Pro Surfing Is BACK - Stab Mag
Your reigning World Champion caught 17 waves in his heat today. He did something like this on many of them. Photo: WSL/Miers

Pro Surfing Is BACK

And the waves were “5-6’ and GOOD.”

Words by Stab

This time last year, the world was ending. An invisible enemy had arrived to destroy society. It was time to pack it up and move on. 

You were likely to lose your job. Nah, scratch that. You were going to lose your life, probably after some mouth-breathing swine in the supermarket elbowed you out of the last package of toilet paper. 

Good times. 

A year later, pro surfing is BACK! The conditions for the first day of the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup were, according to a WSL press release, “5-6’ and GOOD.” Nice! 

Leonardo Fioravanti takes the top off of a well-overhead wave. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Now, let’s be real for a moment. This was an incredibly difficult thing to pull off. As surf fans, complaining about the conditions right now would feel a bit like Oliver Twist saying the soup was oversalted. 

But here’s the deal: It was kind of funny. And beggars can’t be choosers, but they can still make snarky comments about your shoes.

We at Stab are happy to see pro surfing back. Good job, WSL. Love your work. And good job, competitors. Keep, uhh, doing your thing. 

And it was still fun to watch. There’s something heartwarming about watching the world’s best in such relatable conditions.

So, here are five things we learned, with a healthy dose of snark throughout. 

Photography should be illegal 

Three years ago, you may recall, the WSL had a meeting to discourage its photographers from using telephoto lenses to shoot women’s heats when bikinis were involved. Well, yeah, this seems fair. But in order to succeed in today’s world, you need to be innovative, reactive, always ready to pivot. Which is why we are hereby suggesting that the WSL should ban all still photography in waves like this. Watching Filipe and Italo fly across flat water and click their fins on the shorebreak is impressive in video form, but single frames make our sport look laughable.

Ryan Callinan should be included in the ongoing conversation about the world’s most technically advanced and exciting backhand in waves three-foot and under 

It would be a shame to start a new-ish year in professional surfing without making one of the most esoteric claims you’ve ever heard. Doesn’t this make it feel like we’re back, for real? Put this guy on the list with Italo. 

Karma is a force that pulses through our universe and dramatically impacts our day-to-day experience 

Remember when the WSL jet left Caroline Marx behind due to a false-positive COVID test? Must have caused her a lot of trouble. What better way to come back from that than to fuck everyone up. Waves came to her like lambs to the slaughter and she got the highest women’s heat total of the day, which should surprise no one. Not even you, Sally Fitzgibbons. 

John John Florence is boring

Seems like he’s reaching a point in his career where he’s going to be ridiculously good all the time, everywhere, no matter what, etc. The surfing? Incredible. The storyline? BORING! 

The argument against the Lowers Super Bowl is an argument for waves like this

The decision to restructure the World Title format has been heavily criticized. Yes, yes, when you’re designing a game with many variables, it seems fair to expose the players to as many of those variables as possible when deciding who wins. The champion of a year’s worth of surfing should prove themselves in everything—which means there is real value in waves like this.

Can’t have it both ways.


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