Nunya Business Wins The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout - Stab Mag

Nunya Business Wins The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout

Maybe the most psycho day of contest surfing since Red Bull Cape Fear 2016.

news // Jan 16, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Today was the final day of the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, but we don’t have a winner. After two surfers were sent to the ER, one whose condition is still unclear, it hardly seemed fitting to declare a champ. Thoughts are with Kala Grace, Makua Rothman and Billy Kemper, all of whom suffered event-ending injuries. There were countless wave of the winter candidates from today and yesterday. Proper Pipeline with the odd Backdoor drainer. Brain’s still processing what happened. For now, Nunya Business is the de facto champ, and will remain such until thoughts have regathered, hopefully by tomorrow morning. 


  • Waves: cooking double-overhead Pipeline with a pinchy end section, many calling it the best conditions of the season. 
  • Multiple injuries: Kala Grace was pulled unconscious from the water with lifeguards abandoning the ski to keep his head above water. His helmet was removed from his head in the wipeout, and the event was temporarily put on hold. Really heavy, noticeably changed the ambience.
  • Kelly Slater put on a show, and with it, put a bit of daylight between himself and many of the top Pipe guys. Mixed it up with turns/stalls/grabs, picked off nugs, oozed ease and panache. Still untouchable on his best days at 50 years of age, no less.
  • Informative broadcast talking about Hawaiian history and culture, touched on Captain Cook’s brutal death at the hands of Hawaiian natives, colonization, surfing’s historical role in maintaining social order, and much more. Dr Isaiah Walker and Ezra Rodriguez, I tip my helmet to you gentlemen/scholars
  • 66-year-old Mike Ho taking off under the ledge and hitting the end section. Curious as to what literage he rides to keep those giant testicles of his afloat.

Great contest. Big names, incredible conditions, informative commentary. Only downside was the scoring, which was impossible to keep track of. Hard to know what the stakes are without them or to get a sense of what is being rewarded. Simple graphic updates on screen would be huge.

Some youtube livestream conspiracy theorists attributed the lack of jerseys to Vans Triple Crown regulations. However, it is by design to make it more exhibition than competition, and to increase the value of content obtained during the event window.

Peak performances include: Kelly Slater, Kala Grace, Benji Brand, Eimeo Czermak and Clay Marzo. Probably missing a few, everyone got skitz tubes today. The commentary team crushed it, as did the North Shore lifeguards, who were picking bodies off the reef in almost every heat. Unenviable job that must be incredibly stressful/traumatic at times. Someone get them a Banzai bowl if you see them.


Just the lack of jersey and score updates. Love how stripped-back the format is, however, stakes/scores are good for the audience. The periodic reminder that there is a carrot these people are after would service storytelling and help explain the masochism. 

Also I miss Mason.

We’ll keep you posted once results become available.


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