Revealed: World’s Best Surf Town!

I'll cut the suspense! It's New York City!

(I’ll admit… it is late in the afternoon here and I am tired and not drunk buuuuuut never mind. I wanted to write something fresh and good buuuuuut… and while I was Googling “best surfing towns” I saw that Surfer just finished their honorable and serious but maybe a touch conservative list (Haleiwa, San Clemente etc.) and I also saw an old Stab piece from five years ago written by yours truly. No, the best surf town in the world is not Haleiwa. It is New York City. And right now it is pumping thanks to Maria. Please forgive the hotel/restaurant recommendations in the following. Five years ago = 1000 years ago in New York. Otherwise…. enjoy my lazy!)

New York is the only city on Earth that truly matters. Paris is grand and London is nice and Sydney is chic and Los Angeles is a dream and Cairo and Beijing and Helsinki and Tokyo but New York is New York and all other cities prostrate themselves before her.

New York is broken up in to five distinct neighbourhoods, called boroughs. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Rappers croon about the Bronx. Robert Mapplethorpe made very suggestive art in Queens. Staten Island stars in Good Fellas and hipsters have recently embraced Brooklyn but when Stab speaks of New York it only speaks of Manhattan.

Why here? To be frank, I don’t know. Young Jack Robinson’s father, when he gets your ear, will talk on and on about how the rocks in Western Australia have certain magnetic properties and those properties, when channelled and honed, will produce surfing phenoms like Taj Burrow and his son. He sounds off, but Taj is Taj and Jack is Jack just like New York is New York. Maybe Manhattan has particular chemical properties. Maybe the earth’s tilt focuses on the five boroughs and especially on Manhattan. Maybe who knows. But when you get off a plane in New York. When your train arrives you will feel it. There is the top tier and then there is New York. The food is the best. The hotels are the best. The art is the best. The shopping is the best. The architecture is the best. The streets are the best. The music is the best. The women are not the best. That is what Los Angeles is for.

Where to stay: There are too many places. The Standard, the Standard East Village, the Ace, the Jane, the Gansevoort but Stab chooses the Bowery above all else. It is located in the lower east side, which used to be grimy but is now so hip that it hurts. The Bowery will cost $400 or so dollars a night but it is worth the dent. The rooms are generous, in space, which is rare for New York. They have great old windows, some floor to ceiling that peek out over the city. In-room linens are comfortable. The public spaces are stripped down and built to party in a very sophisticated way. It makes great cocktails. Again, $400 a night may seem hefty but New York demands your dollar and will reward them with the best time. Do not stay cheap. Do not stay with friends. Do not stay cheap.

What to see: Manhattan has sights for days. Each little nook of the island is filled with treasure for the discovery. The meatpacking district is fine for higher-end shopping. Tribeca is fine for cocktails. The lower east side is fine for hip buys. Central park is fine for thoughtful meanders. Soho is fine for all of the above. Downtown is fine to watch Patrick Bateman go to work. Walk, don’t ride or even subway. In walking, you will discover the textural nuances of Manhattan. But you will not see any beautiful women. Unless you are in Soho and then you will see models.
The shivering, blinding contrast of life as a surfer in NYC. Early Autumn hits in water still trunk-able and…

Where to eat: Everywhere. There are too many places to eat in New York. It hurts the head to ponder possibility. Do not listen to the hip New York crowd. They will crow on and on about Momofuku or the newest this and the newest that. Their tastes have become spoiled by excess. They no longer know what actually tastes good. Start with Pastis in the meatpacking. Order a chilled Sancerre, oysters and a steak plus frittes. Go from there.

What to dodge: Do not set foot in Brooklyn. When in New York, the same hip crew that tells you to eat at Momofuku will also live in Brooklyn and tell you to stay in/visit Brooklyn. It is trendy. It is hip. It has better restaurants and more refined boutiques. And this hip crew may be right but for you, and for me, Manhattan is enough. Manhattan is, in fact, too much. And so do not confuse yourself by ultra hip Brooklyn. Leave it be.

