One of the cooler things about surfing this year has been seeing Josh Kerr come into his own. You’d never have called him underrated – everyone knows how good he surfs – and with his own site, lotsa press and top billing on the Rusty team he’s sure not under the radar. But having not made a real dent on the World Tour so far, for the past half decade it’s felt like Kerrzy has been, in a weird way, almost taken for granted.
This might sound weird for someone who starred in the most interesting surf movie of the year so far and is currently staring out from the covers of two different magazines. But that lack of World Tour impact has, until now, seen him dismissed by a lot of people. When he got on the World Tour in 2007 after completely destroying the World Qualifying Series the year previous he happily backed himself in the media. His confidence – particularly in the American surf mags – was taken as that of an arrogant young Aussie talking smack out of turn. It seemed like a lot of people delighted in the fact that he failed to requalify, like it was proof that to earn your place on the world tour you had to be outwardly humble and self-effacing, as if every other surfer on the tour doesn’t believe they deserve to be there.
We here at Pop aren’t ones to condone arrogance. The thing is, if you’re looking to point fingers at self-important sons of bitches, Josh Kerr isn’t your man. Yes, he comes off as cocky, and charges Shipstern, Waimea Bay and The Box like a crazed madman while landing airs no-one else has even thought of, and yes, outwardly he might seem like he’s got tickets on himself. But in a country full of grounded, straight up and down pro surfers, Kerrzy is one of the finest. His dad died when he was 11, at 19 he’d met the woman who’d become his wife and make him a father at 23, and he was the drunkest man in Margaret River Pub the night before he beat Taj Burrow at the Masters in macking surf back in March this year.
He won innersection despite saving his best clips for his own profile movie, and although he won’t win the Kustom Airstrike comp (Flynn Novak’s flip and Chippa Wilson’s big spin are impossible to beat), having three of the top nine airs is no mean feat.
Why the love for Josh Kerr when he seems to be getting it from everywhere right now? Cos he makes pro surfing more fun.