Stab Magazine | Death Slabs On Three Hours Of Sleep

Live In 8 Days: Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy


Death Slabs On Three Hours Of Sleep

An Irish strike mission with Aritz Aranburu and Leonardo Fioravanti.

cinema // May 5, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The term “strike mission” is misleading.

It sounds too calculated.

Makes it sound like you actually have your shit together.

Nothing about “strike mission” says driving through the night on gas station coffee or putting yourself into a Bintang-induced coma on the ferry to Desert Point or erratically tossing everything into a boardbag and getting a speeding ticket on the way to the airport because the flight you just overpaid for is in two hours.

Or, in this case, stealing a board from your team manager, driving until 3 AM, and surfing waves that can kill you on nary a blink of sleep.

Leonardo Fioravanti and Aritz Aranburu recently did a “strike mission” to Ireland and it turned out to be well worth the scramble.

Leo — who you’d have to view as one of the world’s premiere tubesmiths after watching this — colored in the details for Stab.



QS 2018 Ireland WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 1

This ain’t Rome, honey. Ireland, flexing for the visitors.



How did this trip come about?

I’ve wanted to surf this wave for so long. I knew Aritz had already been there, so I’ve been harassing him to take me. He’s like a big brother to me. He’s got so much knowledge and he’s a full tube pig — when he goes somewhere, you know you’re going to score.  

So when he called me and said that this wave was about to be good, I was 100% in. We booked tickets the day before the swell, landed in Dublin at 11 PM, drove until 3 AM, woke up at 6:45 and went straight into it. The lack of sleep definitely got overpowered by the adrenaline when we saw how good it was.

How was it adjusting to that wave?

Well, this is where it gets funny. You have to walk all the way down this big cliff to get to the wave. So I did that, then I paddled out and realized that my back fin had fallen out. I had to paddle all the way back in, hike up the cliff, get new fins, hike down the cliff and paddle out again. I was so fired up because I missed nearly an hour doing that, so I ended up getting a few waves right off the bat once I got out there.

In the footage, it looks like the rest of the pack is sitting a lot further out. What was going on there?

The guys out the back were on bigger boards, because sometimes you can sit out there and get a roll in — but there weren’t many roll ins that day, because the swell was so long period.

That day, it was a full slab, and you had to make sure you were under it. That’s why we were sitting inside, which made things interesting. On one of my waves [2:12], I was only able to take two strokes to get in. I free-fell, caught, and the board just took the perfect line. It was easily one of the best waves of my life.


QS 2018 Ireland Leo WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 3

“On one of my waves [2:12], I was only able to take two strokes to get in. I free-fell, caught, and the board just took the perfect line. It was easily one of the best waves of my life.” Leo Fioravantl, hanging on with his toes.



What were you riding?

It was a 6’10” but it felt like a toothpick because there was so much water moving. That board wasn’t even supposed to be mine. It was shaped for Belly, but I pulled it from Euro Glass [surfboard factory] for this trip and it ended up working amazing. It has the colors of Capbreton, France, which are for Pierre Agnes.

What was the vibe like in Ireland?

It was incredible — the people there are so nice. The Irish charge and they created a club for all the big wave surfers there. You pay a little bit of money per year to become a member and whenever the waves are good, they use that money to make sure someone is running safety. It’s a good system, because that can be a problem at some waves.

How is this year going for you so far?  

I’d obviously rather be on tour, but I’m focused on enjoying this. I won a QS earlier in the year and I’m trying to chase a lot of swells. Last year, doing both the CT and the QS, I couldn’t do trips like this. I was losing a lot and wasn’t very happy.

At the end of last year, you said you were focused on two things: enjoying life and improving your surfing. Is that still where your head is at?

Absolutely. As far as surfing goes, I’ve been working with a new team. I have a new coach, Dog Marsh, to help me work on a different approach to surfing and I’ve been doing some different things as far as training goes. It feels really good so far. Other than that, this year, I just want to travel a lot and get as barreled as possible. The plan is to enjoy life and see how it goes.


QS 2018 Ireland Aritz WestsouthQS 2018 Ireland Team West 7

Hardly a stranger at any Atlantic nook and/or cranny, Aritz Aranburu, standing tall in a proper Imperial pint. “[Aritz]’s got so much knowledge and he’s a full tube pig — when he goes somewhere, you know you’re going to score.




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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Ferrari Boyz: Holly Wawn

"I've had 4, 5, maybe 6 cars... I'm a car dealer I reckon."

Jun 13, 2024

A Miscalculated Shallow Dive, Neck-First, Into The Waters Of Japanese Surfing

How is surfing different in the land of cherry blossoms?

Jun 13, 2024

How Has Ian Crane Made 4/5 Stab High Finals?

And who he's most afraid of competing against in Japan.

Jun 13, 2024

“I Haven’t Seen Anyone That Young And That Keen For Heavy Waves In A Decade” —Shane Dorian

Jacob Turner is 16 years old and trying to paddle tow sets at Teahupo'o...on his…

Jun 12, 2024

Long Read: 1,000 Ways To Die In Indonesia

18,000 islands of beautiful people, world-class waves, and danger around every corner.

Jun 11, 2024

Watch: Craig Anderson And Kaito Ohashi Find (Mostly) Empty Waves In Southeast Asia

Oh, and enter to win a grand worth of DB gear.

Jun 11, 2024

Brad Gerlach Rode A 600cc Motorbike Through Europe’s 1980’s Psychedelic Renaissance  

"Fuck London. Let’s just buy motorcycles tomorrow and drive to France, man."

Jun 11, 2024

Caroline Marks Goes Two-In-A-Row And John John Florence Wins First CT Event Since 2020 At The Surf City El Salvador Pro

Plus, we asked Chris Cote for a look into the commentary team's psyche and Griff…

Jun 9, 2024

Why Is Mavericks Core Getting Overrun By Yuppies?

And other questions from our audience — answered by Pete Mel, Mick Fanning, and Joel…

Jun 9, 2024

Everything Worth Remembering From 4 (Mostly) Forgettable Quarterfinals In El Salvador

Plus, what's the consensus on the Griff vs. João kerfluffle?

Jun 8, 2024

Wildcard Big-dogs Italo, Yago Pops The Cork, And Griffin Cops An Ambiguous Interference On Day 2 In El Salvador

"Honestly, that was a bad... uhh I mean, a tough call." - Strider

Jun 8, 2024

Let’s Talk About This Griffin Interference…

"Don't hate the player, hate the game." - Joao Chianca.

Jun 8, 2024

Chippa Wilson Picks The Air Section We’ll Be Using For Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

PerfectSwell Shizunami has 4 ramps to choose from — which one excites our 2019 champ?

Jun 8, 2024

JJF And Yago Soar, Brisa And Molly Sear, And Olympic Surfers Get Drug Tested On Day 1 Of Surf City El Salvador Pro

"These rocks are like basketballs covered in slime."

Jun 7, 2024

Cheat Codes: Optimizing Surfing’s Pain-To-Joy Ratio With Mason Ho

How to keep your skull intact, your forecast accurate, and your morale unbothered — no…

Jun 6, 2024

El Sal Fits: Wear it

A Surf City Punta Roca Pro preview. 

Jun 5, 2024

Everything You Need To Know About Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

Who, when, where, and how to watch.

Jun 5, 2024

Are We About To Finally See A Properly Pumping Punta Roca Event?

San Diego’s working class foamball authority offers his predictions. 

Jun 5, 2024