The 10 Most Memorable Drop-in Clips

Getting dropped in on is a right of passage for any surfer.

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Whether on a one foot day at your local beachie by a learner or, if your super unlucky, on that perfect day of your trip on the other side of the world, where the last thing you see before you get buried by the lip is some shoulder hopper snagging the end of your perfect drainer.

Perhaps it’s this relate-ability, or a darker sense of tribalism and possessiveness, that makes internet clips of drop-ins such hot potatoes. Accordingly, we decided to have a dig back through the archives and find our 10 most memorable drop-ins ever caught on film. Anything like any of these ever happened to you?

1. We might as well dive straight in with this one as it may well be the clip that polarised opinion the most online of any of the clips on our list. Appropriately titled ‘SURF RAGE’ the clip features Kiwi Tom Thimpson tackling a fella off a wave after he apparently dropped in on him for the third consecutive time.

The clip dragged up some pretty murky surfer race relation issues, with a huge amount of comments using the clip as a springboard to attack Brazilian surfers in general. Perhaps not quite as vocal were the group calling the tacklers actions as totally over the top, with calls for him to calm the eff down a plenty. Whatever your take on the actual incident we hardly think it is evidence for condemning all Brazilian surfers, that’d be like watching the clip and deciding that all NZ’ers make a sport out of tackling the shit out of people…

2. Next up is probably one of the most watched drop-ins ever, featuring a very near decapitation by jet ski. According to Reef Macintosh, who was driving the ski, he was in no way qualified to be out there towing (and the evidence would certainly suggest as much) but after a bit of encouragement from Raimana, the surfer in the clip, he decided to help his mate out and whip him into a few.

Here’s how Reef described the moment in an interview with GrindTV; “So there was, like, a chop on top of the wave; it was kind of stormy and crossed up, making these little waves on top of the waves. So as I’m looking down at him I felt the wave pick the ski up, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m gliding on this thing with no control!’ People were saying that I should have turned and gassed it out the back, but I’d never been in that position before; I’d never really driven a Jet Ski in surf at all! So once I felt that the wave had me and the ski, I just ejected out the back to save myself, all the while praying that the ski would go over Raimana and not tumble down the face onto him.”

Much like Mick’s shark attack, luckily this didn’t end in catastrophe, meaning we can enjoy the clip for years to come…

3. This next incident took place during the final of the 2013 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and provided one of the most iconic shots in the WSL’s history. Unlike some of the others on the list, this one is pretty cut and dry in terms of right and wrong, because it took place in a heat. Basically Joel took off deep on a throaty one and Kelly used his priority to take the wave off him, then Joel playfully flipped him the finger before pulling out, as is the natural reaction in such a scenario.

Although not a super contentious one,  the internet still loved it, quite possibly because it embodies a playfulness missing in many other competitive sports. Check out the clip and the fellas post heat take on it…


Photo: Carey/ASP

4. Next up is a clip that will make your whole body wince, about as brutal as they come, a full on board and fins to the spine ordeal. We’re tempted to call this an excessive over reaction and give the guy a good telling off for how irresponsible it is to spear a fellow surfer in the neck and back with a big hunk of fibre glass, no matter what he’s done.

However, if you watch super closely it is possible that the whole thing was just a very unlucky accident. It might be that the guy doing the air was already sufficiently airborne by the time the other guy dropped in to be able to do anything other than what he did. But we’ll let you guys be the judge.

5. From really brutal to really cute, this one might have even brightened up the day of the guy who got dropped in on. Filmed at Trestles, which is no stranger to the odd drop-in, this little ripper forgets to look, but luckily the surfer who already had the wave doesn’t seem too bothered, even giving the kid the go ahead to finish the wave, which he does in style with a perfectly timed backhand re-entry.

6. The next clip once again features a Brazilian, the best Brazilian in the world in fact, and once again stirred up a worrying amount of comments displaying blatant racial prejudice after it was posted by the inertia under the heading ‘Gabriel Medina drops in, forgets to knock’.

However, it turned out that their accusations had been unfounded, as the guy who Medina supposedly dropped in on turned out to be one of his close mates named Bony Silveira . This is what he told Tracks after the clip was published:

“Yeah the media, they write some shit about Gabriel Medina. They write some stuff about him dropping in; the surfer he dropped in on was me! You know, when the boys come to town for competition I want to give them all the waves. They are here to compete and to train. They are working. When I take off on that wave I see Gabriel there and I scream to him, ‘GO Gabe!’ because I want him to take the wave. He takes off and does this crazy turn right over my head. I put my hands up like I am taking a photograph, stoked for him, and I think he is going to go right over me. He got stuck at the top and then you see in the video, he got caught on my leash and fall off. I write to the guys at Inertia and say, hey come on, don’t talk shit like this. Gabriel is my friend and I tell him to go on that wave. It’s not right.”

In response the Inertia penned a pretty good article defending themselves and Brazilian surfers, which you can read here. So alls well that ends well.

7. Whilst we’re on the topic of plot twists, accusations and assumptions, we thought this one would be appropriate to include next. We managed to find this clip by Epic TV which sums up the whole thing pretty well, so we’ll leave it to them to explain:

8. This is all getting a bit tense isn’t it, so here’s the story of when Mitch Parkinson got dropped in on by a fish to lighten the mood a bit (although not that much as it turned out the fish is a deadly one). The offender, which is a needlefish, comes flying out of the lip like a spear, heading straight for where Mitch would have been, had he not spotted it and put the breaks on. Although there are only two recorded incidents of these little blighters actually killing people, it was still a pretty near miss, as the clip was recorded way out in the Indian Ocean; a pretty long way away from the medical care Mitch would have needed had the fish got him in the torso.


9. The penultimate clip on our list is another pretty brutal one featuring 16 year old Griffin Coloapinto from San Clemente getting landed on in some pretty fun looking waves. How painful does this one look?!

10. And finally, just incase this post has put you in a dreadful mood for the rest of the day and got you cursing surfing and all those who practice it, here’s a clip of some dolphins having an absolute blast, all dropping in on each other and not giving a shit. If only we all loved party waves as much as dolphins eh?