Click or Miss: Can One Compete At The Highest Level While Running A Successful Vlog? - Stab Mag

Click or Miss: Can One Compete At The Highest Level While Running A Successful Vlog?

There’s only so many hours in the day…

cinema // May 24, 2021
Words by Zack Raffin
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sports stars and content creation is a money-stuffed envelope that is just beginning to unfold.

As modern sources of entertainment shift from stationed programming to iPhone videos directly from our favorite personalities, we will continue to see stars across various sports dive head-first into the lucrative content business. This begs the question: how will surfing’s elite balance their competitive results with their budding Youtube stardom?

The Cola Bros, Jack Freestone, Lakey Peterson, Leo Fioravanti and Kanoa Igarashi have all taken their foot off the digital gas pedal since the start of the Australian leg. While surely it is difficult to focus on creating entertaining content while attempting to win a world title, the aggregate dip in WSL competitors’ digital channels will dampen their ability to engage with the algorithm in the long run. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Youtube’s biggest stars, its that the platform values consistency.

On the flip side of this, Italo has stayed directly on pace, maintaining a one-video-per-week cadence that surely has something to do with the film crew that’s been following him around for his upcoming bio-pic. Guess you can add ‘personal film team’ to the list of perks that come with being a World Champion.

For what it’s worth, I’d much rather see surfing’s top competitive athletes focused on winning surf contests than making videos. In fact, the only reason their videos are even relevant is because of their competitive surfing success… If Italo is the model in this case, that will surely bring more eyeballs to one’s digital channels than posting a Rottsnest comp wrap in a timely fashion.

So how will surfing’s Youtube stars contend balancing their day jobs with their side gigs? Will we see Cola Bros dancing together in the competitors area when Crosby inevitably qualifies? Will anyone be able to replicate Jake Patterson’s unbeleivably entertaining Snaketales?

I just watched hours of surf vlogs effectively turning my mind into a puddle of nothingness, so you probably shouldn’t look to me for the answers…

Click (or miss) below.

Click- To See Maya Gabeira’s Portugese Dreamscape
Channel Subs: 557k
Video Views: 15,960 (3,990 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 467/44 or 10.6 likes per 1 dislike

Graham Besinger brings the world a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of top athletes across many fields. Inquisitive without being obtuse, Graham does a great job of creating passively entertaining content that may just uncover some hidden truths about his subject’s careers. With past episodes including Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton, here Graham travels to Portugal to get a tour of Maya Gabeira’s beautiful home as well as discuss everything from her near death wipeout, her public discord with the WSL in trying to secure her World Record ride, as well as how her and Sebastian Steudner have managed to transition out of their romantic partnership while still maintaining a professional relationship as tow partners.

Miss- Another New Vlog
Channel Subs: 2.29k
Video Views: 
984 (89.4 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 

Yes, there is another new vlog out of the great state of Hawaii. Barron Mamiya has officially jumped on the Youtube bandwagon. Having been touted as a surefire candidate for inevitable World Tour qualification, he and his team are incredibly smart to begin the process of building up their channel while competitions are off, as it’s likely Barron will make a solid push on the Qualifying series in late-2021.

The first half of this video is actually great, with Barron providing an affable on-camera presence and walking us through an aspect of surfing of which he is an expert: tube-riding This is getting a Miss for the sole reason that there is no surf footage in the last 5 minutes. For a How-To video to be watchable, it needs to be contextualized with actual waves so viewers can engage in a visual representation of what the speaker is trying to teach. With that being said, if you’re headed South to gorge on this year’s white-hot South Swell season and are already thinking about your backside tube-riding, then maybe the above is for you…

Click- Brazilian Tour Notes?
Channel Subs: 26.1k
Video Views: 42,524 (20,853 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 938/11 or 85.27 likes per 1 dislike

I’d like to start with a digital tip of the cap to whoever started this channel. Brazil is the most dominant country in competitive surfing at the moment, a fact that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. While the industry and media focus is still largely situated on the primarily-English-speaking countries of US/Australia, this channel should serve as proof of why that needs to change. With impressive engagement levels and all of Brazil’s aquatic special-ops team on board, this allows for surfing’s Portugese speaking stars to shine in their own language, which is something we should all be encouraging as they continue to dominate at the highest level.

Click- Not A Vlog, But Worth Your Attention
Channel Subs: 94.6k
Video Views: 18,876 (3,146 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 578/2 or 289 likes per 1 dislike

While surely everyone is excited for Summer movies to be back this year, the surf world has what could very well be the most intriguing bio-pic our sport has ever seen in the works. While the title is underwhelming, the production value on the trailer alone has me sold (and surprised I haven’t heard more about this seeing it’s releasing so soon). Italo would be a character worth investigating sans world title, but seeing as he will be competing for them consistently for the next 5-10 years the investment in telling his story to further his already ballooning fandom is brilliant. Well done to Billabong.

Between this, Snapt4 and a couple projects of our own, lovers of surf media will be in for a treat over the next couple months, which leads me to the heaviest hitting question in this piece: popcorn or candy?

Click- How Can You Not Love This Kid?
Channel Subs: 747
Video Views: 48,081 (4,808 views/day)
Like/Dislike Ratio: 535/11 or 48.6 likes per 1 dislike

Owner of Stab’s most engaged IG post of 2021, this clip offers a(n albeit short) behind the scenes look at Cruz Dinofa’s “front flip” heard round the world. The kid landed his first Kerrupt the same day as he did this, which defies the ‘walk before you run’ standard implemented in most sports. Seeing as he has a literal decade to master this for the world stage, everyone should be on high alert whenever they see the name ‘Cruz’ from here on out. As Rob Kelly aptly stated: ‘Jersey’s got a weapon!’


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