15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men's Tuberiding Event - Stab Mag
She'll be taking scalps at Teahupoo. Photo by Nate Lawrence/WSL

15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event

And Clay Marzo takes the dub.

news // Aug 6, 2022
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Around the same time Challenger Series warriors were S-turning or H-hopping their way to the sand at the US Open, halfway around the world, another tribe of competitors were threading one of the best barrels on Earth. 

To soul arch or to Clay-back?

After a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, the 2022 Rip Curl Cup Padang returned on August 4th. When the spray finally settled over the Bukit Peninsula, Clay Marzo emerged as surfing’s most inimitable tube-whisperer by winning the 16th annual event.

After not paddling for a single wave during an exceptionally slow round one heat, the ever unflappable Clay simply put his head down and did his thing, making barrels most humans would consider closeouts.

But that’s just half the story. In the final against Marzo and Balinese locals Mega Semadhi and Mega Artana, the Texas-born, Hawaii-raised, Canadian-repping Erin Brooks raised the bar for all of women’s professional surfing, taking out a handful of the world’s best tube riders and finishing fourth in the final in pumping surf. 

As the WSL transitions to equal footing for men and women in heavier surf, Erin’s performance is a warning shot to current vets and up-and-comers. Not only can she out-punt any of them, she’ll swing on critical dry reef cylinders.

It’s worth noting that Clay only made the semifinals after defending champ Benji Brand, who has yet to lose a heat at the fabled reef, withdrew due to a case of Bali Belly. But once in the last heat of the day, Clay cruised into a perfect 10 that got him atop the podium with a 18.73 heat total. 

“It was epic out there,” said Clay, the 2019 runner-up. “I am stoked to get those barrels, some of the best waves ever. The lightbulb went on when I found out I was still in the event. The pressure was off [after I thought I was out] and I found my groove. Benji told me to go get it!”

Clay Marzo in the (Bali) belly of the beast. Photo by Nate Lawrence/WSL

Erin had the lead for the first 12 minutes of the final with stylish double-hand stalls on double overhead (for her) drainers. The 15-year-old Stab High Ladybird winner surfed four heats on Thursday, including the first-ever women’s division with Taina Izqueirdo, Kailani Johnson and Ziggy Mackenzie. She didn’t flinch while overtaking Shane Dorian, Mason Ho, Nic Von Rup, Ian Crane, and a stacked local contingent that included two former event winners en route to the final. 

Speaking of that local crowd, can we take a second to appreciate how tube-savvy these guys are? Not only does Padang Padang boast impressive young talent, but there are several older heads that have had this dialed for more than a decade, like former cup winners Garut Widarta (2014) and Made “Bol” Winada Adi Putra (2004 and 2005). The takeoff and stall may look simple on the broadcast, but it’s gotta be hard to align everything and stay composed while “being inside a jet engine” as Ian Crane described it.

Clay and Erin made the difficult look easy and both got chaired up the beach. A party ensued above the cliffs and Bintangs flowed. A golden Balinese sunset capped off a historic day.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent


While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay

...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.

Aug 11, 2022


Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022

Zeke Lau & Bettylou Sakura Johnson Win The Vans US Open Of Surfing 

Hawaii dominates HB.

Aug 8, 2022

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022


Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022

15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event

And Clay Marzo takes the dub.

Aug 6, 2022

Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way? 

The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.

Aug 6, 2022

The Gudang Trio Discusses Brotherhood And How To Make It To The Mountain Top Together  

Positive sibling vibrations we should all aspire to.

Aug 6, 2022


Everyone’s Local Zone Has A Mythical Wave

Kai Lenny, Imaikalani DeVault, Eli Hanneman and friends get to surf theirs.

Aug 5, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: Harry Bryant Vs. The Wedge

A lot of swell, stolen identities, surf masochists, mutilated noses, The Wedge, skull-crushing pylons, and…

Aug 5, 2022

When Gabby And Kolohe Pull Out, The Hog Pulls In

Tahiti wildcards named.

Aug 5, 2022

First Look: The 2022 Electric Acid Surfboards

Did our questionable EAST gamble pay off for Mick Fanning's Maldivian quiver ?

Aug 4, 2022