Seven Trends Of '22
The only constant is change
Seven Trends Of '22
An imperfect list of changes washing through the sport.
1) Online Coaching
To be clear, online coaching didn’t begin this year, however 2022 was the year when it reached critical mass. Largely, it was a result of COVID, as over the two previous years surfing was one of the few sports allowed and people with lots of time and money on their hands headed down the self-improvement trail.
Suddenly, what had been a fringe offering, generally targeted at the pointy end of performance or big wave surfing, had a bit of something for everyone. Ex-pros got in on the gig, ex-big wave riders too, personal trainers sold their services, and even traditional surf coaches hung up their clipboard and whistle for MPEGs and instant feedback.
Late in the year, Steve Shearer wrote an article that, in part, questioned the long term benefit of online coaching. Not everyone in the comments agreed with Steve’s point of view. Including longtime coach Martin Dunn who now has his own online coaching course and in 2023 Steve will be putting that to the test.
2) So White
This isn’t so much a new trend but the end of an old one. Way back in the noughties Hayden Cox created his FibreFlex, a carbon rail covering used in lieu of a stringer. For a few years Hayden licensed the technology, before other shapers realised they could come up with their own carbon solution.
Thus we had Carbon Wrap, Spine Tek, Tri Flex, Twin Tek, and for a while there black strips were as common as deck grip. However, in 2022 all but a few players had ditched their carbon technology. In part, this was also a result of the COVID hangover. For two years, the squeeze was put on domestic manufacturing and any order that was difficult to fill - such as carbon strips - was put in the too hard basket.
In order to get their work done, shapers had to ditch the garnish. Keep it simple. Oddly, many reported little difference to performance or durability.
3) Now Everyone Knows How La Niña Works
It started with El Niño. Peruvian fishermen noticed their territorial fishing waters would warm up every few years around the time baby Jesus would pay a visit. It was then discovered the phenomenon had far reaching effects stretching right across the Pacific Ocean and high into the atmosphere. It even had an opposite effect - La Niña, the little girl - when conditions would ostensibly swap over. Warm became cold, cold became warm.
For the layperson, the trick was remembering which was which. Did El Niño mean cool water or warm? Was that here or in Peru..?
Well, after three years of the little girl pouring her heart out, every citizen on Australia’s East Coast should pass a sitting test on El Niño/La Niña.
Yes, winds blow easterly across the Pacific during La Niña.
Yes, those winds are wet and bring rain.
Yes, they also bring easterly surf.
4) Kelly Expands His Empire
Not so much the start of a trend but the continuation of a pattern. Much as Greg Norman puts his name on all things golf: courses, clubs, classy housing developments for Boomers, our own Kelly Slater has been doing something similar.
It started with surf clothing, then wavepools, add a curious excursion into bed linen and chia seeds, then surfboards, and this year it was fins. Endorfins to be exact. Right now it’s just one extra click to buy them off the Firewire website.
The trend is catching on. A few years back, Mick started putting his name on softboards and bankrolling beer, while this year John John launched his own brand, Veia, with garments and accessories priced in the OuterKnown neighbourhood.
5) Alt Surf Gets Even More Elaborate
It started with finless, then SUPs, then foils, and in the last couple of years the cross-pollination began in earnest. Think SUP foils, tow foils, kite foils, while earlier this year, Kai Lenny released a video of himself at Jaws using a hand wing - known in the sport as wing dinging.
Wing dinging has been around for a few years, however it was flat water carry on, yet now it's being paired with foils and XXL waves.
Onwards and upwards!
6) Death Of The Surf Animal
More than just a committed surfer, the Surf Animal embodied the jungle law qualities of the lineup, eschewing the notion of ‘taking turns’ or other forms of civility, instead pressing their advantage whenever they could. Many of them did the same on land as in the water, and they got away with it for years.
Symbolically, it could be argued the Surf Animal passed away with Chris Davidson even though it’s a little more complex than that. The death of the Surf Animal wasn’t sudden, it’s been happening for a while as surfing democratised over the past decade.
The liberty and license formerly extended to the animal has slowly been declining. Overreach from other animals such as Mark Thompson, which would once have seen heads turn the other way, ended up in court, the defendant falling foul of the law, and also the court of public opinion.
