Jerks: The Welsh surfers hating Surf Snowdonia!

Welsh surfers shouldn't complain, they should learn to shred!

There is a tiny little shit storm brewing in South Wales. Surf Snowdonia hasn’t invited the cream of Welsh surfing to show off their wave pool and the result is a  significant amount of moaning, huffing and even grommet abuse which came to a head this weekend on social media.

Red Bull seem to have added fuel to the fire by organising a pro contest at the venue and also overlooking the Welsh brothers. A Swansea grommet opined that maybe RB weren’t that concerned by giving us lot a shot at bogging around with the best free surfers in the world. After a lengthy dressing down and character assassination he was instructed to “give up” surfing by two of his now former idols. High spirits indeed.

Ever since the invitee list for the press day  in Snowdonia was released, there have been a fair few prominent Welsh surfers stating what a travesty it is that we were not represented at the facility. The Inertia, a racist but otherwise well-intentioned website, published an article suggesting it was a ‘PR disaster’ (click here), but people are forgetting that Surf Snowdonia is a business (see Oxford dictionary) and requires top talent to highlight what it is trying to sell.

The facility needs paying customers coming through the doors to pay the bills, they have consulted knowledgeable people in British surfing and have taken advice on whom to invite to surf their waves, for free, to showcase their machine.

The  top surfers in Britain got the nod, among them, Oli Adams, Alan Stokes and Ben Skinner, all of whom’s talent is without reproach. They dutifully turned up, tore the lefts and rights to pieces and declared the place to be a success. Job done.

But oh, what’s this?

There’s a group of my peers that seem really upset about this. They are incensed that both Surf Snowdonia and Red Bull have not included any of us on their respective invitee lists: “Shame there were no Welsh surfers invited”, “Why are we not represented?” “We can compete at this level” so on and so forth.

Here’s the thing.

Firstly Surf Snowdonia is a private enterprise and they can do what the fuck they want. They made a choice on whom to invite and went with it. The fault can only be ours if we are not glaringly brilliant enough to get an invite. Red Bull are organising a pro contest. There are currently no real professional surfers in Wales.  This, too can only be our fault, no-one elses.

Secondly, this facility is in North Wales, four hours away from the winging masses. Ordinarily we don’t give a shit about what goes on in North Wales, and from a surfing perspective there is a complete disconnect between the north and south of our green, wet country.

Very few of us make the drive up north to surf, we have plenty of waves down here. Why, suddenly, are we so concerned with getting a free ticket to surf a man-made wave in the middle of nowhere? If you want to surf it that bad, get in your car, drive up there, pay your entry fee and surf the bloody thing.

Lastly, the only PR disaster here is the fact that the moaners are inadvertently advertising our mediocrity. If there is no talent shining bright enough in Wales to get even an invite to a glorified bath tub then we really do have problems.

The only reason we’re not on any invite lists is because we have been deemed unworthy. Tough shit.  If you don’t like it, do what Carwyn Williams did: get in your van, drive to Europe, put yourself up against Europe’s best and become a better surfer.

Put in the effort and refine your trade. That way you may get invited to things like this and you can stop sucking on your sour grapes and have some self-respect.

great white shark

Australia: “Unusual Great White Activity!”

If you're a shark-spotter, these are halcyon days!

Australia’s government broadcaster, the ABC, published an online story last Friday warning of “an unusually high number” of great white sharks off the coast of Perth.

“Six great white sharks have been tagged off Perth in the past two weeks by the Department of Fisheries.”

The tagged great whites were two metres or larger.

“Department scientist Dr Brett Molony said unusual activity was being caused by the annual migration of schools of salmon.

‘The salmon typically migrate into metropolitan waters every year, but they are doing it in bigger numbers and staying around a lot more, a lot longer,’ he said. ‘I don’t think size is that important, it’s just knowing that they’re there, and when they’re there there may be other sharks as well.’

The Western Australian government has built a website called “SharkSmart” that enables users to click on a map and see where tagged sharks have been recorded. It’s a little clunky, like most government websites, but it does include a link to a Twitter account with warnings from this morning such as,

“3.5m white shark sighted 3km offshore  Port Beach, Perth Metro.  sighted 15:23hrs 07/09.”

Or, from a few hours earlier,

“4.5m white shark sighted 5km offshore  Michaelmas Island, Albany.  sighted 11:21hrs 07/09.”

Meanwhile, on Australia’s east coast, a community organisation has set up a Facebook page called Shark Reports that collects data from fisherman, surfers and the government to at least give ocean users a bit of a heads-up when it comes to the location of sharks, specifically whites.

From this morning, it reports that a 10-foot white was tagged and released off the popular left-hander South Wall at Ballina, NSW. Ballina? That name ring a bell? Probs don’t need to remind you of the fatal attack on the Japanese surfer by a white in February or the non-fatal attack by a white on a bodyboarder there in July.

Three hours earlier, it reported a minor attack six hours drive south on the NSW Central Coast.

Yesterday, it reported numerous sightings of a great white around Fingal Island and Fingal Bay.

At Lennox, a source reports that nine great whites “have moved in. All four-metres plus…”

The same source emailed a photo of small Lennox Head, with the message, “It’s flat, praise the lord.”

Now you can take all this three ways.

That the focus on sharks has made us paranoid and no further action is necessary. Stay surfing.

Two, there’s something going on out there, therefore, monitor these shark sites and don’t surf rivermouths or anywhere at dawn or dusk.

Or, three, if you’re the romantic type, a shark spotter maybe, marvel at the blistering health of Australia’s coastal waters  and pray for some meaningful interaction with these one-of-a-kind predators.

These are halcyon days!

And what do you do if you find a great white on the beach? Roll it back into the sea!



