The Best Forgotten Stories Of 2017
Stab's Greatest Misses!
Did you think we were gonna make to 2018?
Us neither. And honestly, we may have written too soon...
As is tradition, over the next week, we'll reminisce about a year well-lived, present a bundle of top 10’s from 2017—because we deserve a break, and at the moment you’re reading this, we're most likely moderately drunk, rather spry or both.
This year, there were ups. There were downs. People got offended. Some got reprimanded. Some got candid. And, as the internet is like a black hole, there were many a story that all too quickly slipped down the feed and into the internet’s ether.
And though a few of them certainly deserve a second look, we're confident some of you will be seeing a few of these with fresh eyes, and hope you enjoy.
Without further ado, here is Stab’s Greatest Misses of 2017 (in chronological order).
And now, may we please board an around-the-world flight, with stops at 20 of the least likely surf destinations imaginable? Don’t you need something alien, something exotic, in your surf travel? The living is so much higher when the discovery factor is jacked! Like this Mauritanian scenario: Empty, dreamy, and deep within a politically and socially volatile territory… adventure time!
“20 Places to surf before 2020” by Elliott Struck
Oh, dear Strucky,
You’re missed in the Stab office.
2017 started off with a quick note on our surely dystopian future and a feature sponsored by Corona: Since we all love a list, 20 places to surf before 2020 was a bright winter star in the strange reality that was this year. For drop-dead imagery and detailed locales from Iceland to Oman to Japan to Algeria to beyond, dive into this feature here. Or click the hyperlink above (which will be how you’ll enter the following articles).
Nate’s one of the two team riders (Joel being the other) on WM who actually smoke the plant regularly. Barca recently quit, though if you were to find him without a spliff between his fingers in 2015, it’d be a rarity. Here’s Nate enjoying his morning meditation.
“Slow dancing with Weedmaps on the North Shore” by Morgan Williamson
Last winter, during the Pipe Master I joined Weedmaps team (Bruce Irons, Nathan Fletcher, Dustin Barca) for the brand's introduction to surf, on the North Shore. They rented a mansion. They threw parties. Had a weird and eclectic mix of people shuffle in and out of the house. They did it in the name of health. In the name of culling the marijuana stigma (which is easier to do on paper than in reality). It was a strange time, and made for a good story. Jump in for IV drips, a trip to a barber shop, 12 paper joints, the benefits of CBD, and a tweedy man with a beard.
“Culture Shifters with VICE’s Jake Burghart” by Mike Pagan
For episode three of our Culture Shifters series with House Beer we sat down with Jake Burghart, who started working for VICE 13 years ago. He was 23. Since then Jake’s travelled to 69 different countries. He is the gentleman behind the camera for VICE’s most noted pieces. Mr Burghart’s been to North Korea twice, was nearly killed by stoned teenagers wielding AK47’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hung out with Obama and so much more. Here’s a documentary piece we urge you to revisit.
Keyboard jockeys need a horse to beat.
“Inciting racial hatred - A new low for Stab” by Morgan Williamson
One bright morning in Los Angeles, I woke to a startling email subject line: “Inciting racial hatred a new low for Stab.” The email was in regards to our comments section. It asked that, on behalf of all of England, xenophobic comments be removed on a certain, seemingly harmless article. The whole thing landed on the back of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire that resulted in 79 casualties, white-on-Muslim violence, ISIS and terror attacks that have become an all-too-common headline by this time, this year. Later that afternoon, after a bit of pondering, this story on the current state of a broken online platform was born. Honey, welcome to the age of keyboard decadence.
This wave by Mark Mathew is insanity.
“An ode to insanity” by Brendan Buckley
Why do we surf? What’s the point putting on a rubber suit and paddling a floatation device into the ocean? Is surfing a gutless, ankle high day in the middle of summer insane? As our dear Buckles would put it, “Surfing, in that instance, is a relative term — in my opinion, what I witnessed that day would more effectively be described as either ‘a lowland gorilla attempting a Richard Simmons workout...’ or ‘people who bought the $800 resin-tint twin-fin because it looked cool.’ And yet, there they were. All twenty of ‘em.”
