Pushed into his first tube around the age of five, given his heritage (his father Neal Purchase shaped for the finest surfers of the day under Keyo, Hot Stuff and finally his own label) it is no surprise that Jr started mowing foam.
But before that was an era of radical experimentation with board design. His surfing at that time is probably best described by Andrew Kidman’s Glass Love, when Neal was riding widowmakers and fish and starting to pick up the planer to support his board habit. You can watch Neal’s backhand approach at the superbank on a single-fin, drawing deceptively simple lines, getting buried behind the foamball. It’s hard to describe paddling up towards the rocks at little marley and seeing Neal pull in, assume he’s gone, only to see him kick out way past greenmount.
“Out there,” Rabbit Bartholomew summed it up, “no one gets deeper.”