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Josh Kerr blasts onto dream tour with Goldie equal 5th


Josh Kerr : photo Luke Southern

Team News


Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 March, 2007 : - - Josh Kerr may have just blasted onto the WCT scene this month with his equal fifth finish in the Quiksilver Pro, but he is no stranger to world champion status. At only sixteen years of age, Josh became a threat in the increasingly popular Aerial contest arena. At the time, the United States’ Surfing Magazine had began the SMAS (Surfing Magazine Air Show) Series and it was decisively drawing heavy attention.

The SMAS Series airmen where largely made up of competitive surfers bored of the grueling scheduele and mediocre waves of the WQS. They were, essentially, the wild offspring of Christian Fletcher and his turning away of convential competitive surfing. They shared his dream of melding skateboarding with wave riding. Among the Barney’s, the Goose’s and the Flea’s was young Kerrzy and his explosive and, more importantly, functional work above the lip.

Fueled greatly by Josh and his fellow SMAS competitors’ influence, WCT surfers like Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson began to realize that boosting wasn’t just a wasteful, “kick out” type of manuever. On the contrary, aerials began to take the place of floaters and turns over and around large setions. Soon enough, airs weren’t just radical, they were functional.

And so everyone, from WCT judges right down through the ranks to amatuer judges began to realize that technical surfing was undergoing a huge evolution and they had to score accordingly. Soon, functional airs and radical turns were big money manuevers and contest deciders, always getting the nod over the good old carve.

While all of this evolution was occuring in the WCT ranks, the Air Shows continued on. In 2001, a maturing Josh Kerr boosted his way to a World Aerial Championship, asserting his dominance over the free airborne world.

But something was dying in aerial competitions like the SMAS Series. What had once been the freakshow of the competitve surfing circus had become just another skill required of a surfer looking to make it to the Dream Tour. Guys like Kerr had paved the way, sure, but had since been overshadowed by the high flying, full throttle boosting being excecuted by Slater, Andy Irons and the rest of the Top 15.

Some of the Aerial guys wrote the whole situation off as an ending to a great era – the death of the competitive aerial surfer, if you will. Others, like Josh Kerr, saw it as blessing…finally an open and willing hand of the once staunch judging criteria of the ignorant CT past. And it didn’t take Kerrzy long to qualify either. One part-time year on the ‘QS and one full-time, that was it. And say hello to the 2007 Dream Tour, Mr. Kerr.

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And say hello he did. Even with all that “aerial guy” stigma standing in his way, Kerrzy shut the critics down hard at Snapper Rocks this month. And how dare they criticise the young man who helped shape the way WCT surfing is judged today. How dare they mistake his veteran confidence for rookie cockiness. Everyone may have forgotten, but Kerrzy had been surfing this competitive format longer than most of the veterans on Tour.

He boosted when the conditions were best for that type of surfing and he carved when it got too windy. He showed technical prowess, he showed calmness and knowledge. He proved that he wasn’t full of air, rather he was, is and will be the whole package.

So bring on Bell’s, bring on Teahupoo, bring it all on – this kid is fired up and on a roll. He’ll be a threat in every comp, no doubt, and it’s likely you’ll never again hear a whisper about the lack of capability of the unlikely men who changed it all, guys like Kerr and his generation of aerialists.  

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Andrew Lewis

Team - Surfersvillage


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