By Dashel Pierson at Surfer.com (4/27/2023)
Class is in session with pro surfer and wavepool enthusiast, Mr. Jacob “Zeke” Szekely.
These days, if you’re not pulling off air reverses by the time you hit double-digits (or even when you’re eight-years-old), you might as well kiss those pro surfing dreams goodbye.
But kids today are in luck; they have wavepools, which produce the same exact launch ramp over and over again, and thus expedite that aerial surfing process. And perhaps the biggest proponent of aerial progression in wavepools is Jacob “Zeke” Szekely.
During Zeke’s recent trip to the East Coast, where he teamed up with fellow YouTuber and novelty wave expert Ben Gravy, the two hit Skudin Surf at New Jersey’s American Dream mall. And in Zeke’s vlog from the visit, we see the San Diego surfer giving the local kids a breakdown in how to do airs.
Kind of a dream scenario for these kids to learn how to do airs, if you think about it. The perfect teacher: Zeke. And the perfect setting: a wavepool.
Here’s a few highlights from the pre-surf video analysis session:
“Bend your knees,” said Zeke. “Like really bend your knees. Mason Ho told me once at Waco that, if your butt isn’t almost touching the bottom of your board before you hit the lip, then you’re not compressing enough. The more you bend your knees, the more preparation you’re going to get to hit that section. And the more you’re going to pop off the lip.”
Skudin pointed out: “What I noticed about Zeke is, when he’s pumping on this wave, all of his pumps are done on the top 20 percent of the wave. He never goes to the bottom. He’s so high, almost in a floater. Even when he’s going to do the air, look where he’s bottom-turning. He’s bottom-turning about a third from the top of the wave. He never went to the bottom that entire wave.
“Backside air reverses require a lot of winding up with your body,” said Zeke. “You compress on the bottom turn with your butt squatting down low, but also winding up and following your shoulder as you rotate through.”
From there, Zeke and the kids hit the pool.
"I was hyped to show up, and teach these kids some tips," Zeke said.
The next big aerial surfer coming out of a mall in New Jersey? Could be.