That’s Bullshit!

I have a dream… that surfers of all gender and nationality will know the names of the airs they do.

Recently I saw a comment on the Hobgood’s blog ( from a dude named Jamie. He called me a “huge kook” while stating that an indy grab “is only slightly more critical than a double grab”. Call me a kook all you want, that’s fine. But the real problem here is that this guy doesn’t even know what an indy grab is. He’s thinking of a frontside grab. Ironic, isn’t it?

This brings me to the point that the majority of surfers don’t know the proper names of airs people are doing. Not only the regular public, but some of the best young surfers in the world seem to struggle with this. It was blatantly highlighted in a recent issue of Surfer Magazine which had people such as Jordy Smith, Dusty Payne, and Eric Geiselman chatting about progression. Well I think progression might speed up a bit if we at least sat back and understood what’s going on out there.

So I went searching on the internet and talked with some dudes at Skateboarder Magazine and also mutli-talented surfer/skateboarder Cheyne Magnusson to find out what the right names are for these grabs. Here is a little photo feature to help educate anyone willing to learn. Welcome to That’s Bullshit 101…

Frontside Grab (Dane Reynolds in California)– Grabbing with back hand inbetween legs on toeside rail. Probably the most used grab in the sport of surfing. It’s simple, yet stylish. Won’t ever leave us, but will most likely fade a bit when surfers start using more of a variety of grab choices in the future.

No Grab (Dion Agius in Australia)– Pretty self-explainatory here. Not grabbing can be extremely challenging and any surfer who’s good at airs will tell you landing a big, clean version of these feels damn nice. Rotating on a big punt is even harder and more rewarding.

Lien Grab (Cheyne Magnusson in Indo)– Grabbing board with front hand, above front foot, on heelside rail. Another stylish grab that’s surprisingly easy to learn. Can be great for launching over a section and continuing down the line straight into another maneuver. I’ve seen Cheyne do rotations on these and they look great!

Slob Grab (Dusty Payne in Bali)– Grabbing with front hand in between feet on toeside rail. I’ve always thought it was grabbing this way but above your front foot. On further research I found out it’s actually in between your feet.

Slob, Alternate version ({{{CJ}}} Hobgood in Florida)– This grab is kind of gray area because in skateboarding it would basically be a nose grab. We’ll just call it a slob like the previous one by Dusty, unless someone can tell me it’s proper name, because I don’t think there is one. It’s closest to being a slob. Instead of grabbing inside the legs, CJ is grabbing outside above his front foot.

Double Grab (Mitch Coleborn in Bali)– Grabbing with both hands at the same time. Most people know my opinion of these things. They look hideous and they should only be done in the process of learning how to do airs. Yet because judges don’t understand the difference between grabs, WCT surfers are using these to their advantage, because they can do an easy maneuver and get the same score as doing something that is harder. More and more people are growing annoyed by seeing them and hopefully soon they’ll be extinct, but that won’t be until WCT judges wake up and take notice to the world of aerial surfing.

Superman Air (Jordy Smith in Indo)– An extended double grab in which your feet leave the board for a split second. I’m not a fan of these at all. They just look so awkward and unnatural. They look like someone just fucked up trying an air and pulled it off. CJ was the first to try and land one back in the late {{{90}}}’s. Not a very functional maneuver at the very least, and most of the time when you see someone do one it looks super-lame because they barely get their feet off the board. Why are people still attempting these? Jordy, please stop.

Ally-oop (Dusty Payne in Bali)– A frontside rotation spinning in the direction of your toes on front foot. It’s hard to make these look good for a single photo, but a nice big one rotated all the way around looks great in real life or on video.

Kerrupt Grab (James Wood in Hawaii)– A double grab with back hand grabbing heelside between legs and front hand grabbing toeside between legs. Named by Josh Kerr because no other board sport uses double-grabs, much less variations of them. Probably the most played out air in surfing right now. The start of this maneuver was I think intended to be some kind of flip, but it regressed into what it is today which is no more than a weird, double-grab style ally-oop. In most cases it results in the surfer flinging off the back of the wave like a kickout. Ages 5-30 only please!

Stalefish, Ally-oop version (Josh Kerr in Malaysia)– Grabbing with back hand in front of your back foot, on heelside of board. This is one of the most difficult grabs to do on a surfboard. Matt Rockhold seems to do a bunch of them and I’ve seen Kelly Slater try them too. This is the first time I’ve seen one in the form of an ally oop. Props to Josh Kerr for trying it. Would be cool to see more people attempting this grab in any way, shape, or form.

