Billy Stairmand wavepool

Jobs: Surf Snowdonia is Hiring!

Do you live in Wales, need a job, and are okay that you might be laid off at a moment's notice?

Do you live in North Wales, desperately need a job, and are okay with the fact you might be laid off at a moment’s notice?

Then send your resume to Surf Snowdonia, the much hyped wave pool park that’s been cursed with mechanical breakdowns, received middling reviews, then got a firm kick in the balls from Slater’s recent reveal. They’re re-opening soon, and because they fired their entire staff a few months back, they need to restock their supply of warm bodies.

Apply here. 

How is Surf Snowdonia, from an employee’s viewpoint?

I recently spoke to some former staff to find out. (Without exception they asked to be quoted anonymously because, in one individual’s words, “Can you keep my name out of it? North Wales is fairly small.”)

The seasonal workers weren’t too happy, but fuck them, right?

The nature of seasonal employment dictates that you toss people away when they’re no longer needed. Sure, you may do it a few months earlier than planned, but who cares about disposable labor?

“The rest of the park was planned to stay open through winter, but when the machine stopped working, no one came, not even for the kids play area”

“I’ve had nothing but trouble with my manager and the payroll clerk since I started.”

“No warning. We understood that the bar and restaurant would stay open even when the surfing lagoon closed for the winter. The app message came as a big surprise to me. I worked the Monday with no suspicions. .. Tuesday I was told by app.” 

“I found out about our redundancy before I was told by the bosses, and even then we were told via phone app.” 

Firing everyone via smart phone app is pretty low class, the business equivalent of dumping your hook-up via text. But it’s so streamlined, how could an employer resist?

All they need do is force everyone to install Deputy and the necessity of delivering bad news face to face becomes a thing of the past.

What’s it like working there?  I’m glad you asked!

“Surf Snowdonia paid me well considering I’m only 18 not many companies would pay £6.50 an hour“

“we had numerous complaints about it being so expensive, about most things being expensive actually, I was reluctant the whole time to serve people at the till, because of the prices” 

“The prices of everything in that place were ridiculously high and a lot of people were bummed about the hype, the red bull weekend worked out a treat, but other than that, it never seemed like it was doing what it was supposed to, we as a company just weren’t delivering what was set out to do.”

“I feel massively let down by them there’s no doubt.“

What about the permanent positions?  Sure, they’re gonna kick the part time kids to the curb, but at least the people hired under permanent status have job security, right?

“I was on a full time contract, there were at least 3 others in the [removed] on supposed full time contracts. I can think of at least 9-10 people on so called all year round contracts. A lot of us wouldn’t of taken the job on casual contracts. Never!!”

“My partner went there after leaving a job of 5 years. 4 weeks later we are both out of work! Not good, no loyalty & no integrity. “

Unfortunately, the local economy is in the shitter, and life’s cruel realities dictate you often take work you don’t want. A man’s gotta eat. 

So will you be competing with previous employees for positions? It would appear not.  Despite the fact that “the village of Dolgarrog is a pit! When the factory closed down the village was on its arse & now the place looks so much better for having SS there,” many have decided to try their luck elsewhere.

It would take an awful lot to make me even think about it. More money for sure,lol. plus a seriously iron clad contract if such thing exists! I very much doubt it.” 

“I won’t be going back, as most of the previous staff will not be.”

“No doubt, I would think some of the villagers will boycott it next year.” 

To be fair to Surf Snowdonia, not everyone feels the same way. At least one former employee is likely to re-apply, though not for the greatest of reasons.

“I don’t think many would go back, but do you know what? I would because this sort of thing happens in every firm over here, and I don’t find it easy to get employment. Employment with an appreciative firm is a pipe dream.”

Bold: The greatest surf town on earth?

Tijuana, Mexico beacons! Will you heed her call?

I am sitting, right now, in a very soft recliner. The marble floor, under my feet, has just been mopped by a woman wearing a navy blue apron and the exotic fish, swimming in a giant wall tank, seem vaguely pleased.

I am in Tijuana. And I will tell you that every time I come south of the border, to TJ, I am thrilled beyond. Many surfers, of course, quickly skirt the city on their way to Baja surf but I don’t understand why they don’t stay awhile. There’s surf here, too, right under a giant bull ring! But there is so much more! Tijuana, you see, feels like a film set. Oh, you’ve seen the movies, no? Pictures detailing the wild times of Mexico’s cartels. Sicario, Once upon a time in Mexico, Meet the Millers, etc. Shootouts in the street, Federales speeding around in dark pick-up trucks, fun.

