The Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy Hangover Report - Stab Mag
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Our Pro division champion, Eithan Osborne, soaking in the love osmotically. Photo: Nate Lawrence

The Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy Hangover Report

Photographic evidence of neon-drenched karaoke bars and false rain forecasts.

features // Jun 24, 2024
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 6 minutes

You can read our full comp wrap of the event here.

You can tell a lot about a country by the state of its public bathrooms,” a local Japanese surfer told me in the water this weekend after I complimented his homeland.

In a world rife with the “tragedy of the commons”, the common areas of Shizunami are delightfully un-tragic — a testament to the culture’s emphasis on collective wellbeing, perhaps?

Whatever the reason, whether by its spotless streets, its kind local surfing community, or its balmy Hawaiian-esque temps, Japan treated Stab and all the surfers extremely well this weekend. The days started early (it was light around 4 AM) and ended late (nightcrawling from dinner, to 7-Eleven for ice cream, to the karaoke bar). Being at Stab High reminds you that you are a a part of — if only for the weekend — a supremely bizarre cohort of professional surfers, surf industry medium-rollers, restless Stab employees, overactive kids, buzzing parents, and iron-livered Aussies.

Speaking of the latter, last night’s afterparty was a veritable gumbo of professional surfing cliques. During one particular rendition of “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis, I saw Noa Deane, Shaun Manners, Nick Marshall, Shane Sykes, Eithan Osborne, and Noah Beschen all passing the mic between each other, neck veins bulging, as they hollered through the chorus. Sharing not much more with each other than their extraterrestrial talent on a surfboard, I got to witness a wildly diverse cast of characters morph into one poor smelling, happy, hugging family, if only for a few hours. What did F. Scott Fitzgerald write again? “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life“? Yeah, something like that.

Fun fact: Karaoke is said to have started in 1971 in Kobe, Japan when a band failed to arrive at a bar gig and the bar’s owner decided to play a recorded track and invite various customers to come sing along.

Despite a heavy rain forecast, hundreds of Japanese fans traveled to assist a collection of ludicrously talented aerial surfers in consuming 9% cocktails and shouting encouragement towards our finalists. Fortunately, the rain never truly arrived and the wind into the lefts, offering a Finals showing from the Pros, Ladybirds, and Bottle Rockets alike which we’ll continue to dissect for weeks to come — oh, and if you only have 10 budgeted minutes to watch Stab High for some reason, watch Hughie Vaughan’s rogue interview with Lucas Cassity before Lucas’s subsequent full-rote to victory.

Since nothing I could say could adequately describe the oddity, we thought we’d send out this photo gallery to get you a closer feel of two days in the Stab High octagon. And since Stab’s editors appreciate irony, they tasked the Mormon (me) with curating the pics for the hangover post — enjoy.

All photos taken by Nate Lawrence, except for the ones he’s singing in.

Official Stab High Japan photog Nate Lawrence running a duet with Haz Bryant.
Zeke and Shaun, squashing the beef.
Moments before Shaun Manners rode a wave in the Finals for Jacob Szekely, wearing the controversial vlogger’s Rusty boardshorts and riding his Rusty steed.
Despite light rain and a strong warm breeze, fans from all over Japan packed the house.
No poncho, no problem.
This year’s merch was in high demand, thanks to Stab Art Director Shin Dalby’s deft curation.
Japanese future star Ren Okano won the Rockets semis with a 40 for a seamless backside air-reverse, while Californian kid Ryji Masuda followed with a 39-point boned out backhand Indy straighty, to progress in second.
Dare you to argue with Kolohe Andino, Nate Fletcher, Lee Wilson, Dion Agius, and Wade Goodall
Japan has one vending machine for every 30 people — the highest density in the world.
Free green tea samples for all!
If you needed a break or a snack, the cafe still offered panoramic views of the entire debacle.
Despite being in the lead of the final, Matt Meola opted to allow for more waves to be ridden – losing $15k and fostering the progression of surfing in the process.
Stab High Lakey Peak champ Rasta Robb, frustrated with his failure to make the final.
Kiara sent a frontside straight air to the moon, and collected 38 points upon landing, along with the Ladybirds Trophy.
Californian Ryji Masuda was doing it for the purists, endlessly chasing the Japan grab that would have all but guaranteed a win. He missed the grab on his best aerial and crossed his arms towards the judges as he rode away, his honourable self-report signaling he felt his wave shouldn’t count for much.
A perfectly late Father’s Day present.
Previous Stab High winners, current commentators, and shirtless larrikins filled the rafters for the final.
Victoria asking the hard questions to Patti Zhou’s younger sister — very possibly a future ladybird.
“I love Zeke, he’s OTC. We saw his dog-pisser air earlier where he flipped us off after, and it was stupid, but that’s Zeke, he’s always the same and you have to watch him.” – Nate Fletcher
Mason, running back to the pool after getting a FaceTime call telling him he won 10k for Monster Air.
Post heat, pre-game. After spending his life landing some of the biggest airs of all time, Eithan Osborne cements his name in Stab High history alongside some of this generations best aerialists.
Remember that tattoo from Stab Highway California?
Radiohead in a Japanese karaoke bar at 1 AM? Shane Sykes and Nate Lawrence can’t say no.
A well-earned night of elevated GABA levels in the brain. We’ll see you next year, Mr. Osborne.

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