Backside Air-Reverse (Dane Reynolds in California)– No grab with 360 rotation. A lot of the time the surfer doesn’t spin all the way 360 but when you land tail-first, your momentum brings you around and it looks fluid. A worthy spin to learn.

Gorkin Filp or {{{Rodeo}}} (Pat Gudauskas in Canaries)– A double grab rotation backside that should be somewhat inverted. Similar to the kerrupt grab, this one has transferred more to a double grab backside ally-oop, tahn an actual flip. Every one does it a little different. Some people are pulling off crazy tweaked out versions of this on a regular basis that are more like a flip. Others do it way flatter and don’t get inverted at all. CJ has been doing them by grabbing with one hand in the form of a lien grab for a number of years. Either way, it’s a sick looking air.

Sushi Roll (Julian Wilson in Indo)– Just like a Gorkin Flip or Rodeo but you kick out your legs out in the middle of it. Julian Wilson started doing these a while ago and they never caught on too much. When you go for the Gorkin Flip, a lot of times you grab towards the nose too high, which automatically causes your feet to come off the board. That may be how Julian got this idea. I’m not sure these are really any harder than a regular Gorkin Flip. Probably are a little bit. Kind of a gimmick in my opinion, but there’s no way I could do one so I wouldn’t talk much shit about it. I expect Julian to invent, or up the bar with more maneuvers in the future. The kid is a talented freak.

Missed grab to eat shit (Torrey Meister in Mexico)– Looks like Torrey missed his grab here and he had a lot of speed going into it. Happens all the time to even the best guys. One little miscue and you’re flying heinously through the air. Watch out or your board can nail you good. My buddy Jonny Barclay missed the grab on a Gorkin Flip and his leash shot the tail of the board straight into his eye socket. It popped the eye out and broke all the bones around his socket. He now basically doesn’t have use of that eye.

Rail Grab shuv-it or varial (CJ Hobgood in Bali)– You can call it shuv-it or a varial. It’s basically the same thing. The board does a 180 spin. You don’t spin with it. People have been doing them for a long time but it’s a sick trick to pull out on occasion. Lot’s of different variation to do frontside and backside, grabbing or not grabbing. Whatever you do, please don’t call it a passion pop.

Mute Grab ({{{Sterling}}} Spencer in Bali)– A backside air where your front hand grabs between legs on your toeside rail. He’s not {{{100}}}% doing a mute here. His arm would be in-between his legs if he was, but this is the first time I’ve seen anyone try close to this grab on a surfboard so I threw it in here.

Indy Grab (Aron Gieger in Indo)– Going backside, use back hand to grab toe side rail between legs. Many people have called the Frontside Grab an Indy grab like that jackass named Jamie in my intro. It’s the same grab but one is going frontside and one is going backside. The backside version is an Indy. This grab looks very stylish in skateboarding and the few times I’ve seen it in surfing it’s looked awesome. Aron Gieger has even been doing this grab while going inverted on a flip. Hasn’t pulled one yet but I believe he will eventually.

Method Grab or Backside Air Grab (Dane Reynolds in France)– Some people would call it a method, some would say it’s a melon. Technically it’s neither because on a melon you are supposed to grab with your front hand heelside in between your legs. Dane is grabbing outside his front leg on this one. The method version is just supposed to be tweaking your legs back on a melon which is nearly impossible to do on a surfboard. I think we’d be ok with just calling it a Backside Air Grab or a Method. If anyone has any insight on this please weigh in.

Method Ally-oop (Kelly Slater in Bali)– Here Slater is doing the same grab that Dane was doing backside, but he’s going frontside using it on an ally oop. Seen a few people trying this including Josh Kerr, Taj Burrow, CJ Hobgood and Ry Craike. Looks sick when spun all the way around. I’m sure we’ll see it more in the near future.

A few more not shown that are possible…
Judo– Grab nose or any part with front hand and kick your front foot out forward
Melon– A backside air grabbing heelside with front hand behind your front leg
Crail– Grab toeside above front foot with back hand

Feel free to add more grabs and/or weigh in on the subject below. You might hit on something I missed, and I’d be glad to see it.