Mystery: Where is the champ?

Let Makua Rothman take a swing!

Makua Rothman won last year’s inaugural World Surf League Big Wave World Tour and what a story it was because he was not part of the World Surf League Big Wave World Tour. He won as a wildcard. It is akin to Dane Reynolds winning the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast as a wild card and then winning all of his other wild card events, like the the Fiji Pro and Quiksilver Pro France and thus winning the title.

Except you can’t really see the story anywhere, or how the story plays out this year, because the WSL isn’t broadcasting big wave events. Hmmmmmmm. Strange, no? If the WSL is trying to grow its fan base, especially non-endemically, wouldn’t you think big waves would be an extremely helpful component? They are instantly understandable to those who don’t find the beauty in three foot Rio or six foot France.

In any case, another big wave event not part of the Big Wave World Tour, Titans of Maverick, will also hopefully run this year. The format seems amazing, the history unimpeachable, except Makua and will not be surfing in it either. And, damn all, whatever you feel about Makua or his last name, shouldn’t the champ be in every big wave event no matter where it is until he ain’t the champ anymore?

I think maybe yes.


A place where you can surf and, later, enjoy afternoon drinking? Where's the petition?

Wow: Wavegarden for Western Australia!

Perth surfers to cede ocean to great whites and build wave tanks instead?

Wave tanks are as fascinating as they are frustrating. Every month you’ll read about some municipal oval or whatever being touted as the home of an ambitious wave resort. Melbourne, Gold Coast, various parts of America. You’ve seen the pictures. So many CAD drawings of happy families with strong boys whistling along man-made waves.

When Surf Snowdonia threw its gates open at the end of July, it was an overdue chapter in the game of wave tanks. Proof they could be built. Proof they could be commercial, at least momentarily (Surf Snowdonia is currently closed for biz.)

Around the same time the Wales tank opened, BeachGrit spoke to Andrew Ross, the former lawyer and investment banker, who bought the rights to Wavegarden in Australia.

The goal of Ross’ company Wave Park Group is to create 10 Wavegardens in Australian in 10 years.

(Read that here.) 

And, as revealed today, Wave Park Group and architects MJA Studio have concept plans to turn a football stadium into a Wavegarden tank, surrounded by apartments etc.

Let’s examine the story from Perth Now.

“An ambitious $120 million proposal — with an artificial wave lagoon the show-stopping centrepiece — would see Subiaco Oval transformed from the home of WA football to an urban surfing village.

“The Sunday Times can reveal exclusive details of a bold, Australian-first concept for the post-football future of Subiaco Oval, which would combine a wave garden, elevated parkland, market space and unique apartment living.

“The Subi Surf Park idea is a joint venture between Subiaco-based architects MJA Studio and international surf park company Wave Park Group.

“Both stakeholders say they have already had keen interest from developers and believe the apartments would be quickly snapped up and require no capital expenditure from state or local government.

“The landmark vision entails:

  • A 300m-long by 120m wide freshwater lagoon using groundbreaking “Wavegarden” wave generating technology only used in two European surf parks, with another under construction in Texas;
  • six zones with different sized waves catering for everyone from beginners to professionals, with scope for other water-based activities including uninterrupted 300m swimming laps. Waves would be up to 2m high and travel 200m for a 30-second ride.”

What wave tanks mean for Perth surfers is they don’t have to take their lives into their heads every time they step into their usually crummy waves.

Perth, y’see, is too squeamish to net their beaches and instead delicately tag the whites that frequent their part of town. But who wants to surf when you know there’s a four-metre white or a three-metre tiger swinging by?

This pool is concept only and it would only happen, if it ever did, after 2018 when the stadium is decommissioned but a quick text to Ross revealed, “heaps happening on several  fronts but nothing public at this stage. Stay tuned.”

 


Confession: I’m a big sweaty white dude!

And I have a resting bitch face! What chance do I have?

I recently had two different people, in the span of a few days, offer up the unsolicited opinion that I look like Ben Roethlisberger.

I had to look him up online. I know he plays football, was pretty sure he’s been accused of raping multiple women, but I had no idea what he actually looked like.

Turns out he’s a big sweaty white dude. And, yeah, I’m one of those. Thanks so very much for your kind words. That’s exactly the type of thing you should say to someone.

It’d be pretty hypocritical to get up in arms over though, offering unflattering opinions is something I spend an awful lot of time doing. And I know that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but I think it’s a bit unfair to assume that just ‘cuz I can dish it I can also take it. I’m a very insensitive sensitive young man. And I have the good grace to not say rude things to people’s faces. Usually. Maybe not all the time, or even most, but I am aware that a lot of the stuff that comes out of my mouth would have been best left unsaid. Which should count for something.

I’ve been having trouble with one of the clerks at our nearby Costco equivalent. It started months ago, when I at checkout and tossed a box of candy onto the conveyor belt. It was one of those things where I was kind of high, put a bit too much vinegar on it, knocked a bunch of shit over and made a lot of noise.

Oops.

The short fat old lady behind the register was not pleased.

“What’s your problem? You upset at something?”

I was not, but I do have a resting bitch face, so I understand that I always look a little pissed off when my mind is off in the ether.

I’ve got a lot of other positive qualities though. I’m a superb housewife. I cook delicious food and do an acceptable job of keeping our home from descending into outright squalor.

