We promise this won’t (really) hurt.

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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Stab Surfer Of The Year: Joel Parkinson, Jake Paterson, Dane Reynolds, Jack Robinson, Koa Rothman

In just 72 short hours we'll know who wins the peer-selected most impactful surfer of 2018 – also known as the Stab Surfer of the Year.

For those who are just catching up, we've recruited 50 of the world's most important surfing figures (from industry leaders, longtime surf critics, and of course the surfers themselves) to tell us whose surfing impacted them most in 2018. These folks were asked to give us their top-five males in order of their annual performance (1st place = 5 points, 2nd place = 4 points, etc.) and their top singular female. After the votes of all 50 people have been tallied, we'll announce the Stab Surfer(s) of the Year. 

We've been releasing five voters a day for the past week. Here are the current results after Day 7:

Males (Top 12):

1. Gabriel Medina (46 points)

2. Filipe Toledo (43 points)

=3. Chippa Wilson (41 points)

=3. Italo Ferreira (41 points)

=3. Noa Deane (41 points)

6. Julian Wilson (36 points)

7. Nate Florence (35 points)

8. Griffin Colapinto (28 points)

=9. Dane Reynolds (22 points)

=9. Seth Moniz (22 points)

=11. Kai Lenny (15 points)

=11. Lucas Chumbo (15 points)

Females (Top 5):

1. Steph Gilmore (12 points)

2. Carissa Moore (5 points)

=3. Keala Kennelly (4 points)

=3. Bethany Hamilton (4 points)

=3. Caroline Marks (4 points)

And what are your initial thoughts? Do those names encapsulate the biggest, best, and most memorable surfing from 2018? 

When you have names like Joel Parkinson, Jake Paterson, Dane Reynolds, Jack Robinson, and Koa Rothman giving their honest appraisals, it's kind of hard to deny. 

Those are today's voters, by the way. Let's get into it. 

SSOTY Days6 10 Article12

Joel Parkinson

Age: 37

Bio: World Champion, single fin weapon, one helluva beak


  1. John John Florence (5 points): "Pretty hard to beat what John John was doing in WA and Bali prior to hurting himself."

  2. Ryan Callinan (4 points): "Through Europe, he was doing some of the best surfing that I’ve ever seen." [Ryan won the QS 10,000 in Portugal, which granted him a wildcard entry into the Quik Pro France. He took that opportunity and turned it into a second-place finish, losing only to an on-fire Julian Wilson in the final.]

  3. Nate Florence (3 points): "Nathan was amazing this year, on every swell. That wave he got at Pipe on the first big swell was insane."

  4. Twiggy Baker (2 points): "The best wave I’ve seen ridden probably of my life was Twiggy’s wave at Jaws. Being in the boat, looking straight into that, was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. It was incredible." [Twiggy air-dropped and pulled into a historic barrel at the 2018 Jaws Challenge, narrowly missing the exit and instead getting blown out on his stomach. The WSL immediately canceled the event for the day after that heat.]

  5. Eli Hanneman (1 point): "I was pretty psyched on Eli’s video part. For a 15-year-old that was incredible."


Steph Gilmore (1 point):  "Without a doubt. She’s amazing—graceful, stylish. No one looks as pretty surfing a wave as her."

Notable Other:

Conner Coffin: "I’ve been really enjoying the way Conner Coffin’s been surfing. A few surfs out the front in Hawaii, I was really impressed with how he’s been handling. And he’s a pleasure to surf with."

SSOTY Days6 10 Article13

Jake Paterson

Age: 45

Bio: Coach to the Stars, Former CT meat and potatoes staple, beat Brucey to win the Pipe Masters.


  1. Filipe Toledo (5 points): “Filipe has pushed heat surfing to a new level in 2018.” [Stab readers determined that Filipe's 10-point punt in Brazil this year was the biggest air ever landed in WSL competition. See below.]