If that's insane, then what would you call days spent in the brine beneath grey skies, cold rain and weird winds?
Between first contact in 1788, until as recently as 1934, Aboriginals were slaughtered to the tune of 90% of their population—from between 700,000 and one million Indigenous people, down to 93,000 by 1901. (The Aboriginal population is now listed as 669 900 or 2.7% of Australia).
“The bloody history of Australia’s best waves” by Jed Smith
The quaint surfing and fishing towns that hold some of the best waves in Australia have a black history. For just a skim of the undocumented massacres, at the hands of European setters, of the Aboriginal peoples who first inhabited surf towns all over Australia, click in.
Jed Smith researched and wrote the shit out of this piece. It’s well worth your time.
There are few things on this earth more pleasing than a seemingly perfect, empty lineup.
“Why surfing” by Morgan Williamson
Following the Las Vegas shooting, the new-old gun control conversation, multiple hurricanes, the devastating earthquakes in Mexico, a heightened sense of paranoia and the growing climate of confusion, the wonder of: Is there something better to dedicate so much time to? Was palpable. And thus came this wax-lyrical ode to this thing called surfing. This thing, that if it ceased to exist, would have a near-zero effect on the world at large. This everything.
The process is as follows:
-Pretend your name is Zane.
-Write a fake story that claims people are dolphins.
-Create a new email address.
-Email them fake story from new email address.
-Submit headshot of my friend Sean Benik from when he was a virgin (age 26).
“I cuckolded the Inertia into saying that people are dolphins and you can too” by Brendan Buckley.
Buck had drifted this idea past me. Asking if he successfully got the Inertia to publish a story based off a fake scientific report, which he would write, that essentially claimed people are dolphins if he could write a story and publish it on Stab. Yes, was the answer. A month or two went by and this had been forgotten about. Then during one terrible hangover, I awoke to a text message. It was an Inertia story. Followed by an exclamatory text message from Buck that said, in essence, “I did it!” but presented with poetic and endearing poise (I’d write the actual message here but that iPhone drowned in a watery grave). I tried to stammer its hilarity to my girlfriend. But, instead spewed nonsense and chugged a water bottle. Three days later, the best surf media prank of the year was presented and will live forever on this here site.
A somewhat ironic walk under the Trestles freeway pass.
Jake had been tracking the Cuban surf revolution for some time. Months prior to this piece, he’d written a story about a documentary film project called Havana Libre that details the plight of the 100 or so resident Cuban surfers. During the summer Jake met with Frank Gonzalez and Yaya Guerrero, who became the first surfers to ever go on a surf trip to California and return to Cuba. Here is Stab’s feel-good story of the year - a testimonial to bettering relationships between the US and Cuba with special guests Rob Machado, Pat O’Connell, Pat Gudang and Dylan Graves. Ironically, the day the Cubans showed up at Trestles was the same day Trump decided to put a freeze on US/Cuba relations.
Julian Wilson for Stab Issue 67.
“We bought Stab back!” by Sam Mcintosh
This was the day we stepped out of the SurfStitch umbrella and into the hail storm. Our fearless leader, Sam Mcintosh, wrote a letter to our readership. It detailed the past few years at Stab – the trials and tribulations of the Stitch buyout and driving $urf $tyle into the future. Hit the link above for a collection of Stab concept shoots that felt good, and a rundown of what’s on the menu assuring all that shitty surf jernalizm you’ve come expect and lo(athe)ve from us. This is a flashback to a news segment that won’t affect your daily life whatsoever.
A rarely seen Gulf Coast sandbar, during Hurricane Debby, 2012.
