Stab High wave pool event puts fun back into competition
Ground Zero for innovative wave pool event
The first of its kind air-specific wave pool event went down in Waco this weekend courtesy of the creatives at Stab Magazine. The uniquely formatted event awarded Noa Deane the top prize and $25K for his main event win. The other events-within-event winners were Ethan Osborne who took home $20K for the highest air of the competition and all the participants of the Acid Drop event who won a huge chunk of, not cash, but good fun.
What went down
The finalists in the main event each surfed nine waves. Ian Crane, Eli Hanneman, Chippa Wilson, Eithan Osborne, Noa Deane and Mason Ho all got four lefts, four rights and one wave of their choice.
The lead in the final see-sawed back and forth between Deane and fifteen-year-old Hanneman. But Noa’s unique frontside big spin mid final earned the highest marks and sealed the win.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Noa told STAB. “It’s like no pressure and heaps of pressure at the same time. Yesterday was one of the most fun days of surfing I’ve ever had. Then today’s been rad. It’s so fun to watch. I’d almost rather just drink tins and watch them surf.”
Chippa Wilson also reflected that, despite the chill vibes and beers shared during competition, he felt the competitive fire.
“I haven’t done a contest in five years,” said Chippa Wilson. “Just hanging with all the lads and having a beer between heats has been unreal. This event’s been good. Pretty loose. There’s a bit of pressure but everyone has been landing stuff and having a good time.”
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Biggest air competition
In the Raise the Roof highest air segment of the event Eithan Osborne put the most distance between himself and the wave, earning him the fat prize pay of $20K.
“I’m just over the moon right now!” said Osborne “This was the best contest I’ve ever done. Plus I got to ride with my favorite surfers. I really hope there will be more surf events like this in the future because it was just so much fun!”
Do the drop, the Acid Drop
Along with the main event and high air spectacle, there was an Acid Drop Challenge hosted by Nathan Fletcher that thrived for its overall gnarlyness, costumed antics and bravado.
Stab highlighted moments like Dion Agius running along the wall, pounding cold beers, throwing his leash on in a hurry and hucking himself off the wall while a man in a speedo thong snuck a wave in the pool below and Austyn Gillette dropped off the wall wearing an open collared shirt, sunglasses and hat.
While not a single surfer landed a drop Stab did point out that “The essence of what we hoped to capture in this event was present – laughs, smiles, beers, and sheer entertainment. From the comfort of the wall it was all chants and cheers.”
Format and future wave pool events
The first of what we hope will be an annual event (how about a new world tour?), the Stab High contest invited 20 top non-WSL surfers (which is why there was no John John or Filipe) to the BSR Cable Park and the newly minted wave by American Wave Machines, to go big on the world’s largest human-made air section. Entrants were chosen by Stab and Stab readers in an online poll.
The event ran six hours and included food trucks, music, drinks (lots of em by the look of the podium speeches).
For all viewers who missed the action in Waco, ABC will broadcast a special episode of World of X Games with highlights on Oct 14, 2018 at 4 p.m. ET. Or you can watch the Video On Demand
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