It's about life - not "lifestyle"

Some observations:  Remember... influence, impact, and authority.

Numbers 1-5 are industry executives - sportswear guys plus Gordon Clark of Clark Foam.

Number 6 is Laird Hamilton. I didn't like this choice at first, but swung around. I still don't see his influence on any day-to-day basis, such as the "out there" nature of his exploits. But I did start thinking about the pervasiveness of "extreme sports" and even the term "extreme". Life on the line antics seem to rule the sports world these days; the cavalier risking of one's life for photos or making money or scoring chicks - there is so much willingness to risk it all for a few dollars these days. Hamilton himself seems to do it out of his own personal drive. While I certainly question the notions of others, I don't his. He is a genuine leader.

Number 7 is Kelly Slater. How can the best all-around performance surfer ever be #7?
     "Is he the most influential? Not really- the greater surfing world doesn't try to surf like he does or even be like him. What's the point? But does he set the standard against which all other surfers are measured, of what is possible, regardless of how you surf, and what and where? Absolutely."
Good journalism, SURFER.

Number 10 is Andy and Bruce Irons.
     "Together they dominate the U.S.'s after-Slater market..."
More good journalism, and a very nice turn of phrase.

Number 14 is Sunny Garcia. ??? The choice is probably okay, but the brief description makes no sense to this admittedly outside observer. It focused on Garcia's violent and threatening antics as much as his (still) world class ability. But didn't he finally win his World Championship only after he calmed down a lot? Power and authority through intimidation isn't a valid criteria in an adult world - one mentally and physically wasted crystal meth addict with a pistol is the absolute equal of the finest sportsman in the world in this arena. I question the words, not the surfer.

Number 16 is Joel Tudor. If Slater is number 7, Tudor is number 8. If Slater is number 1, Tudor is number 2. Get my drift? In terms of real surfing influence - as in their surfing choices and abilities having direct impact on what you see at any beach, anywhere in the world, Slater and Tudor seem to be the real SURFER's own criteria. Why is Tudor number 16? Probably the same reason Mike Stewart isn't even on the list...

Number 21 is Mark Occilupo. In short, he broke the age barrier by not only coming back but maintaining and perhaps pushing world class performance boundaries. A good choice, and good reasoning.

Ah, good things and bad things, and now the most questionable part of all. Excuse me while I load the shotgun.

Page 3 - The Power Issue
Surf Media
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