We promise this won’t (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

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Stab in the Dark(Horse)

Morning, lovers.

On the afternoon before Stab in the Dark’s premiere—as Jordy Smith paid the parking meter and we dragged overstuffed boardbags out of my busted 1990 F-150 in anticipation of a pack of groms (and grown-ass men) fondling the boards in the afternoon sun, taking them for spins in Northside Huntington slop—we heard news that China had closed North Korean business, the rogue nation returning the gesture with some military chest-puffing. 

And right then, out of the cloudless, bright blue, a Navy fighter jet made a pass so close to shore it looked as if it might hit the most iconic wood structure in surfing, or give a new meaning to the phrase "shooting the pier."

Was this the beginning of the end? Would anyone show up to our demo (or our little party), in light of impending Nuclear Fallout? Would this be the last surf premiere we’d ever throw? 

With car alarms still ringing from the plane’s first pass, behind it flew second, third, and fourth fighters—the Blue Angels, of course! Warming up for the weekend’s airshow, giving the place a going over. (Though, admittedly we’ve felt a little on edge ever since.)

While our original public premiere for Stab in the Dark had to be scrapped—fairly last-minute, due to the secret wavepool event (when there were still only just whispers of its debut)—pressure mounted the last few weeks here at Stab headquarters, the film’s esteemed editor, sharp-shooter, Mike Pagan commandeering much of the office’s attention, queuing up rough cuts, trading intros for laugh tracks, then promptly replacing the order. Debating degrees of heartbreak certain assessments might cause...

Jesus, christ. Can we leave that in there? It’s so… 

It’s so... 


What’s become the most esteemed title in core surf, Stab in the Dark had a lot to live up to this year. While SITD 1&2 may have suffered from lackluster conditions at times, the insights and entertainment value Julian Wilson, and everyone’s favorite foam and fiberglass headcase, Dane Reynolds provided were always going to be hard to top. 

So the boys went to the Mentawais with Jordy, two six-packs of fresh foamers and proceeded to score one of the best performance reels in recent memory—the current World Tour number one, all-time Indo, 12 of the world’s best shaper’s boards*… But that was never going to be enough, was it, you ingrates?

Regardless of what the feature promised waves- and performance-wise, in the run-up to the film’s premiere, haters hucked nerf balls Jordy’s way—namely that the big South African lacked the, um, personality to carry a 32-minute film about 12 very similar shortboards. 


Nothing’s warmed our hearts more than hearing from people, who might have had let’s say lukewarm feelings about Jordy Smith—for his Red Bull hats or his ridiculous claims, or whatever—admitting they’ve been, dare we say, charmed. Jordy certainly delivered several of the most memorable and cringe-inducing one-liners of the last three films. 

We hope you enjoyed the drama, the heartstring-pulling family plot-twist when Jordy’s Dad made the finals (“So the old man can shape and he wasn’t just talking shit all these years..”) as well as Jordy’s, um, honesty. Like so many of you, it’s our favorite project of the year. And somehow I feel we’ve set the bar even higher for 2018. 

This Thursday, you’ll all have a crack at taking home All 12 Stab In The Dark Boards, as well as 12 Wetsuits and 12 Sets of Fins, from our friends at O’Neill and Futures. We’ll be polling for this year’s Reader’s Choice board—the one you thought looked best under Jordy’s feet— and giving everyone the chance to win. Then we're moving on, and not a milked minute too soon. 

Which brings me, rather aimlessly I will admit, to the point of this: with this year’s Stab in the Dark done and dusted, we’ve got irons in fires here. And while we’ve been covering walls with Post-Its for months, considering next moves, we’ve loved hearing your ideas and requests come through the Comments sections:

 Do Dane in these waves. Or just bring back Dane.


(Same commenter, literally seconds later) Boooo! 

