What I l Learned From 23.5 Hours In Lemoore - Stab Mag
Stab's psychic pick to win, Italo Ferreira, still has chance. Photo: Tony Heff/WSL

What I l Learned From 23.5 Hours In Lemoore

Notes from in and around a sweaty ranch made for surfing.

Words by Brendan Buckley

“Covid is over now.” 

It was 11:15 on a Friday night and the Tachi(ana Weston-Webb) Palace casino was cranking. Most people were maskless. In front of me, two guys waited to cash their chips. Half-jokingly, one of them supplied the remark I opened with. The half that wasn’t joking sounded like it didn’t believe in Covid all along. 

California updated its Covid policy on June 15. Now, you don’t have to wear a mask indoors if you’re vaccinated. And nobody is allowed to ask if you are vaccinated. And so the result has been a lot of chins. 

There are some very handsome chins in Lemoore, especially when the Surf Ranch Pro is on. 

I went up there to admire them at the Surf Ranch Pro. Here is what I learned.

Anyway, this video exists.

The roulette tables at the Tachi Palace are full on Friday nights 
That place is huge. And, as far as I could tell, they only had two roulette tables which sat five people apiece. They were surrounded by about 20 Blackjack tables, all of which had multiple empty seats. The vibe in there was hopeful and miserable at the same time. 

Sally’s backhand, though. I swear. Photo: Tony Heff/WSL

Sally Fitzgibbons is maybe your 2021 World Champ
Her backhand impressed me more than anyone else’s. Every turn seemed perfectly timed, and sharp. I’m not too much of a coward to suggest that she’ll win the World Tile this year. Are you?  

The WSL has been going HARD on the Top 5 Final showdown narrative. Gabby, unsurprisingly, is the first male to qualify for the cobblestone dance. Photo: Pat Nolan/WSL

Gabriel Medina is a fucking god 
Yeah, I don’t know, his 10 million Instagram followers or escapades with Neymar should have suggested this to me by now. I’ve been to plenty of CT events and seen crowds swarm him when he enters or exits a heat—which has the tendency of making a person look like a god. But, without any fanfare in Lemoore, he still exuded such a presence. Proper superstar shit.

A frankly human attempt at an air rev by Alex Ribeiro. Photo: Pat Nolan/WSL

There’s something humanizing about seeing it in person 
A competitor walks out of a Red Bull circus tent. They jump on the back of a Jet Ski. The Jet Ski drops them off about 100 feet away. They sit, they wait. A machine roars. A blue train starts moving. A wave comes at them. They paddle, then boom. What a strange way to compete in a sport that is normally so tuned into the moods of nature. It’s mildly fascinating. 

Ethan Ewing, on the beat. Photo: Tony Heff/WSL

Rhythm, however, exists
You almost feel bad for a competitor over 50% through a wave they’ve been out of sync with. Like, what the fuck are you going to do? Try a rodeo flip? Equally, it’s rather impressive to see someone in rhythm with that wave for all 315 turns. 

On site, Gabriel would look like an ant or be invisible for most of this.

This event is better to watch from home 
Maybe it was the crowdless crowd. Maybe it was the oppressive heat. Maybe it’s the fact that you can only see the lefts from the watching area (the rights move away from you). And sure, there’s a screen—but I also have one of those at my house, where the risk of heat stroke is significantly lower. 

So, au revoir Le Moore. 

Our 23.5 hours together were indeed full of wonder.

Men’s Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe Leaderboard Top 8:
1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.80
2 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.00
3 – Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.33
4 – Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.54
5 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.53
6 – Yago Dora (BRA) 14.37
7 – Owen Wright (AUS) 14.27
8 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.80

Click here for full leaderboard.

Women’s Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe Leaderboard Top 4:
1 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.63
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.17
3 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.93
4 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.83

Tomorrow morning, a handful of competitors will have another shot to crack the Top 8 (essentially the semifinals).


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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

E.A.S.T. Musician Hobo Dave’s Inspiring Journey Through Brain Injuries, Mental Illness, And Surfing

His film ‘Suburban Wilderness’ is a feel-good, core lord hit.

Jul 30, 2021

Episode 2: Vans Stab High, Central America, Presented By Monster Energy

Bring an ice pack, the space cadets have been wounded.

Jul 30, 2021

Does Anyone Else Notice This Ladybird’s Resemblance To Dane Reynolds?

Caity Simmers surfs with a familiar tenacity.

Jul 29, 2021

How Did A Billabong Logo End Up On Italo Ferreira’s Olympics-Winning Surfboard?

Clever marketing team finds legal loophole.

Jul 29, 2021

Son Of Metallica Bassist Scores 11 Year Old’s Straight Air Waco Edit

Ryji Masuda rocks and rolls in Waco.

Jul 29, 2021

Ben Howard Knifes South Coast Nuggets In ‘153624’

Ben Howard chooses the double black diamond approach to tube riding.

Jul 29, 2021

What Did We Learn From The Olympics?

The biggest takeaways from a writer who watched every single heat.

Jul 28, 2021

Covert Jr. Editor Virtually Slips Through The Heavily Guarded Gates Of Olympic Surfing

Better watch now, this won't stay up for very long.

Jul 28, 2021

Neal Purchase Jnr Shapes The Feeling He’s Searching For

Great artists hide themselves in their work.

Jul 28, 2021

You Could Fit Your Neighbor’s Sprinter Van Inside Of These Puerto Escondido Tunnels

Mexican Pipeline continues to churn out the goods.

Jul 27, 2021

Where Are We At With Sustainable Surfboards?

Hello, elephant in the room! Let's hear from some industry innovators.

Jul 27, 2021

Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore Are Surfing’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medalists

Here's how they won.

Jul 27, 2021

Everything You Never Knew About Italo Ferreira

A window into the gold medalist's meteoric rise.

Jul 27, 2021

John Florence Listed As Questionable For The Remainder Of The CT Season

“I’ll most likely make the decision in the next two days or so.”

Jul 26, 2021

The Flamboyantly-Dressed Man Who Got Surfing Into The Olympics Details His Experience

ISA President Fernando Aguerre opens up to Stab the day before the gold medal match.

Jul 26, 2021

Steph Falls Off Her Horse, Andino Triumphs Over John, Gabs Potentially Spells End To Jules’ Career Outside Contest Area

Big-ish waves, sharp surfing and no shortage of drama on day 2 of the Olympic…

Jul 26, 2021

Do You Talk In The Lineup?

The Misc: Half-spoken rules

Jul 26, 2021

Shizunami’s Provocative Chlorine Ramp Continues To Tempt Us

The Volcom Japan team dips its toes in the world’s most desirable wave pool.

Jul 26, 2021