Stab Magazine | 10 Stab Interviews We Urge You To Revisit

10 Stab Interviews We Urge You To Revisit

This year we heard from John Florence, Noa Deane, Chippa Wilson, and more, plus an archival interview with Mr. Sunny Garcia. 

style // Dec 27, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a surf media source, our job is to link the world’s preeminent waveriders with their fans (you).

We get these characters in front of a camera—or, in some cases, on the phone—and watch as they spew brilliance both onto waves and into our microphones, then tidy it up and present it for viewing. Sprinkle some ads around the collar and we can keep our lights on. Everybody wins.  

But this year, we thought we could extract greater insights from surfing’s brightest stars with a new property, the Stab Interview.

Stab Interviews are expansive dialogues with elite surfers, covering their past, present, and future from unique angles of inquiry. Below, we’ll rehash 10 of these conversations (our favorites from the past year or so) for your reading pleasure. The subjects include: Noa Deane, Taj Burrow, Chippa Wilson, John Florence, Sunny Garcia, Ryan Burch, Matt Meola, Balaram Stack, Joel Parkinson, and Grant Twiggy Baker.

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Excerpt—Noa Deane on competing:

I never really made that many heats [when I was younger], I had little moments, like winning state titles, but when I was that age it was pretty much Matt Banting just fucking smoking everyone for five years straight. After you get knocked every heat for five years, you just get over it [laughs].”

Click here for the full interview. 

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Excerpt—Taj Burrow on competitive “friendships”:

“Mick definitely had my number when I was on tour, like no one on this planet. I’ve got way, way, better stats with Andy, Joel, Kelly—but Mick? I can’t get near that prick.

“He’s so fucking deadly.

“I’ve been spending heaps of time with him lately. Especially once I retired, and even just prior to my retirement, I definitely let my guard down competitively. And as soon as I did that, I just found myself becoming such better friends with all my rivals.

“With all those guys, we’re all mates but it was intense. You’re out there trying to fucking kill each other in the water. Then you’re mates on land.

“Mick and Joel and I were always mates, but I was never really as close to those guys as I am now.” 

Click here for the complete Taj interview. 


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Excerpt—Chippa Wilson on tattoos:

“On my body right now? Shit… I’ve got a couple pretty fun ones right now that I love, but are just terrible. On my left arm, on my forearm, there’s a lot of drunk tattoos. My worst one is probably, it’s on my thigh, it’s got a wooden ship on there and it says ‘Surf or Die.’ That was one of the earlier ones. My mate did it and it was such a home job. So that’s the worst one, aesthetically.”

Click here for the complete Chippa Interview. 

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Excerpt—Sunny Garcia on the WSL:

“I haven’t been the easiest person for them to get along with. Somebody’s got to keep them in line, and throughout my career, I’ve never been one to shy away from telling the association what I feel is the right thing for them to do, or keep them in line. I couldn’t give a fuck about getting fined. The money for me was never the reason why I surfed.

“I enjoy winning, I enjoy competing in things that are fair—or how I feel it’s fair. 

“When you have an association run by the industry, it won’t ever be fair for the surfers.”

Click here for the complete Sunny interview. 

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Excerpt—John Florence on his surprise engagement: 

“I woke up one day and I was like, okay today’s the day, but I didn’t have a ring. I went to tell my mom, who started crying. She didn’t have her ring but did have one she found on this beach. It was a perfect diamond ring. I was like, okay, well this is perfect, this will work for now. Like a placeholder. Lauryn was dressed up and on her way to town. Like I said, I just knew it was time, and I asked her to go to the beach with me… it took some convincing, but she ditched her town plans and joined me at the beach. She asked if we should go in the water. I was like, no I’m just trying to stay warm on the beach. I was dripping sweat, getting sunburnt [laughs] and after 20-plus minutes she’d ask, let’s go in the water now? I’m like no, I’m not hot yet – sweating. Then I finally just did it—asked her to marry me.”

Read the complete John interview here. 

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Excrept—Matt Meola on the WSL Airborne series: 

“The whole thing—it’s an airshow, right? People want to see everyone going for the biggest moves possible and pushing the envelope. But when you have to make it through a round… no one’s gonna really do that. So many people are going to play it safe just to get into the final.

“The way the format should be is everybody surfs the same exact amount of time, you know, two or three times, and the best air at the end of the day wins. It should be like that because, if it was based on just one huge air, everybody’s gonna be pushing the envelope and going for their biggest shit ever.

“They had said, ‘Yeah, but then there’s no drama.’ But I think I proved that wrong because just me eating shit caused a lot more excitement and drama than someone not making a heat.”

Read the complete Meola interview here.

Excerpt—Ryan Burch on denying Kelly Slater’s longboard request:

“Kelly called me up and asked me to make him a longboard once, and I wasn’t into that, because I could kind of imagine what Kelly might ride a longboard like… but if he had asked me to make him an asymmetrical, I would have dropped everything I was doing and made him a board.”

Watch the complete Ryan interview above. 


Excerpt—Grant Baker on balancing big waves and family: 

“I have full support from the wife, Kate. She’s on my side, and she trusts me. She trusts my judgment and she trusts my ability in big waves. She’s never negative and she doesn’t show that she’s worried, even though I know that she is. That goes a long way.

“For me, having a child now, I have to make sure she’s got everything she needs. My wife likes to joke, “You have to catch bigger waves now because you’ve got two mouths to feed.” [laughs]

“So I look at it like this: I’ve gotta catch a few big waves each year to put food on the table and give us an amazing lifestyle. Who wouldn’t choose that?”

Read the complete Twiggy interview here. 

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Excerpt—Joel Parkinson on Lemoore: 

“That place is brutal. The town is so hectic and the casino is sad. I was there for seven days during the contest, and it gets pretty depressing. Previously, I’ve been there for one or two days, and that’s fine. The wave is fun, but once you walk out of the Ranch, it’s completely different.”

Read the complete Joel interview here.

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Excerpt—Balaram Stack on growing up in New York:

“Honestly, I just remember the first crew of guys that could do airs. Because back then, if you could do airs, you ripped. You knew how to surf. Everyone in New York could get barreled, but if you could do airs you fucking surfed good.”

Read the complete Balaram interview here.


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