The unbiased empty. (Photo by Stephen Quick)
Stab Surfer Of The Year Will Be Announced Tomorrow
Here's what you've missed. And now it's time for your vote.
Today was meant to be Day 10 of the Stab Surfer of the Year – the day that the final votes were revealed and a winner was chosen.
However, certain logistical issues have forced us to withhold that info for just 24 more hours.
Will you survive, dear readers? And can you forgive?
We truly hope so, as this project is near and dear to our hearts and we want to present the winners properly and with gusto.
For now, we'd like to have a look back at the first nine days of the Stab Surfer of the Year, picking apart some of our favorite votes and the reasons behind them. Also, as an added bonus, you'll find two user polls at the bottom of the page. Those are for Stab readers to make their own Surfer of the Year selections, both for male and female, which will be announced alongside the real winners tomorrow.
Now for some highlights...
Kolohe Andino on Mick Fanning:
5. Mick Fanning (1 point): "Because of his surfing and his personality and his exit. To leave on the final is as good as it gets. Has it ever been done? Usually they’re trying to steal one last drop of milk from the cow."
Michel Bourez on Willian Cardoso:
Noteworthy other: Willian Cardoso: "I remember seeing Willian after Keramas and he was telling me, 'I’m not going to drink tonight because I need to make a big result.' Next thing I know, he won Uluwatu and was partying so hard that night. It was really impressive."
Damien Fahrenfort on Bethany Hamilton:
Bethany Hamilton (1 point): “I saw Bethany at Surf Ranch and she was absolutely tearing. I want to give this to Steph, but she is underachieving every time she surfs compared to where her talent is. She should have 11 world titles by now.”
Mikey February on Mikey Wright:
1. Mikey Wright (5 points): “Mikey didn’t put out anything crazy this year [film-wise], but it’s just the fact he tries the gnarliest stuff on the gnarliest sections. He’s crazy in that sense. I’ll be surfing with him and he’ll be hitting sections that I wouldn’t even be thinking about hitting. It’s almost embarrassing.”
Italo Ferreira on Caroline Marks:
Caroline Marks (1 point): “Because she surfs like me [laughs]! She was so strong and was always hungry this year. I love her.” [There are a few striking similarities to Caroline's and Italo's surfing.
Jeremy Flores on Mason Ho:
1. Mason Ho (5 points): - “I love Mason as a free surfer. He’s good at everything from airs to big waves to barrel-riding. I also just love his happy-go-lucky attitude. To me, Mason is the definition of surfing.”
John John Florence on Filipe Toledo:
1. Filipe Toledo (5 points): “In the beginning of the year he was competing so well and that kinda evoked an emotional response in me. He was ripping at J-Bay, he had that big air in Brazil... The way Filipe pushes surfing when he’s competing is something I’d like to emulate. He doesn’t hold back and always goes so fast and I really admire that about him.”
Nathan Florence on Stephanie Gilmore:
Steph Gilmore (1 point): She just dominates. How the fuck did she not win the Surfer Awards this year?”
Dane Gudauskas on Carissa Moore:
Carissa Moore (1 point): “She’s so sick. I want to surf like Carissa Moore.”
Pat Gudauskas on Italo Ferreira:
1. Italo Ferreira (3 points): “Italo’s just a freak. His instagram is crazy. He’s sent it 100% on every section, all year long. Start to finish. Not even one section left untapped.”
Pat Gudauskas on Grant 'Twiggy' Baker:
4. Grant Twiggy Baker (2 points): “That wave Twiggy caught at Jaws is the gnarliest wave ever ridden. And he’s 45. He has to be on this list. He’s a freak. Honestly, we saw him after and he was concerned with himself after he watched the video. Like, if he fell anywhere on that wave, he would die. I almost think he didn’t get the credit he deserved. I like big waves and I think what they did this year they changed the whole game. Twiggy especially”
Tanner Gudauskas on Griffin Colapinto:
2. Griffin Colapinto (4 points): “Griff brought a good light back into the WSL this year. It was getting real corpo and Griffin’s really rad and normal. I especially like what he does here during the Triple Crown – he surfs big waves loose and free and he reminds me of the guys when I was comin' up. He’s like Mick, Parko and AI, whatever was surfable they were out there getting it. He’s kinda like that.”
