Hardy vs Pierre.
By Dan Dobbin.
It’s been just over a week since Mitch Rawlins spoke into being the idea that many in the boogieverse had been quietly whispering in his excellent interview on the Le Boogie podcast.
What we’re calling the Rawlins hypothesis posits that as great as the skill level of the current crop of riders is, in theory it should be markedly more advanced 15 years removed from those that Mitch surfed alongside, and that the world tour format is the driver for that stagnation.
After all, a pair of 7’s or above ( usually a well completed flip of some kind) will generally get you through a world tour level heat.
Our first step then is to undertake an air tight investigation into the vexing question of;
” Who would win a hypothetical comparison between generation next (Hardy, Player, King, Rawlins and Hubbard) and generation now ( Louis Costes, Campbell, Roberts, Houston and McDaniel)?
We’ll be using the well known scientific method of taking one man’s opinion and conjecture and provoking the same from others in order to arrive at a group consensus.
First up, Dude perfect against the best thing to come out of France since Paul-Michel Foucault.
Hardy vs Louis Costes.
RH. As arguably the Arch Duke of Style, Hardy is a clear favourite in this category.
An obsessive compulsive fascination with biomechanics and aesthetics lead Ryan to develop the most consciously clinical blueprint for riding seen in bodyboarding. Economy of movement personified.
Hardy only drops a point because it’s hard to know how much is natural movement and how much is contrived from obsessiveness, like a saltwater Nadia Comăneci, too perfect to be perfect.
PLC. Likewise, Pierre’s style is borne from obsession. Countless hours logged under the Moroccan sun as a grom.
Moves equaled points, points meant firsts. Repitition, repitition, repitition. An almost Brazilian mindset.
Then came the exposure to the Aussie new wave, and the rough edges where polished clean to create a weaponized blend of Brazilian lip abuse and Australian poise.
RH. Would it be a stretch to attribute the very idea of technical riding to Ryan? Stewart rode waves in the most functional way possible, Hardy took that idea and turned it into an applied science. The right move, done in the right way, on the right part of the wave. Do it tight without forcing it. No sloppyness.
His only downside comes from a lack of adaptability and spontaneity in his surfing. Hardy does what he knows with precision and perfection, but you know what’s coming.
PLC. As arguably the most technically proficient rider currently in the world, Pierre can do things that nobody else can do. The tight gainer flips on small waves, double backflip attempts, air forwards at will, he’s been at the forefront of manoeuvre progression for at least the last 10 years and doesn’t look like slowing down soon.
RH: Hardy’s strength is the length he is able to draw from his precise rail work. There’s no pumping, no radical adjustments or harsh changing of angles. Ryan’s rail game is specifically used to reach the desired location on the wave in which to execute his next maneuver. Functionality first.
PLC: Pierre employs subtlety rather than a show of force when laying it over. Like the rest of his surfing, he’s a skilled and technical practitioner when it comes the hard edges, but perhaps it’s just that driving and turning are not in the forefront of his mind when he’s surfing a wave that drops his score in this category.
Aerial Proficiency: RH: Hardy has all of the classic moves on lock, although being raised on The Box and North Point means he’s stronger on rights.
His dedication to correct form does shave a few points of his potential score. Ryan is focused on doing his airs right, rather than being concerned about height. This leads to slight underwhelmingness in both the “wow” factor and innovation areas of his air game.
PLC: The Frenchman has established himself as arguably the most innovative and consistent aerial artist of the current generation. After mastering the art of producing backflips at will, he set himself the target of achieving the same with perhaps the most difficult of all current air moves, the air forward.
Today it appears that Pierre can perform whatever air move he wants when he wants, on basically any section he wants.
RH: 32.5 / 40
PLC: 32.5 / 40