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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