The Board Rusty Should Have Submitted To Stab In The Dark - Stab Mag

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Kolohe holding the board Rusty ultimately decided on. But was it the right choice? Photo: Nate Lawrence

The Board Rusty Should Have Submitted To Stab In The Dark

Team riders tell a fable of regret and redemption.

elsewhere // Apr 3, 2024
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“This is the board we were gonna give Kolohe for Stab in the Dark,” Rusty rep Ryan told me, laughing as he gingerly passed me the Underdog in the Stab office as he glanced over at all the SITD boards lined up against the wall, “but at the last second we changed our minds.”

The board Rusty decided to submit was the the “SD RT RE”, an acronym for “SD Round Tail Rapid Entry”. Rusty has this to say about when it was turned in: “By having the deepest part of the concave in the entry, it feeds and keeps the water under the board early on and generates more lift, speed, and drive. I believe this is a big breakthrough and it’s going to be a game changer.”

Despite this being a favorite among Rusty’s team riders, it didn’t whet Kolohe’s appetite. He ended up sending it home after its first session at Keramas during Episode 2.

So, one can help but ask: should they have just submitted the Underdog?

Caio, who is still fighting it out at Bells to stay ahead of the Cut. Video: Rusty

Because Rusty is friend of Stab, they generously dropped a 6’0 Underdog off at the office for us and wondered if we’d want to write up a little article on-site. We weren’t gonna say no.

The Underdog is Caio Ibelli’s pro model, he rides it at every WSL stop of the season, just changing the length based on the conditions. The board has aggressive nose and tail rocker, a deep single concave bottom, and a round tail that can be ridden as a 5-fin, but is really made as a thruster.

Why is it called the “Underdog”? Caio himself once broke it down for us: “For as long as I’ve been on Tour, I’ve been an underdog. I don’t mind it. I want people to think that way, because it makes my job more fun and it makes me want to excel even more. I’m the ‘Forever Underdog.’

For Caio’s insight on his signature craft, and his weigh-in on the Stab in the Dark decision, we reached out to get a few words:

“Since 2021 I’ve been tuning up the Underdog model with Rusty. It’s a very high performance board…all I need to surf every condition on Tour,” Caio told us, “It’s one of those boards that you get under you arm and feel the vibe — nice rails, good rocker, you know you can take that board anywhere. About Stab in the Dark…I can’t even explain what happened there hahaha, wrong choice especially for Indonesia. I knew Kolohe was gonna love it [The Underdog] and win it. The board was made for that but it’s ok, I will forgive them [Rusty] this time.”

Letty, whose brain we probed below, on a number of Rusty nugs set to some funky House. Video: Rusty

For more insight on the board and whether or not Rusty should have outfitted Kolohe with it instead of the “SD RT RE”, we reached out to Rusty team rider and Stab Highway Speedo Star Letty Mortensen:

“I’ve ridden it [the Underdog] recently on the Goldy and went real good — mega performance CT weapon I thought. By the looks at the waves Kolohe had for Stab in the Dark it would have presumably worked there too. Generally the “SD” is good for small to medium waves I thought. Maybe if they’d known it was Kolohe they would have gone with a knifier CT-like board. They should’ve asked me who they thought the fucken surfer is. I’m the biggest Kolohe fan.”

Evidently, while the “SD RT RE” and the “Underdog” are tried-and-tested, true blue team rider staples, the Underdog nudges out the SD in good waves, the kind of waves Kolohe got in Stab in the Dark. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a world where Rusty made it closer to the final if Kolohe was offered a chance atop the Underdog.

Stab in the Dark at the San Clemente Pier? The SD RT RE probably would’ve been the call. At Keramas? Well, you saw the result.

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