Stab Magazine | Don't Miss The New Yorker Radio Hour With Bill Finnegan Talking Surf Ranch
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Don’t Miss The New Yorker Radio Hour With Bill Finnegan Talking Surf Ranch

“The drugs have run out, you already hate yourself—how do we get more?”

style // Dec 12, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

How fortunate are surfers to have someone as sharp as Bill Finnegan speaking to The Elites on our behalf? 

While guzzling watered down Cuervo palomas earlier this year at The Surf Ranch Pro, Stab caught Bill bouncing around Kelly’s Pool with a New Yorker Radio Hour producer in tow. This week, Conde Naste’s crown jewel features Finnegan’s long read on the experience, and the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, sat down with Bill for a Radio Hour special and short film (featuring some of Stab‘s finest visuals) that’s not to be missed.

Allow the brains at 1 World Trade Center to explain: “For his magazine piece and a corresponding story for The New Yorker Radio Hour, Finnegan went to visit the Kelly Slater Wave Company’s Surf Ranch—a facility in California’s Central Valley, far from the coast—to observe a competition and test the wave for himself. Up until now, surfing was defined by its lack of predictability: chasing waves around the world and dealing with disappointment when they do not appear has been integral to the life of a surfer. But with a mechanically produced, infinitely repeatable, world-class wave, surfing can become like any other sport. The professional World Surf League, which has bought a controlling interest in Slater’s company, sees a bright future.

But Finnegan wonders what it means to take surfing out of nature. Will kids master riding artificial waves without even learning to swim in the ocean? Finnegan spoke with Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore (the Australian seven-time world champion), and Matt Warshaw (the closest thing surfing has to an official historian). Warshaw, like Finnegan, is skeptical about the advent of mechanical waves. Yet he admits that, when he had the chance to ride one, he didn’t ever want to stop. “It reminded me of 1986,” Warshaw recalls. “The drugs have run out, you already hate yourself—how do we get more?”

Hit play below, and head to The New Yorker to read the full feature. 

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