SurfStitch shares
A real nice spike in December, 2015, followed by the cliff of 2016…  | Photo: SMH

SurfStitch: “Prospects Grim!”

The once dazzling online retailer's shares hit an all-time low… 

Do you remember, and you should because it was three months ago, the surprise SurfStitch v SurfStitch blood feud? 

To quote that story,

Just a few hours ago, the CEO and co-founder, Justin Cameron, quit his gig “to join forces with a private equity group, in preparation for a possible bid for the company.”

Meanwhile, the other co-founder of SurfStitch, the brunette Lex Pedersen, has been left to rock to and fro in his cubicle! Blood feud?

In The Australian newspaper, Eli Greenblat reports: “Left stranded is Mr Cameron’s surfing buddy and fellow SurfStitch co-founder Lex Pedersen, who remains at the company as managing director in charge of its North American online business Swell. 

“Surfers have been known to get into violent punch-ups over accusations of being burnt, or having another surfer drop in and steal their wave, now at SurfStitch it will be private equity raiders, lawyers and merchant bankers puffing out their chests and bracing for a rumble.”

Three months later, the once dazzling biz is still doin’ it tough, its shares hitting an all-time low of under thirty cents on Friday.

In today’s business news, and as reported by financial reporter Elizabeth Knight:

Surfing online retailer SurfStitch has comprehensively moved from being one of the up-and-coming Australian players to a corporate mystery.

A series of strange events began in early March when its (then) highly regarded chief executive Justin Cameron abandoned his job claiming he was teaming up with private equity to buy the company.

He seems to have since vanished, leaving shareholders to wonder if the private equity play was a hoax. Both Cameron and the would-be suitors now appear to be ghosts.

The board of SurfStitch is weighing its options as its share price remains depressed and the near-term earnings prospects look equally grim. On Friday morning, the share price fell to its all-time lows – briefly dipping more than 11 per cent to below 40¢ in morning trade.

After Cameron dropped his sensational departure bomb on the SurfStitch board via email in early March shareholders were left both confused at his unexpected decision and salivating at the prospect of a bid for their stock.

Three months later, no private equity player has stumped up with an offer – indeed, the company’s board hasn’t had even a whiff of an approach from a would-be suitor, rumoured to have been TSG Consumer Partners – and even more bizarrely the board has not heard from Cameron at all.


If the ignominy of the May 4 downgrade wasn’t enough, the company also received some unwanted attention from the stock exchange, which issued a query to the company about the fall in the share price and the spike in volume leading up to the earnings warning.

So what of Cameron? Some say he is somewhere in the US, others say that attempts by SurfStitch shareholders to contact him have garnered no response.

Stranger still was that he left $400,000 of options on the table when he walked out the door – after declaring to the chairman that he was “deeply conflicted”.

Former investment banker Cameron founded the company with the now chief executive Pedersen.

Read the whole story here. 

Ben Gerring
The surfer Ben Gerring, who was twenty nine, has died in a Perth hospital overnight. According to Gerring's family, he had just found out his girlfriend was pregnant and was “particularly nervous about the threat of sharks and and would not have entered the water on Tuesday if he had known about a shark sighting nearby earlier that day.” | Photo: Facebook

Shark Attack Surfer Dies in Hospital

Ben Gerring, the surfer attacked by a Great White on Tuesday, has died in a Perth hospital…

The Western Australian surfer, Ben Gerring, who lost part of a leg in a Great White attack on Tuesday, died in a Perth hospital overnight.

Gerring, who was twenty nine, was attacked at Gearies Beach, an hour-and-a-half south of Perth.

The ABC reports,

The WA Department of Fisheries said during the week that the damage to Mr Gerring’s surfboard indicated he was attacked by a great white shark.

Mandurah Boardriders Club President Brian Williams said he arrived at the scene as fellow surfers dragged Mr Gerring onto the beach.

“By the time they got him to the beach somebody had already applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and they were just trying to do CPR to get him back breathing,” he said on Wednesday.

Mr Williams helped stretcher Mr Gerring up to the ambulance.

“It’s pretty harrowing seeing somebody you know lying there motionless, hoping that everything’s going to be OK,” he said.

Mr Williams said Mr Gerring had lived in the area all his life and his mother had travelled in the ambulance with him to hospital.

“He grew up as a Mandurah boardrider, he’s been here all his life, so he’s well-known, he’s a very good surfer,” he said.

Earlier, the Gerring family had appeared on Channel seven news and revealed the surfer had just found out his girlfriend was pregnant and was “particularly nervous about the threat of sharks and and would not have entered the water on Tuesday if he had known about a shark sighting nearby earlier that day.”

On Wednesday, WA’s department of fisheries set up a drum line and hooked a big White, which died on the line. 

Gerring’s death is the first fatality in Western Australia since December 2014 when a spear fisherman was killed by a fifteen-foot Great White in the south coast town of Albany.

Click here for  list of shark attack fatalities in WA since 2000. 

How could you say no to this instructor?
How could you say no to this instructor? | Photo: The Great Steve Sherman

Just in: Joel Parkinson retires!

Maybe! To teach private surf lessons at new boutique hotel!

It is truly amazing what a person can learn from an inflight magazine. Did you know, for example, that you can spend three prefect days in New Zealand? Or that the longest tunnel in the world stretches 57 km? Or that (ex?) pro surfer Joel Parkinson can be hired to give private surf lessons at a new beach hotel in Australia?