Mason Ho on Noa Deane:
3. Noa Deane (3 points): “Just showing up to the Stab Contest, I was looking forward to that event all year. It was a good mix of the freesurf/competitive thing. I don’t know if Noa focuses on anything, but he just showed up and won. And his movie Headnoise was fucked up. I turned it on when I was doing a trip in Indo, and it got me so amped up – it actually gave me chicken skin. It had one of the best Hawaii sections in a while. He’s modern-day old-school and I love that.”
Bruce Irons on Keala Kennelly:
Keala Kennelly (1 point): “Fucking Keala Kennelly, bra! This year at fucking Jaws… What. The. Fuck. They ran the girls and then they cancelled the guys. That’s bad for the sport, if you ask me. It’s the Big Wave Tour, it’s Jaws, everyone knows what you’re fucking getting yourself into! It’s what the audience wants. Carnage. Don’t let the grls surf then cancel and run it when it’s smaller. I still have mad respect, but talk with Albee – he’ll finish what I just started there.”
Albee Layer on Noa Deane:
2. Noa Deane (4 points): “I used to think for a long time I didn't like Noa, but now I'm pretty certain that was just me being a jealous dick because he surfs how I want to. Noa seems to constantly be getting better and trying new stuff which is rare. That Headnoise edit probably has some of the most exciting surfing happening in the world. He also kinda rushes hard. Actually Noa should come surf Jaws… I swear he's one of the few air guys who could do it. I'd be completely out of a job if he did though, so nevermind he should never ever do that.”
Billy Kemper on Nathan Florence:
1. Nathan Florence (5 points): "This last year Nate stepped out of his brother’s shadow and into his own. He changed his whole attitude, his whole mindset, and he went next level. Nate’s been training like an animal and he’s literally looking for the heaviest wave that comes in on every swell. And he doesn’t want to just catch the wave – he wants to take off deeper than everyone, draw the craziest lines and get deeper than anybody in the barrel. That’s what I want to see in surfing.”
Gabriel Medina on Ryan Callinan:
2. Ryan Callinan (4 points): “His surfing in France was… wow, so amazing. He’s such a good surfer.”
Ryan Miller on Julian Wilson:
2. Julian Wilson (4 points): “Julian smashes his shoulder, doesn’t surf for months, then comes out and wins the first event of the year. Throw away those yoga balls. The new contest routine is just don’t surf.”
Ryan Miller on Nathan Florence:
5. Nate Florence (1 point): “This guy gives me a hard-on in every facet – training, humor, mayonnaise, big waves and barrels. If he didn’t suck so bad at performance surfing I would put him at the top of the list.”
Jamie O'Brien on Billy Kemper:
2. Billy Kemper (4 points): “How do you win Jaws three times? You think John John’s a badass for winning the Volcom Pipe Pro three times, but Billy took that to a whole other level. I don’t care how good you are or lucky you are, there’s something there that’s magical. Who cranks it off the bottom on a 30 footer and just wants to backdoor the fucking thing? Scariest. Thing. On. Planet. Earth.”
Jamie O'Brien on John John Florence:
4. John Florence (2 points): I like what John did this year – he just sort of took a year off, blew off the Pipe Masters, canned the whole thing. John John’s been surfing the last couple months, low key, and he could compete at a high level, but this is the smartest thing he’s ever done. He’s been full throttle since he was a grom. Non-stop. This year for him was the first year that he could hang at home with his friends, get the balance, relax, enjoy what he’s earned, clear his mind and go into next year 120%. Obviously everyone respects John’s surfing, but to be at his level and take some time for himself and enjoy it, that’s the best accomplishment. I think he’s going to come back so fierce and so much stronger.
Pat O'Connell on Kai Lenny:
1. Kai Lenny (5 points): “Kai’s performance at Jaws in and around the event was some serious shit. Not to mention his quiver is ready for any condition at any time. The hardcore shortboard dude mightn’t agree but Kai is a human Swiss Army Knife.”
Pat O'Connell on Albee Layer:
4. Albee Layer (2 points): “Maui is the hot spot in the world of surfing. The most innovative surfing is happening over there. Albee is doing flips into oblivion and then packing 60-foot closeouts on a foot shorter board than everyone else’s. He’s a freak.”
Ethan Osborne on Nate Florence:
5. Nate Florence (1 point): "A lot of people see Nate as John’s brother, but the barrels he got this year… they were as good or better than John. He definitely showed he’s as good as John in the barrel."
