The best surfing all year was done by your dad.
So…Gabby won the title, Julian the Triple Crown and Noa the award for best-placed F-Bomb, but…the most surprising statistic of 2014? The best surfing was done by a bunch of guys over 40!
Don’t think so? Well screw you kid, let’s go to the videotape.

Let’s start with Tom Curren. When 50-year-old Tom stroked into his ten point wave at this year’s Jefferys Bay heritage heat with Occy time literally stood still. For the duration of the ride, event commentators struggled to heap together the appropriate adjectives to describe the most perfectly ridden wave at this year’s event. From take off to kick out, it was an effortless display in the importance of surfing aesthetics and Tom’s everlasting ability to show up and blow up.  Name one other wave at that event that came close…you can’t can you? No, now sit down and shut up kiddo, we’re just getting started.

Shane Dorian. Where would you even begin with that guy? 42-years-old and by his own admission, just getting started. But leaving Jaws, Mavericks and pretty much every other big wave joint aside, Dorian’s bare handed brute of a wave at Puerto Escondido in July was one any surfer would kill to claim as their own. Thick, heavy, big and complicated, Dorian was interviewed moments later about it on the beach while drinking from a coconut. “It was seriously really good,’’ he said. Not of the wave, but the coconut. You can’t buy that style.

Kelly Slater. Oh boy, 42-years-old, 11 world titles, a bazillion dollars in the bank and absolutely nothing left to prove. So what does he do in Portugal earlier this year? Proves he has a shitload left in the tank by landing a clean 720 and claiming not by gesticulating wildly, but by a neat wiping of his nose.  “John-John could have been out there and he might have gotten that section,” Kelly said beachside moments after. “But what’s he doing today? Sitting home editing videos?” The move would best efforts by Matt Meola, Josh Kerr, Albee Layer and John-John to win Best Manoeuvre at the 2014 Surfer Poll.

Honourable mention; Tom Carroll at the Pipeline. Alright, alright, alright, not the biggest nor the raddest, but good god wasn’t Tommy’s throaty little beast during the Heritage Heat not just the sweetest little ride? Commentator Martin Potter struggled to contain an almost homoerotic groan as 53-year-old Carroll is spat out of the pit in that signature low-set style made famous during three Pipe Master wins years before.

And who could forget: Ross Clarke-Jones and Garrett McNamara. Two kids in a Portuguese candy story with nearly 100 birthday candles between them. Both in Hawaii on call for The Eddie, but both rolled the dice and headed straight for Nazare when a forecast 100-year swell showed up on the weather map a couple weeks ago. Ross in particular set a new standard for enthusiasm, flying into Portugal with little else but a board, wetsuit and the “Will to surf that wave. I didn’t have a ski or a partner organised but I was so keen I was ready to buy a ski when I got there if needed.”
Both scored a handful of massive, massive waves before G-Mac is ploughed down by a 60-footer while recovering Ross from a wipe-out he compared to being beaten up by Mike Tyson and Anderson Silva. Undeterred, Ross claims the venue is “My new Disneyland and I’ll be going back there for sure.” Garrett then heads straight to Mavericks where he proceeds to remind everyone he’s very capable of catching bombs with his own two hands. “I do what I do because I love doing it,’’ he says. “No point doing it if you don’t”.
So there you have it kiddies, but don’t feel bad, you still have youth on your side. You can only (hope to) get better.