With the exception of one Kelly Slater, it's hard to think of any 40-year-old surfer whose new edit generates more excitement than Asher Pacey. The Australian natural footer continues to awe and inspire with his unique approach to surfing.
His recent drop, "Crystal Vortex Liquid Cortex" is a good case in point. "An edit from Pacey is like salve on a sunburn to those who enjoy watching great surfing," wrote The Inertia. "Asher Pacey's silky-smooth style is a welcome sight, as his surfing is always so perfectly paced and placed," said Surfer. "He's arguably in the peak of his career right now, at an age when most surfers are struggling to maintain sponsors," said Stab.
It's hard to argue that the Australian natural footer isn't surfing better as he gets older. And he was pretty good to start with. Pacey grew up on the NSW North Coast, surfing and competing in his age group with the likes of Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Dave Rastovich.
Back then, he was a pure high performance surfer with realistic ambitions to reach the CT. He rode the razor-thin thrusters of his contemporaries and made a name for himself as one of the most inventive aerial surfers on the Gold Coast and beyond. His section in the original Snapt features, filmed just as the Superbank sprang to life, then alerted the wider world to his tuberiding ability and unique style.
The competition dream died, but by logging perhaps more tube time than any other surfer, he maintained a solid career as a free surfer during the 2000s. However, it was his move to twin fins around a decade ago that ushered in a new phase in Pacey's career.
"When I got my first twinnie made by DHD [Darren Handley], and I instantly realized it was better for me," he said. "I feel like I don't really need to be performance surfing, it's not what I'm into at this point in my life."
However, perhaps ironically, a crucial part of his success was how he incorporated a high degree of performance surfing into his two-fin surfing. He showed just what was possible on those alternative crafts. Any shaper who's included a short, stubby twin in their range, or a surfer that has bought one, should give a nod to Pacey for bringing them back into fashion.
Of course the bee-keeping, fruit-growing, crystal-digging and down-to-earth surfer isn't too concerned with his influence on surf culture. He simply chases the best waves around the world, and surfs them with a grace, artistry, style and power that is unique. And it only seems to be getting better with age.