Watch: TSJ Documentaries // Joel Tudor
In the intro of the last doco I railed against social media. Yet truth be told I dip into it every now and again, and when I do I'm often bemused by the carry on of the likes of Joel Tudor.
Judged solely on his social media persona, Tudor is the kind of guy who sees little difference between offence and compliments. It's all just thought bubbles made visible. He'll rail against someone one week, and next week pose in a photo with them. It's bemusing to me because when I hold a grudge it runs as deep as DNA. I can change, I can lose a grudge, but I gotta work hard at it. Nature is more tenacious than nurture.
I'm also bemused by Tudor appearing in this, the second instalment of The Surfer's Journal's documentary series. Reason being is that, with no offence intended, Tudor has been a complete non-entity in my surfing life. I was a twenty-something surfer through the 1990s, a shortboarder, a fundamentalist shortboarder like everyone around me.
I read every single surf mag so I knew what Tudor looked like, I saw him in the Oxbow ads, but I simply wasn't curious about him. He had no bearing on my surfing life. He made even less impact than bodyboarders, at least I had an opinion on them.
Understand that no-one I knew rode a longboard, no-one even owned one. I came from a region of slabby reefs, no-one walked the board or put their toes on the nose. So Joel Tudor was a name and nothing more....yet here he is, presented as one of the greatest surfers of all time.
Of course, in the intervening years I've come to understand what Tudor acheived, especially when he started riding different shapes, but this doco really rams it home. How in the late 80s he went against the grain, riding longboards when they weren't cool, then also went against the grain of modern longboarding shunning airs and floaters for a contemporary version of 60s style. How he seemed destined to never win a world champion, and how that played out for him.
Perhaps most bemusing of all is the surfing footage of Tudor and how I, a career non-longboarder, can now appreciate Tudor's light touch and slip o' the hip aesthetics, the delayed takeoffs, and cross-steps, and cutbacks.
It's tempting, I'll admit that, but there's no waves around here that suit longboards, so I'll treat this doco as a history lesson, a very good one, and leave it at that.