“The Perfect Storm” by Ashton Goggans
In September, Ashton Goggans left the cloak of Surfer the magazine (not to be confused with Surfer the bar) to join our band of happy idiots as Ed in chief. He was so gung-ho it was startling. He had grand plans, a vibrant smile, a few too many rings and a hat collection that Johnny Depp would just adore. His presence reinvigorated Stabmagdotcommercial. Within the first week into Smashton Bograils’ brave new world, we were given the scoop on the WSL’s closed-door meeting detailing the changes to the 2019 World Tour. Followed by Bobby Martinez’s thoughts on the changes to said tour. And Ashton also threatened to get rid of the Disqus. The avatars who sit below our posts were outraged, spitting purple prose like:
“Message to Googan;, stab is a fucking surf magazine, that works (just assume that), to entertain the bad boys of the peak. Suddenly you cant stand anonymous criticism. So...or you are to soft (cock) or you dont fucking understand who you are selling to.
Your scum average reader
To which Ashton responded with this first letter from the editor, "The Perfect Storm." Go read!
There has been nothing easy about Dion's success. Except for maybe this wave.
“Dion Agius is surfing’s 21st-century digital boy” by Michael Ciaramella
We’re fond of Dion Agius. From his entrepreneurial pursuits, love for film, and surf, and sunglasses, and black beanies, and tail pads, we’re inclined to believe he’s one of the most switched on gents in surfing. A 10-minute conversation with him would sway any preconceived notion of what he stands for. Which is why we chose to feature him in the second episode of our Culture Shifters series. So when Michael Ciarmella joined the Stab payroll during the second half of this year we sent him out to Australia to do a long form profile piece on him. Here’s a long read that’ll either sway or confirm your opinion on the man who popularized the surf blog.
It's a cherry picker, not a scissor lift ;)
"We’re trying to infiltrate Kelly’s wave pool event" by Michael Ciaramella, Morgan Williamson and Lyon Herron
It all started in our Los Angeles office. We knew Kelly Slater’s top secret wave pool event would take place the following day. So we plotted. We talked about renting a helicopter. We settled for a drone and a cherry picker, we called our friend Lyon Herron and asked him if he’d like to come along and shoot photos while we covered this event. Lyon responded, “So, should I bring my water-housing?” And I broke the news to him that we weren’t actually invited; and no, he wouldn't be going in the pool. That we were going to crash the party and cover it any way we could. That really, we were just going to run around Lemoore like nerdy high school kids who didn’t get invited to the cool kid’s prom after party. Five hours later we were doing just that. It started with a selfie with Gabriel Medina and ended with a wrap-up gallery, written through a head-splitting hangover in a hotel built in the 1800s that'd be the most idyllic scene for a murder. This is our live blog featuring our completely idiotic misadventures 100 miles from the California coast.
We're in Rory Parker territory now.
“What’s a working stiff to do” by Rory Parker
Rory wanted to write an article about gay surfers in Hawaii. So he went on a research journey and in the mix of said research, he came back with this story on gay surfers, surfer boy erotica, male prostitution, and outside the box economic opportunity. Seriously, you should read this.
Via Rory's 20 dollar Walmart burner flip phone.
“Psychedelics and 12 Dollar Stew” by Rory Parker
We invited Rory to the North Shore, to er, cover the Surfer Poll. He responded with, “I have 20 hits of LSD lined up for when we get there,” to which, I responded with, “now you’re speaking my language,” - not really sure if he was serious or not. At that time, none of us had met the fabled Rory Parker. He landed in Honolulu and I left our place at Logs to pick him up. “Do you mind if we stop by my friend’s, I need to pick up that acid,” he told me.
Prior to entering the awards, he asked who was onboard. Ashton and I indulged, but minimally, just a half - enough for a slight glimmer in our eyes. Rory ate about four times our dose and spent the night scribbling in his notebook and taking photos on his burner flip phone. At the time, I thought I have no idea how he’s going to write tomorrow morning while drinking enough to feel, uh, comfortable. I had to conduct a boardshort shoot down at Ke Iki beach on an hour sleep and came back depleted. Then I read Rory’s piece and inflated. The Surfer Poll has never been reported on with the vivid, raw emotion of Rory’s Turtle Bay Rumblings.