“I never set out to be weird,” said the great goofy-footed Frank Zappa. “It was always other people who called me weird.” These odd surfers have a lot in common with old Frank, being slightly weird, but also touched with a mad genius that has helped make a real difference to the sport. In an ever-standardised surfing world, we need odd characters to stand out and surf to a different wave. These seven surfers do that, and much, much more.
Ryan Burch is odd in the very best sense, a young surfer so out of step with the times, he is actually ahead of it. The 24-year-old Californian roams the world riding his own equipment that varies from homemade 9’6” logs to a 4’ block of foam. His different take on surfing both in and out of the water has meant that he has pushed design to new, truly unique places.
His love of the asymmetric design is a perfect example of his skewed thinking and his surfing on the design in films like last year’s psychic Migrations showed that not only does he think outside the box, but his surfing is at a level very few can match. Burch is an open channel of inspiration and creativity among a generation that’s more interested in four-inch screens than challenging the status quo. He’s odd all right, but in a way that sees him operating on a higher plane entirely.