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Is That EMPTY Macaronis, You Ask?

Letter from the Editor: On Stab In The Dark 2017

news // Sep 27, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Morning, studs.

Here at Stab’s Los Angeles headquarters, a crispness in the air has put a skip in our steps, jars of unrefined coconut oil solidifying on kitchen counters for the first time in months, and that… that… feeling: Winter is coming, and we couldn’t be happier to see the late-summer doldrums receding in the rearview.

This week, fans of our inherently flawed but decidedly authoritative annual board test can look forward to unwrapping an early holiday gift:  Surely you saw the “sign on the door.”

Stab. In. The. Dark.

SITD AlanvanGysen 0044

How obsessed was our talent? Well, every board had to have the same sticker placement, same pad, same fins all meticulously placed.

This time around, we took to heart feedback we’d received from our shapers and surfers alike over the last two competitions: the main criticism leveled at SITD has been an uneven playing field, as far as waves went. To really test the theory, we’d need as close to an ideal closed course as we could find.

To cut the fat w/r/t unwanted variables, we took our Mystery Surfer to surfing’s most beloved Indonesian skatepark, the Mentawais. (Did someone say empty Macaronis?)

Of course, no matter how carefully calculated a strike, conditions are bound to be the challenge. As we make last-minute edits to the film, pouring over footage from two weeks shooting in firing Indonesian reef breaks, as thorough and consciously precise as our Mystery Surfer was with his test drives, you can still see how some of the shapers were dealt cruel hands, conditions-wise. Alas, for more than twenty years, the Mentawai Islands have served as the ultimate testing ground for high performance shortboards; let’s be real, a better natural laboratory for our mad experiment couldn’t be found.

And we think this year’s is the very best yet. Best boards. Best waves. Best surfing. Best feedback and insight. Best… surfer? (Currently, that’s true in more ways than one, actually.) 

Stab In The Dark premieres Thursday night, 9PM here in the States, Friday morning in Australia.

And this week, we’ve got some fun planned for our friends in Southern California. On Thursday, we’ll be giving everyone the chance to come ride all this year’s actual Stab In The Dark boards, and hang with our mystery surfer, as well as some very special guests. (Here’s hoping for a little windswell, eh? More on that later this week.)

And despite the fact that this year’s mystery surfer is exactly my weight, and that the 12 boards— crisp and white and logo-less with a just a little Goo Gone—are spot-fucking-on the same volume as my most prized Mayhems and CI’s, Sam McIntosh insists we be generous:

One of you will win all 12 Stab In The Dark Boards.

SITD AlanvanGysen 0152

You know how good those would look in my office? One of you lucky pricks is taking these home!


by Alan Van Guysen

Think on that for a second: Twelve surfboards hand-shaped by the world’s best shapers, and ridden—briefly, critically, and thoroughly—by one of the world’s best surfers.

Tune in to all Stab’s channels for your #StabInTheDark (wink, wink)  to win.

We hope you’ve been enjoying Stab’s “pinned-throttle” approach as of late. The last three weeks have been a trip.

We still haven’t heard concrete details from our friends at WSL, but we know we’re wearing them down. In the meantime, we’ve been hearing from their surfers left and right, and will have updates soon. (Was that a threat? Oh, don’t be silly!)

We’re still waiting to hear from Kelly, though we understand playing host is no small order.

And while luddites lamented surfing’s lost soul, tapping out sour-grape takedowns of Kelly’s country club from the armchair comforts of suburban Southern California insulation, we’re pretty sure Tuesday’s shenanigans will go down as one of the most ridiculously fun days of “journalism” we’ve ever had. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

As always, keep it cutty, with a little class, Stab. It’s going to be a good week.


Ashton Goggans

Editor in Chief



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