Generations: Player Vs Houston.
By Dan Dobbin.
Continuing on with our very scientificy investigation into the “Rawlins hypothesis” (Has the level of riding progessed as far as would be expected in the past 15 years?) we continue to face off the best riders of today against the best of the previous generation in hypothetical match ups.
(Read the first installment here https://infoamed.com/2020/11/28/hardy-vs-pierre/)
This round we have the abuser of Blackrock against the Savage South African.
Player vs Houston.
Style: BP: By his own admission, a young BP didn’t have the best of styles. An early Aussie fanboy of Tamega, Player had adopted a manoeuvre first approach to his riding.
As the fixation with form became the calling card of the new Aussie posse’, Player adapted. The blending together of these two influences has produced a unique and recognizable riding approach. By no means a classic style, it does produce a neat and tidy finish to a radical brand of wave riding.
JH: Conversly, Jared has what would be recognized as the most “Australian” style of the new generation. Solid lines, body centred and balanced, tidy legs through spins. A classic approach.
Early Jerry has a Winchester wiff to it, fling and flying off of each available section. With age and experience, dare we say it, Houston now looks a little Hardyesque. A bit harder on the rails, the long bottom turns, right move, right place.
BP: Have you ever witnessed anything like the hurt BP inflicted on the bowls of Blackrock? The freaky flips and flying reverses. Player often made his surf sessions look like video games. He also created a new genre of forward air. His tail weighted loop technique moved the forward air from a move that needed a certain section to be perform, to one that could be applied to almost any bowl.
JH: You’d be hard pressed to find many flaws in the Houstan riding technique. He looks to have good symmetry going both ways, with all the classic moves on lock. The only big knock we can pick on is the lack of work done in and around the pocket.
However, like Pierre last week, this may have more to do with the focus the new generation have on harnessing wave power to boost, than on manipulating it to stay in the bowl.
BP: The Player rail game is very deliberate, the hacks off the top and carving reverses back to the pocket delivered with as much oommph as possible to accentuate each move. Every gouge an exclamation point.
Much like his style, this was an area of BP surfing he worked hard to improve. He really learnt to wield the rail and chime as his career progessed to the point where it has become one of his surfings strong suites.
JH: Solid driving bottom turns to generate speed seem to be the Houston M.O. when laying it over. The new gen are all drive and speed, making sections from behind the curtain or point and shoot at a section to boost off.
As noted above there’s no real focus to be working around the bowl, no half turns into the barrel, or tightly jammed spinners in or out of the pit where your really working your rails.
Perhaps this is something that Jared will develop as he ages, when the desire to belt a big section can wane in a rider, the focus shifting from using a wave as a springboard to playing with its energy.
BP: The BP air game is built on a vertical approach to the lip and the initiation of the manoeuvre from the hips rather than the shoulders. Watch a few clips of BP slinging out of the Blackrock bowl and check the last point of contact of each boost.
This approach means that upon arrival at the launch pad, three options come into play. Look over the inside shoulder into a forward air, head backward for a flip, or over the outside shoulder to initiate a reverse air.
A consequence of this is that Player rarely does inverts, because these other more complex moves are available to him to be performed.
JH: Houston has excellent timing with his lip launching. The clean, solid lines he gets out of his bottom turns mean that when Jared hits the lip, he’s going high.
This driving bottom turn usually projects him into a solid flip out of the bowl or either an invert or air rev of an upcoming section.
To climb higher in the points score, Jerry needed to show a little more variation and innovation in what he’s showing above the lip, but he’s clearly in the upper echelon of today’s boosters.
BP: 31 / 40
JH: 30/ 40