Greg Webber and banana board
This is not a flat bottom. See the concave all the way through to the nose? Anti-conventional? Yeah, it is. Dimension-wise, it's 5'10", 12 and a bit in the nose, 18-and-a-half in the middle, and 14" in the tail. | Photo: Richard Freeman/@freemanphoto

Opinion: “Wavegarden will be redundant!”

The shaper and wavepool inventor Greg Webber on the inevitable demise of Wavegarden… 

On a recent Thursday afternoon, I visited Greg Webber, the fifty-six-year-old surfboard shaper and wavepool inventor. Webber lives around five kilometres from the beach in a small, but well-maintained, apartment on top of an animal surgery, with his eldest son Hayden, who is 21.

I had promised a story about Webber to The Surfer’s Journal and had missed so many deadlines that last week I just scooped up my things without really thinking and took the long drive across Sydney to visit him.

Webber wasn’t in the finest physical shape, a bulging disc had left him imprisoned on a microfibre couch in a sort of permanent crash position, but he still managed an easy good nature.

We spoke about many things over an hour or so, including Kelly’s persistence with his banana boards, how to ride one (stand in the middle), a five-foot-eight-inch-long and fifteen-inch wide board he’d built that had no planshape (“It was only by getting rid of the planshape completely that I was able to understand the core fundamentals”); how wavepools are poised to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Webber actually said “trillion” but that seemed too bullish to me. Also, why his pool, when it is eventually built in “two years” is going to better than Slater’s and why Wavegarden is doomed, despite opening the door to everyone else.

Pertinent quotes…

On why surfing addicts us so and how that affects wavepool design:

“What’s incredible about surfing is transitioning from being in the moment, projecting into the future and getting back into the moment and projecting into the future. There’s no meditation that achieves it. Probably no sex that achieves it.  And the longer you do it for, the better the healing and the stability you get as a human being. That aspect, therefore of customising waves (in a pool), is vital. If you don’t customise it, you start to take the wave for granted and you get irritated that it doesn’t change shape at all.”

On the Slater pool: 

“Kelly’s made a stunningly perfect tube. But the fact that there’s whitewash right at the back of the board when the surfers, some of the time, are not even in the tube at all and there’s whitewash wanting to push forward, well, that’s a conical tube. We can ride them…just. They’re a little bit hard to ride. A cylindrical tube will only be made using a kelvin wake (Webber’s technology).”

On the cost of riding a two-metre, ten-second tube at a Webber pool:

“Close to ten bucks. But it’s a cylindrical perfect thing like what Kelly made but with a trough and you’re able to get back in the tube. And guess what else? You started off at one metre and it gradually builds up to two metres so guys who’ve never surfed two metre tubes in their lives will be going, what the fuck…When I asked capable surfers how many five second tubes they’ve had this year, all three of ‘em looked at each other and went… none. I said, well, five seconds is nothing. You’ll get five second, two-metre tubes every time you go to my pool.”

On Wavegarden: 

“They proved it. Everyone loved it. But they’re hamstrung by the dynamic of a low wave-rate, which makes it viable on a day-to-day basis. The thing now is people have recognised that a wave of a certain quality can be made and so an industry is on the cusp of happening. But it’s only going to happen if each of these pools makes a lot of money. Not just a little, tiny turnover. And that’s directly linked to the number of people going through the gates. One hundred and twenty waves an hour is 12 dudes getting 10 waves an hour. No one spends 30 million dollars or more building a pool on the hope that’s going to turn a profit. Because it can’t. You can’t change $10,000 per session. I wouldn’t go down that path, ever. And they’ll end up being redundant.”

On Webber pools:

“Only one (pool) is going to make money. My one. There’s only one design. And it all revolves around using the kelvin wake. It allows us to do 500 waves an hour as a base rate. We have a ride rate of 5000 rides per hour. That’s fucked up. That’s proper money.”

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor vs. The World!

Revenge is a dish best served alongside a helping of warm, leftover DICK!

They say revenge is a dish best served cold but Joel Tudor didn’t get that memo and is ladling up a piping hot plate of BOOOYA this morning! The cheese on yesterday’s Blood Feud between the great Sunny Garcia and Surfing Magazine’s Brendan Buckley has not even begun to coagulate yet JT is back in the kitchen, slanging grits.

As a quick recap. BB (from Surfing) Instagrammed a picture of Gab Medina air and wrote “Power surfing makes heats. Progressive surfing makes memories.” Sunny Garcia called him a kook. BB wrote a story about how Sunny hated him. Sunny responded via Insta by posting the story and said, “I don’t hate you. You are a kook.”

Are you with me so far? Good.

