Is It Harder To Land Airs While Coated In Rubber? - Stab Mag
O'Neill made Technobutter for stuff like this. Eli Beukes might just splits the seams anyway.

Is It Harder To Land Airs While Coated In Rubber?

Judging by Stab High star Eli Beukes’ winter highlights — the answer is no.

cinema // Jan 16, 2023
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“He’s one of the nicer guys, I gotta say,” Nathan Fletcher commented of Eli Beukes shortly before the South African’s Round 1 decimation at Vans Stab High Indonesia. “His demeanor, his behavior, he’s so respectful and polite.”

Pleasant as he may be on land, Eli was prepared to sacrifice board and body in the opening-round matchup with Bronson Meydi, Mateus Herdy and Dakota Walters at Lakey Peak last year. His heat-clinching straight air that soared over their heads was smoother than a migrating albatross — but it didn’t come without a few hectic slams.

Eli learned his manners and go-for-broke airs at the lurching reefs and beaches around Cape Town. His surfing and humility caught the attention of Brendon Gibbens — another mild-mannered section-killer — who happens to live in the same Cape Town suburb. 

After a long stint in California last year, Brendon felt inspired to tinker behind the lens for a change when he returned home. He ended up tagging along with Eli and his father for most of the past winter, fascinated by their relationship and Eli’s energized surfing. 

“I literally and figuratively became a backseat observer,” Brendon said. “It was cool to witness the endearing relationship between them and I wanted to capture that energy. Making an individual surf film is common and accepted in the surf world but I’ve always felt a bit weird about it. It’s kind of the pinnacle of vanity, so it was a refreshing challenge to make a film that didn’t focus on myself.”

What emerged is Pikes Bandit, an ode to neoprene-clad turns and water-logged booties.

Eli packs a lot into this short clip, displacing buckets of Atlantic Ocean and dodging kelpy spikestrips, all while bundled up in a thick layer of rubber. He nails a beefy club sandwich and stomps full rotations at J Bay, reminding us that heavy neoprene is no barrier to progression. And Brendon, a former Stab High Indonesia (2020 version) competitor, includes his own bangers, too. Their airborne ability in neoprene begs the question: Is it time for Stab High to go to a cold-water destination?

If so, these two would probably fare just fine.


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