Hangin’ loose in Waco

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Update: According to ABC, federal officials are testing the waters at BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas after Fabrizio Stabile died on Sept. 21 from a rare brain infection once he returned from the water park. It is not clear at this time whether or not Stabile contracted the infection from BSR.

The stormy weather held off for the Stab High surf competition at BSR Cable Park on Sept. 22nd in Waco, TX.

Twenty of the world’s best surfers from all over the globe performed their finest aerials to a lively crowd in the hope of winning the $20,000 cash prize.

The organizers and fans were concerned about the turn out of the event since this was the first ever Stab High surf competition and because of the expected stormy weather. For the past week, Texas has been getting hit with a lot of lightning and thunderstorms, but the weather cooperated on Saturday. Surfers competed in ideal conditions.

“They scored on the weather. It’s not windy,” fan Curtis Peterson said. “If the rain squalls like yesterday came here, it would just completely wreck the event.”

Another fan said she favored the weather because people stayed out longer and were not as concerned about heat exhaustion as they would on a typical Texas day.

“The weather is great. You can’t complain,” fan Julie Hall said.

This was the surfers’ first experience riding in waters out of the ocean and it was a surprise for many.

Surfer Harry Bryant from Sunshine Beach, Queensland, Australia, admitted he was both frightened and impressed when surfing the wave for the first time.

“It’s completely different, like, it’s the same thing over and over again. There’s like a wave every minute,” surfer Harry Bryant said.

CEO of Stab Magazine and contest organizer, Sam McIntosh, raved about the turnout. Fans said this event was astonishing and exceeded their expectations.

“It’s definitely more impressive in real life,” fan Zach Zocher said. “Everything’s bigger, and it’s definitely more entertaining when you actually get to see it in person.”

The event also entertained spectators with a lazy river pool and three Royal Flush waterslides with a massive jump at the end. In between surf rounds, fans made their way to enjoy these amenities.

Other interesting features were the abstract cutouts and designs of animals that surrounded the wave pool. There was also a large colorful banner on the cement sea wall with the Stab High logo. The man behind the artwork was French Muralist Lucas Beaufort.

“Sam found me on Instagram I think. He was following my art and he was like ‘dude, let’s have this guy here,” Beaufort said. “He hit me up and was like do you want to work with me on this event by creating all of the art direction?”

Fans were impressed by the effort and details put into the artwork at the event.

“The art is really cool. It really fit into the surf theme,” spectator Sean Wilson said.

Both organizers and surfers think Stab High will continue to grow in number of attendance in popularity.

“After this event it will probably spark it up a lot more,” Jake Vincent, a friend of surfer Harry Bryant, said.

CEO of Stab Magazine and contest organizer, Sam McIntosh, raved about the turnout. Fans said this event was astonishing and exceeded their expectations.

“It’s definitely more impressive in real life,” fan Zach Zocher said. “Everything’s bigger and it’s definitely more entertaining when you actually get to see it in person.”

The spectators became more energized during the final rounds where the finalists performed their most advanced stunts of the day. Though a close competition, Surfer Noa Deane from Australia reigned as the overall winner taking home the $20,000 cash prize. Australian Chippa Wilson came in close second, and 15-year-old Eli Hanneman from USA finished in third place.

Stab High 2.jpg
Champion Noa Deane. Image courtesy of Zach Fielder. Photo credit: Zach Fiedler

After the success of this year, as stated by McIntosh, the Stab High organizers, surfers and fans are looking forward to this event again next year.

“It’s been a fun day,” McIntosh said. “You can’t go to a beach at 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday and expect the surf to be good; so far it’s been amazing. Yeah, we’re coming back.”

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