Weekend Misc: Invisible Lines - Stab Mag
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Weekend Misc: Invisible Lines

On surfing, and its ability to connect.

features // May 23, 2021
Words by Brendan Buckley
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Surfing is an invention that enables us to escape from the world and its troubles, imagined or otherwise, and it will remain as such today. 

I’d like to share a story with you. 

Last fall, as Europe was beginning to enter its second wave of COVID, I found myself in Portugal. The regulations were relatively lax there; surfing was far from being deemed illegal. And so I was in the water one evening. The waves were overhead and the wind was still. There was a light fog bank in which the sun deposited its gold. Gorgeous. However, if you’re beginning to envision perfection, please allow me some clarifications. 

It was not firing, nor close to it. The waves were walled, which is just the polite way of saying closing out, and water moved in whatever direction was most inconvenient at any given point in time. The swell seemed to have an unmanageable amount of energy for the beachbreak I was surfing. 

I was out alone, until I wasn’t. As I took off on a wave, I heard a hoot arise from the inside. Someone to share this with, I thought. Cool. 

By the time I paddled back out, a stranger was in the lineup, wearing a big smile. We immediately struck up a conversation, began to develop a bond. He was 18 years old and a good surfer. So good, in fact, that he was considered by his country to have Olympic potential. This turned out to be crucial.

This kid was from Israel, and he was in the midst of his mandatory military service. His status as an Olympic hopeful meant the army gave him a two-week pass to go “train for his sport” which, in his case, meant surf himself into a state nearing comatose. When we crossed paths, it was his second session into this mission. He was beaming. 

For obvious reasons, he has been crossing my mind of late. I’ve been thinking about how different our lives are now, and how similar they felt for a moment a few months ago. 

Surfing is an escape. And, by extension, so is this email about surfing. I see it as a force for unity instead of grounds for subdivision. Because, it strikes me as remarkable that human beings are capable of forming immediate connections over something as inconsequential as the idea that pleasure exists in the act of riding waves. 

We’re fortunate to be able to experience that firsthand. 

A Hare Brained Foray Into The WSL’s Rottnest Prison Compound

What happens when you send an investigative journalist who specializes in financial crimes to cover a closed-off pandemic-times surf event? There was, of course, only one way to find out.

Bob McKnight On Pro Kids And Their Parents, Grassroots Marketing, And Assembling One Of The Greatest Surf Teams In History

You learn a lot by constructing a surf empire. Stab founder Sam McIntosh had a lengthy chat with former Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight, who was kind enough to share some of the invaluable lessons his experience has taught him.

Watch Now: Mateus Herdy In ‘Call Me Mat’

Want to watch some good surfing? Come, come. Mateus is more or less a lock to qualify for the CT in the next few years. He’s also a very nice, and very smart, young man. Get acquainted.

Mitch Crews Releases Edit, Talks Adolescence In Surfing’s Golden Commercial Age And More

If surf edits were magnetically charged, this might be the polar opposite of the last one. Different waves, different surfing, bright blue water to contrast Mateus’ black and white. Plus, Crewsy is 31 and on the other side of contemplating the exact same Tour that Mateus looks to dominate. Both are well-worthy of a watch.

Elusive Figure From Blacklisted Surf Documentary Salvages Stab’s Forlorn Vessel

Now, to put a bow on all this, here is the most recent installment of the gonzo Rottnest coverage we introduced you to in the first article. Ironically, to borrow from the WSL, you cannot script this. Sea Of Darkness fans will delight.

Comment of the week: 

Big fan of Slater voodoo insinuations. 

One last thing:

Q: How did the hippy get lost at sea? 

A: He was too far out. 

[This was shared with me on the beach by a man drinking a tall-boy of malt liquor while he sifted through cobblestones looking for, well, I’m not sure what. His face was red, swollen, but there was an element of playfulness that remained unconcealed by the haziness in his eyes.] 

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