55. Sean Virtue
Taking over for Australia as the air guy per excellence, Sean has made me say holy shit way more times than I care to admit. His aerial antics are elite level and if there’s a bodyboarding vid, odds are his section will absorb most of the views.
54. Matt Percy
Shark Island is one of the waves that most intimidates me just from watching it. It only takes half a second for an epic wave to morph into a four headed monster. The spot has put more people into traction than we’d like for it to be the case, including Wazza, who luckily made a comeback. During all of this Matt Percy scored barrel, after barrel, after barrel at the infamous spot. Simply put, if you want a blueprint on how to ride a tube at the Island, you watch Percy.
53. Warren “Wazza” Feinbeer / Christian “Rissole” Riggucini
Wazza’s exploits included a quote in a Strohy video saying “If I haven’t hit the reef in a session, I haven’t had a good surf.” In simple terms, the hellman nature of Aussie riders possibly has a lot to do with this crazy bastard and the waves he took off on at Shark Island. He had no consideration for consequences and he came close to paying big time. He fractured his back on a demented slab at Shark Island. Luckily, his resolve proved more than physical limitations and he made a recovery. Nowadays he still charges, but a lot more selectively.
For his part, Rissole was also a hell man who took off on anything that broke over reef, disregarding personal safety and the fear normal people would feel. He saw, he lined up and he chucked himself, no matter how unmake-able a wave looked. Between him and Wazza, they pushed riding on the Island to a whole new level while playing chicken with the reef every session just to show that there’s no comparison needed when you want to know who has the biggest balls in the lineup. There's a reason why these two guys tie for #53, thinking of one as a hellman at the Island without the other, just doesn't make sense.
52. Jacob Reeves
Watch his segment in Revolution and tell me you don’t want to brave the murky waters of California. Big booster and a hell of a combination surfer that can squeeze as many quality moves as you can name into one wave, Jacob is possibly my favorite surfer out of California.
51. Harry Antipala
Fierce competitor who showed in this year’s Legends heat at Pipe why he was so damn good, Harry helped the Kauai Classic breakdown most people in heats thanks to teamwork in competition and triangle strategy that seemed pulled out of Phil Jackson’s playbook. The only person who was able to break the code was a wizard in his own right. His riding was smooth and stylish, relaxed and powerful, what else could you ask for?