 Hopefully next year they’ll use John John lol. I really liked the summer one that taj, chippa, and ando did…

 Oooh wow another barney have somebody that’s underground and kills it you clowns

 Gotta get some of us lesser known shapers in…

 Really should have *insert local/unsung hero* in there!

 12 identical boards blah blah blah

And of course, our Disqus delivered the real gold:

Claiming Medina • 8 days ago

Fuck these WSL guys I'll say it again I much rather see Morgan Williamson. What a pro says about a board doesn't necessarily correlate to your usual pin-dropping-rail-bogging-under-paddling surfer.

 iHusky • 6 days ago

I once knew a bloke....

True story.

He was a DJ before it was cliché and cool to wrangle CDJ's to Ariana Grande. He like the crackle of the old vinyl... Given his mediocre and rising status in the x music scene he was invited to a hip Micro Brewery event in which all the VIPs (him included) were sat down to test 20 different beers, unlabeled, served in a gold schooner glass from a can.

The winner?


Any donkey has a chance in a blind test.

Barca Boots • 6 days ago

"a proper test in both lefts and rights, trying to find similar conditions for every board is virtually impossible." just made Kelly chuckle.

Over the last week, the masses have sounded their barbaric yawlps, their Rebel Yells for more, more, more—more and better and different and Other! And we’ve heard you loud and clear. (As an outsider, I’ve been thinking it since the project premiered three years ago—and as we’ve all seen the half-cocked Stab in the Dark, um, inspired features come out from other outlets).

Stab in the Dark is always going to be the annual celebration of surfboard design’s most fine-tuned pursuit. It’s the best in the biz and it ain’t going nowhere. And trust us, next year we’ll have the guy for the leading role. 

But while we’re dogmatically high performance, luddites-be-damned, our heads aren’t in the sand as far as the fun y’all are having on whatever the fuck you hip cats are calling them these days: alternative craft, retroformance, Stubbies, pigs, Rabbits Feet, eggs, Eagles, pizza boxes, bonzers, duos, Speed Dialers, Total Involvement logs, #FFFF(ree Friction). Fun boards, basically—let’s call a spade a spade. 

Though we micro-dosed you with Sinning Is More Fun In Summer, we’re certain even the most closed minds will enjoy a full tab:

We want to see the true potential of some of these fucking so-called alternative boards. Put them under radical, critical feet and see how they cut it. And yeah, we’ve been talking to the right surfer(s) for that one, too. We’ve got boards being made as we speak, and we can’t wait to see which ones fly and , as McIntosh likes to lovingly say of my mid-lengths and logs, which ones might "give you fleas."

We've also heard the fist-raised, gang-vocal chorus of the underground! 

We’ll be putting together projects for the everyman high-performance craftsman, the left-field, fringe minds and dark horses. The Daniel Joneses and Sean Ordonezes, the Parmenters and the Alan Gibbons, the Greg Geiselman’s and the Nick Uricchios—the myriad world-class shapers who have labored in the shadows and who are more than deserving of their time in the sun! 

Yeah. We’re working on it. But we want to know who you think deserves the love. 

And this almost goes without saying, but I insist: as we’ll continue to make crystal clear over the next year, we’re so down with what the women are doing right now. I know you saw Lakey’s new edit. Girl’s on fire. And she ain’t alone. 

And we agree with you: women’s surfboards deserve the same considered eyes turned their way.. 

We know you’ll all watch, motherfuckers. 

So here’s what a few of our other Post-Its say:

Stab in the Dark PIPELINE Edition!

Have Hawaiian and Pipe board building royalty build JOB** or someone with the last name Florence or Ho or Rothman the most bitchin’ Pipe cleaners of all time! Barrels ensue! 

Twin Fin Fiesta!

Ok, so maybe everything doesn’t have to be a fucking mystery (see below, if you missed it). We can skip the foreplay: you love twin keels slapped firmly on the ass-end of a deep swallow. We get it. We do, too. And we’re going to beat the hell out of dead fish. Because literally every time we come across a clip of Asher or Chippa or Mason or Steph or Jordy for chrissakes, it’s all we want to see. 