Culture: The best museums in the world dot the island. The best museums and priceless works of art and also hipster hovel museums boasting the next Andy Warhol. Art is fabulous, art is divine, art can be dull. Season to taste. Broadway, literal Broadway, hails from New York. The latest most wow musical theatre. Musical theatre is the worst. Do not touch. Simply being in New York is enough culture. Soak in the surroundings. Don’t look shell-shocked. Look slightly jaded.

Work: Who knows? Waiting tables? Moving other people’s things out of their walk-up apartments into other walk-up apartments? Selling magazines from a rack? I don’t know what people do for work in New York. I don’t know how people have time for work with so much culture and fun around.
Surf: You will surf at Rockaway Beach and on Long Island. You will surf during Hurricane season and during the winter, if you feel like wearing a 5 mm wetsuit, a hood, booties and gloves. It will be shit, except for the three days a year surrounding the right hurricane. You will surf because it is a novelty to New Yorkers and you will get appropriate stares, nods of approval, questions. The models in Soho may even talk with you.

Weather: Cold in the winter, humid hot in the summer, perfect in the spring and fall. New Yorkers love it when seasons change and they are right. It is loveable. Enjoy the nuances of each. Dress appropriately for each. Dress appropriate always.

The Good and the Not-So-Good

+ If you can make it here, as they say, y’can make it anywhere. Truth is, having NYC on your CV makes interviewers just melt. Shit don’t stop in the Apple and now it even turns on in what used to be crummy burbs like Brooklyn. Waves, as y’mighta seen on the Quiksilver webcast, can be as good as anywhere. It’s also the centre of the universe, culturally and financially, which is pretty much the reason it got hit so hard and so well by fanatical muslims, so maybe that ain’t such a plus.

– Cold, inconsistent and when the novelty wears off, ain’t that diff to any other dirty big city.

Nuclear: Apple tries to kill surf!

Computing giant wants you to eat up calls between sets. Revolution or apocalypse?

When I was a little boy my friend’s dad took us to eat at the nautically themed Gladstones Malibu, where Sunset Boulevard meets PCH. Diners get their leftovers wrapped in the form of a gold foil duck. Clutching their shiny gastro-trophies, they head back to their red Sebring convertibles and they’re off to LAX, or Irvine or wherever.

During this lunch I heard a faint ringing coming from a box thing sitting on our table. I was awakened. This was something exciting. As my friend’s dad opened the lid, the ring got louder.

“Hello,” he mumbled. I believe he was a psychiatrist to the stars.

I looked at my small friend in a new light. His dad had just taken a call at our table. I was in awe.

That call was a welcome distraction from the odor of tired lobster tank water and the dim hum of seagull cries. That call was the greatest thing to happen to our lunch. It broke the mold!

I had a similar moment making my first call from an airplane. Why not? Certainly better than staring at a bad movie on a tiny low-resolution screen. Calls on airplanes. A bit of an intrusion at first. But, OK. I could deal with that.


Because I knew there was one place left on earth where a phone call could never happen. The one sacred temple where I would never have to listen to a guy named Kirk from sales walk through his Powerpoint with the VP of Purchasing.

Until now.

So I’m an Apple guy. The design, the aesthetic. The form, the function. I’m all in.

But to tout the answering of a phone call while surfing?! Have they no concept of the magic of humanity? The bliss of nature?

I die.

We all die.

This reeks of Microsoft.


Excel spreadsheets.

Bluetooth earpieces.

Polo shirts.

FILA Skele-Toes.


The water cooler.

Conference calls.

Everything that is bad.

And what will happen next?! Will the waters be patrolled by Jan from HR?

Will there be violations issued for things?

Ticketing perhaps?

If so, then we must fight fire with fire. I hence propose a county ordinance to stem this apocalyptic tide.

Violation 3357 (c) (ii): Placing or Receiving Phone Call While Surfing, Swimming, Paddling, or Stand Up Paddling, While In Ocean.

No person shall engage in a telephonic communication, either through the placing or receiving of such transmission, while engaged in the act of surfing, swimming, paddling, stand up paddling, or any other activity performed while in an oceanic body of water.

Such act shall be punishable by $12,500 fine and slow death.

