This video of Southern California surf pioneer Merv Larson has recently been attracting attention on social media. As seen above, Larson was pulling incredible flatspins and cartwheel — moves most kayakers thought were born in the 90s — on a wave-ski decades earlier. Perhaps even more impressive than the moves themselves is just Larson’s overall clean style and carves.
As noted in the Encyclopedia of Surfing:
Larson was born (1940) in the city of Orange, California, raised in Huntington Beach, and began bodysurfing at age seven. In 1959 he saw kayaker Don Golden riding at Doheny Beach in Orange County, and was intrigued; in 1965 he installed footstraps, a small seat, and a seat belt to an old paddleboard, building his first wave-ski. The board originally had a fin, but when it broke off Larson found he preferred the wider range of motion allowed by a finless craft, and discovered that he could get more than enough forward thrust by sinking a paddle blade into the water.
Who out there is riding / surfing / paddling 30 years ahead of their time?