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Beach Grit

Just in: Stab jumps the shark!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Venice-adjacent magazine tries to get punchy!

Last evening, after the day’s work was done, I settled down with a bit of bourbon and my half-broken laptop in order to catch up on the surf news. This has become somewhat of a ritual for me and mirrors my childhood wind-down except back then  it was milk and The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team or Happy Days. Small joys. Little pleasures.

I started, as is my wont, at where a women’s longboard event from Taiwan was playing. I watched ten minutes of a heat both marveling at the quality of Taiwanese surf and thinking about longboarding. What a strange dinosaur it is. Like the sturgeon. Or the goblin shark.

I then moved on to and read the loquaciously titled “Albee Layer Politely Lobs Hands Grenade at The Surfer Poll Awards” wherein ex-BeachGrit contributor Michael Ciaramella was on a very bizarre traipse, criticizing Surfer magazine, the Surfer Poll Awards, surfers in general, John John Florence, straight airs, Julian Wilson,  and his stablemate Ashton Goggans. Let’s read a snippet?

…with the exception of the actual Surfer Poll award, the rest of the winners are decided directly by Surfer staff members, which is, obviously, a cause for debate.
Because who are these people, really? Surfers, just like you and I, who have inherently flawed opinions, just like you and I. They don’t surf nearly as well as the world’s best waveriders, which is fine, but then how can they claim to hold the “authoritative voice” on this year’s best movie, performance, and goddamn progressive maneuver? To give some context into the magnitude of this issue, Surfer’s most progressive surfer/employee* of the last few years was Ashton Goggans, who is now with Stab. From firsthand experience I can tell you Bong-hands is not very progressive. Comfortable with sexual fluidity? Sure. But an aerial wizard he is not. 😉

He goes on to repeatedly call Surfer’s staff “Bible thumpers”  etc. and while I applauded the effort, attempting to draw others into a war of words, liddle Mickey Ciaramella’s barbs all felt very foreign. Very strange. Uncomfortable even. Like listening to a non-native speaker get really hot about some subject and passionately debate his position in halting English. Or someone who has never cursed in her life unleashing a string of full-throated vitriol.


The same feeling I had in my childhood when The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team or Happy Days would introduce far left-of-field plot lines when viewership was sagging in order to get attention. Like when Boss Hogg and the Duke boys became great friends. Or when the Fonz jumped a shark while water skiing.

It made me wonder if maybe Stab should just stay in its lane, publishing mid-2000s style party photos and wondering where all its Facebook “likes” disappeared to, or if the boys should take a course on “How to correctly agitate the competition.”?

What do you think? Which Stab would you like to see?