North Shore Underground: The Criteria

North Shore Underground Surfer Hank Gaskell

Hank Gaskell makes his case at the Triple Crown's first stop in Haleiwa. Photo: Ryan Foley

North Shore Underground

Underground Surfer of the Year…hmmm, how do ya work this thing? There’s no equation to crunch; it’s not a points race or a popularity contest. But ultimately, just one of our six 2010 underground team riders will find his coffers padded by a $25,000 travel package from Vans at season’s end. This is how he’ll do it.

Factors to be taken into account when naming Underground Surfer of the Year include:

Photos & Clips: Word of mouth is currency on the North Shore, but you won’t land 25 gees just because we heard you been ripping. A picture’s worth a thousand claims; a clip is worth a thousand pictures. Who’s on the best and the biggest waves, from the main stage to the hush spots?

Contest Results: Namely in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (if applicable — plenty underground guys don’t compete, or can’t get seeded ’cause they’re so far underground).

Potential: When you wake up in the spring flush with Vans cash, what are you gonna do about that? If the answer is “trow one fat ray-jah,” you fail the test. Think tube tour, World Tour, film project, photo book, website. We’ll review past performance and poll North Shore surfers and pundits to gauge your chances of success.

Aloha spirit: The underground life breeds humility and character, especially in state No. 50, where attitude best be checked at the door. “Aloha spirit” may sound clichéd, but surf world success and attention are fleeting. It’s how you act that leaves a mark.

So soldier on, undergrounders. We’ll be watching.