Then on Sunny’s Instagram feed longboarder and martial artist Joel “Jitsu” Tudor came flying in from the sidelines writing:

@sunnygarcia I’ve hated everything about that magazine since I was a child – they have told myself and @vans that longboarding is not a legitimate style of wave riding to be in the pages of their magazine! That was straight from the editors mouth —- flame was notorious for being open about how much he hated longboards – THAT MAG CAN EAT A DICK

But that mag eating a dick was not enough! He wants them to eat a side of IN YOUR FACE! This morning he was back on his own Instagram feed writing:

If you are a longboarder — do not support @surfingmagazine//since I was a grommet these guys have consistently held up the standard started by Larry Moore — that longboarding was not a legitamite (sp) form of wave riding and didn’t belong in the pages of their mag! They still hold that standard today and have told my boss @vans this on a many of occaisions (sp)! Funny part is I blasted them via @sunnygarcia and now thy are trying to back pedal!!!! – if you think I’m kidding …. Ask yourself one question … When was the last time you saw a pic of a longboarder in surfing ????

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And would you permit me one moment of candor? One anecdote that I feel elucidates?

Surfing‘s grand photo editor and now creative director Pete Taras was at my house a few months ago for my three year old’s birthday party. There was a bouncy palace. A purple cake with a surfer on top. Pete’s daughter was here and we stood off to the side. I was certainly drinking. Pete may have been.

Now, Pete is a striking figure if you have never had the joy of meeting him, tall and darkly handsome. If he shed a few unruly pounds I could make a case that he is most handsome man in surf, Danny Fuller and Luke Davis and Luke Stedman included. As he is, though, he is totally the Belle of the Bear Ball, Matt Biolos and Maurice Cole and Jimbo Pellegrine included.

Sometimes, though, I like to make his handsome face twitch with rage for my own pleasure. So I say to Pete, “You know, between you and I, Surfing magazine is a has-been piece of trash. The sun has set on that clunky old thing and do you know what the problem is? Surfing has no point of view. It tries to be edgy but ain’t really. It tries to be funny but ain’t really. It tries to be insider but ain’t really. It is so scared of angering advertisers that nothing, absolutely nothing, can be published that is worth a damn. Surfing magazine is a nibbled bare husk. A spent cartridge.”

Oh how his handsome face twitched and even got red! Blood raced upward from his slightly padded heart to his temples. I could see them pulse! I didn’t really mean what I said. I always find the images Surfing uses to be the absolute best in the space without peer. Their photographers are second to none and they smell up and coming talent better than everyone.

Pete, in any case, fixed me in his eyes all twitchy and red and said, “Do you know what we are? Do you know what we’re about? We feature the most modern, progressive high performance surfing always. That’s what we do.”

And you know, he is right. The whole team there treats progressive surfing as a science. They study hand placement on airs, feet placement on turns, torso position in the tube. They stand around and pour over pictures always looking to push the definition of what high performance means at this very moment in time. Literal hours and hours and hours. They are heart surgeons puzzling out new innovative procedures. Mathematicians solving complex equations.

The sort of surfing Joel Tudor does is not that, which is not to say it is bad or wrong. It simply isn’t the most modern, progressive high performance surfing. Joel’s own argument began to fall apart in his own feed when others jumped in, very seriously, complaining about the lack of SUP and skimboard within the pages of Surfing.

But what do you think? And, more importantly, what will Joel serve up tomorrow?

P.S. Do you understand the picture he chose to illustrate his rage? It looks to me like he is angry that you maybe forgot Mothers’ Day. Is it a transgendered hand? Maybe?

Bronson Meidy
Brave little Indonesian-Australian surfer Bronson Meidy at Riz's Java resort. He's eleven! He's precious! | Photo: @desalimasan

Wow: Rizal’s Java Surf Resort!

A seven-hectare spread overlooking uncrowded, world-class waves…

Did I mention, and I may well have over the previous three posts, about my recent vacation in an Uluwatu villa, perched like a well-padded crow’s nest on a three-hundred foot cliff? And how I shared this three-bedroom, infinity-pool equipped home with the noted shaper Matt Biolos and San Clemente father of the year, Dino Andino?

Oh, reader, don’t be embarrassed for me when I tell you I felt like a king ruling a dynasty of slaves! A whore of modern capitalism!

Apart from documenting the well-received opinion of Matt Biolos, I was also treated to a sunset barbecue with the great Balinese surfer Rizal Tandjung, who is now forty years old.

An aside: does the Asian have sole rights to the game of ageing beautifully? The western man implodes in a ball of hair and clammy flesh. The Asian, on the other hand, becomes even slimmer, even more graceful. Rizal rippled across the tiled floor, supple limbs folding and unfolding like an instructional anatomy doll.

