What Happens To Your Body After Wearing A Wetsuit For 5 Days Straight? - Stab Mag
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What Happens To Your Body After Wearing A Wetsuit For 5 Days Straight?

Shaun Manners unpacks his neoprene trauma post Stab Highway.

Words by Ethan Davis

Stab Highway presented by Monster Energy began filming in late June.

It was a large ten days for our 16 surfers who needed to tick off 30 challenges in our King of the Road-inspired surf series. Team Jaleesa consisted of Jaleesa Vincent, Noa Deane, Wade Goodall, and Shaun Manners. The Rage crew were no strangers to each other, who ritually surf, hang and intoxicate together, a major asset for their team chemistry.

Stab spoke to Bad Manners pre-episode one release to discuss all things Stab Highway, but in particular, about his mammoth commitment to the longest time spent wearing a wetsuit challenge, clocking an incredible five and a half days, and a 935km trip from Duranbah to Aussie Pipe.

As you will hear, wetsuits are not designed to be worn night and day, they become sweaty, itchy bacterial cesspools that destroy skin and spirit and cause long-term neoprene trauma.

Bad Manners divulges below.

Day one’s Monster-fuelled energy.

Stab: How did your team delegate who had to do the longest time spent in a wetsuit challenge? Did you put your hand up for that?

Shaun ‘Bad’ Manners: “After the team selection one of us had to skull a Monster. This is at 9 in the morning. I’ve never skulled a Monster, and if I did I probably wouldn’t do it first thing in the morning after two coffees. I was so hyped in the car and they were reading out the challenges and I was like ‘Yep, yep I’ll do that. Sounds great.’ Then Noa goes, ‘What brah? You seriously want to do that? Very well then.’ So basically they took advantage of me while I was high on caffeine. I was vulnerable.” Shaun laughs.

How did it feel to take your wettie off after five and a half days?

“Noa wouldn’t let me take it off. He was like ‘You get to take that off and you’re all sweet, look at my haircut.’ So I lasted til we got to Aussie pipe. We went to complete the air before the sunrise challenge, we were extremely hungover, the waves were shit and I was so cold so I said fuck it, its been five and a half days. I’m tapping out.”

“I took the wettie off and initially, it felt incredible. But then I got dressed in my normal clothes, which were slightly damp and it got super weird. I was walking back with Wado and this sensation came over my whole body like I’d been bitten by a thousand ants. Proper agonizing burning pain all over. I fully stopped and was on the ground for five seconds. My body was tripping out, it was that hot rashy feeling like your skin has been wet for several days. I had pimples all over me and shit. It took a month to heal, and another month before I wanted to wear a wetsuit again.”

Oh my goodness

“Yeah, it was grim.”

Sometimes you just need to grit it out.

You also put your hand up from the swim across a river mouth with a steak attached to your leg challenge. Danny mentioned that you had a theory on why you can never be attacked by a shark. Can you elaborate?

“I used to believe it, I don’t know how sold I am on it now. When I saw Danny in the morning he asked me ‘Aren’t you scared to swim across a river mouth with a steak chained to your leg?’. I was still cooked from the night before and I was like ‘Mate, I’ve witnessed three shark attacks, I can’t get attacked now’. Lighting doesn’t strike twice sorta thing.” 

“I saw an attack in Gracetown when I was young, then a couple of years after that my mate’s brother got attacked by a reef shark at The Bluff as I was jumping off. Then maybe six months later I was on the beach at J-bay when Mick got bumped by that white. It was all within three years. So yeah, I can’t get attacked now. Fact.”

Were you rattled in the team selection? There were some serious schoolyard vibes watching you guys lineup.

“I was a little bit but I pretty much knew everyone. I was also conscious I was on camera and I didn’t want to look like a stroppy loser. It’s 10 days with a camera in your face, so I thought it was important to bring a good energy. In the end, it was Wado, Jaleesa, Deaney, and I. I was like ‘Fuck yeah. Bangaz pub crew.’” 

Iconic.

Who drank the most grog?

“Noa and I. We consistently drank the most in the back of the car. I’ll give Noa the edge though. He can wear the crown. There was one night when he got locked out of his room and spent the night at the Casino. Fuck he was funny. On the first day, Noz cracked this joke about Dion who had just come off a big one. Called him ‘Dark Hollow Soul’. It was incredible. I don’t think Dion laughed about it then, but I reckon he must have later. We didn’t stop laughing the entire trip. We sat together in the back with a case of Pure Blonde’s just being absolute pests.”

How wild did it get?

“It got so crazy. After the first day at Dbah, the waves died so I spent the rest of the time on a soft top. We partied in Mullum, Coby’s house, Danny’s house, Yamba, Coffs, Sydney – that was hell in a wetsuit. Supposedly, I missed seeing my ex on Oxford street by like 5 minutes. Fuck, I’m so stoked she didn’t see me in a wetsuit I’d had on for 5 days.” 

Yeah that’s not a great look

“Yeah, she probably would have felt pretty chuffed about it all ending.”

The always entertaining, Harry Bryant.

Class clown?

“Outside our group, Harry Bryant. He is the funniest cunt. Every time we ran into him we were losing it. On the last night, we were at the pub and he took a piss in the beer garden. This young manager was like, ‘Haz, that’s it, you’re out.’ He must’ve known him because he lived in that area briefly. Everyone was spewing like ‘Oh, no Haz is out.’ But in the back of my mind, I’m like, ‘Trust me this isn’t the end of him.’” 

“Fast forward half an hour and he keeps on pestering the dude and finally, he lets him in. I was like, ‘What did you say?’. “I told him mate, if you don’t let me in I’m gonna call your boss and tell him you’re an idiot because I’m about to ram so much fucken cash through this pub.” And that’s how he got let back in. It was incredible.”

Highlight? Lowlight?

“Highlight: Wado’s front-shuv before the sun came up, and his tractionless performance. He really carried our team in the surf challenges.” 

“Lowlight: Steak river. Wetsuits.”

Did it feel good to wrap up the trip?

“Fucken oath. It was time to heal.”

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