Stab Magazine | The World According to Stab Commenters: James B

The World According to Stab Commenters: James B

We welcomingly open ourselves to scrutiny from the most pious group of nit-pickers known to man (the Stab commentators!) on a regular basis. But among all the smack talk, sometimes, some real talk penetrates. Or at the very least, someone says enough of the right things, in the right way, that they become known entities. Lesser […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We welcomingly open ourselves to scrutiny from the most pious group of nit-pickers known to man (the Stab commentators!) on a regular basis. But among all the smack talk, sometimes, some real talk penetrates. Or at the very least, someone says enough of the right things, in the right way, that they become known entities. Lesser commenters wait for them to weigh in. And more often than not they’re at the top of the threads, with the most upvotes. These are the commenters the world needs, and the ones we’ll be focusing on in the coming weeks.

For our opening ceremony, who else could we invite other than James B? Mr B, whether you love him or hate him (and there’s certainly no indifference towards him) knows how to stimulate conversation. No human alive, aside from James himself, knows whether he’s writing with tongue firmly in cheek or not. And we don’t wanna know. He called the Brazilian Storm from way out, before it was even a shade on the weather map. And he is now one of Stab‘s most beloved trolls. But, what does he really think about the bizarre game of surfing?

“James B is one of the few guys who really tells the truth about the surfing world.” – James B
Joined Disqus: March 30, 2013

Stab: What’s wrong with surfing right now?
James B: Surfing still has a lot of prejudice. I feel like the only moment where surfers seem to behave as an international community is in the occurrence of a tragedy, like when Ricardo dos Santos was murdered. At that time I felt that the surfing community was connected in the right way. And then, a few weeks later, it’s business as usual, and hate is back on the agenda. I try to show how wrong this is through my comments on Stab, in a provocative way. I don’t intend to bring bias and hate. Instead, I try to make it clear that it exists, and that we don’t have to accept it anymore.


Ricardo Dos Santos, whose murder James believes brought the surfing world together for just a moment. Photo: Henrique Pinguim

What’s right with surfing right now? The internet. Surfers can show their talent more freely. For example, the guys from Maui are amazing, and they can launch their videos and blow minds without the media hype machine that put guys with half their talent in the mainstream on a regular basis. And, I like the democracy of websites like Stab, where even a Brazilian guy like me can show his opinions and be a pain in the ass when it’s needed (no thanks to Surfline!). And the girls! Man, I’m really enjoying watching Steph, Carissa and the way the girls are surfing now. They’re beautiful and talented. Malia, I love you!

What’s wrong with the WSL? In a sport as subjective as surfing the staff who make decisions should be multi-national. The Head Judge is Australian, the Commissioners (both men and women) are Australian, and most of the judging panel are from Australia. I guarantee they can find (or develop) a competent international judging panel. And, most importantly: None of the judges should know the score a surfer needs to advance in a heat before they take off! That’s where the bias and the subjectivity comes into play. And I hate the way the WSL tries to control what the surfers say in post heats interviews, like they did to Medina at Snapper this year. Surfers are not robots! We need more Freddy P, Jeremy Flores and Medina, and less robotic, repetitive speeches!

Malia Manuel, the girl who haunts James B's dreams. Photo: Ryan Miller

Malia Manuel, the girl who haunts James B’s dreams. Photo: Ryan Miller

What’s right about the WSL? In terms of competition, I think the event format is ok. You need to be able to surf beachbreaks, reefs, and pointbreaks if you want to to be World Champ.

Who’s the best World Tour commentator? Maybe Ross Williams. But, again, I’d like to see a more diverse group; an international crew with different perspectives and points of view. Is it a World Tour or a Australia/USA/Hawaii tour? The audience is global, so let’s bring some variety to this thing.

What’s right with surf media? I like how fast information flows nowadays. That’s cool. I’ve been surfing for 30 years, and back in the day we had to wait weeks to know what was going on. And the democracy is sweet, too.

And what’s wrong? I hate how surfing idols are produced regularly in order for companies to cash in. I have a homepage print from one of the main surfing websites with 7 (seven!) articles/banner ads of John John Florence on one day last year. He had 75 percent of that homepage*. Don’t get me wrong, John John is an amazing surfer and deserves the coverage he gets, I’m just using this as an example. But still, there’s too much undeserved hype and idols being manufactured by the media.

*Editor’s note: This was, in all likelihood, Stab.

Kelly Slater

Kelly’s embers still warm the shackles of James B’s cold heart! Photo: Asher Samelko

Who’s the best surfer in the world? Easy. Kelly Slater. The most complete, winningest, most talented surfer ever.

Who’s the best Stab commenter? Man, this one was as easy as the Kelly question. James B is the man! But Negatron, Badger and a couple of other guys are pretty ok, too.

The most underrated surfer in the world is? Albee Layer and Matt Meola. They’re the complete package.

The most overrated surfer in the world is? Dion Agius.


Albee layer joins the exclusive club of surfers with James B’s tick of approval: Kelly, Matt Meola, Malia Manuel, and every Brazilian to ever put hoof to surfboard! Photo: Brian Bielmann


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