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Australia to get 10 Wavegarden pools?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

A 10-year-plan to fill the vast continent with man-made waves… 

If you saw the Snowdonia Wavegarden footage that’s been everywhere, you probably thought, when’s that fun little burger coming to my part of the world?

I live in Australia (BeachGrit has bureaus in San Francisco, San Diego, Kauai and Sydney) and got in touch with the former lawyer and investment banker, Andrew Ross, who bought the rights to Wavegarden on my piece of turf.

A few questions, none of ’em real hard.

Is Australia getting wave tanks? When? And where?

Andrew Ross, from what I can tell from the one phone call to Western Australia where he lives and where the company that he set up, Wave Park Group, is based, is an over-achiever whose giddy list of achievements, included some kind of interaction with the billionaire Richard Branson, during a year off he’d taken after running some of the biggest companies in the country.

This is where Wavegarden kicks in. When he had that year off a few years ago, it was because he’d just hit 40, had a kid, wanted to travel, surf and find some kind of inspiration for the next half of his working life.

At some point, he figured he’d like to have a swing at a surfing-based biz.

“I’ve never been associated with the surf industry,” he says. “But I’m a 35-year hardcore surfer, all my mates, we know what surfing is about, we all go to the Ments each year.”

Ross liked the aroma of the new wave pools that were suddenly appearing, in theoretical form, everywhere. He’d seen the Webber pool and got in touch with Greg Webber. Then Kelly Slater’s “people.” When he was over in Europe, he swung by the Basque country to surf the Wavegarden lagoon, its proto testing pond.

He got in and, yeah, it one of those moments he says.

Taj Burrow was surfing the right (stars!), he was surfing the left, he kicked out and told Wavegarden, “I’m writing you a cheque. This is fucking amazing.”

Ross created the company Wave Park Group, brought in pals with various complimentary skills, and made a goal to create 10 Australian Wavegardens in 10 years. Ambitious?

Baby, he’s an investment banker. It seems positively… bearish! 

The website, (click here), reeks of corporate-speak, howevs, which stings the eyes. It’s like one of those forms you get when a new CEO swings into your company and he wants to know the company’s mission, it’s vision and values, all those things that are totally mainlined in the corporate world.

Here’s a taste from the site.

Values

Our Values serve as a compass for our actions.

Innovation and Creativity We are leading innovators in the delivery of man-made surfing experiences
Service We satisfy and delight our guests
Authenticity We create real surfing waves in a safe and welcoming environment
Quality What we do, we do well
Passion and Teamwork We are committed to serve our guests in heart and mind
Integrity We will exhibit fairness and honesty at all times
Prosperity We will generate wealth by growing an economically sustainable business

Whatever, it’s only the meaningless platitudes companies throw on their sites to fill the obvious gap of not having a product yet. But maybe soon!

Ross, who’s just been to three cities in three days, says he doesn’t want to make any premature announcements, ’cause that leads to disappointment, and he’s right, and won’t until the first site is secured and the Development Approval has gone through whatever regional planning authority it’s dealing with.

That said, “we’d be disappointed if we don’t have something to people within 12 months, potentially quite a bit shorter than that,” he says.

What interests me, is the parks are going to be owned by Wave Park.

He ain’t sub-letting the Wavegarden technology.

They’ll buy or lease the site, buy all the Wavegarden pieces that’ll then be shipped to Australia, it’ll all get put together, a few months of testing, and away it goes.

 

Impotent Rage: The fake history of fake surf brand

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Hollister gets its due (kind of) in the New Yorker!

Dave Eggers, not the one who used to win surf competition but the one who is a famous observationalist, wrote a story about Hollister in the newest New Yorker and it is good.

He begins, “The year I turned forty-three, I woke up one morning and thought it would be a good day to go to Hollister. I’d been seeing those hoodies around, and the place had been on my mind.”

The piece meanders, quite beautifully, behind Eggers as he travels through inland agriculture California, juxtaposing the fortunes of the town named Hollister, a mere 42 miles east of Santa Cruz, with the brand.

The town is a fairly depressed, yet historically quaint, thing of 36,000 Latinos and aging whites founded in 1868.

The brand is way dumb, and not historically anything, founded in 2000 by Abercrombie and Fitch. It is completely unrelated to the town and Eggers discusses how it came to be named “Hollister” in the first place.

