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In case you didn’t know, you can surf in a pool in Texas, and it’s awesome. Last spring BSR launched its new wave pool built and developed by American Wave Machines. BSR announced the wave pool opening with Instagram videos panning over three perfectly barreling waves with a perfect air section. Overnight, Waco, Texas appeared on the map of the elite surfing world, attracting the likes of Jamie O’brien, Gabriel Medina, and Mason Ho this past summer.
Last Saturday, Stab Magazine hosted the first-ever aerial surf contest in the BSR wave pool, Stab High. Stab Mag invited some of the best aerial surfers, along with a wild card, to throw down progressive airs, party, and put on a show for the cameras and crowd. All of that pretty much happened.
The field included Ian Crane, Eli Hanneman, Mason Ho, Matt Meola, Dion Agius, Albee Layer, Chippa Wilson, Jett Schilling, Creed McTaggart, Nathan Fletcher, Jay Davies, Ethan Osborne, Harry Bryant, Brendon Gibbens, Hector Santamaria, Kael Walsh, Leif Engstrom, Noah Beschen, Blair Conklin (wildcard), and the champ Noa Deane. All of these guys threw down the most insane airs that can only be described through photos. From back 3s, to flips, tweaked grabs, acid drops, and a lot of beer nothing was missing from this event. Noah Deane ended up claiming the 25k in prize money, while Ethan Osborne was handed a fat 20k check for the highest air. Well done BSR, Cheyne Magnusson, and Stab Mag; Texas is stoked.
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It seems like wave pools are taking surfing into a new dimension that very few people saw coming. Not only are wave pools increasing the accessibility of the sport for all levels but, as much as purists might hate it, it’s also decreasing surfers’ reliance on natural elements. This allows surfers to repeatedly try different turns and airs consecutively and compare equipment faster, which explains why the top surfers in the world are making the trip down to Waco.
Stab High had a really laid back vibe. Competitors were crushing beers in between heats and engaging with the crowd, which seemed to be primarily the Texas surfing community (for now).
The lack of pressure and the party vibes made it seem like less of a contest and more just a bunch friends trying new tricks in the pool. The event was filled with so much progression, I don’t know if some of the airs that were thrown down even have names yet. It only makes you excited for the future of surfing community in Texas and of this avant garde contest.
The pool is open to the public, and you can book a session on BSR’s website. Check out more photos from the contest here.