Yesterday, Albee Layer released footage of surfing's first ever backside 540. A spin move he's been doing battle with for over a year now in the hope of pushing aerial surfing into another realm. Making a point of what else could be possible atop foam. But, as is always the way with aerial innovation, for some reason, we can't just all agree. No, that would be far too easy.
Originally, I had no qualms about bringing it to you all as a 540. I still didn't after trawling comments sections and seeing many offering alternative opinions: "It's a 720 for sure," or, "more like 630!" But, when the king of the rotation himself, Tony Hawk offers his opinion, you listen up. Here's what he had to say:
And then, Albee's reaction via his own Instagram:
"I kinda bought into it being called a 540. Not sure why. It is literally a little more than a 630 reverted into a 900 why surfers are so eager to sell themselves short, calling waves from the back for instance is confusing to me. One thing is for absolute certain I will never repeat never argue about spins with the original king of rotation himself @tonyhawk So claiming it 720! Haha can't even believe he shared my air so stoked."
Now, I'll agree on further inspection, there is a bit of a grey area and like Albee, I don't want to disagree with vert's greatest ever. He does spin further than 540. Nonetheless, slowing it down from the point of takeoff, take note of where the nose of Albee's board is pointing — to reach two full rotations, surely that nose must meet the same point twice before first hitting the water? And when did we start rounding up rotations? Maybe, we're talking 630 degrees with the extra 270 revert out?
A lot of numbers and a lot of questions, I know. But there was always going to be debate. At the very least and among all the nitpicking, I'm sure everyone can agree with The Birdman on one thing, "either way, it's next level."