“For years, employees of Hollister stores, during orientation, were given the story…” he writes “…and it goes something like this: John M. Hollister was born at the end of the nineteenth century and spent his summers in Maine as a youth. He was an adventurous boy who loved to swim in the clear and cold waters there. He graduated from Yale in 1915 and, eschewing the cushy Manhattan life suggested for him, set sail for the Dutch East Indies, where he purchased a rubber plantation in 1917. He fell in love with a woman named Meta and bought a fifty-foot schooner. He and Meta sailed around the South Pacific, treasuring ‘the works of the artisans that lived there,’ and eventually settled in Los Angeles, in 1919. They had a child, John, Jr., and opened a shop in Laguna Beach that sold goods from the South Pacific—furniture, jewelry, linens, and artifacts. When John, Jr., came of age and took over the business, he included surf clothing and gear. (He was an exceptional surfer himself.) His surf shop, which bore his name, grew in popularity until it became a globally recognized brand. The Hollister story is one of ‘passion, youth and love of the sea,’ evoking ‘the harmony of romance, beauty, adventure.’”

He continues for a bit, poking at Hollister (the brand) in an old-man-not-realizing-he-is-old sort of way, suggesting, for example, the same sweatshirt can be purchased from Wal-Mart for $14.95 and is only $44.95 at Hollister because the word “Hollister” is stitched on. It is the same low-level rage parents have had for “youth brands” since the mid 1950s.

And then moves on, capturing what is happening to small town California with regards to immigration, racial relations, upward mobility etc. leaving Hollister (the brand) behind.

I only wish he would have gotten in a few more digs. Hollister is even beyond way dumb. Coopting surf lifestyle is one thing. Who really cares about that. But stealing Robb Havassy’s art, telling nursing mothers that it ain’t allowed in store, the systematic search of employees, discriminating against Muslims, people in wheelchairs, British veterans and South Koreans is entirely another.

Fuck Hollister.

(And read Eggers here!)

Compelling: LA Lifeguard Hammers Drunken Kooks

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

…after being jumped…

I’ve no real love for LA County lifeguards. I understand that they save countless denim-clad behinds during summer months, but my interactions with them were rife with blackballs and bullhorns.

Yesterday in Venice one of our red clad lifesavers had to lay the hammer down on a couple drunken val idiots. It’s a pretty entertaining scuffle, and the aggressor gets put down hard.

Like, unconscious for long enough that you’re gonna be a bit dumber when you wake up.

 

Long Read: The Most Beautiful Shaper in the World!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

He is still the most fantastic looking man I have ever seen and what sleepless nights he caused me!

In a photograph kept behind glass in the stairwell leading up to a Coolangatta hairdressing salon, I saw him for the first time. This was many years ago and still the memory of it hasn’t succumbed to the inevitable erasure of age. It’s like it’s been bound, forever, in a red leather book that I can take out and thumb through when I want to be afflicted by jealousy and awe.

The photograph, taken in a studio with a cloud-blue background and most probably using a lighting setup with two umbrellas arranged on each side, and just to the front, of the subject, shows our fantastic looking man from the sternum up.

He is clothed in a denim shirt open to the bottom of the frame with arms placed on opposite shoulders. His skin is lightly tanned and the face is dominated by an aggressive nose and a cuspidated chin. But it’s his hair, rightly, that seizes the attention. It is a blond waterfall that cascades arrogantly over one side of the head, its immense opulence beyond dispute.

“Thats Darren,” said my new girlfriend, who was standing next to me. “You’re going to meet him later on.”

I had arrived on the Gold Coast, from Perth, as an 18-year-old seeking nothing more than the sweetness of easy waves in warm water. Soon, I had met a girl with curly yellow hair and pale blue eyes and she agreed after not much persuasion to be my girlfriend.

It would prove to be fortuitous and torturous that her best friend was the girlfriend of what was then the hottest surfboard shaper in town, and later, the hottest surfboard shaper in the entire world.

I met the girlfriend first. We were in a supermarket and as she walked through the turnstile in front of me she gave it a hard spin so it would hit me in the legs. I wasn’t offended because I knew I was attempting to consort with surfing kings and queens. I didn’t care that she was a mean girl  because, by association, I had been allowed admittance, a sort of restricted admittance like a singing negro, say, in a 1930s Alabama music hall, but admittance nonetheless.

Darren was older than me by some years and while I wouldn’t say he took me under his wing, he was kind enough, certainly kinder than custom in these situations demands.

He even agree to shape two blanks for me at $50 plus blank apiece which I could then take to his friend to have glassed for a further $280. These two surfboards were very important to me. I was convinced they were the difference between being a poor to intermediate surfer and becoming as instinctive as the surfers I now associated with and they deranged me slightly, as we shall see later on.

At a backyard cricket game at Darren’s house I sat with the girls as the cream of the local boardriders club whooped it up. Darren seemed to bat a lot and he was very good at it. It was a good natured game and I was asked a few times to join in.

“Go on play,” said my girlfriend.

“No,” I replied. “It’s ok.”

