Combos, Controversy, and A Hint Of Conspiracy? - Stab Mag

Combos, Controversy, and A Hint Of Conspiracy?

Stephanie Gilmore and Griffin Colapinto twin at Punta Roca in captivating fashion.

news // Jun 17, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 5 minutes


Another contest, another final stolen in the dying moments from Filipe Toledo’s outstretched, tattooed fingers. Controversial? Potentially. Did Griffin Colapinto surf like he deserved to win the comp? Definitely.

Here’s how it went down:


  • Waves were sub-par (again)
  • Gabe Medina and Griffin Colapinto spend 20 minutes playing footsie in their semifinal
  • Filipe Toledo is very good at surfboarding, but Griff eclipses him on the day
  • Steph Gilmore surfs like red velvet and champagne, earns her 33’rd CT win and jumps to the Top 5

Bad Waves, Great Surfers

Last night’s euphoria felt like a fever dream. It was a return to the doldrums today. Like mornings past, dawn brought confused conditions and high-quality surfing in low-quality waves.  

Aside from aesthetics, it didn’t matter. The surfers left in the draw were the guys and gals who make these sorts of conditions look fun. On a day when any normal surfer would have struggled to find a cutty section, Filipe and Griff were landing multiple airs per wave while Lakey and Steph pieced together silky combos without a hitch.

Despite their extremely aerodynamic haircuts and sunglasses, neither Gabe or Italo could keep up with their semi-final match-ups, and a final between the two San Clemente residents —Fil and Griff — loomed. Goofies go home indeed.

Griffin spent as much time in the air as he did anywhere else. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League)


Peak performance: Griffin Colapinto, Filipe Toledo, Steph G
Hit replay: Men’s SF 2, Men’s Final
Monster maneuver: Both of Filipe’s Alley-Oop to Air Reverse combos
One-liners: “I got a new haircut” -Strider, unprompted

To start with, it really is enjoyable to see the brotherhood and camaraderie between all of the Brazillians.  Hate on ’em all you want, but watching Gabe and Italo cheer for Filipe — after both losing out on a final berth — is a gratifying and positive look for professional surfing. A handful of best friends traveling the world together, surfing together, and giving each other advice on which puka-shell necklaces to wear? Both envy-inducing and inspiring.


In her lucky boardshorts, Stephanie Gilmore cruised through the slop and clearly chose the best waves of each heat. She patiently picked apart Caroline Marks in the Semis, and really, everyone knew what was coming. Lakey looked fierce and energetic in their matchup, but ultimately couldn’t put the pieces of Punta Roca together like Steph could.  

Lakey was good, Steph was better. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League)

Another day, another pointbreak clinic by Steph G.

Amidst the lump and bump in his Semifinal with Italo, Filipe looked masterful. His confidence was apparent in the monstrous 9.7 alley-oop to air reverse combo that sealed the deal. 

He charged into the final with the same absurdly casual combo, receiving a 9.5 for a slightly smaller wave.  He looked untouchable, and really pissed off.

Corelord Griff power-surfed his way to a 9 of his own, and backed it up with a slob-grab down the line speedball combo. As much as we want to compare this guy to Andy or Bruce, his surfing is in a more modern realm, drifting and sliding courtesy of shorter, wider boards. Though we’d love to see him on a 6’4 x 17 with glass-ons and an MCD sticker. Just one clip. Please?

Tied at 16 points apiece, Filipe had the tie-breaker courtesy of his 9.7. But, with 3 minutes left and Griff needing a low 7…Filipe let him go on a wave? With priority??

Griff proceeded to throw two air reverses, one on the first section, and one on the end. Electric.

The judges threw an 8 at it, which was probably a bit high. Was it worth at least a 7?

Considering the scores thrown at other waves with multiple airs, I think so.

Just wish the WSL had asked Toledo what he thought.

Still #1 (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League)


Caught behind: The conditions in the finals
Blind mice: A few of Griffin’s score’s were a toss up, especially his last 8, but there’s no denying he surfed like a champion, and matched Filipe pound for pound.
Say what?: “I just love the way that she can twerk” – Laura…referring to Lakey’s top turn? (We think.)

The conditions were, yet again, the biggest let down. Impossible to ignore, considering the women’s Final went about 20 minutes with no more than a 4 from either Lakey or Steph. We’re just hoping Rio is better (and that there isn’t a coup from the WSL’s Instagram commenters.)

It really is a shame that Punta Roca chose this week to hide it’s beautiful face. Thankfully, not too many let downs in regards to competition or commentary.

We’re just hoping our next surf trip doesn’t look like this week did.

Looking Back

Really, this event feels like a blur of rip bowls, frantic pumps, and air reverses. The brief moment of lucidity in the quarterfinals was nice, but it was hardly enough to turn Punta Roca into a shining Dream Tour memory.  In fact, this event almost feels a little inconsequential. Not in the sense that the results don’t matter, or the surfing wasn’t impactful, or certainly not that Griffin’s win doesn’t matter. More in the sense that it sits right between the Mid Year Cut and Trestles. Not quite a celebration, not quite crunch time. I’m sure the athletes don’t feel this way, and I’m just an idiot sitting on a lumpy couch, but maybe, just maybe, the WSL’s constant hunt for more narrative has left the viewer salivating at the idea of drama. Or feeling empty at the absence of it. Maybe not.

So long, El Salvador. (Photo by Thiago Diz/World Surf League)

Also worth considering is the fact that Griffin surpassed Gabe in the semis with a buzzer beater, and went on to defeat Filipe in the finals with a buzzer beater. Sound familiar? It does to Jack Robbo.

We’re not conspiracy theorists. But, if we were, that’s probably something we’d take note of.

Griffin now has his second event win this year — both results of besting Toledo — and jumps to third place in the rankings. Considering the history, seeing Toledo, Robbo, and Griffin duke it out at firing Lowers wouldn’t be the worst thing. We’d probably watch it.  

Gamble Ramble

Your writer here won 160$ on courtesy of a 10$ pre-event bet on Griffin. Mikey says I can consider that my paycheck for the write up.

Speaking of our resident shirtless-guru, Mr. C pulled it out of the gutter today, thanks to picking both the Men’s finalists as event winners and then going hard on Griff’s semi against Medina. Somewhere, Stace G sheds a prideful tear.

Mikey’s Picks:

Event winner
– $101 on Filipe Toledo at +450 to win $455 LOST
– $10 on Griffin Colapinto at +2000 to win $200  WON

Today’s picks: 
– $20 on Caroline Marks at +130 to win $24 LOST
– $100 on Griffin Colapinto at +135 to win $135 WON

Day 3 earnings: $214
Event earnings: $ 170

Place your bets here. And stay tuned for our Saqaurema picks in an upcoming ep of the Stab CUSP (this coming Monday).


Surf City El Salvador Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.00
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.67

Surf City El Salvador Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 17.00 
2 -Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.00

Surf City El Salvador Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.70 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 9.67
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.50 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 9.84

Surf City El Salvador Pro Men’s Semifinal Results: 
HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.30 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.17
HEAT 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.10 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.20


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