Stab Magazine | Stab Surfer Of The Year: Griffin Colapinto, Mitch Crews, Jay Davies, Noa Deane, And Ethan Ewing

Stab Surfer Of The Year: Griffin Colapinto, Mitch Crews, Jay Davies, Noa Deane, And Ethan Ewing

We’re starting to see some trends. 

style // Jan 4, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The Stab Surfer Of The Year started yesterday and what did you think?

Were Dion, Kolohe, Beschen, Bourez, and Burrow on the mark, or did their answers slide into obscurity? Did you, too, find it interesting that each of them had a different selection for the top surfer of 2018?

Here’s yesterday’s SSOTY leaderboard, in case you forgot:

Stab Surfer Of The Year Running Total

Males (Top 10):

1. Gabriel Medina: (10 points)

=2. Chippa Wilson (8 points)

=2. Julian Wilson (8 points)

4. Filipe Toledo (7 points)

5. Noa Deane (6 points)

=6. Dane Reynolds (5 points)

=6. Grant Twiggy Baker (5 points)

=6. Joan Duru (5 points)

9. Billy Kemper (4 points)

=10. Albee Layer (3 points) 

=10. Griffin Colapinto (3 points)

=10. Craig Anderson (3 points)

 Females (Top 5):

1. Stephanie Gilmore (2 points)

=2. Carissa Moore (1 points)

=2. Keala Kennelly (1 points)

=2. Courtney Conlogue (1 point) 

Today, thanks to the construct of alphabetic order, we’ll have Griffin Colapinto, Mitch Crews, Jay Davies, Noa Deane, and Ethan Ewing sharing their picks. Once again the selections are rather divergent, leading to a diaspora of sun-soaked names and faces on our inaugural list, however there are a few trends starting to form. 

Before we say too much, let’s have our surfers take the floor!

SSOTY Days1to5 Article6

Griffin Colapinto

Age: 20

Bio: CT rookie, timelessly modern approach, “The Sponge”


  1. Joel Parkinson (5 points): “The way Parko’s been surfing, on his last year on tour—he just looks like he’s having a bunch of fun. At Haleiwa especially, that win was amazing. His style will never be matched in my eyes.”

  2. Ethan Ewing (4 points): “Ethan’s style and his flow are incredible. It’s good to see that because sometimes it feels like the style part of surfing is going away. Ethan’s got the best style in the world right now.”

  3. Seth Moniz (3 points): “I’ve surfed with Seth since I was a little kid and he’s always been super talented. I was so stoked to see him get on a run and qualify this year. Also that backflip in the pool was insane.” [Ed note: Seth Moniz landed the first ever backflip, and perhaps still the best-ever air in a wavepool.]

  4. Kolohe Andino (2 points): “I surf with Kolohe a lot at home and I see a lot of what others don’t see. He’s been doing a lot of big airs again and it’s really exciting to watch. His backside is super fast and vertical too.”

  5. Billy Kemper (1 point): “I just can’t believe Billy won Jaws three times. It’s cool to see him work so hard and succeed because of it.”

Griffin might have been a little biased in his appraisal of Parko’s 2018. The great Aussie is his hero after all.


Steph Gilmore (1 point): “Because her style is better than anyone. Male or female.”

SSOTY Days1to5 Article7

Mitch Crews

Age: 28

Bio: Ex-CTer, cafe owner, Coolangatta local


Griffin Colapinto (5 points): His approach is so unbelievably amazing. That rail surfing… it’s kinda like going back to Parko and Mick. Growing up, I loved watching that beautiful rail surfing, and now it’s so gnarly to see the airs that the Brazilians are doing, but to see Griffin do a gigantic, beautiful, Andy-esque Parko wrap into a nose-pick thing, that is freaking unreal.”

Noa Deane (4 points): “He was a bit of a sleeper for me all year, and then when he released Headnoise, it was just so fucking sick. Like, I watched it three times in a row. His section in Hawaii where he was doing those huge backside straighties… they were just unfathomably big. His video and the Volcom Pipe Pro probably sold me.”

