Sunshine In The Rearview: Stab's Guide To 2019's Best Cinema
Steph Gilmore gets dosed, Ladybirds Fly, Harry Bryant's marathon river ripper, and more.
It's safe to say 2019 was Stab's most prolific year to date.
Early in the year, we kicked off with Mikey Wright's Dust and Mick Fanning's all-epoxy Stab in the Dark, continued chugging along with Steph Gilmore's East African Acid Test, then had Stab High in Waco, a Craig Anderson-led Innocents trip to Indo, and didn't stop until the last episode of our 11-part longform travel series, No Contest, was in the books.
Staring down the barrel at 2020, here are some of Stab's brightest moments: 2019's longform edition of Sunshine in the Rearview.
Mikey Wright, "Dust." (Click in above.)
While we didn't get near the helping of Mikey Wright's unapologetically Australian gnar this year, our first big offering of the year starred the back-flapped speed freak in his natural element: hitting heaving sections head-on, and crawling the sticks in his trusty 4wd.
Mick Fanning's Blacked-Out Japanese Stab In The Dark
With a typhoon blowing up in the Pacific, we wrangled ten blacked-out proprietary tech epoxies and met Mick Fanning in Japan. The resulting film might very well define the current conflict between traditional PU foam and fiberglass, and the ever-evolving pursuit of the perfect "sustainable" epoxy surfboard.
"The Electric Acid Surfboard Test, Starring Stephanie Gilmore."
It was always going to be difficult to follow up Dane Reynolds' opening annual Electric Acid Surfboard Test salvo. Quite literally, no one had seen such aggressive surfing done on modern alternative equipment. But with a week in East Africa (and a few days at home in Oz), Her Majesty, Miss Stephanie Gilmore, put her elegant, polished stamp on the project, not the least of which a score from her friend and Grammy Award-winning composer Alberto Boff.
Go Easy On The Zambezi
Every year after flood season, the Zambezi River recedes and for a very brief window, a single rapid, nicknamed Creamy White Buttocks, takes the shape of a surfable, occasionally tubing, standing wave. However, a recent damming project is putting Creamy White Buttocks in jeopardy, so in what might be its last year ever breaking, we sent Dylan Graves, Mikey February, and Harry Bryant to surf the world's longest wave.
Mason Ho's Wedge Affair
We sent the most entertaining and widely wedge-curious character on the planet to the ultimate playpen, and if you didn't find Mason and Blair Conklin's kid in a candy store enthusiasm for their private R&D sessions, we're sorry but you're fuckin' dead inside.
Craig Anderson and the Stab Innocents
Grom boat trips to Indo are perhaps the most cliche cliche in all of surfing cliches. So, we decided to take our Innocents Project down a slightly different path, tapping the ever-mysto, rarely talkative (at least on camera) Craig Anderson to hand down some cultural capital to six of the best under-17-year-old surf prodigies.
(And feel free to see if you're smarter than a child, below)
The Stab Interview: Ryan Burch
If there's one thing Stab has become excellent at, it's finding a workaround in the face of unpreventable conceptual failure. With cameras on him for an unrelated (and somewhat underwhelming) project involving Ryan Burch trying to ride as many different varieties of equipment on one wave as possible, we sat the North County iconoclast down for a candid interview, and with Sam McIntosh interrogating the forward-thinking board designer and surfer, the conversation simply caught fire.
This is the first in what will be a new video series, doubling down on our beloved Stab Interviews.
South Australian Mutants For GoPro Kings Of Pov
When GoPro tapped us to help them make something exceptional featuring their squadron of grizzled, not-camera-shy veteran tube hounds, their creative team could probably hear our mouths salivating as we spoke.
Anthony Walsh, Mikala Jones, Shane Dorian, and Ry Craike on a desert pit bender. Marvelously simple.
No Contest: Or, The Rise Of Our Absentee Father Of An Editor In Chief's Bourdain-Esque Travel Show.
When Red Bull tapped Stab's famously-hatted editor Ashton Goggans for hosting and directing duties on our ongoing WSL behind-the-scenes series, No Contest, Boggans wasn't the only person left scratching his beanie as to, well, why?
Twelve episodes in and the series is a World Tour staple, both for fans and tour surfers alike, who have come to expect Ashton, along with filmers and editors Jacob Wooden and Dyl Roberts (among others) to come at them with a peppering of questions (or requests to go jump off bridges, or to learn to make some complicated local dish).
Stab's First Look At The Melbourne Pool
With waves finally getting pushed out of the long-awaited Melbourne's URBNSurf, we tapped Dylan Roberts, Dan Scott and a talented mixed bag of surfers to go see if the Wave Garden tech actually delivers on the promise of the world's best commercially-viable wave tech.
It's also no secret that the visit involved eyeing the pool's long-promised air wedge for a possible 2020 Stab High event, which well you'll just have to wait and see.
All Hail The Ladybirds!
While Nathan Fletcher and a visibly teary-eyed Harry Bryant watched, the Stab High Ladybirds put the entire surf world on notice. Surfing's next generation of flygirls are just a few middle school semesters from being the most progressive generation female surfing's ever seen.
O'Neill O'Riginals: Demon Slaying With Flea, And Indo Dreaming With Travis Potter
While Sam McIntosh has thoroughly beaten the rose-tinted nostalgia from the Stab staff, when O'Neill asked us to help on profiles of two of California's most legendary '90s undergrounders, we were psyched.
Flea and Potter, click in above for two major core chapters.
Demolition And Despair: The Dock 2.0
You can only surprise people by whipping out your snake for the first time once. The Dock 2.0 was always going to be an impossibly difficult task, the sheer confusion around the first iteration leaving little to the imagination unless we pulled together a really A-List crew and hopefully got the fucking thing in some real waves.
You can judge for yourself whether it was successful. But the whole thing's worth watching if only for Chippa's combos and Eithan's bunny hop to scorpion KO.
Where In The Fuck Is That Yellow Kitchen?
Suffice to say we had very little sense of just what exactly we were getting ourselves into going into our first episode of The Pick-Up, our twice-weekly variety show filmed for its first season on the North Shore during the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
But damned if we didn't have fun figuring it all out. Our French ringer, Tiph Cazalis, smashed her first North Shore winter, and made an impression on the entire surf world, while the show allowed our filmers and editors to flex twice a week to bring viewers the most ripe fruit from the North Shore harvest.