An Ode to Derek Hynd

Cheers to the most interesting surfer in the world

That crazy finless shit in the video above is being done by a man nearing 60 years old.

Derek Hynd surfs better than you with one working eye (his left), no fins (at all), and at 57 years old (as of today). Everything about his surfing is interesting. Finless, yes, but have you seen the tails of these boards he’s sliding around on? Words…there are none. He began his finless visionquest long past the age that most mortal surfers make a grudging effort to ease their surfing experience by climbing onto bigger boards and lowering their expectations. Certainly not by learning new tricks.

I remember first seeing Hynd surf in Litmus, Andrew Kidman’s perfectly cool 1996 surf movie featuring Tom Curren, Wayne Lynch, and Joel Fitzgerald surfing greatly and relatively normally. Then there was Hynd’s segment in which he also surfed greatly but also very abnormally. He rode unnecessarily huge boards at perfect J-Bay, sometimes while wearing gloves and while doing bizarre little dances with his hands. He also performed big, knee-busting laybacks into the tube, then just sort of continued laying back in the barrel for a couple hundred yards or so. You’d think psychedelics were involved, but Hynd has always been famously anti-drug.

Hynd is interesting because he is interesting. Circular reasoning? Not in a surf world that too often lacks mind-bending characters like Derek Hynd. Brilliant writer, critic, surfer of very strange surfboards. There isn’t a single surfer on the World Tour today who could possibly retrace Hynd’s evolution from touring pro to slightly hermetic surfing monk.

This week, in a nod to Hynd’s birthday, I’m going to pull the fins off my board and ride a few waves, joining the Free Friction Society. In honor of you, Mr. Hynd.

Here’s a list of interesting things about Hynd:
-He was born in a place called Castlecrag.
-He lost his right eye in a surf contest in 1980 when his board hit him in the face.
-He somehow finished the next year ranked #7 in the world.
-He was married in 1989, on Halloween.
-He was Occy’s surf coach for a time (Easiest job in the world).
-He started Rip Curl’s “The Search” program, indirectly creating the best surf movie series of the 1990s.
-He has not gone left since the early ’80s (might not be true)