Matt Meola Sacrifices 15k For The Purity Of Aerial Surfing - Stab Mag
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Photo by Nate Lawrence

Matt Meola Sacrifices 15k For The Purity Of Aerial Surfing

Respect level +1000, bank account -$15,000.

news // Jun 23, 2024
Words by Jack O'Neill Paterson
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Watch the Finals Day Replay here.

Pro-division final, 24 waves surfed, only a handful of makes. Merciless gusts of wind render the playing field course and crude. Landing airs, even for the world’s most gifted swoopers, appears near impossible. The Holy Spirits are enraged by an ancient sin. 

Matt Meola holds the lead after stomping a double-grab backside rodeo; his landing polished but his toes reluctant to part with his board. 34 outta 50. A wee anti-climax, perhaps, but Matt would be celebrated by the people as a deserving champion. 

A singular wave for each of the finalists remained, but given the difficult conditions, a score that would rival Matt’s 34 seemed improbable.

But then, a final scandal. Rumours of an additional wave for each of the competitors began to surface, which would allow for our aerial flamethrowers to go out blazing. Jacob Szekely salivated at the prospect of another chance at glory; the ferocity of his arousal slightly disconcerting. 

Ultimately, the decision was left up to Matt. 

“We’ll go for two.”

“A principle isn’t a principle til it’s cost you something” Photo by Nate Lawrence.

Eithan Osborne had seemed the most likely rival to Matt throughout the final, but the former Monster Air winner had spent most of his time in Japan falling on waves, reportedly going 0-for-21 in warmups. He’d landed enough airs throughout the event to make the final, but only just.

As Eithan stood for his ultimate wave, his presence appeared to gag the wind. Clicking the board off the lip, he locked in the rotation with a back-hand grab on the heelside rail, sending himself to the flats. After falling four consecutive times on this same stalefish full rotation, Eithan branded the synthetic onsen with the chop-tailed outline of his Neck Beard 2 and rode away clean. Head judge Nate Fletcher threw him a 10, the other judges filed in with 9s, and he easily surpassed Matt. 

After Meola’s final attempt went awry, bottles were uncorked, cans punched open, and Eithan Osborne was crowned the 2024 Stab High Japan presented by Monster Energy champion. 

Eithan will be remembered as the the broken but deserving victor of Stab High Japan. Matt Meola will be cherished as the patron of honour, the wave pool’s divine messenger, and aerial surfing’s forever saint. 

One small step for surfing, one giant punt for the aerial degenerates of our time. 

To end, a line from Eithan Osbourne’s glorious victory speech:

Let’s fucking party. 

Peanut gallery — photo by Nate Lawrence

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