The Winners: Stab Surfer Of The Year, 2019
Best male, female, junior, and the best film as chosen by 50 influential names in surfing.
Over the last 10 days we’ve polled 50 influential names in the surfing game. We asked them four key questions: your top five male surfers of 2019, top three female, the best under 18, and the best edit.
What we received was a wide array of choices, but as we started to progress to the halfway point, some clear patterns began to emerge. The Champion Tour is a big determinant of choices for most, whereas others based their choices purely on footage, and some based their choices on blood relations—we’re looking at you Mason and Coco Ho.
We do however have some clear winners for the four categories. Results, which in all honesty, aren’t too surprising given the caliber of surfing delivered by these surfers in 2019, mirror those of the 2020 Championship Tour.
Without further ado (read: rambling), here are the winners of Stab Surfer of the Year.
Overall Men’s Winner
Italo Ferreira (116 points)
For the second year running, Italo Ferreira has taken top honours in Stab’s Surfer of the Year.
In 2018, Italo had his truly breakthrough year on the World Tour winning three events, finishing in fourth place, and winning the hearts of every surfer worldwide with his unbridled enthusiasm. Amongst his peers, Italo was ranked the best of last year, and it looks like the same is true this year with the Brazilian almost doubly ahead of the next highest surfer, Gabriel Medina (63 points).
Overall, 27 people voted for Italo, and the majority of those who voted for him gave him four or five points (first or second in their list). It’s not often a World Title is argued to be undeserved, but it’s always nice to know your peers rank you as the best in the world as well.
Congratulations, Italo Ferreira!
Here’s what some of Italo’s peers had to say.
Mick Fanning — “You can’t really go past Italo…He made five finals, and won three of them. On top of that, the surfing he was doing outside of competition is incredible as well.”
Bruce Irons — “He’s been killing it this year. He’s fucking sticking all those big airs with confidence. I think he’s number one for sure.”
John John Florence — “He’s just a really fun surfer to watch. Nate comes over all psyched on Italo a lot and we watch the little Instagram videos he puts up and he’s just got so much energy.”
Kolohe Andino — “Every time I go for a surf on tour, he’s out there just frothing and ripping. Across the board I think people find Italo the most exciting surfer to watch.”
And here’s how the remainder of the top 10 panned out:
2. Gabriel Medina (63 points)
3. Chippa Wilson (43 points)
=4. John John Florence (39 points)
=4. Jack Robinson (39 points)
6. Noa Deane (37 points)
7. Russell Bierke (36 points)
=8. Kolohe Andino (31 points)
=8. Mason Ho (31 points)
10. Seth Moniz (24 points)
Overall Women’s Winner
Carissa Moore (73 points)
From the outset of voting, it was clear the women’s overall winner was a three-horse race. But as with the WSL World Title, Carissa came out on top.
While both Steph Gilmore and Carissa Moore received 32 votes from their peers, Carissa beat Steph in placement more often than not.
Carissa’s performance on the tour this year—plus anything we’ve seen of her out of the jersey—shows exactly why she is a four-time World Champion and why her peers also recognise her as the best women’s surfer in the world for 2019.
Next year, Carissa will be taking a well-deserved break from the CT, but don’t be surprised if she wins this poll again with a flurry of freesurfing clips.
Here’s what some of Carissa’s peers said about her:
John John Florence — “Carissa would be number one just because she’s just such a fun surfer to watch. She’s so gnarly, she’s so powerful.”
Mick Fanning — “Watching her put it all on the line was awesome, and for her to come out and win her fourth title the way she did was really cool. I love the way that she just dropped the mic too, and goes yep, I’m taking the next year off.”
Coco Ho — “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 I think she could beat a lot of the guys.”
Laura Enever — “Carissa had an incredible year. She stepped it up in her barrel riding.”
And here’s how the rest of the top five panned out:
2. Stephanie Gilmore (69.5 points)’
3. Caroline Marks (53 points)
=4. Laura Enever (15 points)
=4. Moana Jones (15 points)
Best Junior/Under 18
Eli Hanneman (11.5 points)
There’s a preponderance of precocious groms who surf ten times better than most of us who have been surfing longer than they’ve been alive. Amongst this pack, however, there are a number who truly stand out. While most wunderkinds can do a full-rotation reverse into the flats, none can do them with as much grace and precision as Eli Hanneman. It’s also not common for kids too young to drive to be packing double-overhead (if you’re full-grown) barrels and punting out of them.
These are just some of the reasons Eli Hanneman took top honours from his—usually older—peers.
At just 16 years of age, expect him to win this category for a few years to come.
Here’s what some of Eli’s peers (and idols) had to say about his surfing:
Nathan Florence — “It would between Eli and Jett Schilling, but Eli’s been doing some crazy stuff consistently. And he’s consistently getting better.”
Matt Meola — “I watch all the younger groms and Eli is lightyears ahead of them. I have a chance 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.”
Jamie O’Brien — “He’s so small and everything he does is big and his size makes it look even bigger and more impressive. I feel like Eli’s one of those kind of kids that could just qualify at a young age and be a big threat.”
Here’s what the remainder of the junior division looked like:
2. Crosby Colapinto (8 points)
3. Jai Glindeman (5.5 points)
4. Jackson Dorian (4 points)
5. Dakoda Walters (2.5 points)
A film by Andrew Kaineder starring Russell Bierke (15 points)
Amongst a flurry of high-performance web edits, from Craig Anderson’s Kai-Neville-edited The Quieter You Are The More You Can Hear, to Noa Deane’s action-packed Ru. Bu. 994, and Creed x Globe’s Cult of Freedom part, there was one film which resonated in the minds of our 50 polled surfers: Russell Bierke in Flow State.
Since winning Cape Fear in 2016, the young man known as Russ has only further solidified his presence in the big wave sphere, both in and out of competition.
While Andrew and Russ have teamed up before to release surf thrillers like Bezerke, Flow State is Russell’s biggest statement thus far. Fifteen minutes of absurd surfing in life-threatening waves is enough to make you hit replay, and evidently enough to be engrained in the minds of Russell’s peers.
Here’s what some of surfing’s most notable minds had to say about Flow State:
Nathan Florence — “It was really hardcore. He stacked clips and all of them were in very life threatening situations. And the thing he did at Shipsterns haven’t been done since Laurie Towner’s wave a couple years ago. He’s taking wipeouts and going out for more.”
Laura Enever — “He was just paddling waves that people would tow and he’s so committed. He’s one of the best big wave surfers in the world for sure.”
Seth Moniz — “I wouldn’t watch that to get psyched to surf but when you watch that you have to take five minutes to think about what just happened.”
Albee Layer — “I loved everything about Russel’s Flow State. It was shot so good and the waves he caught were just insane. That one wave he caught at Shipsterns I swear is one of the best rides of all time in surfing. I think we’re kind of numb to how gnarly Shipsterns. We see it so much, but that was something else.”
Here’s how the rest of the best film voting played out:
2. Left Brain Right Brain A film by Kai Neville starring Chippa Wilson (6 points)
3. Ru. Bu. 994 A film by Mikey Mallalieu starring Noa Deane (5 points)
=4. The Quieter You Are The More You Can Hear A film by Kai Neville starring Craig Anderson (3 points)
=4. Beach Head A film by Ian Crane starring himself (3 points)
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