Stab Magazine | Stab Surfer Of The Year: Michael February, Coco Ho, Matt Meola, Dane Gudauskas, Jordy Smith
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Stab Surfer Of The Year: Michael February, Coco Ho, Matt Meola, Dane Gudauskas, Jordy Smith

SSOTY Day 6. 

style // Dec 30, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Day six of Stab Surfer of the Year is here. Yesterday we heard from the likes of Balaram Stack, Nathan Florence, Russell Bierke, Noa Deane, and Michael “Mikey” Ciaramella

With five days down, the leaderboard looks like this:

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 (5 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)

Today, we hear from M-Feb, Coco, Meola, Dan Gudang, and Jordy. 

SSOTY19 WEB MFeb2

Michael February

Age: 26

Bio: South African aesthete, former CTer, alt-board virtuoso. 

Men 

1. Alex Knost (5 points): I did a trip with him for Tan Madonna with Harry to Sumatra, it was so cool to watch his surfing up close. He has his own genre of surfing—there’s no one like them. Tan Madonna was pretty out there and he did it in his own way, which is something I respect. He was a standout for me this year. 

2. Mason Ho (4 points): He can paddle out in any conditions, he can put out an edit with no music and it’s raw and interesting. Even if he isn’t doing the craziest airs, he’s so fun to watch and makes you want to go surf.  

3. Jordy Smith (3 points): It was cool to see him have a really solid year on tour. Everyone’s been expecting it from him for years and it was cool to see how consistent he was. As a South African it was rad to support and watch him go for the title.  

4. Harry Bryant (2 points): I’ve been on a bunch of trips with him this year. It’s fun hanging with Harry and he’s got a really exciting take on surfing. He’s always trying different things which is refreshing. 

5. Chippa Wilson (1 point): The few parts he put out this year were really good. The Epokhe and Wasted Talent, and the Stab High win. He’s so fun to watch and he’s got such a different approach. 

Women

1. Stephanie Gilmore (3 points): She’s such an awesome surfer. She’s one of my favorites, she’s got one of the best styles men or women. It was cool to see her do Electric Acid then try and go for a World Title. She’s just multi-faceted. 

2. Tyler Wright (2 points): Just for coming back at the end of the year and nearly winning in Maui. After being ill and dealing with a whole bunch of stuff, to make the final with Steph while all the World Title stuff was going on was pretty cool. 

3. Ainara Aymat (1 point): It was rad to see someone who’s not the most well-known surfer taking the time to do something creative. Her project Sambal Sambal I thought was really cool. 

Best Edit 

Cult Of Freedom with Creed McTaggart (1 point): His surfing in that was rad to watch. I enjoyed it a lot. He’s surfing so well, 

Best Junior 

1. Eli Hanneman (1 point): I’m not the biggest fan of textbook surfing, but he’s just kind of a little freak. He lands the biggest airs and is so consistent. The stuff he even did in Stab High in 2018, doing backflip after backflip. For such a young age, he’s such a good surfer.

SSOTY19 WEB Coco2

Coco Ho

Age: 28

Bio: Eleven-year Tour vet, Backdoor houdini, heiress of the North Shore.

1. Mason Ho (5 points): Mason’s just the best all-around. He can surf small waves, he can surf massive Pipe. Now he’s the Pipe star. He’s top tier at Pipeline, but I think Mason’s surfing at Rockies goes unnoticed. It’s not recognized how well he surfs in two-foot waves. Everyone puts him in this box of not being on tour but if you watch him at Rockies he’s surfing just as good as Julian and Kolohe. He works hard too, he edits all his edits. It’s Mason’s visions, Mason’s music. He’s beyond just a surfer. Everything about him is solely him. He has no one working for him, no one on his payroll. He’s as OG as it gets. 

2. Kolohe Andino (4 points): I admire his fight and his resilience. He was a really successful child star and he works harder than anyone. This year is case in point. He proved everything besides not winning an event. But I think he won Snapper! Kolohe is the jock. The superstar. The new Mick Fanning. 

3. Jeremy Flores (3 points): He’s one of the last real humans in surfing! Nah, just kidding everyone’s amazing but Jeremy has this raw attitude. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s super honest, and just his heroics in France this year were top notch. 

4. Barron Mamiya (2 points): I was on a podium with him last year in Newcastle and I thought I was daydreaming. Like wait, my little brother who used to borrow my boards is up here with me and he was one heat away from qualifying this year. He’s always been kookoo in the Keikei shore break which is why he sits so far in at Pipe. And it’s sick that he can get the wave of the day at Pipe then end it with a huge air. 

5. Pops (Michael Ho) (1 point): He’s 63 years old and surfs better than anyone his age. You can’t even put someone his age in his category. I hate bragging but when it comes to my 63-year-old dad, I brag. Dad’s gnarly, I go out to Pipe once a year shitting myself and my Dad’s out there everyday. Whenever he comes to our contests, all the girls will be ripping then he’ll go out and get more barreled then everyone. 

Women

1.  Carissa Moore (3 points): Carissa works really hard. She picks a part of her surfing that she wants to progress on and she does it. Watching her surf a big wave a Honolua, with those big laybacks she does, I think she could beat a lot of the guys. 

