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Claims move from the ocean to wave pools

Decades ago there was no better way to ruin a ride than by claiming it. They went together like orange juice and toothpaste. As pro surfing competition got more, well, competitive, the claiming grew. While most claims are justified, some (Kelly in main photo) claims became a tool to boost scores. By feigning emotional exhilaration, a competing surfer could better sell a score to the judges.

Claims have evolved beyond just raised fists. Andy Irons’ shotgun blast at Teahupoo accelerated the evolution of claims and soon we saw chest thumping, finger-wagging and even the occasional jazz hands. So specialized and diverse is the world of claims that there’s now an Instagram account dedicated to claims (@surfclaim).

At the Stab High event, Kevin Schulz landed an amazing flip off the Freak Peak.

Kevin Schulz and Big Z
Kevin Schulz pulls out a Big Z claim after landing a flip at the Stab High event in Waco

“Today was the day,” Schulz said on Insta. “After three years of trying in the ocean, I finally put one down in the pool at BSR Surf Resort.”

Ecstatic, he did a really cool namaste-type-claim thingy. We thought it looked familiar and dug deep into the pop culture waste bin. What we found was Big Z from Sony Pictures 2007 classic “Surf’s Up.”

As surfing competitions move from the ocean to wave pools, bringing claims along with it, we hope to see a proliferation of creative claims like this one by Schulz. We’ve added some other wave pool claims and the original Big Z claim so you can take a little visual tour. Enjoy

Main image of Kelly Slater by World Surf League. Big Z appears courtesy of Sony Pictures.


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