How Much Of A "Sport" Is Surfing? - Stab Mag
Art by Noa Emberson/@joystain.

How Much Of A “Sport” Is Surfing?

The Misc: What do you have to lose?

Words by Brendan Buckley

Is surfing a sport? 

That’s a tired question, one that’s already been poked at too many times. But, just for kicks, maybe we can hit from a slightly different angle — let’s ask Google. 

“Surfing is a sea sport made by riding on the waves with the help of a longboard,” it explains. The search engine pulled this very useful information from an article on the website for a Turkish low-cost carrier called Pegasus Airlines. The article also explains why you, as a surfer, should consider tools such as surf shoes and surf googles. If you’re in the mood for enlightenment, you can read it in full here

Moving on. 

Recently, I got roped into an intoxicated game of tennis. It was the only time I’ve ever played tennis and, intoxication aside, I was surprised by how enjoyable it was. Until I lost. Playing a game is fun, but losing is not. It’s annoying. It means that you set out with an objective — to beat the other player or team — and failed. 

In the long run, the game made me hungover, and made me more appreciative of surfing. In surfing, the objective is the experience. It’s special. 

Think about people who like to run — they’re not necessarily competing against each other, at least not day-to-day. However, someone might decide you want to run 5 kilometers. They might also know that they ran 5 kilometers last week and it took them a certain amount of time. You can see how easy it would be to fall into a system where you’re continuously beating or losing to yourself. 

And yeah, it feels good to surf good. But surfing good changes day by day, if not wave by wave, if not section by section. We quite literally have a sea of excuses to shelter us from the reality of a poor performance. 

When you surf, what do you have to lose? 

Realistically: Time, energy, effort, money, MCLs, ACLs, LCLs, dignity, etc…

In other words, just enough risk to keep us coming back.

The 10 Best Wave Pools You Can Surf Right Now

It feels like either the opening or construction of a new wave pool is announced every week, making it hard to keep track of what’s currently surfable. So, we worked with Bryan from WavePoolMag to create a guide for you. Here are the top ten, power ranked. 

What Happened To All The Big Wave Contests?

Are you familiar with Eddie Rothman’s famous “wing-ding on a dang-dang” remark? In my judgment, it is one of the finest quotes in all of surf. The uninitiated can initiate themselves with it in this piece, which explores what’s going on in the suddenly silent world of big wave surf contests.

Are We About To Start Seeing More High-Performance Quads?

Four fins are more than three. Does that mean better? Maybe. During the WSL Finals at Lowers, Filipe Toledo looked unbeatable on a quad — umm, until he came up against Gabriel Medina and proved to be very much beatable. Still, it left us with questions about high-performance quads. Kelly Slater, Nathan Fletcher, Marcio Zouvi, and more helped answer them.

Jet Skis: Scourge Or Saviour

You ever tried to paddle into waves while people are doing step-offs on the same peak? The experience feels similar to one of those dreams where you can’t complete a simple action such as walking forward or throwing a punch. Perhaps nude. Anyway, Jed Smith wrote an opinion piece that questions just how necessary jet skis are outside the realm of water safety. Hint: not very.

The Harsh Reality Behind The Sudden Increase Of Cheap Surf Properties In One Central American Nation

The country is going to have an “election” soon. Quotes are necessary as the current president has already jailed seven of his opponents. Although real estate is the angle here, the real purpose of this piece is to share information about an evolving situation in a surf tourism hub.

Comment of the week: 

What an analogy. 

One last thing: 

If you have a surfboard that isn’t working for you, commit to giving it one more chance before you sell it. Say it out loud. Tell a loved one. Mean it. You will then paddle out and experience the best session you’ve ever had on said surfboard.


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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Joyride Board Test: The Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto Twin

Critically examining one of the hottest new boards on the market.

Oct 20, 2021

How An American’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Built One The Greatest Surf Accessory Labels Out Of A Workshop In Yallingup, Western Australia

Mick, Steph, & Jake Paterson tell the story of Creatures founder, John Malloy.

Oct 20, 2021

Why We’ll Always Catch One Down The Beach

The Misc: To the left of the stand.

Oct 20, 2021

The Highest & Flyest Performance-Based Challenges From Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy

Rinse off the hangover and shoot for the sky.

Oct 19, 2021


Lower Trestles From Unusual Angles Ft. Kolohe, Griffin, And Co.

So much for Stagnant Ambition.

Oct 19, 2021

Are Surfboards Made To Fail?

Industry insiders open up about whether or not boards are intentionally fragile, thus driving repeat…

Oct 18, 2021


A 14-Year-Old Ladybird Takes On Solid Nias & Desert Point

Bela Nalu will go.

Oct 18, 2021

Premium Peek: Torrey Meister Tempts Fate In ‘Grit n Water’

What's scarier — bull riding or big wave surfing?

Oct 17, 2021


Someone Sponsor This Kid

Eimeo Czermak is an animal who consistently delivers jaw-dropping clips.

Oct 17, 2021


Palatable Portuguese Wedges With Mason Ho

Washed down with a pink cosmo and Franchesinha.

Oct 16, 2021

Did You Know The WSL Has A Pension Fund?

CT surfers post-2014 have a nice chunk of cash waiting for them after they retire.

Oct 16, 2021

Stab Podcast: Is Huntington Beach A More Exciting Contest Venue Than Ericeira?

Surf sins, a rundown of this week’s surf cinema, and an unpopular opinion from the…

Oct 15, 2021

The WSL’s 2022 Season Wildcards Revealed

Pray for Matthew McGillivray.

Oct 15, 2021


Dylan Graves Explores The Topics Of Race And Inclusivity In Surfing

“If you know it’s wrong, say something.”

Oct 15, 2021

Watch: Episode 2 of Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy

Broken bones, KFC/meat pie collabs, 'feary' river mouth swims, and incredible kneelo tubes.

Oct 15, 2021


Kolohe Andino Is Doubling Down On Surf Films

"I want to give the world my view of how surfing should be perceived."

Oct 14, 2021


Jordy Smith Was Stuck In Hawaii For The Best Late-Season Run In Memory

"It was 6-8 foot for weeks straight. I surfed Pipe with one other guy out."

Oct 14, 2021

What Happened To All The Surf Gangs?

Times have changed, for good or ill.

Oct 14, 2021