Meet The Kids Who Sent Stab High Into The Future - Stab Mag
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Ryji Masuda with some secret Ladybird admirers watching on. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Meet The Kids Who Sent Stab High Into The Future

Snowboarders, test-tube wavepool spawn, and curators of the culture.

news // Jun 23, 2024
Words by Jack O'Neill Paterson
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Everyone in this story was born after 2008, which makes their aerial ability equal parts incredible and infuriating.

A nine-year-old Texan, a Dew Tour snowboarder from Beijing, an aerial connoisseur from Teahupo’o, a high school quarterback-spec Mexican, and a Japanese-American-Swiss-Belgian are currently assaulting the air-section at Stab High Japan. So who the heck are these groms, and why aren’t they from San Clemente? Read on to find out!

Zacky Taylor

Zacky, single digit age, double digit scores. Photo: Nate Lawrence

The future is now, y’all. Zacky Taylor is nine years old. Nine. Years. Old. Having learnt to surf at the Waco tub, the Texan is new-age wavepool spawn. Despite being less than a decade in age, the Lone Star Stater knows how to throw a stylish punt, evidence below. What were you doing with yourself at that age? 

Patti Zhou

Patti Zhou, park run. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Imagine being anointed “The Future of Snowboarding” by Forbes at 12 years of age, as you look to qualify for the Chinese Winter Olympic team once you’re old enough. Imagine competing on the Dew Tour as an 11-year-old and winning a silver medal in the women’s superpipe final. Imagine rocking up to Stab High Japan after parking your surfboard for an entire year. Imagine greasing a huge frontside straighty in your first ever surf comp and copping a 37 outta 50 from the judges. Imagine, just for a moment, being Patti Zhou.

Kiara Goold

Kiara Goold is from Teahupo’o, meaning this is just one facet in her spectrum of abilities. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Those who hail from The End of The Road shouldn’t also have this level of proficiency in the air. Having Dane Reynolds as her all-time inspo might’ve contributed to Kiara’s aerial potency, but still, isn’t being a beast at Teahupo’o enough? 

On the opening wave of Stab High Japan day two, Kiara Goold threw down one of the shiniest punts of the entire event. Say what you will about the tech issues of the live broadcast, this comp kicks things off better than an espresso quad-shot straight to the aorta. 

Then we she won the Ladybirds divisions… and the Betonline best combo award. This is just the beginning.

Ryji Masuda

Ryji, the wholesome tweaker. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Ryji may be from Malibu, but the 14-year-old bleeds Japanese culture — not just in his lineage and language, but the Bottle Rocket has made the Japan Air a regular in his rotation (arguably the first to do so in surfing). Continuing on this theme, Ryji holds skateboarding DNA close to his heart too — his boned-out repetoire of Indy, mute, stale and tail grabs prove that it’s possible to move into the future while respecting the past.

Lucas Cassity

When you watch Lucas throw backside rotations, Barron Mamiya to mind… height, technique and consistency. Photo: Lawrence

“Wait, that guy is a Bottle Rocket?” was the question echoing around Stab High practice sessions, as 15-year-old, nearly-six-foot Mexican-American Lucas Cassity towered over Arthur Villar, Loci Cullen and co. in the shallow end of the pool.

Big “I am 12” Benchwarmers vibes.

Lucas proceeded to surf even bigger than his stature, throwing air reverses that would have (and eventually did) dwarf most of those being performed by then Pro competitors. No wonder he’s the Mexican National U16 and U18 champ… and the USA national U14, U16 and U18 champ.

Lucas would continue his competitive dominance at Stab High Japan, winning the Bottle Rockets final as something of an underdog, if you can believe it.

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