Twin Fins take over the WSL

Tracks - - Fresh Fish -

As the day draws to its end we are an­chored off a pop­u­lated is­land where the wa­ter is an al­lur­ing jade green. On the palm-fringed shore kids toss a ball in the shal­lows while an­other rides a bike ad­ja­cent to a long, mauve coloured wall. Many of the Mal­di­vian dwellings fea­ture sim­ple aes­thetic de­signs and bold, pas­tel colour­ings that are pleas­ing to the eye. As I try to imag­ine what life might be like on the equa­to­rial is­land, the evening Mus­lim prayer punc­tures the softly lit dusk air. Truth be told there is some­thing sooth­ing in the melan­choly war­blings after a day of high vol­ume Spo­tify, but the speaker-sounded prayer serves as an im­me­di­ate pointer to an ex­is­tence that is far re­moved from the one we know.

In­side the crew is un­der the spell of a dif­fer­ent kind of hooter sys­tem – J-Bay is on. We’ve man­aged to se­cure a re­li­able con­nec­tion and un­like the strict Mus­lims who oc­cupy the nearby is­land, we’re rel­ish­ing the rum and beer with the we­b­cast. It’s been on all af­ter­noon, live in the Mal­dives thanks to a rapidly de­plet­ing lo­cal sim card, an iPhone hotspot and a USB ca­ble. At one mo­ment ear­lier in the day I’d looked out of the boat win­dow and spied Matt Me­ola and Chippa Wil­son huck­ing turns on a crum­bling, on­shore left. Then I’d looked up at the screen and seen Ethan Ewing nail­ing a nine-plus ride on an off­shore-brushed J-Bay grinder. It was as if surf­ing’s two uni­verses were si­mul­ta­ne­ously pulling at me – twin fin dab­bling, aerial fo­cused free surfers on one side, jersey clad con­test he­roes on the other. Bam­boo­zled about which ac­tion to watch, I’d done the sen­si­ble thing and gone surf­ing.

Back in the cabin, the crew are cri­tiquing ev­ery­thing from the surf­ing ac­tion to the com­men­tary. Me­d­ina scores a good wave but then loses ma­jor points from our peanut

gallery for an out­landish claim. In fact any­one who claims is treated with vo­cal de­ri­sion by this band of freesurfers. “Should only ever claim when it’s an un­con­trol­lable re­sponse,” sug­gests Matt Me­ola sagely. It’s in­ter­est­ing how en­gaged the crew is by the con­test ac­tion, how­ever as we watch flaw­less lines and down the drinks there is gen­eral con­sen­sus that we’d all love to see Asher Pacey tak­ing on the CT in pump­ing J-Bay, whilst rid­ing one of his twins.

As if the WCT has scripted the en­ter­tain­ment to per­fectly com­ple­ment our trip, they’ve sched­uled a twin fin heat to be held at the end of round one. Tyler is more ex­cited than any­body else about the con­cept heat and starts ring­ing the ship’s din­ner bell to let ev­ery­one know it’s about to start. When the WSL’s Face­book feed of the heat ini­tially mal­func­tions he’s livid; like a kid who’s been wait­ing to watch their favourite TV show only to have the aerial go out right at the start.

Even­tu­ally the feed kicks in, by which time Tyler is sev­eral beers deep and de­ter­mined to ab­sorb ev­ery minute of the ac­tion. They’re show­cas­ing a style of surf­ing he’s ded­i­cated his life to, both in the wa­ter and the shap­ing bay, and be dammed if he’s not go­ing to en­joy this episode of WSL . As it tran­spires Tyler’s at his comedic best. When Se­abass links a se­ries of flow­ing turns and ducks into a bar­rel, Tyler screams, “Why don’t you ride it in your reg­u­lar heat, you surf way bet­ter,” and then chuck­les at his own twin

fin fas­cism. When Joe Turpel calls it ‘retro’ equip­ment Tyler erupts, “What do you mean retro? It was made last week Joe!” Tyler boos Jordy for his faux, ill-timed soul arches while Cal­i­for­nian, Con­nor Cof­fin is wildly cel­e­brated for an ap­proach that com­bines tra­di­tional lines with con­tem­po­rary flair. When Con­nor lays down a fully com­mit­ted grab rail carve, Tyler can’t stop talk­ing about it.

Tyler’s slightly self-mock­ing, twin fin rants have ev­ery­one crack­ing up, but be­neath the com­edy show, his pas­sion for see­ing waves rid­den with a smoother, less bro­ken ap­proach is ap­par­ent. “Look, there’s no bumps or hops in be­tween,” he bel­lows as a WCT surfer glides down the line at J-Bay.

The next day Tyler tells us he was still bub­bling over when the rest of us went to bed so he mes­saged Con­nor Cof­fin to tell him he was stoked with how he surfed in the twin fin heat. For Tyler War­ren, twin fins are se­ri­ous fun.

Wouldn’t you love to see Asher Pacey, on his twinny, in a WCT at Snap­per or J-Bay? Bring on the wild­card.

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