Seth Moniz (3 points): “He had the thing that some Q-ey surfers get where everything just falls into place. It started in Japan where he had that full roter and got a 10, then he did the backflip in Waco and then he did the backside air at Huntington and blitzed the Q.”

Gabriel Medina (2 points): “Just because he’s a freak and I’m a huge fan of him. Medina has so much mongrel and just went into kill mode when Filipe was in the yellow rashie. For me he’s just a mind-blowing surfer. He’s on another planet.” [Medina pulled his typical start-the-year-like-a-quiet-boy finish-it-like-a-school-shooter kinda deal this year, much to the chagrin of Julian, Italo, and poor old Filipe.]

Ryan Callinan (1 point): “Ryan blew me away when he won Japan [a QS 6,000 event], especially after all the bullshit he’s been through [Ryan’s mom and dad both passed in the last two years]. Then he obviously won the QS 10,000 at Portugal then backed it up with a second at the France CT. I swear to god I thought he was the best surfer of the comp. He was doing the biggest fuckin reos.”

X-factor: highly coveted by CT judges, and Seth Moniz has it in abundance.


Stephanie Gilmore (1 point). “She’s unbelievable to watch. She’s cool as fuck. She’s got this perfect style in and out of the water. The women’s tour is a little difficult to watch sometimes, especially when it’s pumping Honolua Bay, but I’ll always tune in to watch her heats, She surfs it like some of the best boy surfers.”

Noteworthy other:

Brendon Gibbens: “His edit Homebody was really beautiful. He wasn’t surfing as gnarly as the other guys in their edits, but the whole vibe of him and the way it’s put together, I just think he’s someone that should get a bit of recognition for that. He’s always sat in the background of everything even though he’s always been a great surfer and has put out tons of great stuff.”

SSOTY Jay Article Updated

Jay Davies

Age: 31

Bio: Rides the Wes Aussie breeze, miner of underground tunnels, personally forged from iron


  1. Gabriel Medina (5 points): “What he did at Pipe was just tapped. He’s my favourite surfer I think.” [After putting on a ballsy performance at Third Reef Pipe before the start of this year’s Pipe Masters, Medina went on to blitz the entire field of competitors in the event, which included a ridiculous 10-point ride and the heartless stomping of his World Title competitor Julian Wilson]. 

  2. Nathan Florence (4 points): “He went to every spot and just hammered it. I didn’t surf with him anywhere but everyone I spoke to said the same: he’s just an animal. You see him in the gym and the way he approaches his profession is a true testament to what he does on the waves.” [Nathan trains harder than any surfer alive. Because of that, he’s able to surf the world’s heaviest waves with a prepared body and mind.]

  3. Noa Deane (3 points): “His approach to every wave is really fucking raw. His surfing is not polished, which makes it most impressive. It’s staunch. He fucks shit up. He came to West Oz twice and just conquered it. He got Box really fun, and he got that one combo at North – a big barrel to alley oop. That was really just the craziest maneuver ever. “

  4. Chippa Wilson (2 points): “Chippa is the greatest surfer I’ve ever sat and watched, on any board, in any conditions. He’s like a cat.”

  5. Twiggy Baker (1 point): “This guy is a guru, an old lord. He also caught the best wave I’ve ever seen anyone ride in person. He made it, too.”

Screen Shot 2018 12 31 at 12.33.48 PM

Twig doesn’t only surf 30-footers.


Steph Gilmore (1 point): “It’s easy. Everyone is gonna say that. She’s Wonder Woman, basically.”

Noteworthy other:

Shaun Manners: “He didn’t surprise me, I always knew he was gonna be fucking mental, but that Blastoid shit was wild. He’s a smart kid; he’s a talented and unique character and it was always gonna come. Everyone thinks he’s a late bloomer, but he’s a noteworthy pick.”

SSOTY Days1to5 Article9

Noa Deane

Age: 24

Bio: Surfing royalty, landed the best air of 2018, fucks the WSL


  1. Dane Reynolds (5 points): “It was crazy watching him ride those boards in Stab‘s Electric Acid film. They were so limiting and he still looked like the best surfer in the world to me. Seriously. Before every single turn I was freaking out about what he was gonna do and… boom! Wave after wave of that —it was fucked up.”

