Taylor on one of the most epic rides in Todos Santos history back in 1998.
His round 1 loss to local wildcard Billy Kemper at the ongoing Billabong Pipe Masters back in December cued his final exit, as close friends Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, and Rob Machado chaired him up the beach following the loss.
A true legend of surfing...competitive or recreational. Mahalo TK!
The two accomplishments that will cement Taylor's legacy in surfing were his K2 bigwave award win in 1998, and his biopic movie project "ARC." In 1997, snow company K2 Sports decided to dabble in the surf market, and their entry strategy included putting up $50,000 for the surfer who could successfully ride the biggest paddle-in wave of that winter, the first time such a large sum of money had been dangled in front of the surf world's nose. With the biggest swell of the year aimed at the West Coast, Taylor drove south into Mexico, and hopped a Panga ride to a small island called Todos Santos, where Reef had scheduled a big-wave event. Knox nabbed the wave of the day, and the 50-foot-plus monster not only won Knox the K2 $50,000, but it landed him on surf magazine covers worldwide.
Many surfers have signature films made about them, but few have a signature maneuver like Knox does. While "ARC" itself wasn't groundbreaking, Taylor's forehand rail turn would literally teach an entire generation how one should do a cutback. The way Taylor mixed speed, function, power, and style in one turn still remains a mystery unmatched by anyone since, and it's easy to assume that the title of the film was a nod to Taylor's signature turn.
Now that the confetti has been cleaned up, Surfer magazine's Jeff Mull got a few words about the future from old Knoxy, including word that he is working on a follow-up to "ARC." Here is a sampling of what Mull and Knox talked about:
So how long have you been planning on retiring? Was your decision to step back from the tour in the works for a while or was this tied to not re-qualifying?
I didn't want to say anything earlier in the season, but yeah, I was planning on making this my last season for some time. I'd been in talks with my sponsors for a while, but I didn't want to come out and announce my retirement or anything during the season because I didn't want to take anything away from the way I competed. But it's been a great run and the tour has been really good to me. There are a lot of projects I have lined up that I'm really looking forward to.
So what's next then?
We're working on re-cutting a new version of "ARC," and I've got a trip to Africa planned that I'm really excited about. I'm also going to continue doing a few select events here and there. I'll be working with Dragon some more for the School of Hard Knox power surfing clinics I do. Those are always a ton of fun. And in between all of that, I'll be filming and doing some work with Rip Curl's "Rubber Soul" project. So I think I'll be as busy, if not busier, than I was on tour.
Read Jeff Mull's full interview at Surfer Magazim HERE
Photo of Taylor Knox at Todos Santos (top) courtesy of Billabong XXL; photo of Taylor in Puerto Rico courtesy of ASP