  2. Julian Wilson (4 points): “Jules, because he has finally realised that safe surfing won’t win him a Title and he is mixing it up with Fil.” [Julian started doing big airs in competition again, rather than relying on the basics. This was especially true in Lemoore and France.]

  3. Gabriel Medina (3 points): “He is a freak competitor. He doesn’t care who he fucks over. He is there to win, and I love that shit.”

  4. Griffin Colapinto (2 points): “He has pure talent and I think he will be running for Titles the next few years.”

  5. Eli Hanneman (1 point): “I personally think he won the Stab High event, and is the next big thing in pro surfing. The kid is a freak.”


Steph Gilmore (1 point):The GOAT of women’s surfing. She put in the hard yards in 2018, and showed she is still Queen—and will be for a long time to come.” [Steph won her 7th World Title in 2018.]

SSOTY Days6 10 Article14

Dane Reynolds

Age: 33

Bio: Stubborn competitive underachiever, Former owner, alt board guy.

Quote: “I don’t even follow surfing anymore. My surf content consumption went from like 10 to 1."


  1. Noa Deane (5 points): "I love Noa’s surfing. I think he’s sick. He sticks to his guns; like how we refuses to throw an air reverse in his videos [like Headnoise]—he just goes against the grain in certain ways, and just does huge shit. He’s naturally gifted and has taken a path that has been lucrative for him, but wasn’t necessarily going to be. And he’s fortunate it came together for him."
  2. Chippa Wilson (4 points): "I don’t know whether anyone else I dig did anything cool. There’s people who do cool stuff who I pay attention to. Chippa was ripping in his clip [Video No.4]. He ripped. He had a good year."
  3. Nate Florence (3 points): "He just seems to be on every swell, and whenever I came out here for a Pipe swell—it was a while ago—I was blown away how hard those guys go. Taking off the deepest, under the lip, just unmakeable shit, and fall like cats and just pop out the back. I fall on like a four-foot insider and slam the reef and break my back [laughs]. It was crazy. I don’t know how they do it. Seeing it in person gives me context about what they’re doing online and shit. And I would say Nathan did real well this year."
  4. Griffin Colapinto (2 points): "Griffin’s sick. I hung out with him the other night and, it’s odd, because you see people surfing online all year, it’s just like a mess of shit—everyone rips, who cares kind of? But Griffin was cool. To just talk to him for a minute—he like snuck in without a wristband, I got him a beer—he was cool. It sounds retarded, but that matters more to me."
  5. Mikey February (5 points): "I’d be hyped to do trips with Mikey. Wait, that’s not a reason. He looks cool on a surfboard. He’s sick."


Stephanie Gilmore (1 point): "‘Cause she’s cool."

SSOTY Days6 10 Article11

Jack Robinson

Age: 21

Bio: Bowl cut, big balls, West Australian tube prodigy

Quote:No one is a complete surfer.”


  1. Billy Kemper (5 points): "Because of his Jaws performance. Crazy commitment. Pushing the sport." [Billy won his third Jaws event in four years this December – a victory that included his historic barrel attempt in the first round of competition, before the WSL called it off for the day due to "unsafe conditions".]

  2. Grant “Twiggy” Baker (4 points): "What Twiggy did at Jaws—I’ve never seen that done before, knifing a drop like that. No one knew what to expect, and they got straight out there and pushed the limits. Next-level hard to put into words." [Twiggy was in the same heat as Billy (above) and packed an even meaner tube after Kemper's.]

  3. Kai Lenny (3 points): "Just for how creative he is on every type of craft. I was talking with him the other day: He’s the modern day version of Laird." [Kai is famous for riding myriad surf crafts on any and every piece of ocean-based energy, a la Laird Hamilton. 

  4. Julian Wilson (2 points): "I see him get roasted a bit on scores a bit [Jack believes Julian is consistently underscored by WSL judges], but he’s been ripping all year. He knows how to do a wave justice."  