Joel Parkinson on Grant 'Twiggy' Baker:
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."
Jake Paterson on Gabriel Medina:
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.”
Jake Paterson on Eli Hanneman:
5. Eli Hanneman (1 point): “I personally think he won the Stab Highevent, and is the next big thing in pro surfing. The kid is a freak.”
Dane Reynolds on Griffin Colapinto:
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."
Koa Rothman on Lucas 'Chumbo' Chianca:
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."
Kelly Slater on Chippa Wilson:
4. Chippa Wilson (2 points): "Simply the most freakish guy ever, combining skating approach into surfing. Is there anything he can’t do? You should maybe ask your readers to come up with specific challenges and just go down the list ticking em off."
Kelly Slater on Dane Reynolds (and others):
Noteworthy other: Dane Reynolds: "I don’t see Dane surf much these days but the surfing he did was better than most people will ever surf on their best days [see: Electric Acid]. It was hard not to put Twiggy, Lucas Chumbo, Italo, Griffin, Parko and Mick on this list. That could be a list in itself for this year."
Jordy Smith on Italo Ferreira:
1. Italo Ferreira (5 points): "I see first and foremost everyone on tour; it’s Apple and Bananas comparing them to video guys. I think it’s incredible what the video guys do, but I can’t relate to it as much, because to have a whole year to go make a crazy sick video part doesn’t really seem that hard. Give Italo a month to go away and film, and you’ll come away with something better than all those freesurfers. I think he’s probably done the most high-performance surfing this year. He’s doing the gnarliest stuff."
Chris Cote on Chippa Wilson:
1. Chippa Wilson (5 points): "It’s undeniable for me. In the video parts he’s put out this year, surfing in small waves, big waves, wavepools, on fricken’ boogie boards, twin fins, whatever, he is definitely the most advanced surfer on the planet. I’m a skater, so I know how hard it is to take skate tricks and apply them to the ocean on a surfboard, and no one’s been able to do it like Chippa Wilson. He’s just beyond."
Stab Surfer of the Year running total:
1. Filipe Toledo (60 points)
=2. Gabriel Medina (59 points)
=2. Italo Ferreira (59 points)
4. Chippa Wilson (52 points)
5. Noa Deane (50 points)
6. Nate Florence (47 points)
7. Julian Wilson (45 points)
8. Griffin Colapinto (36 points)
=9. Dane Reynolds (22 points)
=9. Lucas 'Chumbo' Chianca (22 points)
=9. Seth Moniz (22 points)
=12. Billy Kemper (20 points)
=12. Grant 'Twiggy' Baker (20 points)
14. Kai Lenny (19 points)
15. John John Florence (17 points)
16. Ryan Callinan (14 points)
17. Shaun Manners (10 points)
18. Mick Fanning (9 points)
19. Mason Ho (8 points)
=20. Joel Parkinson (7 points)
=20. Barron Mamiya (7 points)
=20. Albee Layer (7 points)
=23. Sheldon Paishon (5 points)
=23. Mikey Wright (5 points)
=23. Ethan Ewing (5 points)
=23. Joan Duru (5 points)
=27. Michel Bourez (4 points)
=27. Eithan Osbourne (4 points)
=29. Mikey February (3 points)
=29. Eli Hanneman (3 points)
=29. Craig Anderson (3 points)
=32. Creed McTaggart (2 points)
=32. Owen Wright (2 points)
=32. Kolohe Andino (2 points)
=32. Reef Heazlewood (2 points)
=32. Alex Knost (2 points)
=32. Wade Carmichael (2 points)
=38. Nathan Fletcher (1 point)
=38. Andy Nieblas (1 point)
=38. Balaram Stack (1 point)
=38. Natxo Gonzalez (1 point)
1. Stephanie Gilmore (17 points)
2. Carissa Moore (7 points)
=3. Keala Kennelly (4 points)
=3. Bethany Hamilton (4 points)
=3. Caroline Marks (4 points)
6. Lakey Peterson (3 points)
=7. Laura Enever (1 point)
=7. Courtney Conlogue (1 point)
=7. Caitlin Simmers (1 point)
=7. Johanne Defay (1 point)
=7. Coco Ho (1 point)
=7. Alana Blanchard (1 point)
Now you must choose your own Stab Surfers of the Year... (They won't count for the