Stab Magazine | Stab Surfer Of The Year: Balaram Stack, Nathan Florence, Russell Bierke, Noa Deane, Michael “Mikey” Ciaramella

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Stab Surfer Of The Year: Balaram Stack, Nathan Florence, Russell Bierke, Noa Deane, Michael “Mikey” Ciaramella

SSOTY Day 5. 

style // Dec 29, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 11 minutes

We’re officially halfway through Stab Surfer of the Year and it’s looking like it’ll take a miracle for any male surfer to surpass Italo. Which makes sense, he’s the World Champ and has been stunning collective surf minds since the Quik Pro.

Following day four, Riss Moore maintains her dominance over the leaderboard, although Steph can tighten the gap with a few first-place votes; she is the queen after all. Crane-O’s Beach Head and Noz Deane’s Ru.Bu 994 got a few votes to put them into the film running. The question remains, will hi-fi shredding trump Russ Bierke’s slab antics in Flow State? Plus, in the Junior category, Aussie stylist, Jai Glindeman adds his name to the list.

Stab Surfer of the Year Day Four results:
Male (Top 10)
1. Italo Ferreira (50 points)
2. Gabriel Medina (26 points)
3. Noa Deane (15 points)
=4. John John Florence (14 points)
=4 Kolohe Andino (14 points) 
=5. Griffin Colapinto (13 points)
=5. Russell Bierke (13 points)
=5. Jack Robinson (13 points)
6. Chippa Wilson (12 points)
7. Mason Ho (10 points) 

Women (Top 6)
1. Carissa Moore (37 points)
2. Stephanie Gilmore (27 points)
3. Caroline Marks (20 points)
=4. Laura Enever (6 points)
=4. Lakey Peterson (6 points) 

Best Junior (top 3)
=1. Eli Hanneman (4 points)
=1. Crosby Colapinto (4 points)
=2. Jackson Dorian (2 points)
=2. Jai Glindeman (2 points)

Best Edit
1. Flow State starring Russell Bierke (6 points)
2. Left Brain Right Brain starring Chippa Wilson (3 points)
=3. The quieter you are the more you can hear starring Craig Anderson (2 points)
=3. Beach Head starring Ian Crane (2 points) 
=3. Ru.Bu 994 starring Noa Deane (2 points) 

This is SSOTY Day 5, scroll south! 

SSOTY19 WEB Balaram

Balaram Stack

Age: 28 

Bio: The pride of New York surfing, does big airs, packs big tubes, and is a Pipeline standout year after year, wears chains with aplomb. 


  1. Russel Bierke (5 points): He’s a madman. He’s probably the most competent in sending himself over a ledge. That Shipsterns wave from Flow State is psychotic. I had a session with him last year out at Mullaghmore, it was so sick to see him sit way inside of everyone. He’s definitely the hungriest of the pack. 
  2. Noa Deane (4 points0: His Rubu part put a stamp on his year, it solidified how he surfs and what he can do. It’s pretty standard for him but he’s amazing to watch nonetheless. 
  3. Cam Richards (3 points): Cam’s done pretty well out here. He’s the East Coast guy showing it at Pipe. In the last two years he’s came out and got the right ones at the right time. He’s been doing work all year, and in Hawaii. 
  4. Jack Robinson (2 points): Jack had a mental year. He’s always had the surfing but it was just a matter of time before he put it together. What he did out at Sunset, he was doing what he does but he worked out and pulled it together. He’s gonna be fun as fuck to watch on tour. 
  5. Ian Crane (1 point): Crane-O is fucking mental. He’s been doing a lot more novelty events. Those backside stales he had on lock at Stab High. He’s powerful and clean and people see him as an underdog. He surfs so good and people are finally taking notice.


  1. Frankie Harrier (3 points): Frankie is dope, she goes so hard at Chopes. She’s always trying to get barreled and I like the way she surfs.
  2. Jaleesa Vincent (2 points): She’s got a mental style. She sticks to her ways and I think she’s fun to watch in the water. She’s been ripping, it’s sick. 
  3. Caroline Marks (1 point): East coast girl. She’s killing it on the CT and has a wicked backhand. Caroline is sick! 


