Nearly a decade and a half since the release of Thomas Campbell’s seminal 2004 movie “The Seedling,” which starred Joel Tudor, and others from the era’s emerging Southern California underground longboard scene, the film stands out as a watershed event for surfing, as it reintroduced and augmented the style, performance, equipment, and vibrant culture of surfing’s past and kickstarted a cultural shift that has reverberated around the globe, influencing surfers from California to Australia to Indonesia to Japan, all the way to the small, insular, surf-crazed town of Zarautz in the Spanish Basque country, where hundreds came out to watch 16 of the world’s best loggers compete in the Duct Tape Invitational.
And while “The Seedling” and Campbell’s follow-up “Sprout” may have been the spark, Tudor’s traveling log-centric exhibition, the Van’s Duct Tape Invitational and Duct Tape Festival have continued to stoke the fire, influencing a whole new generation of idiosyncratic longboard stylists, many of whom were invited to the event’s most recent iteration in Zarautz.
“I feel safe with these guys,” Tudor said of the new crop, an international contingent of mostly teens that included Frenchman Nathan Sadoun (19), Californian Zack Flores (17), Floridian Saxon Wilson (17), and Spain’s own Nico Garcia (14). “The seed has been planted. This next generation of kids validated that. Now I can work on being on old man.”
“I always thought [the Duct Tape Invitational] was so cool. I never thought I’d get in,” said Flores, who aside from displaying enlightened switch-stance steeze, was one of several competitors from the next gen who shapes his own boards. “I first saw it on the Duct-umentary. I watched it like a million times.”
Peep the video above to meet a contemporary assortment of longboarders, pushing the boundaries of the classic approach to surfing.