Stab Magazine | Helmets Don’t Actually Make You Safer

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Helmets Don’t Actually Make You Safer

You can’t spell sports journalism without sports. 

style // Sep 5, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Folks, the 2019 WSL Saltwater Pro Teahupo’o was a wild ride.

The event featured a lot of helmets, probably the most that global surf fans had collectively seen since Rip Curl’s Tip To Tip campaign. 

I’ve long maintained a belief that wearing a helmet in the water doesn’t actually make you safer, it makes those around you safer. This is just one of many inexplicable yet dependable rules that govern our sport — like never being able to break a board that you kind of want to break or Bruce Irons doing something stupid. 

At Teahupo’o, this theory was confirmed as Owen Wright took out the comp after his helmet forced Gabriel Medina to surf a safer heat in the final. I will be submitting my full thesis to the SIMA Awards in hopes to win the Waterman Of The Year Award in 2020 and then accuse Dirk Ziff of being a German that doesn’t know how to swim like Christian Fletcher did to that one guy at the XXL Awards in 2010. 

Fingers crossed. Onto the rankings. 


#69 Sponsored Content 

You hate to see the WSL lose their partnership with Samsung, whose phones blow up on airplanes, and replace it with Motorola, whose phones blow up with requests for recreational amounts of cocaine on Friday nights. #Ad 

#33 Peterson Crisanto, Jesse Mendes and Deivid Silva 

It’s fucked up to think about what’s happening in the Amazon and realize these guys are still competing in the Prime event in Galicia right now.


#27 Lemoore 

The WSL has been trying to capture the elusive mainstream American audience for some time now and it looks like they finally might do it by hosting an event in the Ranch. Credit to them. 

#23 Ricardo Christie 

The perfect season of 17ths continues for him. If you were Ricardo Christie, don’t you think it’d be kind of cool to consistently assert yourself as the 17th best surfer on the entire planet? 

#18 Damien Hobgood 

Congrats to him but also hey WSL here are more matchups the REAL fans want to see.

-Mick Lowe VS Mick Campbell at Snapper (judged by Mick Fanning)

-Taylor Knox VS Pancho Sullivan at Haleiwa 

-Taj Burrow VS Parko at Lowers (no Firewires allowed) 

-Chris Ward VS The State Of California in a court of a law 

-Guilherme Herdy VS Neco Padaratz at Virginia Beach 

-Adam Melling VS Stuart Kennedy at J-Bay (Winner gets to be back-up Mick at Rip Curl) 

-Chris Davidson VS Russel Winter in a pub 

-Bobby Martinez VS Sophie Goldschmidt in Santa Monica 

#15 Adriano de Souza 

It’s OK to love Adriano as a person exactly as much as you hate it when he beats someone you’d rather watch surf (Italo) in a heat. The sooner you learn to understand and accept this, the better off you are. Namaste. 

#14 Filipe Toledo 

Some people say that he wasn’t taking off deep enough, but maybe he was just trying to shoulder the weight of his newfound yellow jersey. Also, I’m not racist because I once broke my family’s computer trying to illegally download the song from Raioni Monteiro’s part in a Rip Curl DVD that came in a magazine.

#13 Ace Buchan

Speaking of which, I think Ace definitely came in magazines too. What else were you supposed to do in Avoca Beach in ‘99? 


#12 Italo Ferreira 

Great to see him take a vested interest in Teahupo’o this year, seems like he really made an impact in the sessions before the comp, incredible that he’s so well rounded and doesn’t just rely on floating above the lip, etc.

#11 Michel Bourez 

If you know anything about history, it shouldn’t surprise you that a Spartan would never conquer Tahiti. Better off to wait until the WSL builds a wave pool empire around the Mediterranean and have a good run before it all inevitably comes crashing down. 

#7 Jordy Smith 

His performance at Teahup’o this year exonerates every backside superman he’s ever done. As one of the tallest surfers in the event, you have to take into account that he made the waves look smaller in a nod to the time-honored Jordy Smith tradition of fucking himself over. 

#6 John John Florence 

With the Olympics less than a year away, he’s playing the ultimate mind game on the ultimate mind game king, Kelly Slater. John is essentially doing a grandiose version of paddling in well before your heat is over. A move so bold it might just work — similar to Conner Coffin’s long-play of confusing his fellow competitors about whether his music career is serious or not. 

#5 Owen Wright 

According to sources, the family man chose poetry as his form of retribution against Gabriel in the final. Not surprising, as his fiancé is a musician. When you consider their partners, you could also observe the effects of this type of influence on Kelly Slater trying to sell swimwear or Jesse Mendes’ surfing in general. 

I think it’ll work. Get your paddleboards out everyone, because this guy is headed to Tokyo.

#3 Gabriel Medina 

People forget that he’s only ever won events that Mark Occhilupo didn’t compete in. It’s pretty unsportsmanlike of him to win the World Title during a year in which John John is hurt instead of giving someone else a turn. 

#2 Kelly Slater 

When you say that he’s old enough to be someone’s father, what you’re really saying is that he could have had sex with their mom. His first World Title came in 1992 when he was at the age of 20, which is prime sex-having years so the math checks out. The reality is that he could have potentially sired half the tour. The biggest question facing surf journalism today is: Did he?


This edition of Tour Notes hinted that he’s JJF’s father but I don’t think it stops there. Ever realized that Charlie is actually just Gabriel’s stepfather and he’s already gone bald (in armpits). Connect the dots. 

#1 Jadson Andre 

Something about him loving Teahupo’o so much makes me love surfing more. It’s that simple. 


Conspiracy Theory Of The Event 

The world actually ended in 2012 and we’ve been living in a simulation run by Graham Stapelberg ever since. This explains everything when you think about it. 


Kelly Slater Playbook 

Or Portugal. Same language. 


Mediation Of The Event 

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” -The 14th Dalai Lama  

Word Of The Story3

Word Of The Event

Grandiose: A way of saying large or impressive when you want to insinuate that you have been to France. 


Bonus column: If I wrote for The Inertia…. 

I would write an article about the science of sleep and how it could affect surf performance after sleepless nights before the arrival of a big swell because I once listened to a Joe Rogan podcast but would tell everybody I learned about it all on NPR. 


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