  1. Maikai Burdine (1 point): He’s always charging Pipe on the best swells and does sick airs. He’s like a mini Kalani David. 

Best Edit

Ru. Bu 994 starring Noa Deane (1 point): Noa’s was mental. Just how solid the waves are in his part and he’s just surfing them like they’re waist high. 


SSOTY19 WEB NateFlorence

Nathan Florence 

Age: 25

Bio: Newfound aerial enthusiast, brother of John, esteemed XXL rusher, never misses leg day. 


  1. Gabriel Medina (5 points): He’s just insane. It’s crazy what he does. 
  2. Kai Lenny (4 point): He’s just an animal. Part of being a professional surfer isn’t the performance in the water it’s how on it you are, and Kai’s the busiest dude ever. He’s constantly putting out content and doing stuff that people are tripped out on. He’s doing alley-oops at Jaws, he’s foiling giant Jaws. He’s paddling waves and things that are unbelievable. 
  3. Kolohe Andino (3 points): He just seemed to be in a different mindset than previous years. It seemed like his freesurfing transferred into his contest surfing this year more than any other. I was talking to John about it and he said that’s about the time where you settle into the tour and things start clicking for you. 
  4. Italo Ferreira (2 points): Italo.  
  5. Lucas Chumbo (1 point): I saw him the first time he ever surfed Chopes and he adapted so quick. Those air drops he was doing were psycho. 


  1. Moana Jones (3 points): She will be the best women’s surfer at Pipe ever. She’s tactically pulling into barrels, she’s not just pulling in once. 
  2. Stephanie Gilmore (2 points): She’s the GOAT of women’s surfing. 
  3. Left blank (0 points)

Best Junior 

  1. Eli Hanneman (1 point): It would between Eli and Jett Schilling, but Eli’s been doing some crazy stuff consistently. And he’s consistently getting better. 

Best Edit 

Flow State starring Russell Bierke (1 point): It was really hardcore. He stacked clips and all of them were in very life-threatening situations. And the thing he did at Shipsterns haven’t been done since Laurie Towner’s wave a couple years ago. He’s taking wipeouts and going out for more.

SSOTY19 WEB RussBierke

Russell Bierke

Age: 21 

Bio: Australian madman, won Red Bull Cape fear once, a man of few words. 


  1. Italo Ferreira (5 points): his surfing is so exciting and fun to watch, Italo really proved he deserved the World Title this year. 
  2. Nathan Florence (4 points): Nate is such a beast. I love watching his approach when it’s big and scary. He’s so committed and also rides the waves really well. 

  3. Chippa Wilson (3 points): He has to be the most technical surfer in the world, I can’t even wrap my head around some of the airs he does. His reflexes are so quick and precise. 

  4. Lucas Chumbo (2 points): he surfs big waves like they’re playful two footers. He doesn’t just take off and point for the channel, he’ll be doing chop hops and turns across a 20ft wave. 

  5. Mason Ho (1 point): if you put Mason in any condition he’ll always be a standout. He’ll pack huge Pipe barrels then make a backwashy, rock filled two footer look like the funnest thing ever. He’s one of my favourite surfers to watch for sure. 


  1. Carissa Moore (3 points): Carissa had an amazing year, her surfing and competitive strategy was really in form. 

  2. Laura Enever (2 points): It’s so good to see Laura having a crack at big waves and slabs especially. I’ve been surfing with her a lot over the last two years and have seen her get some crazy waves. I think she’s going to blow minds when she releases her film. 

  3. Caroline Marks (1 point): For Caroline to have the success she’s had at such a young age is crazy. She’s my pick to dominate the women’s tour in the coming years. 

Best Junior 

  1. Jai Glindeman (1 point): Jai rips and has such a good style. I also saw clips of him charging at solid Cloudbreak which is cool. I can’t wait to see what he does in the next few years.

Best Edit 

Cult of Freedom The Creed Part starring Creed Mctaggart (1 point): There were so many good films this year but I think I watched Creed’s the most. The Indo section gets me so psyched to surf.