Rizal was a one-time staple of Taylor Steele films from the nineteen-nineties and I asked him what he did, now that his star had dimmed, although I didn’t state it in such bald terms. Rizal retrieved his phone from one of his two beautiful children and swiped through a series of photos of the surf resort he’d built with his father-in-law in the East Javanese village of Watu Kerung. 

I’ll describe. Six pretty Javanese-style houses sit amid seven green hectares overlooking three bays, with world-class, if heavy, reef ledges in two of ’em.


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From his resort’s website:

Rizal Tandjung first discovered the potential beauty of Watu Karung back in 2009 when a friend took him surfing there. Rizal was amazed and blown away by the pristine, serene beach with its special landscape and rocks out in the ocean. One rock cliff in particular, stood out because of its “Sphinx”-like features, or depending on where you stand or how you look at it, it could resemble a princess or a baby’s face.What really made an impression to Rizal was its powerful waves, it reminded him of surfing in Hawaii. These waves made his pro surfer friends such as Kelly Slater, Bruce Irons and Josh Kerr (just to name a few) also come to experience Watu Karung. A photo of Bruce Irons made it on the cover of a surfing magazine and he mentioned it was “the last secret spot”. Many other photo’s and stories about WaKa eventually cicrulated in different surf mags which put it more on the spot. The goal is to slowly build up the place over time to become the beach retreat they dreamed of. Time is not a factor, they don’t want to rush “art”.

A vacation at Rizal’s resort costs between one hundred and four hundred US dollars a night for a house, and includes three eats a day. Decode the price list here. 

Study Desa Limasan’s Instagram here. 

Matt Meola Purple Rain

Movie: Matt Meola’s Percocet Rain!

Does Meola make you feel slow and gobby and sticky on a wave too?

Some folks, notably the multi-instrumentalist Prince Rogers, get their kicks from Percocet and its family of opioids. Others, like Maui’s Matt Meola, are hungry for whipping the tail of their surfboard, and of soaring beyond the pontoons.

This edit by Meola, cut to Rogers’ old hit Purple Rain, from the 1984 album of the same name, and ranked 143rd in Rolling Stones magazine’s 500 Best Songs of All Time, makes me feel like glue on a wave, gluey and stuck and slow and gobby.

How do you get such…pop?

MATT MEOLA | FADE TO PURPLE from Meola on Vimeo.

Due to the severity of his injury Jimbo gets a pass on the, frankly, deplorable diatribe he unleashed on first responders transporting him to the hospital. Fair enough, the blood loss associated with limb loss would fuck up anyone. His ability to remain ambulatory long after having his left arm torn from his body by a passing tow truck is indicative of severe shock. Or just being the toughest craziest motherfucker alive. But that's not a legal argument.

Just in: Jumbo Surfer Walks Free!

The toughest, craziest motherfucker alive?

A legal drama for the ages has come to a close. Mr James Scott Pellegrine, known to the world as Jimbo the jumbo surfer, pleaded no contest to reduced charges and is now a free man.

In our last instalment we saw two of three doctors state that Harrison Ford is wrong. The one armed man was not responsible!

Due to the severity of his injury Jimbo gets a pass on the, frankly, deplorable diatribe he unleashed on first responders transporting him to the hospital. Fair enough, the blood loss associated with limb loss would fuck up anyone. His ability to remain ambulatory long after having his left arm torn from his body by a passing tow truck is indicative of severe shock. Or just being the toughest craziest motherfucker alive. But that’s not a legal argument.

“’As part of the plea agreement, Pellegrine was acquitted of two felony counts of terroristic threatening — a class C felony — in the first degree after two out of three doctors concluded that his volitional and cognitive controls were impaired with the loss of his arm’, said Michael Soong, Pellegrine’s attorney.”

No word as to the result of the county’s appeal of the suppression of Pellegrine’s blood draw. If one were of a speculative inclination they’d wonder if it were withdrawn due to recent news in which KPD Sergeant Overmyer was caught red handed continuing the department’s policy of vampiring citizens sans warrant.

“’It’s a legal dilemma, a conundrum as they say,’ Breiner said. ‘Certainly police thought that they required a warrant, otherwise they wouldn’t have requested one from the judge. And separately, they decided the hell with it, because there’s this statute that says we can do this.’”

The final result of Jimbo’s plea deal landed him a $94 fine and thirty days in jail for “reckless driving of a vehicle and driving without a license — both petty misdemeanors.”

Because Pellegrine already spent more than a month locked up Judge Kathleen Watanabe is considering his time served. As long as he pays the $94 he can put the entire situation behind him and return to his life of… well, I’m not exactly sure what it is he does.