It wasn’t ok. It marked me, to my girl, to Darren, to his girl, to everyone, as unimpressive.

Inside the house, I was given a tour by my girlfriend. She opened Darren’s wardrobe and said, “Darren has such good clothes. Such amazing taste. You should borrow some. He’d let you.”

“Cool,” I said.

At dinner at an upstairs Mexican restaurant, my girlfriend asked Darren if she could look at one of his rings. Each of his fingers was wrapped in an elaborate silver ring and my girlfriend chose his middle finger.

Instead of using, say, two fingers of his other hand to twist the ring off, he put the finger in his mouth and used his teeth to drag it slowly off the finger. My girlfriend stared. I stared. It was such a bold thing to do. So many things could’ve gone wrong. He could’ve gagged. He could’ve struggled futilely and only achieved a wet finger and a bemused table.

Did he practise this erotic, alpha move?

My girlfriend took the wet ring and admired it. I did too. It was a fine ring with ornate detail, probably from Bali.

Since I was sitting next to Darren I finally raised the important matter of the spray on my new boards. I hadn’t been able to sleep ever since my girlfriend had told me she’d mis-specified the spray.

“Just tell him,” she said.

But I couldn’t. What, just pick up the phone and call?

My chance arrived. I said that I was reconsidering increasing the width of the rail spray from one-and-a-half inches, which my girlfriend had incorrectly specified, ha ha ha, to two-and-a-half inches which would achieve the aesthetic I was chasing.

“About this wide,” I said, bringing my own hand into play. (Note: girlfriend didn’t stare.)

“What, about as big your dick,” said Darren.

He laughed. My girlfriend laughed. His girlfriend laughed and laughed and laughed some more. I laughed too.

But I wasn’t really laughing. I was out of my depth with these people and I had failed every attempt at integration. I deserved nothing and they owed me nothing.

I belonged on the lower rungs, among girls with brown hair and boys who never really get how to surf, with the the slack -breasted and the pot-bellied, the underachievers and the inert.

Just a lonely servant boy without a voice or a fast pair of heels. And, that night, I knew that was all I was ever going to be.

How Craig Anderson changed surf style!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Never before has one figure been so sartorially worshipped.

I went to my first surf party, last night, in a very long time. It was a celebration of Dion Agius’s very sleek new capsule collection at Globe and well attended. I had great conversations with Dion, of course (he has grown into such a fine young man), Joe G (who made a short film for the event. Joe is at the very top of his game), Jason Weatherly (Benji’s older brother and surf kingpin), Brendon Gibbens (wore white shirt, white jean combo in a sea of black on black. He was the only one who did not look like catering staff), Surfline‘s Editor-in-Chief Marcus Sanders (so smart. So old-school journalism even though the ship he captains plunges the depths of sexual depravity), Shea Perkins (one of the cutest in all surf), Peter Jasienski (left behind Hurley and the surf life for Adidas and the @lookatthisrussian life) and the best of the bunch Queen Lili Speed (serious Hawaiian royalty who has laaaand and is beyond beautiful).

And it was while I was having a great conversation with Eric Tomlinson (Globe’s surf marketing manager and maybe cuter than Shea Perkins) that I saw Craig Anderson across the way.

“Excuse me…” I said to Eric. He did not say anything back because I don’t think we were really having a great conversation. I think he was looking at girls while standing near me.

And I scooted off to say hello to my friend Craig Anderson. There he stood, a little pensively, gazing off into the near distance. There his pale skinny denim hugged stork-like legs. There his red stocking cap perched and there his hazelnut locks cascaded over his shoulders.

I approached from the side and gave a hearty hello. Craig turned around but it was not Craig. I did not know this until he opened his mouth and uttered a very American “Huh?”

“Oh I’m sorry…” I said to this non-Craig and felt bad. But not for long because I saw my friend Craig Anderson!

There he stood, shoulders hunched, slightly, back not straight. There his big brown eyes passively took in the scene. There his prepubescent mustache glistened in the pale light of a full moon.

I approached from the front, raising my arm to give a hearty hello. Craig flinched. He thought I was going to maybe hit him and I laughed and asked, “Why did you flinch? Did you think I was going to hit you?”

And out came another very American “Uh. No. Hahaha.”

This was not Craig either! And I spun around, dizzy. There were so many Craig Anderson’s in the crowd. I saw him here, there, in the corner, drinking moonshine, kicking at a pebble on the ground. It was like that famous scene in Spartacus when everyone raises a hand and says, “I am Spartacus!”

I left thinking, “That Craig Anderson sure does have a stranglehold on surf style” and went to Carl’s Jr. to get a Western Bacon Cheeseburger.