SSOTY19 WEB NoaDeane

Noa Deane 

Age: 25 

Bio: High flying, hard carving, hard charging, tech savvy Aussie with a penchant for distorted guitars and shouting into a microphone. 


  1. Creed McTaggart (5 points): I think he just came into his own this year. He’s always ripped but it looked like he just fully either wasn’t giving a fuck or letting it all hang. Whatever he wanted to do he was just doing it. He’s doing huge turns and combos with mental style and that’s what it’s all about for me. When I watched the Cult of Freedom part in France he was fucking tearing it, and Fun Boys, and he’s got crazy clips in Rage. He’s just cruising so hard. It’s sick to watch someone like that.
  2. Shawn Manners (4 points): He was so impressive on the boat trip for Rage, he went for the hugest airs ever and stuck a couple. He’s sitting on one of the gnarliest airs I’ve ever seen. He just dominates at Northies and hits the biggest section. Dude’s going full bore is my favorite to watch. That Blastoid clip was gnarly and his Rage part is gonna be nuts.
  3. Chippa Wilson (3 points): This is a hard top three to differentiate. Chip went so mad this year, he smashed that left up in Left Brain Right Brain so hard. That front shuv he wraps around is fucking nuts. He’s got that mentality where he doesn’t try that hard to get tech, he doesn’t have to think about it. He just does it, and that’s impressive. He can’t be thinking about it if he’s doing it that smooth, I think. Even when the waves are really shit, he gets it so done. Which is pretty epic. 
  4. Mason Ho (2 points): Every wave he surfs he somehow makes it look fun, which is hard to do. He surfs ten foot pipe and makes it look fun. Then he surfs on top of rocks and makes it look fun. He surfs waves that aren’t waves and makes it look fun. I had a little session with him when we were doing Electric Acid, and we surfed on the shoulder on twinnies, and he just randomly started paddling out the back, I was like, What’s this cunt doing? He got out there and just chipped into this roll in and got so drained on the sandbar on this Pang twinnie. He’s been pushing what’s surfable. 
  5. Ellis Erickson (1 point): He’s had two things come out this year, one came out last year at the end of the year. But he’s been working on the same board for three years, that’s crazy commitment. It started to work, and you can see it in the film how much better it gets towards the end. And he was ripping in that SURFER thing with Droid and Knost, and Ellis is proper putting some gnarly rail down. He’s not the biggest dude and he’s giving it some grunt. He’s frothing super hard all the time, I like that. 


  1. Coco Ho (3 points): That barrel she got at Backdoor last January was pretty fucking crazy. I don’t think I’ve seen a chick get a barrel like that ever, I’d be stoked on that. That was heavy. She’s pushing it pretty hard for the girls. It was a fucked up drop. That was sick! 
  2. Jaleesa Vincent (2 points): I like how stoked she is to surf. She plays in some bands and has a real good time. I went on a boat trip and she was on it. It was three foot Maccas and we sat on the boat and watched her and she tore it to pieces, it was super sick. She was just going for wild shit, and hitting sections as hard as possible and getting flogged as well. She’s just got a free style. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of free surf chicks. Maybe she’ll be the start of free surf girls who ride a shortboard. I guess it’s similar to what Ozzie did back in the day. 
  3. Sky Brown (1 point): She’s pretty mental. I was watching her at Stab High and I was so baffled when they were surfing. It was more exciting than the dudes. I know every one of those dudes can do crazy airs but to see girls who were so young just fucking shit up was pretty sick. That Sky girl had the sickest frontside air, with mental mini-ollie Nathan Fletcher style. 

Best Junior

  1. Jai Glindeman (1 point): He’s a mega down to earth kid. Super psyched out of his mind and he just loves surfing. I remember seeing him surf for the first time and I thought he was surely an adult who looked but he’s like 16 and so gnarly. He’s got a good foundation to become a really good surfer. He’s got his style down, he can get barreled, do airs and he’s already doing huge turns. I think he’ll just get better and better.

