Sean Doherty On: Lord Of The Twin

12 Aug 2016 0 Share

Sean Doherty

Senior Writer

Shane Dorian 100% slotted, Photo by SEAN SCOTT

Shane Dorian 100% slotted, Photo by SEAN SCOTT

FOUR SEASONS MALDIVES CHAMPIONS TROPHY | Event Partner

LORD OF THE TWIN

Rob Machado’s first surfboard was a single-fin. This was 1983, and by this stage the single-fin was critically endangered. Rob only ever owned one. His next board was a twin, followed by several thousand thrusters.

But then, what was seen as a wild career move at the time, Rob began riding twin fins again. Religiously. Became his trademark. Took all the urgency out and just flowed. His hair grew to amplify the effect. He became the Lord of the Twin, and the board became the must-have accessory for the surfing drifter.

SEE ALSO: Day 1 – The Sultanas Of Single Fin

Well the Lord of the Twin was in a bit of trouble early here in today’s twin fin round of the Maldives Champions Trophy. Rob looked a little shaky early, the contextual anomaly of surfing a twin-fin in a competitive heat knocking him out of orbit and he almost lost to Bethany – “Man, I should have lost to Bethany” – in the opening heat of the morning.

Sultans is a fun wave, fun as Sunday, perfectly rippable and ideal for this kind of contest. Today was even better than yesterday. There was more swell passing under the luxury yacht anchored in the channel, and the lines rolled down the reef uniformly, getting hollower as they went. “This would be the perfect place to bring the girls’ tour,” offered Jamie O’Brien.

The boards ridden today were twin-fins, sure, but not as you know them. These were no cosmically airbrushed cruise machines, the kind Rob would generally surf into the setting sun, the boards the guys were riding looked – apart from the fact they were one fin short – not dissimilar to normal performance thrusters.

And they were surfed that way. 

Shane Dorian’s strategy was simple, and contrary to most coaching advice ever offered: “Surf at 50%. Anything more than that and you’re doing 360s.” But in saying that the guys surfed those boards hard today, turns where you could almost feel the board struggling to hold in, and once the guys got used to where that tipping point was, there was some damn good surfing out there today, power surfing even, all on twins.

Talking with Rob we discussed the board Mick Fanning won J-Bay on, a 5’8” channelled swallowtail, a board different in every way to the ones he’s ridden in contests his whole life. Rob mentioned they’d been on a surf trip together to Lord Howe Island a month before J-Bay, and one afternoon he’d borrowed a 5’2” fish of Rob’s. After a couple waves of recalibration, Rob called it some of the best surfing he’d seen in a long time, and that the J-Bay win soon after made a lot of sense. Top end board design has become so incremental, that quantum jumps become almost impossible, and it takes something really outta leftfield to break your way of thinking.

The guys seemed genuinely pumped on surfing their twins today. “Like, who rides a twin-fin, ever?” laughed Jamie O’Brien after making the final, “I thought I was just going to be a kook, but that board was fun as shit.” Jamie pushed his board harder than anyone, long fading arcs, and one searing cutback that ended with him upside down, back-to-front, and somehow landing it.

Shane Dorian, meanwhile, grabbed the wave of the day, a length-of-the-point tube that the judges announced as a 9.97 before realising how dumb that sounded in a goodvibe novelty contest like this and rounded it up to a 10. He then drew Rob Machado in the semis, who, as Shane said, “went all Momentum Generation on me out there,” working him over for priority. “I’m so used to seeing Rob cruise it’s good to see him surfing at a hundred per cent, totally pushing it. You forget how good a surfer he really is.” Mick Fanning riding fishes and Rob Machado jostling for priority is surely a sign… of what I don’t know, but The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse can’t be far away.

Shane Dorian won the final, and came in cooked. Four surfs in the equatorial heat had left him looking like beef jerky. The new Lord of the Twin spoke of how good his board had surfed, and how much fun it had been riding something a little different. Then he watched a set roll down the length of the point and offered, “Man, imagine how good that would be on a thruster.” He’ll find out when the thruster round runs next. 

Bethany Hamilton twinning, Photo by SEAN SCOTT

Bethany Hamilton twinning, Photo by SEAN SCOTT

Dorian and Obrien show their equipment, Photo by SEAN SCOTT

Dorian and Obrien show their equipment, Photo by SEAN SCOTT


Tags: video , maldives , champions , trophy , four , seasons , shane , dorian (create Alert from these tags)

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