We Touch in Silhouette
Under an Atlantic moon, and in a Tenerife theme park that looks like the picturesque ruins of some ancient Asian empire, we see five surfers of a blissful exclusiveness. They shuffle and laugh and wonder at how they were sold up the river on a wavepool shoot that involved thirty hours of flying across the world and via the Spanish mainland capital of Madrid to the water kingdom of Siam Park in Playa de las America, Tenerife.
They look around and they see banks of HMI lights, the sort used for movies, hanging off cranes and on stands that require two men to operate. On the southern bank of the pool, they check a 12-metre high white scrim that balances in the most precarious nature from a cherry picker. The laws of physics mean one tap of the scrim, from surfer or surfboard, will topple the cherry picker into the pool. It may not be a game of death, but it has the air of potential disaster.
The surfers see a man who may or may not be the owner of this magazine with a fistful of cash, for the proprietor of the lighting company is playing a jive game and refuses credit cards. He will only take the ten gees of Euros in a wad of notes.
The surfers are as follows. Held in the protective bosom of his pops, Dino, is Kolohe “Brother” Andino, 16. His one-year older pal, Evan Geiselman, in colourful trunks and with not a lick of fat on his body, waxes a Merrick Rookie. The teens represent the best of mainland America. Both will spend the rest of the trip making erotic drawings together in their shared room.
Alongside his heart-breakingly pretty, Latin-featured Californian girlfriend, is Julian Wilson, whom you know. Nearby is Adam Melling, who is holding hands with a tertiary-educated blonde of equal rating to the Californian. Adam you know, also. Julian is progression; Adam weaves a picturesque style.
Bruce Irons, 30, from Kauai, meanwhile, is solo, but is protected by the knife he affixes to his long, elastic-waisted shorts. Bruce represents super awesomeness, in general, and is the bookend, generation-wise, to Evan and Kolohe.
“How’d you get sold up the river on this?” I say to Bruce, who, let it be recorded, is looking like he’s been doing push-ups since he quit the tour a couple of years back. His triceps pop like jack-in-the-boxes and he rewards them with regular loving strokes with the palm of his hands.
“What the fuck did you say? How did I get sawed up the river?”
My damn accent. I explain again.
Bruce replies: “Fuuuuck, fuck, an email came floating by that said, explosions, wavepools, lions, naked chicks… I don’t know about naked chicks,” the father and husband adds diplomatically, then continues: “Fuck, you guys, knowing Stab, I couldn’t think anything less. I knew it was going to fun.”
Stab is here, with drive-in-sized scrim, with cranes, with lights, with our pack of favourite surfers, because we are driven by an urgent educational imperative. We got an objective to wrong some wrongs.
The topic is grabs. Every kid of a certain level is into skateboard grabs in the air, mostly slobs, stalefishes and liens with the occasional mute and indy thrown in on their backside.
But, y’think the magazines or even the governing body of the sport can get it right? Stab reached its nadir when we ran a frontside grab and called it an indy. Competitive surfing’s slavemasters, the ASP, rolled in the mud of their ignorance during a World Tour event in Portugal when they called a slob of Owen Wright’s a mute.
American photographer Jimmy Wilson aka Jimmicane has been the most vocal critic of wrongly named grabs.
“I blame the magazines,” he says. “They have been constantly misnaming grabs and have fucked readers around the world. The hole may be too big to dig out of at this point.”
Stab disagrees. Which is why we created a shoot that would display, in perfect silhouette, which hand is grabbing and where. Jimmy, with his blunt prose, explains what is displayed in front of you.
Stab hopes that after you’ve read this book, the philosophy and the physical nature of grabs will start to be understood. If we seize the time now, if we educate our brothers and sisters, we can put a foot in the butt of ignorance .