Love him or hate him, Laird Hamilton has pushed the sport of surfing to heights it wouldn’t likely have reached without his presence.
He was at the forefront of the tow movement, which, although was relatively short-lived, had a huge hand in showing people what was possible. That, in turn, pushed big wave paddle surfing to never-before-seen limits. Laird brought standup paddling to the masses, something which he is often skewered for. And you may remember a scene in Step Into Liquid, well before foilboarding was even a glimmer in surfing’s eye, where Laird and the rest of the Strapped Crew hacked the seat off an airchair, stuck their feet in snowboarding boots, and surfed absolutely gigantic waves on hydrofoils.
Well, all these years later, Laird has proven, once again, that he can either see surfing’s future of can shape it. Now foils can be found in lineups the world over. People almost get chopped in half. People surf 11 waves in a row. And there are e-foils. Above, Laird gets into the similarities between e-foiling and plain ol’ foiling.
“Now with these tools that we have, these wave-riding tools that we have,” he says, “the efficiency is going to allow us to do things that have never been done, ever. And it’s continued to allow us to do things that have never been done in places that have never been ridden.”
If history has taught us anything, Laird’s infatuation with the e-Foil might just a be a glimpse into surfing’s next big thing… and the haters are going to hate it.