Phil Edwards on "Style"

I think there are two different definitions of “style” as it applies to surfing. 1: The more natural you look or easy you make things look, the more style you have. 2: Someone that surfs a specific way that maybe is recognizable.

So for me it’s someone HAS style and/or someone HAS A style.

Personally, i’d take 2/3 the first definition and 1/3 the second. =)

Thanks, Mike. That was a fun session and its great to be with someone else who really knows what he’s doing…your fish is fast…I bet you got a good look at my uh style when I dropped in on you 30 yards down the line…only to realize you beat the section & were right behind me ! Sorry :slight_smile:

Danny’s an ex-linebacker too, eh?

I felt we represented Sways well…positioned for the set waves, surfing our own boards, the only two idiots out there leashless…we’ll have to do it again, soon.


Everyone’s got it. Some were born with it. Some aquired it through observation and environment.

People that passed through our space, leaving lasting impressions.

Events, can create it.

Maturity reveals our taste, like or dislike.

The wave or break, dictates how we approach each moment in and on that certain media.

To me, it’s always seemed important to allow fun to dominate. Decades of involvement, never entering a contest has kept the fun factor fed, allowing a relaxed style to continue. Although, surfing in crowded zones can seem like competition.

It’s like that saying, “if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, is sound present?”

If we surf alone, on an island within and island, does style exist? Or is that style?

When was the last time any of us went for a surf, totally alone, without human witness?

And would many of us actually want to be alone, bother to ride without other humans?

I know, that when it’s done, a lot of extra movement is eleminated. Flow, one instant, that feeling, occurs more often, less distractions more focus.

Style is subtle and very personal.

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I hope tom Wegener doesn’t mind using his website page here. He’s a modern day surfer who rides heavy handmade wood longboards with Old school “style”.

The shortboard “jitterbug” (as Lance Carlson called it) is a style of surfing. Doing a lip-flick, grabbing a high line, building speed, a big swoop turn, do it again, then flip off the backside with a two-story air is a “style” of surfing. Powerful and whipping moves. The guys that master that have style, they do that style, they surf with that style of surfing.

The “ballet” (as Lance calls it) is the old-school style of surfing. A big pivot turn, then the “Cat” yanks a few speed steps up for a look over the front bumper, then does a cat-like quick-step back to stall, trim, build up and time for the next dance toward the nose. Up and back with precision, timing, grace, and purity. Smooth and fluid. The guys that master (mastered in the past) have (had) that style, they did that style, they surfed with that style of surfing.

Phil (“The Stylist”) had a style of surfing, but he surfed with a style of surfing that became the trademark, the thing to do, the guy to emulate. Greg Noll said he could look out and see a vision of a guy on a board and know it was Edwards simply by his unique style.

Yea, we do anything we do cuz it’s fun, but if you peel back the layers of why it’s fun, it’s because we’re all aiming at something when we’re pursuing fun, audience or not. We’re competing, endeavoring, trying, pushing on, getting better at whatever it is because we have at least a secret desire to be like, emulate, strive for, or do something like it’s “supposed” to be done. Unwritten rule books say how it’s to be done. The rule books are usually written by someone whether we know it, admit it, or don’t know it.

Sooo, did Phil Edwards write the book on style? Did Jordan write the book on court moves, did Montana write the book on being calm when you’re behind in the 4th. Somewhere underneath the desire for fun and sport, there’s a rule book, a how to do it page written by someone back somewhere before us.

Has this become way too cosmic?? Just food for thought. This posting is a result of a recent discussion with a young surfer who insisted that a certain new world champion surfed with style just as Edwards and his buds did in the 60s. Does He? Lots of good replies on this thread - enjoyed reading all.


Style is a simple way of doing complicated things

I’m not sure Edwards, Jordan, or Montana can be considered the proprietors of style, but surely they’re are a gauge for it.

Michael with style, or is he just having fun?

O.K. back to jazz,

the Improvizational medium

that is the benchmark

[no basketball pun ]

for a lot of this style rif

the Professor was the player who by

Example , laid down a pattern so fresh and clean

as to be an inspiration to betters lessers and peers

wrote the book?

as has been said before

a job for ned buntlines

[the old west author of pulp

fiction novels glorifing lawmen and outlaws]

writing books is for AUTHORITIES

the Book written by Phil EDWARDS

was written by bob otum

the surfing done by Phil Edwards

would fill volumes if every nuance

were to be translated to the written word.

To "read"the book of Phil

is to read the praises of the comentators

far and wide that laud his accomplishments

so many so phil ran away to obscurity to be at peace

to continue creating as he would,

Iconography begat from biography

not auto biography

is distinctly diffrent…

barstool ,campfire, bleacher, armchair .

comparitive analysis is a time honored pastime

how bout that ty cobb.babe ruth,Joe di maggio

[dont forget the two g’s in di maggio]

every spectator sport got em

as surfing becomes more spectator orientated

the bio/icon-ography will become the fodder of the wintering herd

wow what a life…

never forget that col.benson comment about becky


I could spot so many short comings in the comparison

Hey KId ,that wiggle wasnt anything like Phil Edwards still photo


arms spread matching the curl line

Or Jackie baxter

letting the malibu curl

pour into the top of his waistband

stalling accross the first point

in slow mo

let it be known Kimo had style.

never saw the man surf

Blue Makua had style

never saw him surf

Kealoha Kaio had style

saw all these guys in stills

studied them in earnest

practiced with my shadow

in the driveway

and then unleashed

my rendition on the

proletariat,only because

I wished to establish

style.Long after to drop the affected style

the cloak of others identifying style

became the goal

now old friends can spot me walking from far away

if they wish to.

only because I remain un effected by debilitating injury

do I retain my personal style…

when i would come back from a walk with my grand father

my mom could see me walking like him.

I dont want to walk like my dad

he had a ‘Bum Knee’ from soccer


yeah hey kid

there will never be another Phil

Or Mikey ‘da cat’

Or any o’ those guys

only guys that try and emulate their moves

that they stole from…

matt kevlin?


pops ah choy?

george freeth?

a thousand years of soul improvisation

could we call it Aloha?