Holly Wawn Vs. The Mall Cop  - Stab Mag

Live Now: How Surfers Get Paid — The Queens of Ascension

Here is witness #1.

Holly Wawn Vs. The Mall Cop 

A sordid tale of betrayal, tire slashings, sabotage, and the first ever Stab Highway presented by Monster Energy casualty.

features // Jul 10, 2022
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a surfer, Holly Wawn has a rare combination of force and finesse. As a personality, she does not bother with the finesse. 

The Sydney-bred surfer was the only contestant from Stab Highway Australia (recall the trek across coastal New South Wales) to cross over to Stab Highway CA.  

After a glance at the 120 challenge booklet, Holly Wawn decided not to fret. As the Red Team Captain, she led her crew in a lax manner — her methods were as selective as they were creative. She scoffed at pesky challenges, like the one where you wear neoprene for eight days. Her dislike of the sticky criteria, but mostly the Head Judge, can be seen below:

The Feds be trolling.

After one too many of Mikey’s infamous “X’s”, the red team pulled the e-break, deciding to sip beers in a Big Sur creek while their competitors were out battling for points. 

Holly’s teammate, Eric Geielman, explained their strategy thusly: “This whole things rigged against us, so we have to bend the universe against it.” 

Which made us think of this

Before the first-ever Stab Highway axing, Holly replaced the rulebook with a three-step guide on how to torch her other nemesis, the Tan team.  

  1. Stick rocks in tires 
  2. Blow up socials 
  3. Commission Dane Reynolds to egg his protege’s car. 
Stage #3

In the end, the strategy went unrewarded, but damnnnn, it was fun to watch. We had a chance to chat with the twenty-four-year-old about life, judging disputes, and sabotage a couple months after Highway filming wrapped. 

Stab: Hey Holly, let’s start with a little background for our non-Australian readers. You’re from Sydney, is that right? 

Holly Wawn: Yep, I live 40 minutes north of Sydney in Bugan Beach. It’s beautiful—green headlands, beaches, and waterways.

When I was three, my dad started pushing me into waves. Around the age of nine or ten, Barton Lynch began coaching me. I surfed his contest on the Northern beaches, and I got robbed with a second place finish four years in a row. 

Did you continue competing after that? 

I surfed the pro juniors between the ages of 16 and 17 and then began the QS when I was 18 or 19. I broke my arm and had my shoulder reconstructed, which paused things. After healing, I was done spending money on contests with 1-2 ft surf. There are better places in the world to be. 

What’s your routine these days? 

I hate surfing early, so I wait for everyone to go to work. I’ll wake up at 6:30, take the dog to the park, check the waves, surf, come back, have breakfast then hang out the rest of the day. Pretty cruisy. This year, I’ve been in Hawaii, the States, and Indonesia, so I haven’t spent much time at home. 

A routine worth adopting.

What was your mindset like going into Stab Highway, CA?

We looked at the booklet and were not excited about the number of challenges. It should be about the quality, not quantity. We’d start the day with breakfast, choose the fun ones, figure out a destination, do a challenge, eat lunch, and maybe do another challenge before calling it a day around 6pm. 

The Red team is lucky they aren’t in East LA.

Who did you want on your team going into Stab Highway?

If I won the skull off, I would have picked Eithan first because he’s a weapon. It was good that I lost because he has a lot of energy, and we would have been operating on different wavelengths. My team wanted to cruise, which worked out great for the loss [laughs]. 

What were the highlights of the trip for you? 

Driving those big GMCs and bonding on the road. Other than that, Kuio shooting the rock bridge, driving through Big Sur, destroying cars, and messing with the other teams.

Big Sur is beautiful. We stopped at this freshwater Creek and spent the morning dipping our toes and drinking beers. Around midday, we left and ticked a few challenges on the way down to justify it. 

Probably laughing at the try-hards.

On that day we stopped at the rock. Kuio wasn’t happy about that—for good reason, he could have gotten seriously demoed. Plus getting to a hospital from there would’ve been a mess. 

We had to double down on the judging, so he shot the rock twice. Mikey would knock us on anything. The rulebook encouraged creativity, but he was not open to any unique methods, he wanted us to be just like the other teams. 

Did you read Mikey’s mea culpa? 

Yeah, but the bottom line is he put himself in that position. I know he loves it. That guy takes criticism well, and there’s something about him that’s easy to hate.

Photos don’t lie.

Which of Mikey’s rejections were the most painful?

In San Francisco, we met this tech lord who converted his sprinter van into a mobile office. He was working under the Golden Gate Bridge and kept chatting us up. And I was like, “Dude, that vest is nice—we need it for the show.” He said no to that one, but that we could grab another from his house.

Then he sent us an encrypted message with his address, and it took an hour and twenty minutes to get there. We could have been catfished. He met us at a bar around the corner. The vest was not a puffer but had a tech logo on the side. So we took the vest, smoked his hippie friend’s dread, then sent Mikey the video.  