The Tijuana Cartel ain’t what it once was, having been smashed to bits by the more robust Sinaloa gang, but I tell you this…you can feel the energy on these dusty streets. It absolutely pulses! Not that a shootout is really going to happen, but it all just feels untethered. That rules don’t apply in the same Puritanical way that they do just minutes north.

And surf? But of course! The same Pacific that caresses San Diego rubs old TJ with plenty of legitimately decent waves under 40 kilometers south. A veritable buffet! I think this is one of the greatest surf towns on earth and if you live near, do yourself a favor and cross the border today. You can, you know, it is just that easy.

Once here, try dining on hotdogs at El Sotano Suizo, or fancy steak at Mision 19. Or any street taco. Dance in the sun! Go for a surf and wash the hepatitis away with the frostiest margarita!

I love it so much here I might just not go home. Join me for brunch tomorrow!

Blue Wave House Pipeline

Candid: Billabong’s Pipe House Saved Me!

Poor and living in Waialua, Rory Parker's sanity was saved, briefly, by this dazzling rental…

Many years ago, when we lived on Oahu and my wife was in law school and we were still living hand to mouth, the in-laws came out for a visit.

The wife’s dad has some bucks, so they were staying at the Blue Wave House fronting Off the Wall. Despite its absurd price, it’s not actually a very nice place. The wide-angle realtor lens photos do a terrific job of hiding how cramped and poorly built the place is, with tiny rooms and cut corners, every knob and hinge about to fail due to the heavy stress of a constant flux of temporary residents.

A quick check also shows that it’s illegally used as a short-term rental. Wonder what would happen to its value if the County started enforcing rental laws?

But, anyway, at the time we were living in a shitty apartment on the bottom floor of a subdivided house in the worst area of Waialua. Our landlady’s meth-addict son had just got out of jail, was hanging around all day, and we were more than happy to sit on the patio of the Wave House and avoid going home.

I’ve got a ton of stories from that time, but one that sticks out the most was a dispute two of our neighbors had over the ownership of a pile of bricks. They lived across the street from each other and, apparently, years before, one guy had agreed to store the pile of bricks on his property temporarily. The owner’s house was being worked on and there wasn’t room for them.

Years passed, the bricks were never used, and one day the original owner decided he wanted them back. Bricks have some value, he’d found someone who wanted to buy them.

Only, the guy storing the bricks had decided they belonged to him, as they’d been stored in his yard for many years (I never found out how many). He was therefore entitled to some, if not all, of the proceeds of their sale.

The contentious nature of the dispute caused the deal to fall through, but sparked a neighbor feud which was in full swing during our residency.

“Fuck that guy, he’s a thief.”

“Don’t believe anything he says, he’s a liar.”

Back and forth, ever escalating, until the day we got to witness the joy of pure lunacy.

Throwing bricks is hard work, and I expected them to run out of steam quickly. Both men were well into their senior years, but had that wiry laborer strength that lasts forever and so managed, bolstered by fury, to go all day long. Cursing and sweating and throwing bricks at each other, occasionally taking a break, then returning to battle.

Some comment lit a fuse under the guy in possession of the bricks, and his rage induced logic dictated that the proper way of solving the matter was returning the bricks to their original owner. The delivery method being heaving them, one by one, across the street while spewing a constant stream of expletives.

It instantly changed the nature of the disagreement. Rather than realize he’d won, that not only was he getting his bricks back, they were being delivered via air mail to his door, the original owner took the stance, “How dare you throw a brick onto my property?”

So he started picking them up, and throwing them back.

Throwing bricks is hard work, and I expected them to run out of steam quickly. Both men were well into their senior years, but had that wiry laborer strength that lasts forever and so managed, bolstered by fury, to go all day long. Cursing and sweating and throwing bricks at each other, occasionally taking a break, then returning to battle.

Peace descended around sun down, with dozens, maybe hundreds, of bricks littering the road and their yards. A temporary detente, sure to reignite come morning.

Ownership was even more confusing than before. After all, if someone throws a brick at you, you could argue that it’s now your brick. They’ve given it to you, right? And so all day long they’d been transferring ownership back and forth, forever muddling their respective claims.

