"I Smoked That Guy...I'll Have His Soul In Me Forever" - Stab Mag
Read about the smoking a literal sense below.

“I Smoked That Guy…I’ll Have His Soul In Me Forever”

A tube hound smokes dreadlocks and CT surfers on Stab Highway CA, presented by Monster Energy.

features // Jul 24, 2022
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Balaram Stack went on a snowboarding trip in Brighton after Stab Highway.

Slopes, beers, and powder were a nice change of pace from the frantic dance of our challenge-travel show. Lately, Bal’s been testing teals in Pascuales, finding a deeper sense of self in Mexico’s bountiful caverns, before hopping a flight to Waco, TX.

Needless to say, Balaram is always sniffing out the extremes. Stab Highway was like a shiny new beast. Having spent most of his summer testing the max-paddle range of Teahupo’o, Bal found himself in a heat against the best high-performance surfer in the world…and won. At some point on the road, he got caught with a rope around his neck — the girl from Oahu had him 110% strapped.

Friendship goals

We spoke with the 30-year-old New Yorker about his first session at Mavericks, smoking hippie dreads, and a speculative east coast Stab Highway project.

Stab: Hey Bal, how was Pascuales?

It was good, probably somewhere in the 10-15 ft range. It was cool because I went down with a buddy who doesn’t get to go on too many surf trips. We enjoyed the ski, and I think he got one of the best waves of his life.

It looks like you’ve been bouncing all over lately. 

Yeah, I went to Brighton after Highway. That was a nice comedown — just snowboarding, drinking beers, and hanging out. The Highway was a hectic one. A fast-paced trip; we didn’t drink much — I was in the driver’s seat the whole time. 

Surf Dad mode.

I heard you lost some things on the road. 

Yeah, there’s not a lot of organization. Everyone’s stuff was everywhere. We were going to bed at like one or two and waking up at five every day. I left a couple of things behind that I had to get later, like my passport [laughs].

Scary times. What was your favorite challenge? 

Probably surfing Mavericks on a foam board by myself. I’d never surfed there before, and it was nice to finally see it and get a feel for what the reef does, even though it wasn’t big. I got a few waves all the way through. I’ll be back there for sure. 

Chasing Mavericks.

Smoking the dread was nuts too. Very memorable. We found a guy in San Francisco and had him cut one off. His dreads were mostly brunette, but there was a couple bleached blonde ones sprinkled in. I had to be picky — I didn’t want to inhale the chemicals. He cut off a brunette dread, and I put as much weed and tobacco as possible to mask the hair. But in the end, I smoked the guy — I’ll have his soul in me forever now. 

Haunting. What was your least favorite part of the Highway?

At certain points, we were biting off more than we could chew. It became a scheduling nightmare, dropping people off everywhere to challenges. There was one time we dropped Zeke off, and after a miscommunication, he didn’t get picked up. He was getting in trouble on the golf course, and we were 15 minutes away. He had to hide in a random house for a while. We plucked him out of the bushes and fled the scene. 

Zoe had to endure that one scenario, which was probably a first for us. We were clever and put two leashes together and tied them around our waste. We hung out in the car all day and dropped the kids off to do challenges. With Zeke in the wetsuit carrying around the camera and us attached by a leash, we got a lot of funny looks. People kept asking us what was going on.

Just another day on the Highway.

Any sparks between you two?

Nah, we’re just homies. 

Congratulations on your win against Filipe Toledo. 

Thanks, pulling that off was funny. That’s a story I’ll be telling everyone at home. I hope Filipe wins the World Title, too; then I’ll claim it. I had no idea what would happen when I committed to that wave. We stood up at around the same time, I was not going to let him burn me, and I knew if I gave him any leeway, I would get smoked. The win was huge for the Green Team in terms of points. 

Improbable, not impossible.

Any regrets from the Green Team? 

The last challenge is what it was. It was a bummer Parker couldn’t get a wave and almost got arrested naked. 

We almost had Zeke bring an army down there ready to sabotage the tan team before they even touched the water. The La Jolla crew was going fire paintballs and give them hell. We should have gone through with that. 

What do you think an East Coast Stab Highway would look like? 

It should either start or end in Florida. Honestly, Florida could be its own tour in itself. But it would be insane to begin in Florida and finish in New York. The cities in New York could have a ton of challenges. You could catch bass in the East River and then sell them in Chinatown a couple of blocks over. There’s also a wave in Brooklyn under the bridge that you could turn into a ferry challenge. If the season’s right, we’ll score. 

Oh damn, I have to check in; actually, my flight in 30. I’ll catch you later. 

Thanks for your thoughts, have a safe flight Bal.

Stab Highway CA, presented by Monster Energy, is now fully bingable. Enjoy the lineup below:

Watch Episode 1 HERE 

Watch Episode 2 HERE 

Watch Episode 3 HERE 

Watch Episode 4 HERE

Watch Episode 5 HERE


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