It turns out the housewife deal suits me to a T. It’s not a hard gig, my husband-wife appreciates it, and there aren’t any kids getting underfoot ruining my good time. I’ve learned which markets sell the best produce, the cheapest spices, the choicest cuts of meat, hit them up multiple times a week making sure everything we eat is nice and fresh. Never run out of anything anymore. You want a bowl of cereal?  You can bet your sweet ass there’s milk in the fridge.

But I’ve been having trouble with one of the clerks at our nearby Costco equivalent. It started months ago, when I at checkout and tossed a box of candy onto the conveyor belt. It was one of those things where I was kind of high, put a bit too much vinegar on it, knocked a bunch of shit over and made a lot of noise.

Oops.

The short fat old lady behind the register was not pleased.

“What’s your problem? You upset at something?”

I was not, but I do have a resting bitch face, so I understand that I always look a little pissed off when my mind is off in the ether.

From then on she was cold as ice. I’d try to avoid her line whenever I could, but she works midday, when I do my shopping, and was often the only person available.

I tried taking a page from my wife’s book of manipulation tricks and attempted to kill her with kindness. All smiles, how are you, how’s your day, blah blah blah. I make an effort to remember to go through those motions, I understand that people appreciate it. I often wonder if they can tell I don’t really care, but I assume that no one does. They’re just little dance steps everyone goes through and which I’m learning at a late age.

Yesterday I stopped by to see if they had any fresh long beans, which are delicious. They were out, but I remembered I needed to pick up a few things anyway, specifically a four-pound bag of sugar and a carton of cigarettes.

She took one look at my cart, made a little face, and asked, “That’s it?”

Yep, just a ton of sugar and some smokes, thankyouverymuch.

She scanned my stuff, then paused and slowly looked me up and down.

“How old are you, anyway?”

I am 35.

“You look good for your age.”

Now, what the fuck is that supposed to mean?


Opinion: The World’s Most Overrated Surfer!

Surfing's anti-hero Mickey Dora!

When BeachGrit’s Derek Rielly and surfing’s grand vizier Matt Warshaw get together laughs, and knowledge, flow like a river. Their last tete a tete, titled Who’s the World’s Most Overrated Surfer had me doubled up on the floor. If you missed, please, give yourself a gift here.

The two started in the present, bandying about names like Matt Banting, Italo Ferrari, Glenn Hall. Funny but the juices really got gushing when the conversational turned historical. Derek asked, “In history, and according to your readings, who is the most overrated surfer of all time?” Matt responded, “Not a chance.”

They continued, with much, hilarity but didn’t really or truly land on a name. I wonder if it is because Matt has so much knowledge that it is difficult for him to be definitive? Complete certitude about something subjective is a game for historical novices.

Well, I am a historical novice. And so I say, with complete certitude, that the most overrated surfer of all time is one Miklos “Mickey” Dora!

Mickey was smooth, true, but so is Joel Parkinson (the second most overrated surfer of all time). He was handsome, yes, but handsome amongst surfers is almost a non-starter (hello, Ron Blakey). No, the reason that Mickey is propped up, or so it seems, is his rebellion. His flaunting of tradition. His too-cool-for-school lurking on the fringes. Matt Warshaw posts The London Times Mickey Dora obit in his Encyclopedia of Surfing entry. It reads, Mickey was the “West Coast archetype and antihero . . . the siren voice of a nonconformist surfing lifestyle.” And this is at what I take offense. This is bullshit.

Mickey’s rebellion involved whining about Malibu’s overcrowding while, at the same time, appearing in the Beach Blanket Bingo films responsible for surfing’s exploding popularity as an extra. I love self-contradiction, don’t get me wrong, but only self-contradiction on a grand scale. He probably got paid tens of dollars for being in the background of these films. He should have starred in them.

His rebellion involved check and credit card fraud, both low, impersonal and weak forms of crime. My cousin robbed 2o-some odd banks a few years back and he surfs. Mickey should have gone on a wild, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bank robbing spree through California, France and Australia before being brought low under a hail of bullets in Bolivia.

His rebellion involved not working, living instead off the largess of his friends. There are many stories floating about how this “living” often involved stealing from them. And son of a bitch. If there is one trait that stinks worse than all others it is narcissistic selfishness.

The nonconformist, anti-hero, outlaw narrative has been accepted as fact. The Inertia listed Mickey Dora as the second most-influential surfer of all-time writing, “Miki Dora is, in large part, responsible for the rebel-side of surfing.” Which is exactly the problem. If The Inertia thinks something is rebellious then it very clearly ain’t.

 


Watch: The dirtiest surf movie scenes ever!

Surf films used to make you float on a cloud of laughter. They were light and fresh and vulgar…

Most surf movies give me a serious headache. All that slow motion (so much RED), all those moody looks, all those lingering, paralysing scenics. It’s a dreadful thing to admit but as much as I thrilled to Slow Dance, I had to be forcibly awakened after that hunk of slow-mo in the middle.

Did you know that surf films used to make you float on a cloud of laughter?

They were as light and as fresh and as silly as a Barcardi rum served with a sprig of mint and a cherry. Vulgarity was a card to play not to discard.

These two scenes, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson from Doped Youth (2005) and Fair Bits (2006), are funny and frank even if both toned down their profanities.

Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson from Doped Youth from BeachGrit on Vimeo.

Mick’s use of “cunt” in Doped Youth was reduced to a whisper and when Andy Irons says, “What did you say motherfucker? Want some more of that? Fuck… you…” in his Fair Bits cameo with Ben Still and Donovan Frankenreiter, that, too, was cut.

Still, the dirty work is there.

Can you imagine anyone risking their precious fan base with similarly dangerous performances now?