2. Steph Gilmore (2 points): Steph is right there with Carissa, it’s hard to compare the two. They’re like tea and coffee. She has magic in her turns, they’re crazy huge steeze gaphs. That’s what makes Steph so special. 

3. Moana Jones (1 point): I’m so impressed with her. She sits in and under at Pipe with Barron and Makahan Pang. She’s been getting some good ones this year and she rips on a shortboard in small waves. Mason used to call her mini BI because she surfs like Bruce. 

Best Edit

Jack Robinson, 12-Hour Tube Bender (1 point): I love Jack’s style of surfing and that edit was like, “Hello world, I’m here.” It’s cool when someone goes under the radar then comes out with a banger. I think he went through a phase where everyone forgot him then he backed it up at Sunset.

SSOTY19 WEB MattMeola

Matt Meola 

Age: 30

Bio: Praying- mantis-like aerialist, double-spin sorceror, did you see Airborne France?

Men 

1. Italo Ferreira (5 points): He’s been one of my favorites for the past few years but this year he finally led the way. I’ve been all psyched on him. And he’s always putting the sickest little edits out on Instagram. He’s just more fun to watch than anyone else. 

2. Gabriel Medina (4 points): He’s just a competitive freak. Watching him in his heats at Pipe, he just looks like he’s on another level. He catches waves that aren’t high scoring waves and turns them into high scores. 

3. John John Florence (3 points): He would’ve won the title if he didn’t get hurt. He was smoking everybody and it seems like he recovered from his injury super fast. He’d be my number one pick if he didn’t get hurt. 

4. Kolohe Andino (2 points): He’s had a really standout year. I feel like he’s done so well for himself this year. 

5. Chippa Wilson (1 point): Chippa’s just my favorite guy. He’s always been one of my favorites to watch. He won Stab High. Fuck yeah, Chippa. 

Women 

1. Carissa Moore (3 points): She won the title and I just think it’s always between her and Steph for my favorite two chicks. 

2. Stephanie Gilmore (2 points): She had that wave in Bali (Perfect 10), and she’s just one of my favorites ever. 

3. Laura Enever (1 point): She’s been crazy charging. She’s got bigger balls than me, so I got to give her props. 

Best Edit 

Flow State with Russel Bierke (1 point): It’s between Russell’s and Ian Crane’s but it’s pretty rare that I really remember a big wave edit, and Russel’s achieved that. It was something different, a psycho big wave edit that was really cool and different. He’s this little guy who charges gnarlier than anybody. He’s a freak, I don’t even know how he’s still alive with all the shit he’s doing. 

Best Junior 

Eli Hanneman (1 point): I watch all the younger groms and Eli is lightyears ahead of them. I get to surf with him a bit at home, and it’s pretty rare that you’re battling a kid under 18, trying to get as nuts of clips as him. He tries airs on the biggest sections, and he’s still small. When he gets bigger he’ll be top five on tour. And he’s from Maui, so we love him!

SSOTY19 WEB DaneG2

Dane Gudauskas 

Age: 34

Bio: Fraternal twin, perceived leader of the stoked triumvirate, power yeti 

Men 

1. Italo Ferreira (5 points): Italo is just one of those people you can’t take your eyes off of. Anything he’s doing in the lineup is just something you want to watch, whether it’s  eight-foot pipe or two-foot onshore slop. It’s always going to be entertaining, and he’s without a doubt the most entertaining surfer in the world in my opinion. 

2. Seth Moniz (4 points): I just was so stoked on his whole year. He came out awesome early in the season with crazy Pipe waves and huge airs. And then he won Rookie of Year—the results he’s had have been insane. I’m so stoked to see his presence on tour. I think he’s going to stay for a long time. He’ll be a force to be reckoned with for the next 10 years. And then the edit he put out was next level. 

3.  Jack Robinson (3 points): He won at Pipe earlier this year. What he did at Sunset was unreal. And he’s just so cool. His presence is calming, and he’s so confident. Jack’s ready to do it in any condition. He got on tour by surfing one of the highest heats ever at Sunset. That’s badass! I’ve never seen anyone read waves as naturally as he does. 

4. Gabriel Medina (2 points): You have to put Gabriel in the top five no matter what. He’s just a mutant. His surfing is my favorite thing to watch, he’s a beast. Just like Italo, whether it’s small or big and gnarly, you know he’s going to put on a dynamic performance, especially in contests. 

5. Chippa Wilson (1 point): He’s people the most on-it guy with the video content he was producing all year. He blasted it out with nothing. He’s on top of the technical game, what he does looks like a video game! It’s the coolest thing, and I just really like him as a person. He’s doing it for the right reasons and is really enjoying what he’s doing. 

Women

1. Carissa Moore (3 points): I admire people that surf on the rail a lot. And I think Carissa is just the most amazing female power surfer that I’ve seen, maybe in my life. She’s just so graceful, and she carries so much speed through returns. It’s just like, inspiring! Yeah, I’m really happy she won the Title just because I feel like she deserved it 100-percent. 