No Apple, we will not answer that call.

I pray.

At the beginning of the trailer for the film a voice says: “Surfing is not relegated to the shoreline. It’s not just a breaking wave over reef. It’s anything that brings you into that moment when you’re completely there and truly alive.” Is going to the strip club and getting bottle service and many lap dances surfing? What about chicken fighting?

Is a lap dance (with bottle service) surfing?

New Kai Lenny film says maybe yes!

Kai Lenny’s new film Paradigm Lost drops onto Red Bull’s website on October 2, less than one week away, and are you excited? Did you feast your eyes on the trailer all 4K and Red Bully? It certainly is richly colored and the full range of Kai’s many talents are on display.

He is uniquely gifted no doubt.

And while I very much hope the film is a success let us use it, for one quick moment, to discuss the idea of relativism because who don’t like an 8th grade philosophy discussion first thing in the morning?

At the beginning of the trailer for the film a voice says:

“Surfing is not relegated to the shoreline. It’s not just a breaking wave over reef. It’s anything that brings you into that moment when you’re completely there and truly alive.”

And is this true for our current time? Oh I know that “surfing” has been used for sometime in conjunction with sleeping on people’s couches, being on the internet, etc. but do our dictionaries now really read:

Surfing: Anything that brings you into that moment when you’re completely there and truly alive?

Is going to the strip club and getting bottle service and many lap dances surfing?

What about chicken fighting?

Do you think Donald J. Trump would be angry at this new turn if he caught wind of it? Do you think he would take to his red Bully Pulpit and decry the ambiguity of language? Would he scream that we’re all too politically correct to call “surfing” an activity done on waves while riding a foam and fiberglass surfboard that has either three or four fins and a pointy nose?

Has our culture slipped far down the hole to hell that cultural warriors have been warning about for 50 years?

I’ll answer for Jerry Falwell Jr.


Jordy Smith
Jordy Smith, according to Kolohe Andino (the most diaphanous of all San Clemente's nymphets), is goofy, humble and innocent!

Watch: “The boy with the guinea pig face!”

World #1 Jordy Smith looses short film! Scrutinise here!

I can imagine many of Jordy Smith’s peers would like to take a running kick at his rump. For, even at a canter, running at, let’s say fifty percent, the six-foot-three South African with the guinea pig face has swept easily into the world title lead.

This ten-minute short from Jordy’s masters at O’Neill, note the lingering logo shots on wetsuit leg, the affixing of wetsuit closures in macro focus and so on, reveals his freesurfing at his new home in San  Clemente, and in South Africa, where he was born, as well as his pair of tens at Jeffrey’s Bay.

Although well-watched already, the vision of his old friend Chad Du Toit hollering “Tens all day long!” and his pappy Graham looking as happy as a fat boy with his own ice-cream mixer, still excites.

I think this movie, which is actually called Beyond the Tour, is a transaction you should complete.

For although there are no surprises, there are very few surfers in the world with the native talent of Jordy Smith.

And did you know he turns thirty next year?

How the years fly…


Revealed: Jordy Smith gets manicures!

What is your position on male pampering?

Stab’s Stab in the Dark feature is a very exciting event, don’t you think so? The concept is simple. Eleven shapers shape anonymously for one professional surfer who then rides the boards and chooses his favorite and that shaper wins… applause. And if the surfer accidentally chooses a different shaper than the one he normally rides then the surfer wins… shitty boards for the next year.

This year’s event was shot in Indonesia and the surfer was supposed to be a secret but highly paid sleuths guessed it was one Jordy Smith from South Africa. Current world number 1.

I, anyhow, read this morning’s piece and looked at the pictures and one thing stood out to me above all others.

Jordy Smith definitely gets manicures.

Look at those nail beds, look at the uniformity of trim, look at the glisten on the surface. Most certainly buffed by loving Vietnamese hands.

And what is your position on male manicures? The only I’ve ever had were from my four-year-old daughter so don’t really know if they are amazing or not but, I’ll admit, generally look down on men with shiny nails unless they are rappers or ladies’ shoes salesmen.

Am I wrong to look down? Should I begin to get?