Issue 81 – Q3 2015
The essential guide to happiness reads likes this: Surf better
But, shaun white says it’s hard!
Any man who tells you he doesn’t want to be a better surfer is a lying one.
Like golf, boxing or tennis, a gent doesn’t partake for all those hours to get progressively worse. But because nonchalance is stylish we just don’t talk about it.
You’ve got apps and notifications and reminders and you’re connected to everyone and everything that you could possible need to make life easier now, to supposedly make you happier. But being able to float from work to play and back again in the same place isn’t happiness. It’s extra time. Extra time to improve your surfing and that’s where you’ll find the buttery delight in life!
This issue, we skipped on the technology and went for the knowledge. It doesn’t trend, it’s always great. We wanted to make surfing easier, more accessible. Let’s be honest: it’s a difficult sport we’ve got ourselves hooked on. And you’ll be better off, not just in the water but in life, after reading Stab’s 100 exceptional pieces of advice from those in the know (page 34).
But with the concept came an interesting question in the Stab office: is surfing the hardest sport in the world?
Sure, comparing surfing to any of the aforementioned sports would be an irrelevant study. But between surfing, skating and snowboarding there’s always been that loose appreciation for one another in standing sideways. And the way they interrelate, let alone which one’s hardest, has been a bit of a faux pas.
Skating requires more precision. It’s more technical to flip and twist a board that’s not attached to your feet. And cement doesn’t discriminate.
Snowboarding requires more guts. Anyone can plug in and slide for 10 metres, but to throw yourself off a 90-foot block of ice requires a different brain orientation.
Surfing requires greater strength, greater patience and due time with a moving ocean and everything that’s alive within it. You can’t drown in asphalt either.
Answers aside, it’s not an us versus them scenario anymore. Gents like John John Florence, Noa Deane, Kalani David, Greyson Fletcher and Curren Caples show there’s more than a suffix being shared here. Recognising this we looked outside of surfing to open the conversation.
We caught up with Shaun White, a fine gent who dines on success and fortune, who’s been paid to ride snow and skate for longer than he hasn’t.
“Man, I’m just up at my apartment in New York City right now,” he tells Stab when we spoke. “But I was down surfing last week near Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Diego area. I live on the water there so you can’t not see every set wave that comes through. I was super pumped up to surf and I half-assed this back-180 to the flats and I compressed my lead ankle. I had to sit there and watch the waves get progressively better all weekend.”
Shaun’s the only extreme sports athlete to make Bloomberg’s list of 100 most powerful athletes in the world. (It’s based on a math formula; athlete’s ranking, sport’s popularity, the endorsement deals and potential.) It helps that his signature sport is the only one to go Olympic (for now) but the perfect storm of talent and opportunity has brought him here; 28 years old and moneyed.
Over timezones and percolated coffee we spoke about how board sports interrelate, surfing through his eyes, what our sport could learn from his, and why he wants to be a better surfer too (page 14).
And who’s opinions on this topic could carry as much gravitas as Shaun White? John John Florence of course; a surfer, skater and snowboarder, aswell.
You’ll also find a feminine touch in Stab Style this month. Malia Manuel’s fist kiss is the perfect amount of braun and sweets you’d want landing on your cheek. She toiled and jabbed in a classically beaten boxing gym in the ‘burbs of Melbourne for our cover shoot, captured by Richard Freeman.
Premium boardshorts and kicks satisfy our product cravings this issue and we dissect the art of making surf films, both warmly through the rearview, and also towards our digital future.
Come on in and better yourself. It’ll be fun!
by Lucas Townsend