  2. Shaun Manners (4 points): “Blastoid was probably my favourite that came out all year. Chun had a dig. And he’s getting West Oz so dialed. Going to the desert, getting the wave of the year at Gnaraloo, and then standing in tubes out at North Point. He’s fucking crazy.”

  3. Chippa Wilson (3 points): “Chippa impressed me how hard he was charging in Video Number 4. He was having such a crack. Those pits he was getting… it’s like every single person charges now, but I was stoked to see Chip in those big barrels. And then going to the pool with him for Stab High was pretty insane.” [Chip got 2nd to Noa’s 1st at our inaugural Stab High event].  

  4. Laurie Towner (2 points): “That one pit that Laurie got at Cloudbreak — that was enough [see below]. It was so much gnarlier than anything else. His perfect style. His positioning. That shit just matters to me. I was tripping on that. If you saw that from the beach it would have looked 30 feet and he would have been deep even though it looked psycho looking into it.”

  5. Balaram Stack (1 point): “I’ve been shaking my head watching Bal out here at Pipe. He pulled into a straight up fucking closeout on the biggest wave of the season. He’s been having such a dig and he’s out there all day.”


Bethany Hamilton (1 point): “I think Bethany is pretty crazy. To make a comeback that hard after having a kid is fucking psycho. Some of those clips I’ve seen of her are crazy. To be doing what she’s doing, it’s pretty inspirational. Holy fuck! The whole time I’m watching, it proves if you’re that strong nothing can stop you.”

Noteworthy other:  

Ellis Ericson: “I watched his video the other day and it was fucking sick… so different to anything I’ve seen all year. Gnarly surfing, in that it gradually gets better as the boards gets more progressive.”

SSOTY Days1to5 Article10

Ethan Ewing

Age: 20

Bio: Ex-and-future-CTer, remarkable style, adorably shy


  1. Gabriel Medina (5 points): “Gabriel is the best surfer in the world right now and a crazy competitor. We saw that at the Pipe Masters. He catches lots of waves and rolls the dice. It usually works out.”

  2. Michel Bourez (4 points): “People don’t realise how good Michel is until they see him in real life. He surprises people. I saw him at Bells, on the Goldy, and here in Hawaii. He’s just so fast. Noticeably faster than other guys in the water.” [see below]

  3. Italo Ferreira (3 points): “Italo’s so exciting, especially in his heats. He just has so much energy and it’s contagious.” 

  4. Griffin Colapinto (2 points): “This was Griffin’s first year on tour and he was super exciting to watch. Tons of highlights, never a dull moment. He really impressed me.” [Griffin finished 18th in the rankings but was easily one of the top-10 most talked about surfers this year on the CT.]

  5. Twiggy Baker (1 point): “I chose Twiggy pretty much for that one wave at Jaws that he freefell and knifed into the barrel. I also surfed with him at Haleiwa and he was getting stand up barrels. It was super impressive to see a guy who’s so good in big and normal-sized waves.”


Steph Gilmore (1 point): “I just love her style. Steph is one of my favourite surfers, guys or girls.”


We sure have been seeing Steph’s name a lot.



Stab Surfer of the Year running total:

Males (Top 12):

1. Gabriel Medina (22 points)

=2. Noa Deane (13 points)

=2. Chippa Wilson (13 points)

=4. Griffin Colapinto (10 points)

=4. Dane Reynolds (10 points)

6. Julian Wilson (8 points)

=7. Grant Twiggy Baker (7 points)

=7. Filipe Toledo (7 points)

9. Nate Florence (6 points)

=10. Joan Duru (5 points)

=10. Billy Kemper (5 points)

=12. Shaun Manners (5 points)

=12. Joel Parkinson (5 points)


Females (Top 5):

1. Stephanie Gilmore (6 points)

=2. Carissa Moore (1 point)

=2. Courtney Conlogue (1 point)

=2. Keala Kennelly (1 point)

=2. Bethany Hamilton (1 point)


Stay tuned… tomorrow we’ll hear from:

Damien Fahrenfort

Mick Fanning

Mikey February

Italo Ferreira

Nathan Fletcher



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