In the end, it all came down to a jacket literally made out of money. All of the talk, all of the hoopla, an entire year's worth of uploads, downloads, rotations, liens, and mutes, and it all came down to this: a single, massively tweaked-out golden frontside air that earned Maui's Dusty Payne—the boy that seemingly can do no wrong in the surf world these days—a $46,000 check deposited in his private account and a jacket draped in $20 bills to the tune of $4,000 courtesy of a win in the Kustom Air Strike event.
If you're not up to speed on Kustom's Air Strike, the rules were relatively straight forward: biggest air wins, no straps allowed, all comers welcome to upload. "Kustom's mission with the Air Strike is simple. We want to produce surfing so inspired and revolutionary that it breaks all the rules, forever changing the face of surfing as we know it," says Harry Truscott, Kustom general manager. Fair enough. A dashing punt, a videographer, and a few clicks of the mouse and you've seeded yourself a chance at $50K and a shot at celluloid glory. A splendid event indeed.
Throughout the year, our collective jaws were dropped time and again as we watched the likes of Mitch Coleborn, Jay Davies, and a few unknowns punt some beauties. But then, there was Dusty with his ridiculously clean and oh-so-beautiful Balinese frontside 360 boost. It was as massive and crisp as they come, but with hundreds of potential suitors, there was no way of telling if it would prove to be golden. At least not in our eyes.
That was, until Friday, April 10 when the boys at Kustom dropped the news, along with the most expensive jacket a punt can buy, on young Dusty in a cramped room in Bondi Beach. As can be expected, Dusty was reportedly beaming over the $50,000 verdict. With a heap of cash burning a hole in his pocket, we're gonna go out on a limb here and say that Dusty will be raging into the wee hours of next month.
For clips from some other contenders, check out KustomAirStrike.com