Big, fat fun returns as Stab High rushes Urbnsurf

Stab announced its annual Stab High event will take place at Melbourne, Australia’s Urbnsurf facility this year. The previous two years were held in Texas at the BSR Surf Resort powered by American Wave Machines. The new venue boasts the southern hemisphere’s first full-size Wavegarden Cove.

“Not only will we be on a different continent for Stab High 3.0, but we’ll also be in a different wave tank,” says organizer Sam McIntosh. “Urbnsurf uses Wavegarden’s Cove technology, which is completely different from the technology employed in Waco, Texas. This means a totally new, never-before-seen ramp will be on display in the event.”

McIntosh says the 2019 Stab High winner, Chippa Wilson, Harry Bryant and Dion Agius (with the help of Wavegarden’s engineering team) created a specialized air section for the event.

Putting on such an event does have its pitfalls, but the fear of not putting on the contest is what drove Sam and Stab to do it for the third year.

“I’m wracked with mental anguish on these kinds of projects,” continued Sam. “There are hundreds of potential landmines that could go off at any moment. The only reason we keep pushing is that the fear of not committing to a project keeps me up at night more than the fear of things going wrong. We cancel out tides, swell, and bathymetry but mother nature is still the one who holds and folds. Unfortunately, I don’t have her number.”

So far Stab has listed five entrants for this year, with more announcements forthcoming. They are: Harry Bryant, Noa Deane, Matt Meola, Eithan Osborne, and Dion Agius. The Ladybirds event returns with the first Ladybirds event winner, Sierra Kerr, there to defend her title against yet-to-be-named she-pilots.  

In raising a middle finger to WSL gloss, the Stab High event will penalize surfers for claiming. Winners will also forfeit all prize money to a charity of their choice if they’re part of the traditional post-heat ceremony of being chaired up the beach. 

Monster will reward the highest air of the event with the “Monster Air” award, which includes a check for $20k. The winner of the event will take home $25k. This year’s event will be judged by a team of high-profile aerialists, with Stab’s resident surf nerd Michael Ciaramella acting as head judge. The event will again use the same whole-numbers-only style of judging.

German artist Stefan Marks will be adorning the event with all kinds of creative oddities, including the competitors’ jerseys, the concert venue, and the pool’s retaining wall.  

Fans can book tickets at the venue or join via pay-per-view. Ticket sales will be donated to Greening Australia, a group that specializes in tree-planting and carbon offset initiatives, Stab’s contribution after the devastating fires that hit Australia.  

The event will run from around 12 pm to 6 pm AEST. Those wishing to attend can buy tickets here

Images courtesy Stab High/Tom Carey

Endless Surf 2023A