1986 Bells Beach semi against Curren. Occy re-wrote the book on surfing backhand and still managed to loose to Curren. 2005 Jeffry's Bay against Bruce Irons, Occy showed the world how to surf Jeffry's better than anyone and still went down to Bruce Irons.
Any views on how the judges missed the action?
Can't remember the Jeffrey's heat but I watched the Bells heat again recently. It seemed to me that although Occ had upped the ante of backside surfing at Bells, he was only beginning to doing things that frontsiders were already doing: square arcs off the bottom, hitting the lip vertically etc.. Of course he was doing it in his own inimitable way with his sawn-off legs, splayed fingers and head shakes, but Curren (for instance) was going vert and keeping it tight to the curl also.
You've gotta remember that the judging criteria was a bit different then too, length of ride and other factors being weighed into it. So, for Bells at least, I don't reckon the judges missed the action, it was simply a matter of two great surfers coming on strong, one of them suiting the criteria that bit better.
Both those heats haven't aged well at all.
The Bells heat looks positively embarrassing now when weighed against the claim of "Best Pro surfing heat in History"
I personally reckon surfing from the seventies has aged better than 80's pro surfing.
You've gotta keep it in historical context, and remember that before them no-one was approaching the wave the way those two were (except maybe Carroll, who won Bells that year). Plus they did it with great styles. The element of personality can't be dismissed either. Occy offering everything to the media - big calls about Americans being softcocks and wankers - and backing it up with extraordinary surfing performances, and Curren offering nothing - a few oblique quotes - but letting his surfing do the talking. It was theatrics. It was ENTERTAINMENT!
As for the performances - the surfing performances - I think it's easy to forget that we were seeing something radically new back then. You can't regain that fresh viewing ever again and the ensuing years of watching and critiquing surfing as it travels the timeline helps it too fade. It happens with all old footage, go and watch KS in B&W. I did so recently and was similarly let down.
The only surfing that I think is spared the ageing process is big wave surfing.
I hear you Stu but it seems there's a more timeless quality and elegance to, say Morning of the Earth, compared to this.
It's like Music, some ages better than others.
But in the end, thats just personal opinion.
It has nothing to do with comparisons beetween then and now.
Maybe the judges missed the action because they wanted Curren to win.
Maybe the corporates had already worked out their new line of Curren JBay winners boardshorts to promote.
I agree with freeride76 and might also drop in and say that i rekon Wayne Lynch had Bells beach worked out on his backhand in the mid 1960's, he was that good he would also often trim through sections switchfoot. Some people might argue that Occy took it to a new level, but i dont think that was 'better', in fact, i would prefer to see the early footage of Lynch because it is smooth and timeless. The 80's stuff is modern, wonky and shaped around a surfer trying to impress people on the beach.