Mikey said he would give us the points for the dread but not the vest, because it “wasn’t a puffer”. Screw that. We spent hours for less than two checks. At that point we were overinvested. So we texted our friend again, then spent another 1.5 hours driving back to retrieve a puffer. I felt bad for imposing on his afternoon. 

This is what over- investment looks like.

When did you decide to play sabotage on the Tan Team?

On the last morning, we learned just how far behind we were. It would have been too hectic to spend the day trying to catch up—so we got creative. 

We saw the tan team’s car at the beach car park in the underpass in Ventura. Eric Geiselman grabbed two pebbles and put them in the diagonal tires, letting the air out until the tires sat on the rim. The tan team had to wait for AAA to come for three hours. It felt great to screw their timeline. 

Doesn’t even look over his shoulder for cops.

Messing with Eithan is so fun. Even more so because we have Rolo, one of his best mates. When we got to Emma Wood for the spray Dane challenge, the Chapter 11 boys were waiting with 60 eggs.  Eithan’s car pulled into the lot, and Jake Kelly, Hunter Martinez, Dane Reynolds, and Rolo just fully pelted them. It proceeded to get nasty. Eithan tried to semi-fight Rolo, and some lady went off at Dane. Then Aaron (Stab’s GM) figured it out and called me out on the group chat. 

Jake Kelly ended up feeling bad and taking the car to get washed before the eggs dried. It was an intense day of antics. 

Any lingering feelings of resentment? 

There are no hard feelings here. Maybe between Micky and Zeke; I imagine there’s beef there. Micky should have won that acid drop challenge, and Zeke held him down in those rocks. 

You’ve spent a lot of time with the American and Australian side of surf culture. What are the main differences?

Australians are core. There’s a smaller population size; the surf culture is more defined. America is a weird place. Look at Zeke — I watch his vlogs religiously. Th​at shit doesn’t happen in Australia. There’s no one like him here, you would get torched. People don’t go that big here.

Haters gonna hate.

Watch Episode 3 of Stab Highway, presented by Monster HERE now!


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Airs On Trees: Bosiny Cracked The High-Performance Wood Surfboard Code 

Feat. Paulownia wood reinforced with Kevlar, these boards are as light as PU and loaded with spring. 

May 23, 2024

What’s In A Wedge?

Enjoyable water movement, explained by an expert.

May 23, 2024

Watch: Tosh Tudor In ‘Tube Therapy’

The 19-year old offers prescriptive insights into Desert Point karma, backside tube poise, and Off-The-Wall…

May 23, 2024

Swell’s En Route, Slater’s Involved, Here Comes Teahupo’o… 

A Tahiti Pro preview.

May 22, 2024

Can Medina Overcome His CT Drought In Tahiti?

Tahurai Henry offers his picks for the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

May 21, 2024

The 35 Best Song Pairings In Surf Films, As Ranked By Dane Reynolds, Taylor Steele & You

From Noa Deane and Courtney Love, to Andy Irons and Coldplay, to Creed McTaggart and…

May 20, 2024

Is This The Most Cost Efficient Way To Noticeably Improve Your Surfing In A Single Month?

All you can eat for $1500 AUD at URBNSURF Melbourne.

May 20, 2024

Watch And Learn: How To Score A Solo Sesh At 8-Foot Teahupo’o With Leonardo Fioravanti

Skip lunch and gorge.

May 19, 2024

Full Frame: The Story Behind The Photo You’ve Seen 1,000 Times

A viral ménage à trois in Bali.

May 18, 2024

Meet The Man Who Runs Kelly Slater’s Burgeoning Surf Empire

The Stab Interview with Dylan Slater. 

May 18, 2024

How Surfers Get Paid: Season 2, Episode 4

80+ interviews later, it's time to "send out the chicks".

May 17, 2024

How To Get To Stab High Japan

BYO ligaments. 

May 16, 2024

CT Earlybirds, Tahitian Warlords, And Aspirational Teenagers Divide Spoils From “11 out of 10” Teahupo’o Blob

Eimeo Czermak, Balaram Stack, Liam O'Brien, Cannon Carr, and Ryan Miller divulge tales from the…

May 16, 2024

The Lefts Off The Rights

Detailing the goofy-footed proclivity to go against the grain.

May 15, 2024

Watch: ‘Shotgun’ featuring Josie Prendergast & Taj Richmond

The allure of contradiction, displayed in the virtue of Northern Rivers sand.

May 15, 2024

How Accurate Were Our Pre-Cut Predictions?

Reflecting on the rookie-centric forecasts offered by CJ Hobgood, Stace Galbraith, Brett Simpson, and Mikey…

May 14, 2024

Local Wildcard Jordy Lawler Dusts 79 Transplants, Issy Nichols Denies Prodigy Erin Brooks Another Plush Toy

The Stab High winner is one semi-final away from tour qualification after only two events.

May 14, 2024

Which 2024 Stab High Competitor Has Given Us The Best Surf Part?  

Noa Deane, Chippa Wilson, Julian Wilson, Ian Crane and more duel for the most impactful…

May 13, 2024