Stab Magazine | Meet Stab High's Commentating and Judging Teams
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Meet Stab High’s Commentating and Judging Teams

There are a few names and faces you might recognize…

style // Sep 21, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Good chemistry makes for magic on the mic, and picking the correct winner is crucial to Stab High‘s success.

As it turned out, finding the perfect judge and commentator recipe for Waco wasn’t easy. We bantered back and forth about it. We humbly listened to you, the loyal reader. We checked out who was available…or even interested.

We think we got the balance just right with the power trio of Dooma, Shane-O and Bobby in the booth, plus Ratboy, Sage Kotsenburg and Elliot Sloane on the keys. Here’s what you need to know about them:

Commentators:

Shane Dorian

Team page 2ndshots Shane2

Before he was a gnarly, bowhunting slayer of the world’s biggest waves—and father to son Jackson, who has the reflexes of a spider monkey—Shane Dorian was a New School beefcake. Straight up. Sleepy eyes, pouty lips, slicked back hair, abs, making trunks and board spray, the ladies loved Shane-O. But he was also far and away one of the most stylish surfers. Nobody did tail blows like he did.  Today, he’s nestled in the Big Island hills with his family, only coming down from the upper altitude when the swell calls. For 23 straight years now, he’s hosted his Keiki Classic contest at Banyan’s. In 2003, he walked away from the world tour to chase big waves. It was a gamble that paid off massive as he quickly established himself at the top of the open-water food chain. He’s largely responsible for ushering in the resurgence of paddle-in surfing. He also has had his fair time on the mic. With experience commentating Billabong events, like everything he does, he brings a thoughtful, well-respected perspective to the air.

Bobby Martinez

Unknown

Fuck yeah, Bobby Martinez is on the mother fucking mic. This ain’t no god damn tennis tour. We’re so fired up to have Bobby joining us. His show-up and blow-up at the 2011 Quiksilver Pro in New York is the stuff of legend. But nobody deserves to be typecast. Bobby’s always been his own man, surfing to the beat of his own drum. Cutting his teeth on his backhand at Rincon as a young Santa Barbara grom, with his Cheshire Cat-like grin and full-speed-ahead style, he did his time on the Championship Tour, won a few comps, then threw his hands up in the air and walked away from it all. He surfs for the right reason these days: enjoyment. Raising his family in Santa Barbara, he’s prouder to be a dad than his is a two-time Teahupoo champion. Bobby’s going to tell it like it is at Waco, and that’s why we can’t wait to hear what he has to say.

Damien Fahrenfort

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The Wikipedia entry for Damien Fahrenfort lists him as “a South African business person.” That pretty much sums him up, but thankfully, we know Dooma better than that. He’s been an integral cog in the Stab wheel for years. Few can hustle, schmooze and still get up and win the dawn patrol like Dooma. And we love him for it. When he’s not combing the sand he’s the purveyor of fine fashion wear at his Venice retail space General Admission. Quick witted with a pen, he’s the author of Dooma Rumors. He was a former pro surfer who rode for Billabong back in the day and cut his teeth in the surf biz marketing for Quik. He also got his first taste of commentating at some of the Quik CT comps. There’s no doubt he’ll show up to Waco well prepared and spitting his A-game.

Judges: 

Jason ‘Ratboy’ Collins

Jason.Ratboy.Collins.May.2013 2

Despite absconding the professional surfing scene to pursue charter fishing and secluded sessions in the north, Ratboy will always hold a place in the annals of surf history as a two-time World Champion… of aerials, that is.

Back in the late nineties and early two-thousands, surfing “air shows” were all the rage, and Santa Cruz’s Jason ‘Ratboy’ Collins eclipsed the pack in 1999 and 2000. Ratboy initially made a name for himself after landing (what many have called) the first “full-rotation” air reverse, back in an expression session at the Cold Water Classic in 1994. At just 20 years of age, Jason went left at Steamer Lane’s predominantly right reef, pegged the oncoming wedge and rotated down to the flats, somehow absorbing the impact and riding away cleanly.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YQpYuugCWW8

Even to this day, Ratboy’s mindset hasn’t changed one bit. “When taking off on a wave, my first thought is still ‘where can I find a ramp?’ So yeah, I’m still doing airs all the time. Whether or not I land them is another story…”

Now 44, Ratboy brings invaluable surfing knowledge and experience to our judging squad, which comprises champion athletes of several different disciplines.

Sage Kotsenburg

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Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Sage Kotsenburg is a Gold Medal Olympian in the sport of snowboarding.

Yes, a Gold. Medal. Olympian. How fucking cool is that?

Back in 2014, Sage won Men’s Slopestyle in the Sochi Games by landing a trick that had never been done before in competition. “Not only that,” Sage told Stab, “but I had never even attempted the 1620 Japan grab before that run… like not once, ever.”

See the fateful run, here.

It’s this type of commitment and progression that we hope to see in Stab High. In order to win, surfers will need to push their own boundaries, and due to their position atop the surfing tote pole, the boundaries of the sport itself. 

Like Matt Meola, here: 

Despite Sage’s pedigree, some of you might be wondering why a snowboarder will be judging our surf event.

Well, because the sport is changing.

With the advent of quality and functional wavepool technology, and especially with ones that create repeatable air sections like Waco, the sport of surfing is bound to progress exponentially more rapidly than it has in decades past. Like with snowboarding and skating, our sport now has a ramp that surfers can hit again and again and again until they master a certain trick, and then move onto the next one, rather than getting 10 or so possible sections a year to try a specific maneuver.

Due to the nature of his sport and abilities, Sage is able to guide surfers with an experienced and critical eye about what makes a good flip, grab, or rotation, therefore making him a prime candidate to judge this event.

Sage also loves to surf himself and is privy to all the cool new moves, which should make this announcement easier to swallow.  

Elliot Sloan

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Like Sage, Elliot Sloan is not a surfer by trade (he’s a vert skater). Also like Sage, he’s a master of his discipline.

A three-time X-Games champion from Brooklyn, New York, Elliot Sloan took up surfing when he moved to California 12 years ago. While still an admitted novice in the surf, Elliot brings a wealth of aerial knowledge to Stab High. Seeing how he practices and competes on skating’s mega-ramp, chances are Elliot’s spent more time flying than all of our competitor field combined.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WjxouIGyZso

“I’m gonna be looking for amplitude, style, and technique,” Elliot told Stab about his judging criteria. “I’m a huge fan of things that are difficult to do, but the rider makes them look easy.”

Elliot prefers his own rotations off-axis, and he expect nothing less from the surfers in Stab High.

The Peanut Gallery

Dooma, Shane and Bobby will anchor the entertainment, but the goal is to get a revolving door of personalities on the mic, all free to speak their minds and share their well-defined opinions. Christian and Nathan Fletcher should have something to say. As will Bruce Irons, if we can find him. Aaron Cormican, Austin Gillette, Shea Lopez and Matt Biolos are all planning on stopping by the commentating booth. 

Shea, Cormican, and Austyn will also sub-in for our judges when necessary. Six hours is a long time to be sitting in the chair. 

And that’s that. See you in Waco!

 Buy tickets to Stab High here. 

Purchase the Pay Per View here.

 

 

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