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The 12 Most Read Stories on Stab in 2016

Crocodiles, boatslams, wipeouts, Dane Reynolds, and of course, Kelly Slater’s wavepool.

style // Oct 24, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

2016 was quite a year in surf. It was always going to be difficult to top 2015, with the Mick Fanning shark incident and the first look at Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool. But 2016 gave it quite a nudge – the Red Bull Cape Fear event thundered, Dane Reynolds was brilliant in every way, Kelly Slater’s wave pool opened for biz, a crocodile clamped a surfer’s face, Ellie Jean Coffey posted a video of herself skateboarding on Instagram… Those were the kind of Internet-shattering events we have dealt with for the last 12 months. And so, below are the 12 most highly-trafficked posts on this very portal since January 1, 2016.

12. Ellie Jean Coffey’s Skating Instagram Post Best Thing On The Internet
May the good Laird bless you bunch of creeps. And, Sweet Baby Jesus bless the Coffey family, and their ability to manipulate social media in such a way.

11. Conner Coffin And Carissa Moore Saw A Man Get Shot Down In Rio
There was already much contention around the Rio Pro tour stop – sewage drifting into the lineup in certain conditions, scaffolding collapsing in a large swell, a mutiny among some older world tour surfers, threats of zika virus, threats that the surfers would boycott if conditions didn’t improve… So when Conner Coffin and Carissa Moore were passing a gas station in the middle of the day, and saw an attempted homicide near the event site, it put another huge chink in the Rio Pro’s reputation. And, everyone wanted to read about it.

10. Watch: A TV Host Surf Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool
Kelly’s pool lands in the top 10 most-read twice this year (see number 7). And that is because, other than Mick Fanning’s shark attack, the pool truly is the most curious thing to happen in surfing in a very long time. It was a myth, until it wasn’t. Hence, any footage to come out of the pool – regardless of whether it features one of the world’s best surfers or an American TV host – is going to be consumed en masse. Throw in a highly-clickable screen grab for good measure.

KSWC TVHOST

9. Watch: Tom Dosland Free Falls Out Of A Jaws Lip
This is surf’s version of Watch: Car Veers Off Icey Road. You can’t look, nor can you look away. Mr Dosland started his year in thrilling fashion with a highly-entertaining (and only because he didn’t die) dismount at one of surfing’s most famous big wave locations. It was graceful, dramatic, violent, and explosive, all at the same time.

8. If You Surf Cape Fear, You’re Off The Tour – A Message From The WSL To Their Competitors
In my opinion, the best possible thing the WSL could have done for the Red Bull Cape Fear was exactly what they did – ban any WSL-affiliated surfers (BWWT or WCT) from entering. This left the door open for the blue collar gents who surf the place better than anyone else in the world to show millions of confused viewers that yes, you can survive a wipeout on a mutant of that calibre. They also brought more attention to the event they were trying to distance themselves from by making said declaration. And, it didn’t hurt that this news dropped in the middle of the event’s waiting period.

7. Kelly Slater’s Wavepool Finally Opens Its Doors
Uh, yeah. This is the hottest ticket in the world of surf. Has been since it was unveiled the day after Adriano’s World Title (KS sure knows how to overshadow), and will be for a long time to come. Trust Kelly to create a flawless man-made wave, keep it locked up and drip-feed footage of it. If the Lemoore pool is a new Star Wars film, then each clip is a new trailer and playcounts keep shooting north. I, along with the rest of the world, will be dropping data on every morsel I can get, which included the news back in April that Kelly was finally inviting surfers to come and ride the wave. But, who would be the first guests? We do love speculation.

6. Here’s Matt Wilkinson’s Bar Bill After Winning Bells
The World Tour has, in recent years, undergone a gradual sterilisation process. Late parties and hungover heats, dense carbs and borrowed boards have been replaced by trainers, coaches, protein, dialled quivers, early nights, exercise balls and sobriety for the event duration. Thus, there is something wildly compelling about a bonafide piece of evidence from the celebration party after an event wraps. And when Matt Wilkinson’s post-Bells bar tab surfaced on Instagram (albeit only a portion – it was actually even bigger), the realness of it all was a pleasant, jarring injection of nostalgia mixed with, perhaps…  a sense of familiarity. Pro surfers are human! They get wild after winning thousands of dollars! Wilko is the people’s champ! Wait, there’s proof? Click!

Wilko Bar Tab

5. Must Watch: Dolphin Launches Onto WA Grom
The ‘must watch’ part wasn’t a gag: this was seriously required viewing. All surfers have wondered, at some point, what might happen if a dolphin misjudged its jump in a busy lineup. Young Jed Gradisen discovered just that during a session at Margaret River. The dolphin’s beak punched through Jed’s board, but Jed managed to avoid wearing the full weight of the large creature (which could’ve had rather serious consequences). “He was just as shocked as I was,” laughed Jed during his breezy recount. A feel-good hit!

4. Here’s A Boatslam To Complete Your Day
There was once a TV program called Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. It died a not-so-slow (though very sad) death at the hands of YouTube. But, the premise is still one that roars: Animals, accidents, slapstick and slams. A boatslam, for this reason, is always going to be a hit. Especially when it’s being driven by a small crew of Kiwi surfers. This one was a doozy, and offered a very telling screenshot – the kind that no self-loathing Internet user could bypass, should it appear in their social feed. Hello, number four.

3. Watch: Chapter 11, The New Feature Film By Dane Reynolds
This was always going to play well. The surfing was dazzling, as only can be expected of Mr Reynolds, but what really punched the NOS button here was Dane’s narration. It was a confessional, a reaction, and Marine Layer Productions’ piece de resistance. Dane opened up on everything from his world tour experiences, his relationship with – and eventual departure from – Quiksilver, his (often-troubled) mental space, and more. It was Reynolds-brand honest, highly personal, and balanced an explosive performance with revelatory commentary. It was unlike anything done before in surfing.

2. Graphic Footage: Costa Rica Crocodile Attack Victim Tears Jaws From Face
There exists a phenomenon in the human psyche whereby we have a sick fascination with watching violence and disaster – but it is actually a defence mechanism. We want to know what the worst looks like, so we can mentally prepare ourselves. Yet, isn’t it strange that shark attacks in surfing have reached such a point of saturation, that none cracked the top 10 most read of the year? A surfer being attacked by a crocodile, however, is a very different story. Especially when said surfer rips the croc’s jaws from his face, and it is caught on camera. Graphic footage, indeed.

croco

1. Watch: Stab In The Dark 2016
Architecturally, this was a Stab concept and execution. But what really made it sing, what really churned it into digital butter, was Mr Dane Reynolds. This is a surfer who, having left the world tour, parted ways with his major sponsor, and turned down the volume on his web portal, still has immeasurable amounts of magnetism. And, brutal honesty! No punches were pulled whatsoever – which is the whole idea behind commissioning completely blank custom surfboards from the world’s best shapers, to be critically analysed, free of brand bias. And then, there was the surfing Dane did in South Africa during the testing period. Most interestingly, in a digital culture that constantly pushes down the ideal length of webclips, this fucker ran at 36 minutes. And, everybody watched til the end. Dane’s hips don’t lie.

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