It was a few years ago that surf journalist Brendan Buckley wrote in Stab that, "The Superman, a fully functional grab -- one that could easily be used in a combo, one that allows for different spins and variations -- is dead. RIP. 2001 - 2007 or 2011."
Except, clearly it isn't. In the last few days Californian aerial specialist Jacob Szekeley and CT rookie Matthew McGillivray have both launched, and landed massive supermans. If the move was dead, well, it may have come back to life.
For the uninitiated, a superman is move where the surfer punts an air, grabs both front rails with each hand, kicks both legs off the board behind before planting the feet back down just before the landing.
The exact timing and genesis of the maneuver is a little unclear. However many point to the move stemming from the Air Shows series that ran as speciality events back in the late 1990s.
Australia's Troy Brooks, later a successful Championship Tour surfer, was the man who is most associated with the move. He used the superman in the Air Shows and would later regularly pull it out it in heats on the QS and CT. Though it was often more for entertainment value rather than the points he received from the judges.
Brooks himself has never claimed he invented the move. He said that the first Superman he witnessed was performed by Tim Curren. Either way, a decade later Sebastian Zietz and Jordy Smith were probably the only surfers to regularly attempt the trick. It remained a known, but not particularly groundbreaking aspect of surfing.
However, despite its fading wow factor, it did form the basis of some other new tricks that came not long after. Julian Wilson's Sushi Roll was a Superman, all be it one that incorporated a rodeo flip. Wade Goodall's Passion Pop (the move, not the 2003 movie) was a Superman, just with a shuvit.
Around a decade ago, the Superman simply became uncool, if it ever was cool. In Buckley's article Maui's renowned aerialist Albee Layer says, "Honestly, the only reason they went away is because people started doing small ones. I think Jordy killed the Superman for all of us."
But as Lex Luther knows all too well, killing a Superman isn't easy. At BSR in Waco, Texas, Szekely added a reverse into the equation for the first time. With McGillivray it was more traditional, but just with enough amplitude to make it eye popping.
Some may say the Superman is dead...but we say long live the Superman.