Once hardcore companies, which proudly displayed their lengthy history in ‘since XXXX’ taglines, have sensed the market shift creating corporate clubs that communicate in the modern parlance of inclusivity, equality, and fraternity - each trait at odds with the old Surf Animal who saw themselves as lone wolves, even if reality didn’t always stack up to the imagery.
7) Hardcore Shapers Go Soft
Yeah, we’ve written about this recently, but it’s a trend so it goes in here. Now that the softboard has gone hard - i.e a fibreglass shell inside a foam cover - and doesn’t flex like it used to, shortboard shapers are wanting a slice of the pie.
A quick roll call sees serious shapers like Jon Pyzel, Hayden Cox, Lee Stacy, MR, Aipa, Luke Short, Darren Handley, and Jason Stephenson all moving into territory once subverted by Drag, Mullet, and Catch Surf.
The trend Id like to see in 2023 is Old Ex-Pros not dropping in on everyone on the Goldie.
They're nothing but a bunch of has been scrub turkeys.
Indeed, that would be good to see.... I'm sick of one goofy in particular who seems to think Snapper is his and his alone.
At first I agreed with this sentiment, but on a rethink, this behavior is primarily confined to Cooly. I shared a quiet bank with Fanning last year in a pretty major metropolitan Goldie spot and he was super chilled - no hint of dropping in, yet he is a major offender at Cooly.
So I think its the place and the waves to people ratio that is the problem rather than the old ex pros...
Fact: The majority of the people dropping in on each other on the goldie are the kooks. Except for Occy.
Easy: Don't live and surf on the goldie
Death of the Surf Pedo
I was hoping 2022 would end the growth of backslapping stoked out mustachioed newbies acting like surfing is the best thing in the world and paying hundreds if not thousands per year to surf in a chlorine pool with waves no bigger than 2ft. Obviously the RBA has a bit more work to do next year.
All the kooks thinking they rip winki pop
How about pay your dues first
Clearly it’s a free for all !!
Sounds like the end of the year cant come soon enough for you lot.
Here's hoping 2023 is more joyous.
Thanks to triple La Nina I think I've surfed more in 22 than any year in the past 2-3 decades and consistently scored good uncrowded sessions at my closest beaches.
Sadly the opposite here in VIC.
Actually Vic east coast ocean beaches been consistent, usually the 6-8' winter swells with NW winds were 3-4ft consistently with NE. I guess surf coast didn't fare so well?
Nice one. Glad you got a few.
My mate lives in Lennox. He says the surf has been great. But he has had to give up surfing for foiling as he cannot get a wave with all the pros and large groups of people surfing. Seems like there is a trend of moving to foiling up there to get waves where few people go. Apparently heaps moving to foiling.
Not on the Goldie. The foil flogs and their black range rovers are infesting the points, even on the most crowded and perfectly surfable days. Why?? Pop quiz, have you ever seen an uglier adaptation than SUP foils? Kangaroo bouncing and poking the paddle at the same time - hideous.
Market niche: online course for Surf Animals
Here is their training film.
Do you have to be an asshole to be a great surfer.
Thank you, I just watched the first 5 minutes - it's on point!
bucking the trend, i am happy with the state of surf politics around here.
hoping for more of the carpark chit talk and calling each other into waves next year.
noting that usual customers are plus 40 non-stickered adherents to surfing.
Chris Davidson was a convicted Child Sex Offender
Thanks Stu, you brought us a ton of quality journo stuff this year as ever and we forgive you if you get a bit shitty with us from time to time, frustrating old blowhards having an anonymous vent.
May a swell unfold around you
Fixed fins to make a comeback
I think that about sums it up standingleft! reckon you've made the call for the next trend comeback with glassed fins too... Thanks Swellnet team. May you stay true to the cause and never get caught up with succumbing to the pressure of the beast and its hunger for more content!!!! Keep up the great work, enjoy some rest and hope you get some waves!!
And a 9'0 D.S. in your Santa Sack....
mid length twinnies, also winging and foils been around for more than 10 years so not new to 22
Wing ding in XL waves?
I hadn't seen it till KL did it.
Jesus yes, mid-length twins.
