A MAN AND HIS HORSE | Derek Hynd Finless at Jeffreys Bay

Derek Hynd | J Bay

Derek Hynd | J Bay

“Sadly, we live in a world where if you do good things, there are no financial rewards. If you poison the Earth there is a fortune to be made”

My first memories of the mythical and iconoclastic figure that is Derek Hynd are likened to two towers that stand tall in my memory banks. The first, reading his oftentimes harsh critique of the then ASP “Top 30” in Surfer magazine during study hall my high school study hall period. The second, Hynd being the one person who openly spoke out about the drug problem in the world of professional surfing.

As time went on, I didn’t see much of Derek Hynd, and it’s not because he wasn’t continuing to be active in the world of surfing. My attention was temporarily diverted, as I was getting wrapped up in whatever was the youth culture surf movement of the 90s. Hynd seemed interesting, almost like a John the Baptist figure in the realm of surfing, prophesying and giving warning. Mr. Hynd did appear “old” to me in 1988, so by 1995 in my naive young mind, he was nothing more than a surfing relic.

Eventually I changed, I grew, I matured, and on many levels I was humbled. The perpetuation of time on the body will humble you, if you invite it or not, it comes knocking. I began going through both internal and external changes, growing pains of sorts, and my surfing had been following suit. This is around the time I came across Andrew Kidman’s film “Litmus”. “Litmus” was unlike the crop of surf films of the era, there was a timelessness of the surfing spirit that was expressed in this unique film. Also, I felt that the film posed a question to me, “what does surfing mean to you”? It’s a question I never really asked myself, as surfing, what surfing could be, was simply dictated to me by the surf media at large.

“Litmus” was a turning point and then entered the wizard like Derek Hynd.

Derek Hynd was featured in the film and his surfing appeared beautifully strange to me, expressive and non conformist. The now iconic image of Derek from the film, performing the soul arched high line pump, is forever planted in my brain.



Hynd has continued to move in a direction that is of a renegade in the modern surfing world, now with his devotion to riding only finless surfcraft. Many people scoff at it, they criticize, they minimize, their hearts and minds are closed. It seems they have forgotten the initial freedom and joy they felt when they first rode a wave. When you watch Derek surf his finless surfcraft, that youthful stoke is ever present in his surfing.

The film below was shot the session after the 2015 Jbay Open final, as Hynd surfed alone only an hour after Mick Fanning’s encounter with a great white shark. The film features Derek Hynd riding a 11’6″ finless board and Emi Erickson riding a 1973 Bob Cooper single fin. The smaller day is the Monday after the final, where they thought it’d be bigger . Kelly Slater gets a wave after his semi final heat had ended.

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Growing up in New Jersey, Shawn discovered and quickly immersed himself in the sub-culture of surfing and skateboarding in the mid 80’s. With a diverse and eclectic background, Shawn has walked the path of a competitive surfer, Hare Krsna monk, action sports industry player in NYC, DIY theology and religions major, and a touring punk rock musician. Now a father and self-proclaimed seeker of the “soul” of surfing, Shawn enjoys sessions with friends at uncrowded peaks along his home state’s shoreline and writing about his surf related experiences.

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