Stab In The Dark Does Surf Expo!
Hunger's the best sauce!
After a big night on the International Drive strip, Friday's crowd shuffled in a little late for the 9AM roll call at Surf Expo.
With Salty Crew's rager at Lafayette's—what was once Lou Lou's Shrimp Shack—bleeding into a night cap or three at Circle Bar (these affairs require proper social lubrication, we're sure you'd agree) on Thursday night, by the time Stab sauntered in we were greeted by a very busy 11AM Convention Center floor, indeed.
The Bro-Bra backslapping and small talk aside, Surf Expo's vibe was palpably more positive than recent years. Most of the brands and people we wanted to see, that weren't within a stone's throw of our Stab In The Dark booth, had their spaces in The Neighborhood, "a collection of like-minded brands rooted in surf, travel and adventure located within the surf section" mercifully wrapped around a proper coffee bar, with espresso drinks and cold brew on tap from Commune and Co..
Hayden Cox and Jon Pyzel rapping out before their annual Judgement Day.
With our premiere of Stab In The Dark looming on the Happy Hour horizon, you'd be right to think that Pyzel, Mayhem, Hayden, and Britt Merrick probably needed pre-game beverages. Nerves all around. Which is understandable—the public judgment some of these cats have endured, via some of Jordy, Julian, and Dane's less nuanced assessments, is heavy.
"Honestly, this one didn't stress me out as much as the others," Jon Pyzel told us. The Pyz has only entered Stab in the Dark two out of the last three seasons. He's won both times he's entered.
"This was a one-off board, you know? I designed it and cut out a few and shaped them, and then I had to get to Australia, so I never got to see the finished board," Pyzel said, fondling his thoroughly tested entry. "When I landed in Australia, and told one of my guys the surfer's weight and his dimensions, he was like, 'I told you! The year Mick retires he's in this thing!' And that sort of calmed me down. Because Mick's a gentleman, and all the boards being constructed totally different, it's not the same critical comparison. He'll find something positive in all the constructions."
The crowd at the Florida Surf Film Festival's movie lounge, for the sneaky premiere of Stab In The Dark.
Play "Where's Warshaw!?"
The Stab Happy Hour!
With most accounts and brands wrapping meetings just in time for the first keg's tapping, the movie lounge filled up quick for the sneak peak at SITD, the shapers milling about nervously as Kevin Miller and John Brooks did us the solid of turning it up so loud you couldn't ignore Mick's nuanced, thoughtful dialogue, nor his lordish attempts to make sense of the project's 11 murdered- and teched-out whips, all comprised of some variation of Eco Board Technology, which Brett Giddings from Sustainable Surf was on hand to explain.
While we won't give away anything here, the film went over thoroughly well, as evidenced by the disappointed groans at the sneak peak's cliffhanger ending (for the premiere, the film cut just short of Mick's final selection). We've got plans in the works to premiere the film in Australia with Mick soon, and online shortly thereafter. (Don't you just love the ambiguity?)
With that, we tipped back a few more beers after the second keg got tapped, and rapped out with Shane Beschen and a handful of visiting heads as well as some of the East Coast's finest—Eric and Evan Geiselman, Tupat Himself, Cory Lopez, and Puerto Rican stud, Ale Moreda (who many a brand would be very smart to pick up right now at a bargain)—as the party spilled into the lobby where a cover band whose name we never caught or forgot immediately stirred a crowd into what can only be described as a truly Floridian scene, though nothing compared to some of the Expo evenings with ASG or Gunner Down from years past.
With that we're headed back to California, with the film tucked neatly on Sam Moody's hard drive and awaiting one final polish before you all get to enjoy. Thanks to all the folks at Surf Expo for the hospitality, and to Kevin Miller and John Brooks from the Florida Surf Film Fest for their support for Stab In The Dark.
Meet the Florida Pro Wild(est)card: Lark!
A raw nerved Matt Biolos.
Stab editor with a thoroughly relieved Hayden Cox after the cliffhanger.
Asher "The Casher" Nolan and some San Diego shaper from the East Coast... We kid, we kid: Ladies and gentleman, theshaper responsible for our very own Brendan Buckley's most notable performances: AJW's Adam Warden.
Stab In The Dark stars, Hayden Cox and Britt Merrick.