Soft Top Wielding Gladiators Take Over Texas - Stab Mag
595 Views
Kaikea Elias. Photo by Red Bull Content Pool.

Soft Top Wielding Gladiators Take Over Texas

The Red Bull Foam Wreckers Tour kicks off at BSR.

news // May 28, 2021
Words by Jack Mutschler
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve heard many tales of this beast and its distinct roar. It was a mechanical growl that shook the colorless dirt of the 400-acre property.

Of course, when I arrived, it had stirred into more of a slush, given the heavy rains from the night before. It was my first visit to the barren town of Waco, Texas—a place where local advertisements are for either square or round bales of hay.

I exited my rental chariot, which now a sported a grey splatter on its lower half, and shuffled towards the BSR cable park wave pool. With each dragging step, the distant voice on the PA became clearer. The thumping from the armored DJ booth intensified, letting me know that the party was already shifting gears.

A different kind of mechanical bull.

I’d arrived just in time for the Red Bull Foam Wreckers event. The arena for the gathering was a sizeable chlorinated lake, backed up against a solid slab of concrete. According to BSR Chief Operating Officer Dave Likens, the beast is comprised of “24 ten-foot-wide air chambers,” all of which worked toward the same goal. The still water gets sucked down into the folds of the earth before lashing back out in multiple directions, some more favorably than others.

The brave warriors in attendance awaited orders at the concrete shoreline, dressed in unorthodox battle gear. Stitch, the Blues Brothers, and some guy disguised as Eric Koston crowded a grand wheel, waiting for their mystery blade of fate’s choice.

The sword options we’re flashy yet dull: Soft tops, ranging from size log to boog, courtesy of the blacksmiths at Catch Surf. The neon glow from the boards offset the day’s grey backdrop and provided some much-needed luminescence. The sun was not going to show, and the light rain served as our reminder.

The battlegrounds.
Photo by Red Bull Content Pool.

Once the wheel had spoken, the modern-day Spartans grabbed their destined swords and darted towards the rattling of the beast’s chains. The horns blew, and all 24 latches were unlocked.

Blades flew across the water’s surface, and daggers shot out the back of sets. Oohs and ahh’s echoed from the bleachers.

Who were these fighters? Had they not been trained properly? These were no gladiators. These were simpletons. Common folk, like you and I, having a go at the sudden shelves with merciless equipment. What they lacked in perfectly timed aerials, they salvaged with smiles and laughter. They refused to acknowledge the taunting of that wretched monster. How could this be? Aren’t surf contests supposed to be serious?

Ok maybe some had battle experience. I think Jacob Szekely is allergic to falling.
Photo by Red Bull Content Pool.

Even the renowned gladiators: Robb of Kalani, Conklin of Blair, and O’briens Jamie shared a grin from their tower of judgment. Their laughter reverberated as competitors jousted on the so-called “Freak Peak.”

“Why this?” I asked the great Ben of Gravy.

“I don’t know. Compared to a normal contest format, this is more fun,” he answered.

It’s all gravy baby.
Photo by Red Bull Content Pool.

Fun, plain and simple. Act as cool and unimpressed with surfing as you wish, but every wave is an opportunity, same as normal life events on land. It’s an opportunity to be miserable, obsess over minor flaws, and lash out those around you. Or it’s a chance to enjoy your surroundings. Embrace that shoulder-hopper with open arms, and let the board floating on the inside serve as a new landing rather than an obstacle.

While I admit my attention for surf-related outputs usually gravitates toward more serious projects (like this, for example), I understand the benefits of an event like Red Bull Foam Wreckers.

Micah Gore and Serena Nava taking advantage of the “no priority” rule.
Photo by Red Bull Content Pool.

Surfing is only surfing, and it’s healthy to step back and laugh at it sometimes. It seems too often we forget to enjoy our session and slowly become the grumpy older man who owns every set near the pier. I can assure you that on this day, amid sub-par weather and limited solo rides, there were no cranky outbursts. There were no palms up, no arguments over priority, and no profanities (per BSR wave pool rules).

This was only the first stop of what is looking to be a successful tour of the US. If you live within driving distance of any of the future foam-wrecking events, go. Grab some friends, pile into your trusted chariot, and make the voyage. Dress up like a pilgrims, or pirates, or the mascots of a gas station chain, and go. Fight your way to the realm of enlightenment and slay great cylindrical creatures with nothing but a hot pink sword made of foam.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Introducing A Brand New Travel Series (With A Familiar Name)

Watch the First Three Episodes of Stab & Red Bull No Contest Off Tour.

Sep 30, 2022

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022

12:31

You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022

5:07

Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022

Where You Should Be In Europe Right Now

An overview of the region's greatest hits.

Sep 25, 2022

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test With Mick Fanning, Episode 4

There are three boards left. Which one is Mick taking home?

Sep 23, 2022

Watch: Tresha

The Bella Kenworthy Edit.

Sep 22, 2022

Photos: Welcome To Vans Stab High Indonesia, Presented By Monster Energy

Welcome to Lakey Peak. Now do airs.

Sep 22, 2022

5:27

Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit 'Sonic Youth' now.

Sep 22, 2022
Advertisement