Best Edit 

Flow State starring Russel Bierke: That was pretty fucking gnarly. That wave at Shippies. I’m more of a fan of more high-pace edits but what he’s doing is undeniable. And I’m sure no one is saying it’s deniable, but it’s crazy man. I think to be that tapped in those waves is fucking gnarly. Those lefts he was getting at that Wave that kind of looks like Pipe, there’s one where he gets high up in the lip and he should’ve jumped but instead just knifed it. It’s just raw shit. 


Michael “Mikey” Ciaramella 

Age: 26 

Bio: A prickly pear, Stab‘s resident surfboard tester, cares more about competitive surfing than most people on tour. 

  1. Gabriel Medina (5 points): I can’t help but be enthralled by people who genuinely don’t give a fuck. Gab’s dominance is undeniable and I get giddy in the back half of every year when he goes into Terminator mode. Super stoke-ed that Italo won but Medina has my heart.
  2. Kelly Slater (4 points): The guy is about to turn 48 and finished this year in the top 10. He is also one of the top three most entertaining surfers to watch in every event, and that extends out of the water as well (his post-heat chats are some of the only ones worth watching). I also love when Kelly’s ego takes over and he goes on passive-aggressive and/or normally aggressive tirades online. He’s just the best thing in surfing, period.
  3. Chippa Wilson (3 points): Chip won Stab High and put out one of the best edits of the year. The way he negotiates a surfboard’s movements is unlike anybody I’ve seen.
  4. Russell Bierke (2 points): The Shippies wave and his performance at that giant, wedging left defy all logic. The Jaws barrel was the icing on the cake. Russ Bierke is the world’s supreme large-tube rider.
  5. Jack Robbo (1 points): Winning (basically) the first QS of the year at the Volcom Pipe Pro and the last QS of the year at Sunset to qualify is fucked up. Jack also put Filipe in an effortless sleeper-hold at the Box and will be borderline unbeatable at all barreling CT venues in 2020. He’s the most exciting rookie in forever. 


  1. Moana Jones (3 points): I love how quickly the women are improving in their “performance surfing”, but what Moana’s doing at Pipeline has genuinely changed the landscape of female surfing. One day there will be documentaries made about her, even if she never surfs in an event.  
  2. Carissa Moore (2 points): Simply put, Carissa is the best female surfer under the WSL’s scoring criteria by a country mile. She’d win the Title every year if she had half the confidence of Medina. 
  3. Caroline Marks (1 point): She’s legally a child and almost became the best competitive surfer of the year. Also, that backhand.

Best Junior 

1. Al Cleland Jr. (1 point): Having grown up in Pascuales, Al is more comfortable in heavy waves that any kid I’ve seen this year. But, he also rips in the small stuff—as seen on our Stab Innocents trip— has a sick style, and generally doesn’t give a fuck. He’s like the Mexican Bruce Irons. 

Best Edit 

Ru.Bu 994 starring Noa Deane (1 point): This clip was just punk as fuck, and it really made me want to ride a purple surfboard. I also loved the part where they took the Makua Rothman audio about Noa’s “only good wave ever” at Pipe and put it over a kneelo barrel. Self-deprecation at its finest. 

Stab Surfer of the Year Day Five results:
Male (Top 10)
1. Italo Ferreira (57 points)
2. Gabriel Medina (36 points)
3. Chippa Wilson (21 points)
4. Russell Bierke (20 points)
5. Noa Deane (19 points) 
6. Kolohe Andino (17 points) 
7. Jack Robinson (16 points) 
8. John John Florence (14 points) 
=9. Griffin Colapinto (13 points) 
=9. Mason Ho (13 points) 

Women (Top 6)
1. Carissa Moore (42 points)
2. Stephanie Gilmore (32 points)
3. Caroline Marks (23 points)
4. Moana Jones (12 points)
5. Coco Ho (8 points) 

Best Junior (top 3)
1. Eli Hanneman (6 points)
2. Crosby Colapinto (4 points)
=2. Jai Glindeman (4 points) 

Best Edit
1. Flow State starring Russell Bierke (8 points)
2. Ru.Bu 994 starring Noa Deane (4 points) 
3. Left Brain Right Brain starring Chippa Wilson (3 points)


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