Stab Magazine | How to spend the most time in the water

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How to spend the most time in the water

When we set aside whatever our differences may be; the driving factor of us all congregating right here is a liking to surf… it’s like our motto or something. Some of us surf a lot, or as much as we can. Some endure the dawn patrol grind and are pissed once the times change and […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When we set aside whatever our differences may be; the driving factor of us all congregating right here is a liking to surf… it’s like our motto or something. Some of us surf a lot, or as much as we can. Some endure the dawn patrol grind and are pissed once the times change and the days get shorter; culling any sort of after work session. Some of us shred, are kooks and everything in-between, but if there’s one general consensus from surfers it’s we all wish we could surf a bit more.

Now cue the Stab Scorecard; a monthly series highlighting those we commend for the exhausting amount time they dwell in the water. These are the true froth-doggies whose hands and feet never go unpruned and spend what seems to be every waking hour atop foam submerged in salt water. “In a week I surf ten to 12 times,” 16 year-old Leilani McGonagle tells Stab while on a surf trip in Barbados. “I do homeschool so it’s nice, I’m able to surf almost as much as I want,” she says as if ten-plus times a week isn’t enough to get her fix.

Rip Curl

When you spend every waking second in the ocean, you start to do some fine surfing.

Ms McGonagle lives in Costa Rica, “growing up surfing in Costa Rica’s great! The water’s warm and I grew up surfing the second longest left in the world; Pavones, so that’s pretty sick. I’m a goofy foot and it’s my home break, I love it!” she says. In the past 180 days Leilani’s tallied up 249 surfs which sounds almost traumatic to one’s body. But she’s young; her body’s still rubber, and she takes complete advantage of it. “I used to record my sessions every day, but I’ve been traveling a lot recently so I haven’t been recording them as frequently.” In Leilani’s recorded sessions from the last 180 days she’s surfed and paddled a total of 653.7 miles (1052 km), with her longest wave at her home break of Pavones; 453 yards (414.2 m), she’s also clocked a ride speed of 27.6 mph (44.4 kph) also at Pavones. “I’m the most excited when I get to see how fast I go,” Ms McGonagle tells us. “When it gets big at Pavones gets really fast and sectiony. That’s when I’ve gotten going the fastest. My longest wave was also at my home break. I have my best sessions at home, I’ve been really lucky to grow up surfing such a good wave.”

Leila Score1

Ms McGonagle’s no stranger to the tube.

“My favourite surfers are Carissa Moore because she’s so powerful and well rounded,” she says. “Then I also try to surf like Malia Manuel, she has a really smooth and quick style. And Tatiana Weston-Webb; I think she has one the best backhands on tour.”

Leila says recording her sessions with the Rip Curl GPS watch actually tends to keep her in the water longer. It’s a good way to set goals for a session. “When I near the end of each session,” she says, “I like to check how many waves I’ve caught. So if I’ve caught 22 waves, I’ll stay out until I catch 25 then I’ll get out. I love being able to see how long I’ve been surfing and how many waves I’m able to catch in one hour. I just like being stoked, as long as I have that; it motivates me to get better and better every day.”


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