Watch: Asher Pacey // Carillon
Not only is Asher Pacey an outlier in that he's a paid freesurfer long after the concept supposedly died, but he's also an in demand test pilot.
Last year Stab ran an article 'Nobody Gets Paid To Ride Surfboards', featuring a rolling interview of A-grade shapers explaining their team and sponsor gigs, the headline largely summing up their arrangements. Again however, Pacey is an outlier. He's ridden for Darcy, got a better offer to ride for DHD, and followed it up by riding for Album the last few years.
Surfboard Marketing 101 says you need to put your boards under the feet of succesful, visible surfers. Ergo, pro surfers, and the higher up the WSL chain the better.
But a sideways take on that is to put your boards under the feet of someone with a bit of cachet and, importantly, a lot of technical chops. And that's what Album have done. Few surfers look as balanced and visually appealing as old Asher, even the blonde locks flowing in the wind add to the display.
His currency is a fluid style - always on the face or under the lip, the air days are over - that speaks to the Everyman surfer, that's radical yet relatable, that makes surfers think they could possibly string a wave together like Asher, or even just a turn, if they only had the right equipment.
It's seductive thinking. Healthy too, as it fires the imagination, seeks visual preparation, and fosters a bold, if sometimes blind, sense of optimism.
So here's Asher at Winki and Bells, being our better selves. Squint and you may just see yourself surfing.