The Victoria's Secret model Yfke Sturm

Jet-Surfboard claims Vic Secrets Model!

Dutch model Yfke Sturm in coma after collision with jet-surfboard… 

Jet powered surfing, that Kai Lenny promo’ed high speed fun-fest that I’m dying to try but will never be able to afford, has claimed its first high-profile injury victim.


Supermodel, Yfke Sturm (cool name) is in a coma after suffering a fractured skull and several fractured vertabrae while being run down by a fellow high octane enthusiast after Sturm fell from her board and attempted to swim to safety.

(Click here)

A safety which does not exist, so long as you’re sharing the water with a bunch of yahoos flying around on kill sleds.

Which is what they are. Two things come to mind whenever I see a clip of one of these things in action. First, they really do look like a lot of fun, and second, people are gonna die.

By my estimate, jet-skis kill over a million people each year, a number which is completely invented but seems likely if you’ve ever spent time near a freshwater body during a holiday weekend.

Absolutely terrifying, drunk lunatics flying around on heavy machinery with no brakes and poor steering capability. Remove the ease of riding from a sitting position and steering with your hands and you’ve got a recipe for carnage.

No word yet on which company’s product mangled the Victoria’s Secret model, though an almost definitely assured lawsuit should soon shed light on the subject.

More: Dumb Questions to Ask Surfers!

Do you dye your hair? Are you as good as Kelly Slater? Is the water cold?

The game of surf is a source of endless fascination to the wider world. All but impossible to learn once you exit adolescence, it punches the buttons of danger, difficulty, fantasy and spirituality.

And, so, if you’ve surfed longer than a few years you’ll know the following questions. You’ll know them so well you’ll have a rehearsed answer for each.

1. Do you dye your hair?

All of us, even those with the darkest of hair, gets a little streak here and there of blond if we surf enough. What happens is the sun crushes all the melanin in our hair and ’cause hair is dead, we go blond. And yet, at every party, family get together, we’re asked, “Do you dye your hair?” And all the science in the world can’t convince ’em otherwise.

Your response: “Yeah, I do. It sets off my chocolate skin, non?”

2. Are you as good as Kelly Slater?

Parents and potential mates will ask you this question, most seriously. As in, surely, if you’re out there every day you must have achieved a level close to, say, Kelly Slater? What can you say? That it’s the most difficult sport in the world, that to even attempt one new move you have to manoeuvre yourself out the back, snatch a wave from a crowd, get to your feet and then find the appropriate section to even attempt a turn, let alone achieve any kind of brilliance, let alone match the greatest athlete ever in sport?

Your response: “I think my cutback is a little stronger although, when you balance everything, I’d say Kelly still comes out on top.”

3. Have you surfed Mavericks/Jaws/Waimea Bay?

Surely, with enough practice, the mountains of Mavs, Jaws and the Bay become more accessible? What can you say, when a genuine, Hawaiian-style four-foot wave terrifies most of us? And that big-wave surfing is pure existentialist terror?

Your response: “Those overrated shore breaks? I like to surf my mountains away from crowds.”

4. Do you surf in winter?

Any time the air temperature drops below 65 and the water below 60, you’ll be hit with this incredulous question. Of course, you must play it up. You are a warrior who bravely fights the elements, for whom hypothermia is but a bug that you will squash with your numb hands.

Your response: “I have to, even if it kills me. It’s when the waves get good.”

5. Will it take me long to learn to surf?

…as asked by an adult. Oh, you poor thing! Do you want the truth? No, because you will never learn or would you rather the feel-good lie, “It depends how often you practise.”

Your response: “Theoretically…”

6. Will you show me how to surf?

It depends. Will you yelp and cry and shriek and complain? Or will you handle being tossed over the falls of an impossible-to-surf shore break on an eight-foot soft board?

Your response: “We go at five am…”

7. Do you ever get scared of sharks?

Every single second of every single session and you long for the day when shark nets cover the globe. Often you fantasise of an ocean without man-eaters.

Your response: “We’re in their domain and if I die, I die. At least I’ll be killed doing what I love.”

8. Have you been to Hawaii?

The truth is you’re too damn terrified of the waves and the crowds to go near the joint.

Your response: “Hoping to spend a few months there this winter.”

9. Are you going surfing (while carrying board)?

Your response: “No I’m a delivery man for an ironing board company.”

Ty Swan and Pascale Honore.
Ty Swan and Pascale Honore.

Duct-Tape Surfing Heroine Dies

Paraplegic Pascale Honore made headlines surfing while strapped to Ty Swan… 

You would’ve been caught up in the viral fingers of the Duct Tape Surfing a couple of years back. How could you not? It plucked heart strings like nothing else! Cute surfer delivers the thrill of the ocean back to a middle-aged woman who’d busted her spine in a car accident.

The surfer was South Australian Ty Swan (boo of BeachGrit favourite Brinkley Davies) and the woman was his pal’s French-born mom, Pascale. Ty figured, “I wonder if you can surf on the same board? I could duct tape you to my back and surf, I don’t see why not.”

Pascale said, “It’s shown me you can still have a dream and things are possible… I remember looking up, the colour, the sound, being part of everything, being part of the water.”

Pascale, who was 52, died over the weekend of complications following surgery.

“Ty and I have been in a lot of places in the last few months and we have met so many people who know of Pascale and are amazed and speak of her as an inspirational and a beautiful soul,” said Brinkley this morning. “We had a free-dive for you today and then listened to live music on the beach here thinking of you and could imagine you sitting there with us, Coyote, Morgs, Tom and the whole west coast crew… I’ll forever take you with me in my mind wherever we end up on this planet.”

Duct Tape Surfing from Mark Tipple on Vimeo.