Stab in the Dark

“What if one of the best surfers in the world was to judge a surfboard only by its performance? With no preconceived notions about how a board performs because of its brand or shaper?”


Its a bit of a stretch to be able to claim the best shaper of the best board in the world, but Stab managed to take a really cool approach to objectively attempt to figure it out.

Stab invited the best shapers in the world to each create a surfboard. It would be for a mystery world tour surfer who weighs 80kg and stands six feet tall. The board was to be supplied as a cleanskin. No markings. No stickers. No pencil on the stringer. Nothing identifiable.

The shapers didn’t know the surfer. The surfer didn’t know the shapers. Stab’s secret test pilot arrived in Western Australia with carry-on luggage only. He was greeted with two boardbags full of brand new boards.

Stab’s secret test pilot: “The ultimate surfboard gives you feedback. The moment you stand on them, you know. It tells you how it wants to be ridden. They allow you to create space to do whatever you want to do. You never have to rush. The perfect surfboard makes you feel like you’ve got all the time in the world.” – Julian Wilson

Stab In The Dark from STAB on Vimeo.

Winner: DHD #99

Once the announcement was made, Jules and Darren shook hands, hugged, and Darren was handed a framed Stab in the Dark issue cover. He forewent a speech, with the vibe instead moving into Todd Terje’s Inspector Norse turned up to 11. Jules and Darren continued talking boards for another 10 minutes while the party went on around them.

Says Julian of the DHD: “I knew this board was going to work! It felt the best under my arm out of the batch and was always going to be a dream going frontside. It was fast, super responsive, exciting and definitely the best board. It felt pretty money!”

Runner up: Chilli #01
“To have any chance of surfing on your backhand you have to be able to come off the bottom without hesitation, otherwise there’s no chance of doing a backside reo,” said Julian of the Chilli. “This was one of the only boards that gave me that confidence. A great all-rounder.”

Third place: Mayhem #31
“I liked the feel of this board, I reckon I could take it out anywhere and have a good time on it; lefts or rights,” said Julian of the Mayhem. “It felt spicy. Spice is excitement, the feeling that really technical and high performance moves are possible.”

Final Stab in the Dark results (as chosen by Julian Wilson):
1. DHD #99
2. Chilli #01
3. Mayhem/Lost #31
4. JS #23
5. Panda #10
6. Sharp Eye #13
7. Channel Islands #03
8. Dahlberg #16
9. Simon Anderson #00
10. Robo #36
11. Stamps #05 (tied with Robo)
12. Pyzel (Did not arrive)

Photo: Andy Staley


Photo: Chris Gurney


Photo: Chris Gurney


Photo: Ryan Miller


Photo: Chris Gurney


Photo: Andy Staley

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