Click or Miss: Are Vlogs Our Clearest Window Into Surfing's Competitive Elite? - Stab Mag

Click or Miss: Are Vlogs Our Clearest Window Into Surfing’s Competitive Elite?

According to Leo Fioravanti: yes.

cinema // Apr 19, 2021
Words by Zack Raffin
Reading Time: 4 minutes

When Leo Fioravanti posted a video titled ‘6 ways to use a foamroller’ I was on the verge of becoming physically ill.

Despite Leo’s underwhelming quarantine content creation, he has made up for it ten-fold with his latest production stemming from the Newcastle event. Despite Leo bowing out to Filipe in the Round of 32 (in what were clearly favorable conditions for his competitor), this video chronicled his performance over three heats to absolute perfection.

Beginning with Leo’s seeding round one heat, we watch as he struggles in sub-par conditions and loses to local surfing deity Mr. Ryan Callinan. On the drive home, a frustrated Leo asks his girlfriend, “How the fuck did Ryan get 15 points out there?” In two sentences, Leo’s partner Sophie Wilson affirms why traveling with a trusted confidant is essential, easing his mind in preparation for his next heat.

While warming up the following day, Leo is clearly pushing his surfing with the goal of avoiding a dreaded last place finish. Then comes a pivotal moment, the fade. In what is simultaneously the least critical/most damaging maneuver of waiting period, a local surfer drops in on leo, bails, and destroys his board in what is sure to open up the conversation to the WSL locking down event locations for their athletes to adequately warm up prior to competition. Not one to get phased, Leo grabbed a new stick and manages to win his next heat with a total of… you guessed it… 15 points.

Hate on vlogs all you want, but these are the narrative threads that can’t be told via live broadcast or beachside commentary. There’s simply too much going on to dive deep on single subjects such as these. As more tour surfers launch Youtube channels, we can only hope that they provide informative, entertaining stories such as the below.

Click (or miss) below.

Click- Is Leo’s Filmer A Double Agent? Channel Subs: 11.9k
Video Views:  11,379 (1,869.5 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio:
381/1 or 136 likes per 1 dislike

We’ve lauded Leo enough in the above intro, but yet another storyline from this video comes in the fact beloved filmer Tomo McPherson was seen by our Danny Johnson at Mikey Wright’s latest film premiere in Newcastle. When Danny asked who’s better in competition, Tomo answered immediately and with loyalty, “Leo”. BUT, when asked who’s a better freesurfer, Tomo issued a coy “no comment.” Whatever your take here, Leo may want to avoid free surfing in Mikey’s vicinity for the remainder of this Aussie leg. Temptation is a fickle bitch and we wouldn’t want Tomo’s eyes (or worse, lens) to wander, now would we?

PS: May this act as my official, public plea to all WSL commentators to please NEVER say ‘When In Rome’ while Leo is surfing. This is the definition of picking the low hanging fruit.

Miss- Does Griffin Have The Most Young Fans On Tour? Channel Subs: 14.1k
Video Views:  9,707 (4,853.35 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio:

Vlogs are geared toward younger audiences, and in the case of the Cola Bros, it should come as no surprise that the majority of their viewers are children. The U14 fanfare that welcomed Griffin at the latest event in Newcastle is something to behold, so much so that he got literally tailed up the beach by a dozen or so groms after breaking a board in his loss to eventual winner Italo Ferreira (12:00). While there’s nothing wrong with the above, we’d love to see Griffin and Crosby include less broadcast footage and more clips contextualizing their arc through a given event. As these two grow, they will surely be notching multiple event victories each, meaning if they master this skill now we will eventually have a first-hand, behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to win an event from start to finish. Call me hypercritical, but that is something I would like to watch.

Click- Wanna See A Dead Body?
Channel Subs: 18.9k
Video Views:  22,197 (3,699.5 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio:
680/5 or 136 likes per 1 dislike

Last week we led off Click or Miss talking about The Life of The Von Froth. Nic Von Rup’s channel has found its way into our hearts because his videos are simple: no fluff accounts of what is often the best spot on the best swell at any given moment on earth. While this video breaks from what is an A+ strategy to becoming the top ‘core surf’ Youtuber, when you spend the year chasing great waves you’re gonna have some great wipeout clips as well. Would you rather fall knifing the Mavs left a la 6:46 or eat shit at the bottom of a Nazaré teepee going Mach11?

Click- Zeke Lau Refuses To Waste A Single Swedish Clip Channel Subs: 9.16k
Video Views: 2,804 (1,402 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 157/1

While this may seem like an instructional video on aerial surfing, it is actually a potent lesson in content creation for Surf Youtube’s many budding stars. In the world of COVID, if you’re not on tour you need to be absolutely milking every trip for whatever level of entertainment you can provide your audience. Zeke not only dropped a 3-part series from his Swiss wavepool experience,—he also recycled all his clips from the ramp to hopefully teach you how to finally land that pesky air revo. Could this be the world’s second most rampable man-made section?

Click- Think This Guy Wants The QS To Re-Start? Channel Subs: 1.9k
Video Views: 309
Like/Dislike Ratio: 24/0

This is what tour-ready surfing looks like. Full carves, panache in the tube, and all the airs both f/s and b/s. You may not like Barron Mamiya’s song choice (off of Young Thug’s latest album in the states), but you can’t deny: this kid’s got the stuff.


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