  5. Griffin Colapinto (1 point): "Always a standout this year on tour, in and around the events. The youth in him is the best—more creative, less predictable. Griff has a lot of tricks he pulls out that you don’t always see in everyone else."


Carissa Moore: (1 point): "Carissa is the so powerful. I like watching her. She’s the best woman in my eyes."

SSOTY Days6 10 Article15

Koa Rothman

Age: 25

Bio: Pipe specialist, North Shore royalty, prolific Vlogger.


  1. Filipe Toledo (5 points): "He’s been my favorite surfer for a while, it’s got to be Filipe Toledo. I don’t really follow much in the surfing world at all, I just see the highlights, and the shit he’s doing is mind blowing. It’s incredible what he does so effortlessly. He whips two full rotations on a wave like he’s doing a turn."
  2. Barron Mamiya (4 points): "Barron’s been absolutely ripping. He has the craziest style, manhandles Sunset, and he’s like 18 years old. To see what he’s doing at Pipe, the wave he got this year [see below]—it’s cool to see one of the local born-and-raised kids doing so well. He has a bright future."
  3. Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca (3 points): "Lucas makes surfing big waves look like he’s surfing V-Land. At Jaws, he caught this big left and got towards the end, hit this chop and did an air, frontside grabbed, and then did a turn. I would never think of doing that. I’d be like, 'Get to the channel and kick out!' But he’s out at Jaws trying to rip."
  4. Nate Florence (2 points): "Nate has been one of my inspirations this year. We travel a lot together and he pushes me to my limits. Tahiti, Fiji, Jaws or Pipe—if he’s gonna surf for eight hours, I’m not going in before him. In Tahiti this year, we were just going on bigger and bigger waves. A wave came through and he asked if I was going, and I was like, 'Yeah.' Because if I didn’t, he was going to. Then I kicked out and he was on a wave bigger than the one he caught the other year [Nathan famously manhandled one of the most jaw-droppingly complex Teahupoo caves ever navigated in 2015]. He didn’t make it, but he made the drop and got into it. It was the psycho-est thing I’ve ever seen. I would have never paddled that wave."
  5. Reef Heazlewood (1 point): "I’m gonna put him in the top five because of the airs he did at Rockies this year. I was like, Who the fuck was that, sticking those airs? He was way out of the water." [Reef blew minds with a couple crazy Rockies punts earlier this year.]


Steph Gilmore (1 point): "Steph is an absolute weapon that surfs better then just about every guy out there. A she’s won like a 100 World Titles." [Steph won her 7th World Title in 2018. 

Noteworthy other:

Grant “Twiggy” Baker: "That wave he got at Jaws was just psycho." 

toledo f3066 Pipe18 Heff

Filipe to first! Our first lead-switch in eight days

Stab Surfer of the Year running total:

Males (Top 12):

1. Filipe Toledo (53 points)

2. Gabriel Medina (49 points)

3. Noa Deane (46 points)

4. Chippa Wilson (45 points)

5. Nate Florence (43 points)

6. Julian Wilson (42 points)

7. Italo Ferreira (41 points)

8. Griffin Colapinto (33 points)

=9. Dane Reynolds (22 points)

=9. Seth Moniz (22 points)

=11. Grant 'Twiggy' Baker (19 points)

=11. Billy Kemper (19 points)

Female (Top 5):

1. Steph Gilmore (16 points)

2. Carissa Moore (6 points)

=3. Keala Kennelly (4 points)

=3. Caroline Marks (4 points)

=3. Bethany Hamilton (4 points)

Tomorrow is the second-to-last day of the Stab Surfer of the Year, and we'll be hearing from: the greatest surfer of all time, a South African eyeball fountain, the (second) most cloying voice in surf, a Brazilian wunderkind, and a notable in-tube announcer.


Kelly Slater

Jordy Smith

Chris Cote

Filipe Toledo

Strider Wasilewski

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