrees – the surfer does a full rotation plus another 180 degrees, and can be inverted or spinning straight, few surfers have been able to land this air.
  • Backflip – usually done with a double grab, this hard to land air is made for elite level surfers.
  • Rodeo flip – usually done backside, it is a backflip with a 180 rotation, and is actually easier than a straight backflip.
  • Grabs – a surfer can help land an aerial maneuver by grabbing the surfboard, keeping them attached to the board and keeping the board under their feet. Common types of grabs include:
    • Indy – a grab on the surfers (inside rail going frontside, outside rail going backside) with their back hand.
    • Slob – a grab on the surfers (inside rail going frontside, outside rail going backside) with their front hand.
    • Lien – A grab on the surfers (outside rail frontside, inside rail going backside) with their front hand.
    • Stalefish – A grab on the surfers (outside rail frontside, inside rail backside) with their back hand.
    • Double grab – A grab on the surfers inside and outside rail, the inside rail with the back hand and the outside rail with the front hand.