2. Caroline Marks (2 points): I’ve been so impressed seeing her grow up, and now chasing after the title, and giving the older generation a bit of headache up at the top. I think she’s going to be banging on the door for a long time, and I feel like this year was the year where she arrived to the party and said, “Hey, I can be in the title contention race at any point in time.” And I think it’s going to be exciting to see where she goes for the next couple of years.

3. Laura Enever (1 point): There’s been a couple of little Instagram flare-ups of photos from huge sessions down in Australia and Tasmania, and I think she’s working on a film project, but it hasn’t come out yet. She got the cover of Surfing World. And her dedication to surfing kind of slabby hollow waves is insane. She’s not scared of anything, it looks like. I think she’s going to inspire a lot of females to look at alternative career paths in surfing. I think a lot of the girls end up in the contest vein, and I think Laura is going to provide a cool inspiration for girls coming out. Like, hey, you can make it as a free surfer. You can charge heavy slabs, and you can really be a nice person too! 

Best Edit 

Flow State with Russ Bierke (1 point): I think he opened people’s mind up to surfing heavy left-hand slabs on a big board, and knifing the takeoff, and committing to the drop. I think that a lot of guys are going to draw inspiration from those lines that he put in that edit. It’s going to change the way people see certain waves and what you can do on them. There’s always those edits where guys are surfing great, but this one to me embodied something that’s going to change the way that I look at a wave now, or that kind of wave on that kind of equipment. 

Best Junior

1. Crosby Colapinto (1 point): He’s frickin’ on fire. He’s really stepping into becoming a man. I think it’s just the beginning. He surfed a couple of CT’s this year, and is the highest-rated US junior. He’s on track to qualify. He’s going to be doing some awesome things in the future, especially with Griff as his older brother.

SSOTY19 WEB Jordy

Jordy Smith

Age: 31

Bio: Perennial World Title sniffer, top-5 surfing talent, once proclaimed in a post-heat interview that he wanted to be remembered for “being hung like a donkey” (your wish is our command, Jords!)

Men 

1. Italo Ferreira (5 points): He’s probably impressed me the most this year. Just based on being around events mostly. He’s number one for the surfing he does in his Instagram clips and the stuff that he does inside of events. It’s all been pretty good. 

2. Russell Bierke (4 points): I’ve known that he’s been a maniac charger for a long time, but just never really seen a lot of footage of him. I thought that Flow State itself was really kind of mind-blowing. 

3. Noa Deane (3 points): Noa’s RU.BU part was really pretty cool. I just thought some of those airs were really big and I thought he kind of took a while to put that out, but when he did, it was all worthwhile.

4. Barron Mamiya (2 points): Barron’s been on fire. He’s really put out a lot of good stuff this year. 

5. Makana Pang (1 point): I think this Hawaii season Makana Pang’s really been sending it. He surfs right in front of my house, so I get to watch it a lot. Makana is really cool outside surfing too, so I see value in that.

Women 

1. Carissa Moore (3 points): I surfed a little bit with Carissa on the south coast of Durban around July this year and I kind of got to see her outside of a contest. I’ve never really seen that side of her. I was really impressed by her surfing and her whole deal. 

2. Stephanie Gilmore (2 points): Obviously Steph had those great waves at Keramas in the final. She actually had a really good barrel at J-Bay too—that I was really impressed by, because J-Bay is a really hard barrel to navigate.

3. Caitlin Simmers (1 point): She seems to have the flare that I see women’s surfing going in the future. She’s got all the tricks and she’s got really great technique. 

Best Edit 

Stab in the Dark All-Stars (1 point): That’s where I had the most fun and I thought they put it together pretty well. I haven’t done a trip with Dane in like 10 years, so that was really cool to kind of reconnect and obviously it was a little bummer about Mick getting hurt. That always sucks, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled.

Best Junior 

Eli Hanneman (1 point): The kid’s been going wild the last couple years. I’m not even sure how old he is, but he looks under 18. He’s got all the tricks for sure. And I think this year seems to be the year that he’s trying to put in a good Hawaii performance.

Stab Surfer of the Year Day Five results:
Male (Top 10)
1. Italo Ferreira (72 points)
2. Gabriel Medina (42 points)
=3. Chippa Wilson (24 points)
=3. Russell Bierke (24 points)
5. Kolohe Andino (23 points)
=6. Mason Ho (22 points)
=6. Noa Deane (22 points)  
8. Jack Robinson (19 points) 
9. John John Florence (17 points) 
10. Griffin Colapinto (13 points) 
 

Women (Top 6)
1. Carissa Moore (54 points)
2. Stephanie Gilmore (41 points)
3. Caroline Marks (25 points)
4. Moana Jones (13 points)
=5. Coco Ho (8 points)
=5. Laura Enever (8 points)

Best Junior (top 3)
1. Eli Hanneman (9 points)
2. Crosby Colapinto (5 points)
=2. Jai Glindeman (4 points) 

Best Edit
1. Flow State starring Russell Bierke (10 points)
2. Ru.Bu 994 starring Noa Deane (4 points) 
3. Left Brain Right Brain starring Chippa Wilson (3 points)

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