Source Documents
tad : boards and ballet, 1965 

Tad : Boards and Ballet, 1965.

Tad: Boards and Ballet
Surfing World
February 1965
Volume 5 Number 6, pages 32-33.

Many writers have noted an artistic parallel between surfriding and dance, however in this instance Tad (otherwise unidentified, perhaps for anonymity?) emphasises the possible benefits of technical analysis derived from modern ballet.

In a very perceptive prediction, Tad writes:
I believe the sheer technique of surfboard-riding to be still in its elementary stage and what we may
- and can- see from future riders is limited only by their own vision to seek techniques from other outside arts.

As at 2014, the advances in
surfboard-riding technique since 1965 have been considerable.

The most dominant influence
from other outside arts was undoubtedly photography, and in particular film, essentially training manuals for the committed surfer-viewer.
[This may be canvassed in th
e incomplete transcription on page 33.]
While critics consistently complained of a lack of artistic effort in surfing films, for the initiated it was a case of:
Give me fewer sunsets, fewer airline plugs, less local colour, (even) fewer girls in bikinis, and more waves.

Strangely, one of the most dramatic outside influences on surfriding technique came from skateboarding and snowboarding, replicating the aerial manoeuvres of pool or ramp riders.
By 2000,
getting airs (and even more importantly, landing them) was a standard in the repertoire of professional surfers.

Page 31
by TAD

The future potential of surfboard-riding as both an art and a sport is now engaging the more active minds among surfing connoisseurs.

A good example of this was a news­paper feature by Jack Mayes in which he drew attention to similarities be­tween good board technique and ballet.
Jack, an active veteran surfer him­self, may have been closer to the font of tomorrow's ultra-technique than he realised.

Boardriding and ballet techniques have much in common with the footwork of many top riders closely resembling the dexterity of ballet dancers.  
I believe the sheer technique of surfboard-riding to be still in its elementary stage and what we may - and can- see from future riders is limited only by their own vision to seek techniques from other outside arts.

Ballet, as a professional performing art, is about 300 years old.
It is, of course, but another branch of dancing - which itself is as old as mankind.

Over the years ballet technique has altered and improved, although ex­perts of the past were probably as good, man for man, as the virtuoso of the present. (A state which applies to any sport, taken on the opportunity-for-opportunity basis.
That is, give Boy Charlton and Murray Rose the same advanced training, at the same time and under the same conditions, and both in their prime, and their per­formances would probably be reason­ably similar.
Stars of any age are only restricted by the lack of knowledge in that era in which they live.)

The interesting fact is that ballet has, over recent years, lent its tech­nical virtuosity and artistic lines to other sports and arts such as acro­batics, gymnastics, circus acts, wrest­ling, body building-posing, ice and roller skating, diving and synchronised swimming, water-ski ballets, etc.

That is, star performers and/or skilled teachers have borrowed from ballet technique and adapted it for

Page 32
[incomplete transcription]

their own uses (s
ballet-training as a s

So we have ice-sl
in spins faster tha
ballet. Water-skiers
line (one well-known
Jackie Johnstone,
sional dancing team
wrestlers drop-kick
of the balletic leap
used the balletic leap
and cleaned up medals in international compe

In other cases
women may use ballet as a muscle-strength
 its technique, as
a direct part in their

It was once written
be no bad professional
circus agility artist
reason that, if the
would probably be
stages of their career
board-riding, cannot
There are bad, w
of both sexes w
their careers through
"knowing someone
the highway surfer
of surfies.
acrobatics, the big wave

I do not think
great deal to offer
wave rider.
more of a risk th
the infusion of
technique into I
will revolutionise

Without this
side  tricks and
remain static.
off in the wrong
for new kicks.

Note that I s
The fact
case of the
are movements
both ballet and
who has ever seen
performance of
groups will see
doggers of the b

There is now
for board-riders
their ballet-like
so—to a degree.
films and been i

Surfing World
February 1965
Volume 5 Number 6.

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Geoff Cater (2014) : Tad : Boards and Ballet, 1965.