GREAT MOMENTS IN SURFING
THE SCATTERING OF AB'S ASHES AS IN LIFE, SO IN DEATH – AL BYRNE’S LEGEND REMAINS
Although Dave Scard had known Al Byrne and ridden his boards for over 15 years they became particularly tight in the last few years of Al's life. Alongside Al's son, Jamie, and Dale Wilson, Dave had been working closely with Al to develop a range of boards based around what Scardy had been riding.
Scardy's connection to AB and his boards was obviously close. On the first prototype of the range – a 7'2" – Scardy famously paddled into the colossal left at Cloudbreak that earned him 2nd place for Ride of The Year in the 2011 Billabong XXL awards.
Realising that there would come a time when Al would no longer be able to hand shape, Dale, Dave and Jamie had encouraged him to develop models which could be recreated by machine. Al resisted initially because of his passion for hand shaping but fortunately for all surfers he eventually decided to put some of his priceless knowledge in a form that was transferable.
"The hand and the eye," that was AB, reflects Scardy. "We're just so lucky that he got to where he did … he left us the blueprint to carry on his legacy."
With the help of Dale and Jamie, Dave is determined to ensure that Al's Byrning Spears are still used to slay waves in the best lineups around the world.
"It's not really a marketing thing for us, we just want to keep riding his boards and everyone else does to," insists Scardy. "If anyone else jumps on them great – but we're not going to shove them down anyone's throat, we just want to keep it alive."
Alan's wife Jayne also wanted to keep the spirit of AB living by having his ashes spread at all of his favourite surf breaks around the world. So far his embers have been dispersed in Hawaii, Kalbarri, the Mentawais and G-land. Scardy was entrusted with the G-land ceremony, which is pictured on the left.
Scardy shared the responsibility with Sasha Stocker and fortunately there happened to be a photographer on hand to capture the moment. "It was pretty cool," suggested Scardy, "I managed to get my wave, spread the ashes and get out intact but Sasha was on the wave before me and he got absolutely smoked. He wasn't riding an AB, so AB was definitely looking over us going, 'fuck you, you're not on an AB, you should just beat it'." (chuckles down the phone line).
When asked to sum his memories of Al, Scardy choked up. “AB was such a guru, an enigmatic person whose driving force every day was – ‘where am I going to get barrelled next? The next swell, the next board?’ He lived and breathed it for REAL.
He was a living legend … and now he's just a legend."