A write-up featuring some of the best hotels in the world discusses the glamorous Halcyon House. Let’s read:

Opened last May in a converted 1960s seaside motel, the 21-room Halcyon House is bringing high style to the scruffy surfers’ paradise of Cabarita Beach, an hour and a half south of Brisbane. The property, set back from the sand behind a grove of palm-like pandanus trees, brims with eclectic flea-market finds, boldly patterned upholstered walls, and a palette that skews toward mariniere-style navies and whites. Work up an appetite by taking a private lesson with pro surfer Joel Parkinson…

Boom. If Parko is on call for the high style Halcyon House then there is no way he can continue to compete.


Anyone in the service industry will tell you that the first rule is making sure you are always available to fill hours and the second is that the customer is always right.


I got instantly fired from my only service industry job.

Still. Can you imagine a worse life than teaching surf lessons? These must be very bleak days on the WSL. Very bleak indeed. But since he is giving them, shouldn’t we go and learn how to do proper cutbacks?

Or do you think you’re above a few pointers? From the world’s most stylish surfer/handsome instructor?

IMG_3039 (1)

Mr. Hitler bronzing his buns after three hours of making an ass out of himself in the lineup.
Mr. Hitler bronzing his buns after three hours of making an ass out of himself in the lineup.

Opinion: The adult learner must die!

Or maybe just be sent to Tasmania with all other adult learners.

As you know, I am currently in San Francisco and I’ll be damned if the weather is not a most pleasant 70 something degrees Fahrenheit (22.7ish for my Australian and European friends). The sun is shining with not a hint of that classic biting cold wind. The bum urinating on the telephone pole seems to be enjoying himself and the one who asked me for a quarter, then a dollar, was chipper even after I turned him down both times.

See that chubby white manboy across the street? Yes, he is headed to an open floor plan tech startup with 40 million dollars in series B funding but guess what he left at home? His black North Face fleece! Or maybe it’s just tucked into his over-the-shoulder satchel.

In any case, last night I had a lovely dinner, an adventurous take on contemporary American cuisine, with even more wonderful people. The conversation, as it does, turned to surfing at some point and the struggles in learning. The bobbing around helplessly, going over the falls, getting in the way of everyone, fin cuts, leash tangles, face getting exfoliated by sand.

And it made me wonder. What kind of sick bastards are we, the ones who stick with it?

Not including those who live in warm water places with enough waves (Hawaii, parts of Australia etc.) learning to surf is perverted masochism. There is nothing even remotely fun about it. It is awkwardness coupled with pain coupled with more awkwardness. And helplessness. And looking like a complete spastic in front of a beach packed with spectators.

I thought back to when I first learned to surf and suppose I was so young that I stunk at everything. I couldn’t hit a baseball with any sort of consistency or a three-pointer. I played quarterback but was so small that I couldn’t see over the center so would just heave the football downfield before getting bone-crunchingly sacked. I was as good at surfing as I was at anything which is to say bad.

So I guess I wasn’t really a sick bastard. Childhood, in and of itself, is a sort of perverted masochism.

But what about the adult learner? How miserable must his life on land be to stick with something so absolutely impossible to learn? How driven must she be in order to spend the minimum 500 hours in the water required to poke down the line with a poo stance? Miserable like Hitler? Driven like Pol Pot?

Yes, the adult learners, the ones who really stick with it, are unstable should be locked up with the key thrown away. They are far too dangerous for society to contain. Or maybe they can all just go live and learn together on Tasmania. I heard, at my lovely dinner from a wonderful person, that 1 in 4 Tasmanians is directly related to a convict.

(A very funny classic from our friends at Australia’s Surfing Life)

“Giant Great White” at Angourie!

"It launched like a missile," says surfer/shaper Will Webber… 

Did you know that Greg Webber, the wavepool inventor and shaper of bananas for Kelly, has a fabulous younger brother called Will?

Will lives in Angourie on Australia’s far north coast where he shapes surfboards, some of which bear the famous curved Webber pedigree.

Examine here. 

Two days ago, while checking a surf spot called Spookies, next to the more famous, though less exciting, Angourie Point, Will says he saw a “fifteen-foot” Great White breach “seven foot in the air.”

On his Facebook page, Will wrote: Just saw a 15 foot Great White breach off Spookies !!!!! Fucken raddest thing I’ve ever seen !!!!!!

Will tells the story in an interview with the Daily Examiner,

“I just went to check the surf and sat down for about 10 seconds; it was probably about a kilometre out and the thing just jumped out seven feet in the air.

“This thing was definitely hunting, so I told a guy who was just going out that I saw a giant Great White out there, and asked him to tell the others. One guy came out of the water and he had a cut on his head and it was bleeding, but the others stayed out.”

“It was about a 15 footer and had its whole profile from the top. It came out like a freight train, if that thing hit you you’d be in half.”

Shaking and in awe of the predator’s sheer power, Webber rushed down to notify the four surfers who were in the water at the time.

“This thing was definitely hunting, so I told a guy who was just going out that I saw a giant Great White out there, and asked him to tell the others. One guy came out of the water and he had a cut on his head and it was bleeding, but the others stayed out.”

Webber said he had always wanted to see a shark, just not when he was in the water.

“I’m definitely not surfing today and I’ll be surfing very close to the rocks from now on. It’s burnt into my brain. I’ve always imagined but now I know what it looks like… it was like a missile.”

Meanwhile at Ballina, an hour or so north, and the current shark capital of the world, four Great Whites were just spotted near surfers at North Wall.

Read here.