Stab Magazine | Here Are The Six Surf Shots That Won A Jordy Smith Stab In The Dark Board

Here Are The Six Surf Shots That Won A Jordy Smith Stab In The Dark Board

And their winning submissions for our Feels Like Freedom photo comp.

full frame // Sep 20, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Seven months ago, we, along with O’Neill embarked on our #feelslikefreedom photo comp. The goal: to highlight some lesser-known surf photographers’ work. We set out to capture images (lineup shots in particular) that invoked a sense of momentary freedom and incited jealously. We wanted imagery that would make you drop everything, pack a board, wetsuit (no matter how thick the rubber, hood, gloves or boots) and run across the sand into the lineup disregarding less than favorable conditions.

In the better half of 2018 that this comp ran, we were hit with thousands of submissions, from countless photographers; and in the mix were high quality images – as there should have been, the reward for the winners are a Jordy Smith Stab in the Dark Replica, a framed photo at their local surf shop, and originally we were going to give each photographer their a Stab Full Frame feature on the site. Instead, we decided to up the ante and reward them a Photolyfe – a Q&A of their work answered in photographs.

These will be spread across Stabmagdotcommercial over the next month.

The Feels Like Freedom Winners are below, in no particular order:

Robb Wilson of Seal Beach.

“This image was taken on January 18, 2018, on one of the rare days this winter that she even hinted at showing her face,” Robb tells Stab of the above image. “Everybody was running around with their heads cut off, and with good reason. Up to this point, there hadn’t been any substantial swells and people were really eager to surf something solid. So when we finally got some waves, it was a full on frenzy.

“People were coming from up and down the coast, from north and south trying, hoping, to get just a little kiss from her beautiful lips. Surfers well known, as well as the local heroes, were all more than willing to tango with anything she delivered, going hard on everything that came in. Everyone was so hungry for barrels.

“She wasn’t up to par this day but she was thundering and supplying beatdowns, with the occasional “mind-blowing make.” Overall, the conditions were funky, with varying and moody wind conditions and not the best tides.

“After the tide changed, the hype and excitement wore off and most everyone had left. Things turned around for the best for those lucky and patient few, surfers and documenters alike. It was well worth hanging around for, even if only for a small magical window. The music turned on and she danced for her admirers, in her most elegant form. This would be one of her last performances before she went into hibernation for the rest of the winter. Unfortunately, most of the coast also decided to stop dancing for the remainder of the 2017-2018 winter swell season.”

To celebrate this image, we will be throwing a get together at Harbor Surf Shop, Friday September 28th at 6pm. The address is 329 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740.


Nolan Sullivan of Santa Barbara.

“The photo shows a spot just north of Ventura that isn’t usually worth a second glance, but happened to light up on this particular day,” says Nolan. “It was taken during the last El Nino winter in 2015/2016, during one of the bigger stormier days. I shot it because that day had some of the best waves I would ever see, and for the few hours that the tide was working, I was shooting lines of perfect overhead A-frames along the whole stretch of beach. This particular shot showcases one of the sets, with some of the better lighting from that day.”

To celebrate this image, on Saturday October 6th at 5pm there will be a party at Revolution Surf Shop. 2235 Ventura Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93010

Graham Hunt2

Graham Hunt of North Carolina

“This photo was taken on a fall day in the Outer Banks of North Carolina,” Mr. Hunt tells us about this photo. “The forecast was calling for 4-5ft, south swell. Most of the time the water color is brown but I got lucky with the conditions this day, the water was crystal clear and the wind was light offshore. I haven’t seen many days like this. A buddy and I shared this empty wave for a few hours before anyone joined us. It was dreamy day in North Carolina.”

In celebration of this image, on Friday October 5th there will be a party at Real Watersports from 6-8pm. 25706 NC-12, Waves, NC 27982. 

Chris Cook NY

Chris Cook of NYC/Marin County

“This was a classic New York winter surf day,” says Chris. “It was way bigger and better than people thought it would be because it only snowed a few inches the night before. The swell peaked around 10ft at 9 seconds and there were perfect A-frames everywhere you looked. Walking over the boardwalk to see this with nobody out is what it’s all about here in the Northeast USA.”

In celebration of this image, there will be party at Proof Lab on Thursday September 27th at 6pm. 244 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley, CA 94941

AndrewReissPhoto 3028

Andrew Reiss of New Jersey

“I took this April 17, 2018 at around 9am on the Jersey Shore,” Andrew tells Stab, “on what seemed like another day of the historic run of winter-into-spring swells in March. This, however, did not last very long. The waves were big and clean in the morning with offshore winds and tons of birds hovering over the surfers the whole session which made for different photos. Everyone was excited to get wet since it had been a little slower since the run in March. This day, was a good day.”

In celebration of this image, there will be party at Brave New World Surf Shop on Friday September 28th at 6pm.

John Gilman

John Gilman of New Jersey

“This image was shot in Monmouth County, NJ this April at one of the dredge created sandbanks,” Mr. John Gilman tells us. “It wasn’t that big a swell but a great direction and conditions lined up really nicely to create an afternoon insane slab tubes. There weren’t a lot of waves completed because of how hollow it was on the takeoff, at the same time this made it a photographers dream day of extremely photogenic slabs.”

In celebration of this image, there will be a party at Faria Surf Shop on Thursday September 27 at 6pm. 2800 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom, NJ,


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