“In 10 Days In Europe, The Two Best Meals I Ate Were At McDonalds" - Stab Mag

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“In 10 Days In Europe, The Two Best Meals I Ate Were At McDonalds”

An investigation into the alleged malnourishment of a Stab Highway x Monster Energy filmer.

elsewhere // Aug 18, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 4 minutes

“The highway is for gamblers, you better use your sense,” rattled Bob Dylan, during his 1960’s Stab Highway prophecy (presented by Monster Energy).

You take a chance when you get on the Highway and accept our booklet of challenges. You accept the inevitable sacrifice of sleep, health, sanity, and sometimes, the capability to eat anything except snails. Your body becomes nothing but a challenge-completing utility machine, and the mind suffers.

The toll of our European road trip has become apparent on the faces and in the Bobby-esque proclamations of our surfers. But the audience hasn’t been offered a window into the unsung battlers of the Highway — our film crew.

Receiving none of the glory, yet required to undergo much of the duress, two filmers were assigned to each team. In turn, our surfers became responsible for the safekeeping of these camerapeople. That included feeding and housing them with part of their $500/day stipend (for six people total).

So you’ll understand why we were alarmed when it was alleged that the blue team was malnourishing one of their cinematographers.

John Wiley, Stab Highway Europe’s hungriest production hand.

John Wiley and his cargo pants are made to last, which is why we’ve brought him on our less glamorous projects like Stab Highway CA and Stab High Lakey Peak (machetes included). John NEVER misses the shot and we rarely hear much from him, let alone a complaint.

So when — on the seventh day of our Eurotrip — John texted us a new challenge that read, “Feed John: 3 points”, we tracked him down to drop off some carbs. John looked degraded, broken, and more forlorn than we’d ever seen him. Had our Stab Hwy Gen Z Team broken our gladiator filmer?

We decided to launch a full-tilt investigation.

I began making phone calls, and what I discovered was extremely alarming.

“Around the end of Spain, we began realizing that the Blue Team might not be feeding John Wiley,” Red Team captain Zoe McDougall told me when I called her. “Wiley was very, very thankful when we gave him food. He looked really hungry. I definitely don’t think anyone on Blue Team was eating much more than vapes, so I don’t think they were feeding their filmers.”

Harrowing testimony. 

“We definitely fed our filmers,” Zoe also said. “All you can eat sushi every night.” Proof above.

I then reached out to Blue Team leader Juliette ‘JuJu’ Lacome, who began her response with “Hello, there is no need for investigations.”


“We rushed breakfast everyday,” she continued. “We would go to the bakery and buy croissants, and then we would do challenges all day. Most of us didn’t each lunch. When we would stop in service stations we would ask if anyone wanted food and he would never reply. There was one night we went to my friend’s house and it was up to him to get his own food and Joel gave him money. Other than that we all ate at the same time.”


“Can I file a case for him being a little bitch?” McKenzie Bowden chirped, from somewhere in the desert.

And so, I reached out to John Wiley himself, to settle the score. 

“You really wanna know?” Wiley asked. “In 10 days in Europe, the two best meals I ate were at McDonalds. There’s a few reasons for that. The late European sunsets mean you’re often chasing waves until late at night, and by the time you look for dinner everything is closed. 

“There’s also so many food related challenges — croissants, snails, sardines — that the team was often trying to find somewhere that sells something specific. If they couldn’t find it, they’d skip the meal entirely and move on to the next challenge. But if they did find what they’re looking for, our primary focus is on recording the moment and my order would get overlooked. 

“The blue team being so young also contributed. You can get away with a lot more when you’re young and energetic, including a crap diet. Having said that, you could clearly see the effects of hanger gripping the Blue Team, and there were a few very tense moments.”

What do you have to say for yourself, Joel?

“I think food is a really important part of the Stab Highway strategy. If you’re not eating well, you’re not going to be thinking or surfing your best. Sometimes it pays off to slow down, refuel, and plan ahead.

“On a trip like this, all the filmers are working bloody hard — usually they’re the first to wake up and the last to go to bed. They barely put their camera down for 18 hours straight every day. They’re going through the same struggles as the surfers — hunger, fatigue, sleeplessness, personality clashes — but at the same time they’re playing arbiter amongst team members, and are the last to complain about anything. At the end of the day, if a team is looking after their filmers, it’s going to benefit everyone. At the least, it makes their team look better because the filmers can do their job properly, and at best it could be the difference between winning and losing Stab Highway.”

So, what’s your plea, Blue Team? Guilty, or innocent?


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