Style doesn’t get a trophy.
By Dallas Singer.
The flip debate has stirred up the past few weeks, thanks to an elegantly worded post by arguably the most stylish booger of all time, Ryan Hardy, “Who would like to see turns scored higher in contests?”.
It got me thinking about style and what is ‘perceived’ as good bodyboarding. Let’s be honest, bodyboarding, or boogie boarding was born in the late 70’s in a Hawaiian garage using leftover pieces of packing foam, yesterday’s newspaper and a hot iron.
The whole concept of ‘this is how it should be done’ seems ridiculous considering the origins of the boogie board.
But yet, like many expressionist ‘sports’ there seems to be an innate collective understanding that things should be done in a particular way. The harmony of watching someone’s movement that exerts the positive feeling of “yeah that was sick”.
During a midday Instagram rabbit hole I came across a clip of a skateboarder doing a quadruple kickflip off flat ground. At a base level the more flips in a single move the better right? Not exactly.
Someone with a load more appreciation for skateboarding would point out that this is an attack on good style, the concept of forcing that much into a trick is countering the notion of good skateboarding. And I’d have to agree – when it comes to style, less is enviably more.
Flick back to bodyboarding (boogie boarding for the fun loving children of the 70s), can that same ideal be applied to the pursuit of horizontal perfection? Can the humble cutty be performed with more aesthetic than the point scoring backflip? Do bodyboarders today identify less is more in terms of good style? What makes bodyboarders attractive to watch?
I could chew ear on this topic for hours, but who wants to listen to a 30 something year old spurt on about how bodyboarding should be done? I thought it’d be a good idea to get the opinions of someone on the front line, who’s young, rips and is from a part of the world that historically goes against the grain of what is perceived as ‘good style’.
In an attempt to get this important perspective I jotted down some questions and sent them over to David Barbosa (@capitao.barbosa). If you haven’t already checked him out – give him look, he may be the best young bodyboarder in the world at the moment.
I sent some questions over to David through a direct message, to be honest it felt weird, I don’t typically play the journalist role but I’m in a partnership in a blog covering this stuff now so it’s probably a good time to start. David came back with nothing but double tap like, no response, no fucks given really, just a “sweet question’s dude” type of come back.
Admittedly I was embarrassed, but then I stood back, is this not a natural response from someone who may be considered ‘stylish’. Why would they need to talk about it? Less is more.
‘Do you like your moves fast and critical?’ fuck what was I thinking?
Cringey journalism aside – style seems intuitive. It’s not something taught, it’s demonstrated and admired and rarely understood completely. David is a natural, in the water riding his freshly laminated slab of packing foam and in reply to someone trying to break down why it is that he does it so well.
Which brings us to Hardy and his turn. As a whole, the reason people can’t score it next to a backflip is that there are only a select few who can do it this well. For a judge with a clip board and a ball point pen to put that into a box and call it a 6 would never be correct. Style really never had a place in the 1-10 scale.
Style doesn’t get a trophy and a winner’s cheque, it gets remembered and emulated by the ones who admire it most.
David much like Ryan, is an anomaly, a rare stud that has a deeper level of understanding of how something should probably be done and does it better than most for whatever reason.
Next up: How to learn style and apply it to make people love you!