With a new digital video entry contest and video series, Vissla has set out to remind us that Style Matters.
“There is no greater medal than to be acclaimed for your style,” said the iconic Dutch Footballer Johan Cruyff, known for his “Cruyff Turn,” the roundhouse cutback he invented in the 1970s.
In surfing, style is a similar much lauded, but difficult to define concept. In professional competition, the word isn’t mentioned in the WSL’s judging criteria. Speed, power, and flow get a start, as does commitment and degree of difficulty. Yet style, the ideal that makes a surfer watchable or not, is horrifically absent. It is deemed too subjective and so too hard to pin down. And you perhaps wonder why Joel Parkinson has the same amount of World Titles as Adriano de Souza. Or the reason Jordy Smith and Taj Burrow have none.
“Good style is someone who makes it look easy,” said Gerry Lopez in episode 1 of Style Matters. Gerry’d know; he is generally regarded as one the most stylish surfers to ever ride a piece of fibreglass.
“It all comes down to how they can slow down and connect with the wave,” expanded Brad Gerlach, another guru. “To surf extremely critically and look stylish is the hardest thing to do in the world.” A close second is making hydrogen the primary fuel for the world’s energy production.
Orson Welles, one of the most influential filmmakers of all time and known to have a vicious layback snap, said, “Create your own visual style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” He may, or may not, have been talking about the Andersons; Craig and Lisa.
Welles’ quote could be the baseline mantra for Vissla’s Style Matters. The digital contest is open to all. Anyone, of any age, on any board, can post up to six of their most stylish waves ridden between September 1st, 2022 and September 1st, 2023, to #VisslaStyleMatters and submit a video file in the entry form.
A panel of the most stylish dudes in surfing, including Gerry Lopez, Brad Gerlach, Craig Anderson, Kai Neville and Thomas Campbell, will adjudicate the entries.
The winner will get $10K, and a custom Gerry Lopez surfboard. To accompany the contest, Inherent Bummer, the agency helmed by Travis Frere, has curated a video series breaking down just what good style is in surfing, and who has it (and who doesn’t).
Thomas Jefferson, the philosopher, diplomat, and US President, and owner of a soul arch that was the bedrock of modern democracy said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” He, of course, had never seen Andy Irons surf.