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Liquid Poetry

It’s the kind of excitement that keeps surf fans on the edge of their boards: The finals of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour—a yearlong series of events around the globe where the top wave riders compete for the much-coveted world champion title. The 2013 finals took place on Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline last December, where photographer and Montauk frequenter Justin Jay captured it all.


Although he wasn’t part of the epic battle between Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning for the world championship title, Alex Knost was on fire last year. He clearly rocks a unique personal style and definitely didn’t quietly blend in. There were some not-so-silent grumblings about the cut of his jib from a few of the “baggy-shorts, slippers and 5-foot-10 thruster” locals. Hawaii’s North Shore can be a paradoxically conservative place, despite its serene atmospherics and the veneer of laid-back aloha spirit. The “H” word—hipster—was bandied about quite often this year. Mainlanders with skinny jeans and retro boards were often a topic of conversation.

Perhaps some random kook rolling up from Venice or wherever with Alex’s look wouldn’t have survived the hazing, but Alex is a phenomenally gifted surfer with an abundance of panache. Watching him getting barrel after barrel, pulling off graceful laybacks and doing man-size turns on his leashless single-fin at overhead Rockies eventually silenced many of the critics and gained him respect. Liquid poetry. Rockies is geared toward AC/DC maneuvers, but Alex rode it like Coltrane, all with a smile on his face. A class act and true style master.