The Inertia Senior Contributor
Joel Parkinson 2012 ASP World Champion

Joel Parkinson’s drive and commitment to winning his first title certainly ranked in the good zone in 2012. Photo: ASP

The Inertia

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, which means one thing to editorial staffs around the planet: year-end lists. Here’s an incomplete synopsis of the year in surfing in 2012. Think we missed something? You’re probably right. Share your (least) favorite moments of 2012 below.

The Good

People from Coolangatta

What is it about a drug-addled border town with gang-crime issues that creates great surfers?  It says a lot about Joel Parkinson and his beautiful surfing that, despite the surf-world’s overarching Slater-worship, most were happy to see him take a title.  He might be the last man to do it while keeping his fins firmly planted in the face of a wave (most of the time). Steph Gilmore was already a legend, but by clawing back to the number one spot after a very off year she arguably proved even more than she did the first four times.  Long live the Queen.

Jaws: October 10th, 2012

Where were you when you first saw the video of the October 10th paddle session at Jaws?  Wherever it was, don’t forget it, because you can tell your grand children that you witnessed the moment when the concept of what is possible with a hunk of foam, strong arms, big lungs and a lot of heart changed forever.

John John Florence and Gabriel Medina

Child phenoms with sweet dispositions, polished media games, overbearing parents and apparently few of the mental instabilities that derail many youngsters – all byproducts of being groomed to use their physical prowess to make a lot of money for other people.  They are basically each other’s light and dark doppelgangers, although Florence is probably better in the big stuff and also takes the edge in the style battle (“paralyzed arm” be damned). Now let’s hope they get a few more compatriots to join them.

Matt Meola and Albee Layer

If you asked me who two of the most interesting surfers in the world are right now, I would say two kids from a windy little island who are surfing ugly waves without sponsorship from any of the biggest industry players.  I speak, of course, of Matt Meola and Albee Layer.  No they don’t have the flow of Parko or the versatility of Slater, but their styles and approach are all their own.  From Jaws to lava rock shorebreaks, no one, not even the great Dane Reynolds – surfs like they do.


Wetsuits are the airplanes of the surfing world.  They  allow us to do something miraculous and heretofore unheard of in the history of humanity (survive cold water for hours on end) and yet they are completely taken for granted. Does anyone remember pit and groin rash?  We’ve come a long way, baby. Neoprene has opened up the entire globe to comfortable surfing.

Read the Bad on page 2.

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  • matt obrien

    the good: nike waves bye-bye (sort of, at least via the swosh), boundry breaking paddle in surfing, kelly still matters, dane Does care, ; the bad: WT judging (sometimes, but i guess that could relate to every year), lack of “dream” venues (indo already! to say the least), wavejet (just not a fan), “death of the machine” (they are still useful for performance drivin big wave surfing), i didn’t surf enough!; the ugly: surf related message boards (had a few posts that i am unhappy about too), airline surfboard baggage fees, state of women’s pro tour (ladies ripping harder then ever and disrespected harder then ever! and finally… the racism/intolerance directed at brazilian surfers (it is way outta line!). cheers and happy new year!!

    • good list. I’m a fan of the wavejet, though I wouldn’t include it on any best of lists. It seems pretty innocuous given that most people go surfing to get exercise and don’t really want to be jetted around. Also, I gotta root for the indefatigable Garrett Macnamarra. The message boards are can get really ugly, but I enjoy the unfiltered opinions that go onto them. The blatant trolling is pretty nasty, but that goes for the whole internet.

      • matt obrien

        true about them messageboards. as for g-mac, i agree. met him once & seemed like cool dude. crap happens. like how greg doesn’t lay any blame on garrett, true legend and gentleman.

  • Dandaman

    Bang on about the state of women’s surfing. Boys, if you want to knock one out, you can, without voting for Alana Blanchard in the surfer poll.
    I love Matts wetsuits, Best message board quote of the year “Matt Wikinson will be wearing a crystal meth wetsuit in Santa Cruz in tribute to the locals”

  • Random Loudmouth Aussie

    Usually like your stuff but I thought this was pretty far off the mark… Why do people complain about the women’s tour only having 7 events, that’s pretty good if you ask me. Wilko’s wetties were fun, surfing is fun, your opinion of him was pretty cynical I reckon. Also, can you name a sport where the judges ever come out and explain their scores? Julian won, quit flogging a dead horse… That is all.

    • I don’t think my view of Wilkinson is cynical — in fact, I always root for him because he comes from Copa and I lived near there for a while. I also like his post-heat interviews. That said, I think the wet suits were a silly marketing campaign. With regards to women’s surfing, I think it’s the quality of the waves that is pretty bad, maybe not solely the number of stops on the tour. I know people argue about whether or not women can/will surf heavier waves, but I think they should at least get a shot at a spot in hawaii and, in a perfect world, a reef pass somewhere tropical. I’m afraid the only way we would be able to solve our opinion of Julian Wilson would be with a Gentlemen’s duel, and that would most certainly get ugly.

      • Random Loudmouth Aussie

        I appreciate the time taken to reply… I like having these kinds of discussion so thanks for entertaining me. And, I accept your offer for a duel and will inform you next time I’m Stateside..

  • igor gouveia


    Unless your name is Christopher “Chippa” Wilson, leave’em in the skate park.

    hahahahah dude when you do one of these than you can say that shove it sux

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