After midnight I heard noise from the road and went outside to investigate. Thanks to the ever forgiving nature of the ohana system numerous families on the street had at least one shit-bag criminal relative who would come and go. Keeping an eye on your stuff was a necessity, if you didn’t want it to end up flipped for some rocks down at Ali’i.

Our landlady’s son, and a few of his chronic compatriots, were busy scavenging the bricks and loading them into the bed of a tattered pickup truck. I made sure they saw me watching, checked that our car was locked tight and had nothing of value in it, and went back to sleep.

Around 8AM our neighbors returned to war, only to find their bricks were nowhere to be found.

“What did you do with my bricks?”

“Fuck you! What did you do with my bricks?”

I decided not to involve myself, let them puzzle out the mystery of the disappearing bricks on their own. Later that day our landlady’s son pulled up on a tricked out, obviously stolen, moped, and tucked it away in the side yard, hidden beneath a tarp, where it remained for the next few months.


Craig Anderson Welcome Elsewhere
Craig Anderson, from Welcome Elsewhere. This wave has notes of Tasmania, don't you think? | Photo: Frame grab by Kai Neville/Welcome Elsewhere

Watch here: Craig Anderson’s New Movie!

It's called Welcome Elsewhere!

Today is January 12. Is your mouth dry?

Let’s wet it for you.

Today is the day, as if you didn’t remember, that Craig Anderson, who hasn’t been seen his trip to Indonesia in July to prove the worth of his five-four HK’s in 12-foot waves, releases his new edit Welcome Elsewhere.

Anderson, as you also know, turned down somewhere between half-a-mill and a million bucks a year to re-sign for two years with Quiksilver and is deep in brand development with his friend and fellow turned-down-millions-from-Quiksilver pal Dane Reynolds, and this edit, 12 minutes long, is his first as a sole trader.

You’ll love Welcome Elsewhere, as I did, for its exotic vices, for its slow preliminaries that quickly build to savage climaxes.

Read about Welcome Elsewhere and Craig-Dane’s new brand here or crawl into Welcome Elsewhere’s arms, below.


Welcome Elsewhere from craig anderson on Vimeo.


Objective: Your favorite surfer!

That boy from Ipanema? Maybe!

Social media is more valuable than Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, or at least that’s what Wall Street says. The people love to stare at each other’s pics and read each other’s witty comments!

Last week, our wonderful friends at dug into the stats and did an amazingly exhaustive study looking specifically at the Instagram numbers of the surf brands. Not just which is biggest but which has the greatest engagement, which posts the most, which posts get the most likes etc. It’s sabermetrics for the rest of us!

The results? Read them HERE! But basically, Quiksilver, Billabong and Those Mad Hueys did very well. You love!

This week, our wonderful friends turned their computer skills toward the professional surfers themselves. Who is your favorite? Let’s throw it over to Lincoln and see!

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.48.21 AM

Gabby topped out at 47million likes with JOB coming in second, but way back with 13m. From there it’s a run of Slater, Mick and Julian all playing around the 6/7mill mark.

Interesting to see the type of imagery that’s winning here too. For Gabby there wasn’t one action shot of surfing. It was more family, winning and lifestyle with the world title shot taking home the honors. Whereas with JOB all of his shots are based around the ocean in way or another, he’s just playing on humour a lot more to get his double taps.

The fact that Slater, Mick and Julian all came in behind JOB is interesting. On paper they’re either in front or on pace with him in total followers, but JOB pretty much doubled them in total likes. That’s huge, but you’ll have to take into consideration that JOB threw up double, sometimes triple the amount of posts that the others did. Quantity vs quality vs popularity..

Was a little surprising to see Taj not even crack a million, coming in with just under 800k. Also surprising was seeing Shane Dorian shoot up the board with a very nice 2mil hits. Can’t not give him love, surely? Every post is winner in my eyes… (especially the ones borrowed from BeachGrit!)

But what about cold, hard numbers? Gabby again and in a landslide! His personal Instagram account is four times bigger than the largest surf brand’s. You love the boy from Ipanema! You can’t get enough!

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 9.13.42 AM


Who get’s the most engagement per follower?

It’s JOB! Jamie O! The longtime social champ keeps that ball rolling and good on him!

Go here for more facts, figs, and fun!