The Inertia Senior Contributor
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You know what my favorite part about the holidays is?  It’s not the decorations, nor the food, nor the family. It’s not even getting presents. No, my favorite part of this special time of year is the “Best/Worst of…” lists.  That’s why I do my own; the only thing better than reading one is the smug sense of satisfaction that comes with believing you actually have enough insight and perspective to pass judgment on an entire year of culture.  Unfortunately for elitists like me, the Internet let’s you have your say too.  So don’t hesitate to add your own good/bad/ugly moment of the year in the comments section. In fact, if you read this, I insist that you add your own, because, joking aside, none of this means anything if you aren’t engaging with it. Thanks for a wonderful year of discussions, disagreements, rants, raves, flames, trolls, jokes, insights, musings, and above all, open opinions. I hope you keep up the great work in 2012.

The Good

Carissa Moore is good. Photo: ASP

Carissa Moore is good. Photo: ASP

Carissa Moore

Watching the next big thing turn into the current big thing is a rare and wonderful thing.  Even more so when it’s done with grace and verve, like Moore has done it.  Let’s hope Stephanie Gilmore gets back on form next year and Sally Fitzgibbons keeps improving, then we’ll see what the women’s tour can really do.

The Pipe Masters

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Watching some of the best surfers in the world pull back from waves with their hearts in their throats or scratch for the channel when the sets roll in is a thrill unparalleled in the sporting world. Our surfing heroes, scared!  Fear is such a large part of surfing, whether the wave is 2 feet, or 15 feet (4-foot Hawaiian scale), and to see the best publicly fighting their own fear shook off the malaise that poor beach breaks had clogged my computer screen with all year.

GMac

Yeah, I said it.  Garret Mcnamara is old,  has ridiculous sponsors, shamelessly self-promotes, rides WaveJets, and exaggerates the size of his waves.  He’s got some bad qualities, too.   Surfing needs characters, now more than ever. As long as he’s not bashing Jews, demeaning women, or promoting cocaine use, who cares if he says or does some outlandish things?  Exaggeration – also known as the telling of tall tails – is half the fun of riding big waves.

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Surf Bloggers

The gadflies in the face of a nearly comatose culture. They speak truth to authorities with a smile on their collective faces, er, icons.  I love them, I loath them, I follow them on Twitter, and when I lie in bed at night, I fear them a little as well.

Ozzie Wright

I’d rather chew on tin foil than listen to his band, the Goons of Doom, but Jesus Mary and Joseph can that guy surf.  He is also one of the few who can wear an open, buttoned down shirt in the water and not look like a poseur.

Dane Leaves the Tour

The angst is over, and Reynolds can get back to doing what he does best: being a profoundly good surfer.  As long as the clips keep coming, I aint complaining.

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Rasta’s Innersection Section.  

He goes from zero fins to five fins and just tears the bejesus out of every wave.  Outlandish claim alert: It’s the section of the year for me.

Adriano Et. Al

How do you beat the eleven-time world champ in a final that he is heavily favored to win?  With the ugliest claim ever captured on film.  Hell yea, Minerinho: get you some.  Capitan De Souza has taken a questionable stance and a positive attitude and used them to pave the way for a ferocious crew of dastardly Brazilians that looks set to change the ranks of competitive pro surfing for the foreseeable future.  He hasn’t just helped bust down the door, he’s walked out with your wife’s jewelry as well. You may not like him, but you have to respect him.

The Other North Shorians

The media loves thugs, heavies, goons, and tough men of all descriptions. So much so that a lot of our coverage of the North Shore makes it sounds like everyone living there is a glorified gangster.  Guys like Shane Dorian, Freddy Patacchia, Pancho Sullivan, and Rainos Hayes have spent all year (and many years before) proving that Hawaiians are much more than a bunch of angry men on a rock.

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K11

Kelly Slater is still the most compelling man in surfing, a title he has earned only partially by surfing. Yeah, he’s great, but it’s his mind that keeps people interested.  He has an ability to deconstruct surfing – his own and that of others –  that is perhaps unparalleled in the sport’s history.  His body will eventually fail him, but I doubt his mind will.

Continue to Page 2 for The Bad

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