Stab Magazine | Which Is Cooler: Surfing All Fifty American States Or Taking Three Bong Rips On A Wave?

Which Is Cooler: Surfing All Fifty American States Or Taking Three Bong Rips On A Wave?

This is what surfing looks like, right now. 

style // Aug 23, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Content, content, content. 

It is king, some people say. And then they go on to divide the kingdom into territories like “evergreen” or “shoulder” and speak of it in variety of terms which are designed to confuse more than they inform in an attempt to create a veil of superiority, or at least intelligence, by asserting that they know these buzzy vain words while their peers don’t. 

Marketing 101. 

Anyway, we live in an era in which people have become brands and brands have become useless noise machines. An era of content, most of which is driven by clicks, likes, views, followers, etc, because there is no metric for cool in a monthly report.

I’m not sure exactly when watching someone arch their back in a backless wave or punt a six-foot straight air into the flats paired with an uncontrived representation of their personality became inadequate, yet here we are. 

Content, content, content. The king we never needed. 

Which brings us to a few major accomplishments coming out of the surf world recently. Ben Gravy completed his mission to surf all 50 states and Zoltan Torkos took three bong rips on a wave, earning separate but equal love from both CBS and CBD.

The engagement rate, reportedly, was quite high for both. 

But is any of it cool?

Surfing 50 states is cool, I think… Painfully novelty, though.

I’d rather see a father and son do it. They would take the old family RV. And the father would have just been diagnosed with ALS. And the son would be battling an opioid addiction. And they would have never gotten along before this, regardless of the unconditional love the father has shown. And the RV would break down a lot. And there would be a fight and the father, with the new freedom he has found in facing death, would leave and the son would have to be the one that saves the father for once.

They would reconcile, the son would beat his addiction, the father would die and it would become a film, even though that was never the intent. Their characters would be played by Jeff Bridges and a young upstart hunk. 

And, the bong rip. Kind of cool, maybe?

I’d rather see this one completed by a teenager wearing a cape. Still, I feel like this was somehow less forced. Like, homie woke up that morning and may have tried to smoke a bong on a wave whether the cameras were rolling or not. Wouldn’t take it to Hollywood, though.

The bottom line is that surfing doesn’t need anything at all. It is a firework that temporarily captivates the entire sphere of consciousness and it is perfect. But the vast majority of “surf content” needs work. It needs to be genuine. It needs to be real. It needs to be unafraid of being labeled core — remember how things worked out last time we tried to go mainstream?

Only Ben and Zoltan will ever truly know if they did it for their heart or for their clicks. Either way, power to them. Just more power to them if it was the former.

And by the way, that wasn’t the bottom line. This is: Just go surfing, and have a good fucking time.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent


“I’m A West Oz Bogan For Sure, I Just Don’t Have The Mullet”

The first SEOTY entry of 2023 is ‘Into Dust’ ft. Jacob Willcox.

Mar 20, 2023

Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace  

Now available in the Antipodes...

Mar 20, 2023


Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made

BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…

Mar 18, 2023

Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands

How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.

Mar 18, 2023


Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?

William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.

Mar 17, 2023

Watch: Luke + Eddie

A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…

Mar 17, 2023


A Pipe Master, Ryan Burch, And Some Pickle Forks On The Eastern Seaboard

This one ticks a lot of boxes

Mar 16, 2023

Brazil Has A Talent Problem

And three other things we learned from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Mar 16, 2023


Mick Fanning On A Unicorn, Bags Of Dicks, And A Shocking Script Read By Surfing’s Biggest Stars

Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet on their outrageous film, 'The Greatest Surf Movie In The…

Mar 15, 2023

Italo Ferreira Caught 63 Waves In An Hour

And other stats from our Stab in the Dark production.

Mar 15, 2023


Can A Freesurfer Go The Other Way? A Dakoda Walters Case Study

The 57-kilo Aussie has taken a Stab High approach to trad contest surfing.

Mar 15, 2023

Caity Simmers And João Chianca Fulfill Respective Prophecies Under Gaze Of Portuguese President

A very good day of competitive surfing.

Mar 14, 2023

Kelly And Steph Are In Trouble

What's a GOAT gotta do to make the cut around here?

Mar 14, 2023


“I Used To Only Surf Here With One Guy…His Name’s Henry, And He’s A Seal”

A contemplation on the frigid desolation of Iceland.

Mar 14, 2023

World #1 Carissa Moore Vanquished By Front Pad Toting Wildcard, Lucky Few Get Supertubed

‘Go hard or go home, innit’ 

Mar 13, 2023

Hungover Hold-Downs, Patent Feuds, And One-In-A-Million Malfunctions Involving 11x World Champs: The Story Of Surfing’s Inflatable Vests

These things changed the game.

Mar 13, 2023


Parker Coffin Tells Ex: ‘Thank You For Everything’

Freesurfing’s best communicator leaves a classy farewell to Roark.

Mar 13, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Mar 13, 2023