Mid to late afternoon.
The swell was 8-10 feet by Florida standards.
The weather was overcast with some onshore wind and scattered showers.
Reeling right-hand point break with clear blue water except for in the impact zone on the inside tube section which was full of sand and foam from all the explosions.
There was some chop on the face from the onshore wind, enough to make it feel like home.
From the take-off zone for about 100-200 yards, it was a bit softer, turns to stay with it and set up the inside Little Marley section that was barreling sick.
On the inside, the ‘sheets were getting pulled tight’ and the wave face got pretty clean along the tube section.
The first WCT event of that year was coming up and a bunch of the guys on tour were out freesurfing.
Parko, Fanning, Wardo, Andy, etc…all-star session.
I was inside of the tube section paddling back out and I could see all the way up the point to the rocks.
Andy was up and riding, taking the high line and letting the wave set up. Just cruising along but going fast.
Then he turned down the face and squared up off the bottom.
I was expecting him to crush the lip, but instead, he put zero emphasis on the turn and just casually steered his board back down the face.
That surprised me and I was thinking everyone I’d ever known would have tried to hit that lip as hard as possible.
But being the 3-time world champ, he had nothing to prove and demonstrated some great control while setting up the inside section.
Then he accelerated down the line, got high up on the face, swooped down out in front, and set up square off the bottom.
He came up right in the hook as the wave started to throw wide and he started one of that patented Andy-style down carves.
As he started to point the nose back down the face, the wave hollowed out under him and he was going to lose the rail line.
Halfway through the turn, he tapped the board and disengaged his rail from the wave face so as to not nosedive.
But since he started the move so tight to the hook and the speed of the tube catching up behind him, something strange happened.
He went from turning down the wave face – to being unattached to the wave – to ‘sticking’ his board to the inside of the barreling lip.
It sounds crazy just writing this.
This is NOT the day or the wave – just a GIF to help illustrate:
See how in the GIF above, the expansion and contraction of the turn are linked and how he positions his body over the board to absorb the rebound?
He went through nearly the identical motion but between the combination of his turning radius and the angle of the wave, he connected with the inside of the barreling lip instead of the white water in the GIF example above.
He ‘stuck’ his board to the inside of the barreling lip just like how you would ‘stick’ an air. I can’t stress this enough, his movement that connected him to the inside of the lip was intentional and crisp. His nose was slightly higher than his tail and hung there for a split second before he made his next intentional movement and disengaged from the inside of the lip and dropped tail first into the tube.
He just held form throughout and *STICK* > *STICK*.
No bobbing, no arm waving.
Then he was standing in the tube just like how one normally would.
By this time, I was drifting up the wave face on the shoulder about 20-30 feet in front of him.
He had a regular focused look on his face like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I was again surprised that he didn’t look shocked by this move.
We made eye contact for an instant and his eyes flicked a look that said ‘Yea, you saw that shit’ and then he went back to looking down the line in the tube.
I was blown away.
I had just seen something that I never even imagined was possible.
It left me with such a cool memory and so many questions.
Like was he trying to do this?
Did Andy ever do another one of those again? Before?
Was it the only time this move has ever been done by anyone?
Since it was kinda rainy and dreary out there were no cameras filming on the beach and I’m pretty sure there was no video of this wave.
Plus you would have had to be looking directly into the tube to be able to decipher what happened.
That was by far the most technical move I’ve ever seen to this day and I’ll not soon forget.