Joel Tudor’s traveling log-centric exhibition, The Duct Tape Invitational has now been stoking the fire for a decade, influencing an entire generation of idiosyncratic longboard stylists around the globe. Through the DTI, Tudor and a collective of traditional longboarding acolytes like Alex Knost, Ryan Burch, Tyler Warren, and Justin Quintal have reintroduced and augmented the style, the performance, the equipment, the vibrant culture of surfing’s past and kickstarted a cultural shift that has reverberated around the globe and influenced surfers from California to Australia to Indonesia and Japan, all the way to a small, insular, surf-crazed town in the Basque country, where Vans held the most recent iteration of the Duct Tape Festival, which has grown from the original invitational event.
“I kind of saw it coming,” Tudor said when we caught up with him in Zarautz. “I didn’t have many people believing me, though… but look at the influence that Al [Knost] and [Ryan] Burch and these guys that are Duct Tape guys have had. It’s pretty amazing…they’re like the infector, or carrier. And they did a good job. A million little kids look up to them.”
Tudor’s 42-years old now and though he’s healed up after a recent knee injury, it seems like he’s been actively passing the torch for a decade now. But, as we found out, he’s perhaps more committed to longboarding than ever.
“As you get older, if you’re not going to longboard, you’re not going to surf,” he said. “I can say this from watching the guys that are 30 or 40 years older than me. There’s really only two or three of them. And they’re longboarding. The rest of them quit.
“Nobody likes a quitter. I could never quit. That’s where I’m at now. Those are the guys I’m studying.”
During the festival, we engaged Tudor in a broad ranging discussion about the state of long boarding, the litany of off shoots the DTI has inspired, how to keep surfing in your later years and much more.