Stab in the Dark(Horse)

Bring in the free radicals—the Ryan Burches or Chippa Wilsons or Bryce Youngs for some mad fun experiments? The Kepa Aceros or Greg Longs or Mikala Joneses in search of the ultimate one-board tube-hunter, for those of you who just finished Barbarian Days or Walden, and who read these pages, who are said to live in Sydney, or San Sebastian, Rockaway or Rocky Point, and are feeling that wanderer’s itch...

Total Involvement!

Yeah, we ain’t going to flood the feed with hodads throwing soul arcs, but we’re admittedly a mixed bag here at Stab, and I fly the longboard flag high and proud. It’s California, for chrissake, and longboards are just the absolute right choice of board no less than 50% of the time...  I mean, do we still have to justify longboarding? Fuck that. Shit’s sick, we’re backing it, and we want to see the best logging ever done right here at Stab. Do we mirror the Stab in the Dark formula and seek out the best contemporary noserider ever made, bring in Mystery Guests, the whole deal? There are more radical longboards being made today than there ever were when the designs reached peak potential in ‘66/67, and the surfing being done by guys like Andy Nieblas, Corey Colapinto (ankle-leash and Bible quotes notwithstanding), Lola Mignot, Nick Melanson, and a thousand little jive turkey loggers the world over should be getting the praise and attention it deserves. Where do we go? Saladita? Tea Tree? The Bu, obvs. 

Just imagine all those crisp, white logs, logoless save for their racing number, lined up against The Wall? The mind reels…

Morgan Williamson (And Friends!) Surf Boards So You Don’t Have To

When we polled our readers who they thought/hoped our Mystery Surfer was this year, we failed to include the Disqus’ favorite regularfoot t-rex. And he’s our man. Should Mr Williamson be required to ride literally anything that arrives at our door? We’re looking into the legals over here.

Stab in the Lab, Kelly’s Wave

Even given the best odds in the game, a Mentawais dice roll is still any shaper’s to lose (poor Hayden, whose board stands here so crisp and beautiful and utterly written off after a lackluster go in the shittiest waves of the trip). Sure, Kelly’s Wave would kill what some might consider unwanted variables in our (always admittedly flawed) experiment, but would it kill the fun? Or could it be the most interesting/boring, albeit precise test of design theories ever conceived? Probably both, honestly. Say we scrapped the whole high performance shortboard idea, and had shapers take a crack at what they think the dream board for that inland oasis might look like. Would that ring ripe cherries? Or would again you scream sour grapes?

So. What do you want to see? We genuinely want to know. What surfers? What shapers? What waves? What pairings would you like to see on our Tasting Menus? 

We’re nothing if not accommodating.

Keep it cutty, with a little class, Stab.  


Crashton Bograil, Editor in Chief


*As well as two actual, literal boatloads of Brazilians in hot pursuit, our trip’s window overlapping beautifully with Qatar Airlines’ “Travel Festival’s” slashed prices on flights from Sao Paolo to Denpassar, starting at $700 USD and a five-ticket discount dropping it <$500. We arrived just as Bali was inundated with the densest Brazilian thundercloud the island has seen. And us in our perfect little one-surfer boat, with our perfect intel—we never stood a chance...

**There goes Buckley, stumbling into fights he didn’t mean to pick. Yeah, the new season of JOB ain’t winning any Webbies—especially after watching the last two episodes of Epicly Later’d, conveniently enough on Spike Jonze and Bam Margera (which are fucking bonkers good and you should go watch now). It’s hard to argue that the formula ain’t dated, but damn if it ain’t more entertaining than 90% of the shit that rolls across our desks. hence Buck’s sentiment that maybe he wishes there wasn’t the stuntman asterisk next to JOB’s name whenever it comes to a surfer’s mind—which would be missing the point of Who is JOB?, entirely.

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