By Evan SlaterTake a good look at your local lineup and you'll notice something remarkable: everyone is surfing better than ever these days. No matter the age, experience or talent level, there's nothing holding us back anymore. The beginners have surf-camp life coaches walking them through every drag-knee whitewater ride. The average joes have performance enhancers like Jet Skis, fishes and stand-up paddle-boards to make them feel good about themselves. Us "used to rips" have ultra-dialed, high-tech shortboards to add some Viagra to our top-turns and the pros have Mick Fanning, convincing all competitors that world titles aren't just won by otherworldy talent or Outer Island angst; they're won by honest hard work. Which makes it an exciting time to be a surfer. Suddenly, high-performance isn't just about Brother Andino clicking air reverses. It's about all of us, making good use of the ever-increasing spectrum of equipment and resources to be the best surfers we can possibly be. In this issue, we try to cover this spectrum, from Mick and his increasing army of CHEK warriors (pg. xx) to the guys pushing the boundaries of our alternative disciplines (pg. xx) to pondering the question if surfing (good surfing, that is) can even be taught. (pg. xx) There's something in here for all of us, which is why we like to think of it as the everyman's high-performance issue. Then again, surfing has always been about providing high-performance hope. Unlike so many other sports, where athletes have a short window of "golden years" and spend the rest of their lives reminiscing about them, surfers tend to get better with age (or at least we convince ourselves we do.) Because even if the back's stiff and the knee's shot, we have a bead on a new slab in Mexico and it's going to be the barrels of our lives on the next swell. Or maybe it's that new parabolic-stringer board with carbon-fiber rails, just bound to cure that crook carve that's been ailing you all these years. Surfing always finds a way to keep us looking forward, and will keep on doing so as long as we stay faithful. Just recently I got an email from Nat Young , 1966 world champion and generally regarded as the best surfer of the late '60s and early '70s. He had to decline an invitation to an April boat trip due to a broken leg, but assured me: "Please keep me in mind for future missions. I strongly feel my surfing is as good as it's ever been."
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