Remember back in May when Albee Layer landed his frontside double alley-oop/alley-oop 540/alley-oop backside 360/whatever else you felt like calling it in the moment (whirlybird, anyone?)? Well, get ready to relive the confusion, this time with the help of the mainstream media institution, The New York Times.
Earlier today, The Times reported on the trick-naming debacle that surrounded Layer’s massive punt, asking everyone from Tony Hawk to Todd Richards to Kelly Slater and more to give their two cents. The piece includes social media posts and text threads between the chosen representatives of surf, skate and snow, a photo sequence of the first alley-oop ever done in skateboarding and even a GIF of Hawk sticking a very similar maneuver to Albee’s on a ramp in 1992.
“Skateboarders and snowboarders think they know what to call these tricks because they have been looking at bodies moving in a similar way for close to 40 years,” writes the author of the piece, Matt Ruby. “But this is new in surfing, and progression deserves to be rewarded. So who gets to name a move?”
As one would expect, no consensus was reached by the end of the piece. In fact, if the quotes included in the piece are any indication, it seems that the naming of surf tricks is as contentious as ever.
“We’ve got snowboarders trying to tell us how to name surf maneuvers,” says Slater in the piece. “I don’t know a single surfer trying to do the opposite and name snowboard maneuvers. We should all know enough to know we should stay in our lane.”
“Surfers are going to look ridiculous calling something that has been done in a different sport by a different name,” says Richards. “It is about paying respect to the people who came first and pioneered the tricks. They killed themselves to put their names on tricks.”
Read the piece in its entirety here, and feel free to give your own opinion in the comments section below.