Seachangers are a big phenomenon on our coast. Post covid work from home and a massive highway there’s shit tonnes more punters in the waves and on the beach. Kind of an inevitability about it
Surf Cams seem to be one of the bigger movers in the last 1-2 years and along with that crowds, combined with very poor surf. All in all a great 2022.....
Wing foiling is addictive though, I'm totally hooked.
ain't it just fun...the glide is somethinh else
I like to see the end of the overuse of the word Kook, its starting to lose its power (this includes a certain swellnet contributor). We are all somebody's kook at the end of the day.
Tman having an anonymous crack? Not brave enough to name names? Included an excuse for yourself?
Well me and Cavvy disagree
Hi Standingleft, Cavvy has commented on: "Watch: Tim Bonython // Kirra in July" ---- Standingleft rip bowl wedge I nor anyone else could've ever defined the term Kook in all it's usages any better. Onya ---- You can view the comment at the following ..
Merry Christmas Cavvy thanks Bro
Maybe the pic of Davo wasn't a great choice as an example of a surf animal. If the reports are correct (and he was convicted, after all) it seems he was just a plain animal more than surf animal.
Sex offender registry's don’t lie.
Aaaaagh - yes they can, and if you read the latest it may all change soon.
Yeah nah… last time I checked he was still a Convicted Child Sex Offender
What about people dancing around on longboards as they are skating.
Not really surfing but pretty novel
Surf trend for 2023 - WSL loses viewers. The WSL seems to have tried to focus on becoming more and more mainstream but what they don’t realise is normal people that don’t have a keen interest in surfing find watching lully heats at obscure times of the day boring and of zero interest.
They have neglected and ignored the actual fans that don’t like watching wave pool comps or deciding world titles at trestles and lose these true fans while never catching traction to appeal to the masses. Sucked in WSL. Hahahaha (evil laugh).
You forgot the puffer jacket/chinos/slipons(sans socks)/bearded/manbun species that seems to have evolved in some of the urban areas who's fashion sense screams where they have come from and maybe where they should go back to.
Is the hoodie/trackies/moccos surf check an endangered species nowadays??
One thing I have noticed is Boomers seeeeem to be having a dig at Millennials/Gen Y (defined as born circa 1981 up to 1995) less often these days. Perhaps it's because they've finally realised the group they were picturing are actually Gen Z (1996+) or it's finally sinking in that Gen Y have demonstrably actually hard it harder than them (Afghanistan, Iraq, GFC, climate disrupted future, COVID, Ukraine, property prices 7x income, fastest/second fastest rise in interest rates on record, and needing a ridiculous level of formal education/certification just to get a graduate/apprenticeship level job) while still being told they should make more babies and support the economy and that the key to a strong society is more tax breaks for the wealthy.
Or perhaps that's just my wishful thinking.
I for one will be glad for a return to neutral/El Nino patterns and clear water and sunny offshore days up here on the Sunshine Coast, and all the folks affected all over this great southern land by flooding to get a reprieve.
What you've noticed is perhaps that there are actually less Boomers now; have a look at the population pyramid of the country. Gen Y are now in the driving seat, by numbers.
“ needing a ridiculous level of formal education/certification just to get a graduate/apprenticeship level job)”
Do you mean to get a trade apprenticeship?
If so that’s completely not accurate.
I’ve got a feeling I may be reading it wrong though?. ( I should of did more formal education )
5) Forecast trends for 2023: outrigger canoes return to the lineup, in soft-board form. And you can't challenge them, because there are 5 people in each one, and they'll win any fight that results.
haha its funny you mention this. there was a dragon boat race down here a few weeks ago and there was alot of swell and they rolled through the lineup on the way back in. i didnt really care, just kinda got out of the way and watched but they were navigating a fast flowing rivermouth with outgoing tide and lotsa swell coming in, alot of them crashed into each other etc. they lost paddles and stuff. i actually paddled over and collected a few paddles to return to them and got thorougly abused by more out of control incoming boats. was quite a funny scene. i can see why you are worried about this ;)
A trend no doubt for 2023 is that satire has a chance at catching up with reality and assuming its right place in the far beyond, or is that too optimistic?
OK, try The Fish Seeker:
We're all going to be torpedoed in 2023. Fucking torpedoed from the shore.