Just in: The Man smashes Wavegarden!

The truth behind the Austin, Texas Wavegarden opening delay revealed!

You know the Man, don’t you? He’s the one always, like, telling you what to do and where to go and with who and when to be home. He’s the one throwing salt into your game and harshing your vibe, looking over your shoulder, nitpicking and laying down obstacle after obstacle. Traffic lights and bullshit. The Man ain’t no one’s friend. He is a bad time.

And if Wavegarden’s newest location, NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, didn’t already have enough problems on its plate with the Kelly Slater Wave Co. the motherfucking Man just heaped a ladleful of red tape right on top of the lack of barrel, weak crumbly mush, broken Welsh machinery and lukewarm reviews.


The surf park was supposed to open in spring of this year but has been delayed. I wondered, just days ago, if the reason was because, maybe, owner and beer magnate Doug Coors was dialing it up in order to whoop Kelly’s minibarrel. Were they working out a top-secret Teahupo’o setting? A racy J-Bay wall?

I hoped but no. The reason for the delay, as revealed by the Austin American Statesman newspaper, is a fight over the bureaucratic definition of “pool.” Let’s read!

Travis County is on the verge of a court fight with a massive, unopened surf park over a disagreement about whether the park just east of Austin needs a swimming pool permit.

The Commissioners Court last week authorized lawyers to sue the operators ofNLand Surf Park, saying the park is being built without conforming to county and state health and safety codes. The suit has not yet been filed.

“Such legal action is essential to protecting Travis County and its citizens,” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said.

NLand Surf Park, which developers boast will be the first inland surfing facility of its kind in North America, is under construction near Texas 71, east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Contractors are building a lagoon the size of nine football fields that will include artificial waves for 11 surfing areas, according to NLand’s website.

The project is the brainchild of Doug Coors, a member of Colorado’s famous brewing family. Its opening date is unclear.

Attorneys for NLand and Travis County have been negotiating for months over whether the lagoon counts as a public swimming pool and, thus, requires a permit. NLand believes it does not, arguing that the rainwater-fed lagoon is more similar to a lake.

The park’s attorney, Richard Suttle, said the American-Statesman’s call was the first he had heard of Tuesday’s vote and said he was “completely blindsided” that the county would file a lawsuit before the park opened.

“This is a one-of-a-kind in the world (facility), and we are still working the logistics out on water quality,” he said.

State law defines a swimming pool as any “artificial body of water, including a spa, maintained expressly for public recreational purposes.” It requires pools to administer chlorine to keep bacteria from exceeding safe limits and meet other sanitary requirements.

NLand will treat its water with chlorine and has a water quality monitoring system to make sure the water is safe and does not exceed state bacterial standards, Suttle said. But the lagoon is too large to comply with other requirements of a pool, such as refiltering water every six hours, he said.

At least two wakeboardparks exist within Travis County, and neither has a pool permit from the city of Austin, which handles all pool permits in the city and unincorporated areas of the county. Suttle said he tried to raise that point with county officials.

“Their explanation to me was: ‘Just because someone else is speeding down I-35 and we don’t give them a ticket doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give you a ticket,’ ” he said.

Though NLand’s Facebook page continues to insist it will be open in “early summer,” Suttle said the park is months, not weeks, away from opening. A wastewater treatment plant built specifically for the site is set to be online in a few weeks, and that will make it possible to start bringing personnel to the site, he said.

The facility’s website shows job openings for a director of facilities, cafe cook, beer brewer, surf shop clerk, guest ambassador, cashier, bartender and dishwasher, as well as several surf coaches.

Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez, whose precinct includes the park site, declined to say what caused the move to legal action now. She called NLand an interesting project.

“They still have a lot of things to complete, but if they get it together and it’s well-run, kids love that stuff,” she said.

Fucken Margaret Gomez is such the Man. “Kids love that stuff?” Lame. But in other news, how much would someone have to pay you, per hour, to be a surf coach at NLand Surf Park? 13 dollars an hour plus unlimited crumble rides? 20 dollars an hour plus free wax and Coors Banquet beer? How much?

Desperately seeking surf coach. Will pay in both Coors and Coors Light.
Desperately seeking surf coach. Will pay in both Coors and Coors Light.

Jordy Smith J Bay
Divide the points, says Rory Parker. But too late for Jordy Smith. He got strewn in the J-Bay Pro's one-heat day. | Photo: WSL

J-Bay Pro: Jordy Smith is terribly sad!

Because John John Florence just smoked him on a dull-dramatic one-heat day…

The South African Jordy Smith, I’m convinced, believed he would not have much difficulty regaining possession of the J-Bay Pro titles he won in 2010 and 2011.

Even against the current best surfer in the world, the Hawaiian John John Florence, in his quarter-final heat, there was a vibration, a haughtiness in his manner, that didn’t just suggest, it screamed, that he would have no serious difficulty about it.

But isn’t the magic in surfing, the drama of throwing the best heat of the contest into three-foot high-tide burgers? Waves that were ultimately of such diminished quality, only one heat would run?

Nothing happened for ten minutes. Restart.

Eventually, Jordy, with his full broad forehead covered by not very thick brown hair, bounces along a wave with a series of floaters. Six and a piece.

As a retort, John John throws an air reverse. Seven and a piece.

It comes down to the final two waves.

Jordy’s is plainly furnished with turns and is correctly given a four-ish.

John John stitches a floater together with a closeout-turn that is barely ridden out of. Correctly, a three and a piece. He needs a 3.17, gets it, and then some.

Jordy is very sad. In his post-heat interview he gives the result a frank assessment.

Watch here.

And watch a slightly abbreviated version of their heat here.

J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Results:

QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 10.70 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.50

J-Bay Open Remaining Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

Spring Breakers

Bali’s Date-Rape Drug Problem!

Or what it feels like when your cocktail is loaded with Rohypnol…

(Editor’s note: A few days ago, the Santa Cruz surfer turned Bali transplant, Mara Wolford, lit up on Facebook after she nearly died when her cocktail was spiked with Rohypnol. It’s a rough read and, when you dig a little deeper, you learn that drink spiking in Bali isn’t exactly an isolated event. So far, Mara’s story has been shared by 13,000 people, 138 of ’em moved to comment. It’s an interesting story, I think, because it illustrates the paradoxical nature of Bali, an island superficially perfect but with a dark undercurrent.

“I am pretty lucky to be alive,” Mara says, “and since I posted that, I’ve received around 40 long mails from women who lived through the same thing, not understanding what had happened. The first time this happened a few years ago, I was with Gerlach, Budgey and Mick Curley. They understood someone had dosed me and got me outta there, kept me safe. But it’s scary shit. Over it. I’m going back to Santa Cruz. But not before I go get some sick barrels on Nias…”

Read Mara’s account of what happens when your cocktail is loaded with Rohypnol below…)

Goodbye, Bali and Fuck You Whilst You’re at It #39. So, Tues. night was eventful. I went to visit  My friend MJ over in Echo Beach. We visited for a few hours, MJ was tired. Her guest, Emilio, an elder Spanish gentleman, suggests we go to the beach and grab a bite.

We do, then we head up the road for a drink. He orders us two mojitos.

The bartender makes them behind the bar out of my view. I don’t worry about this, I’m chatting with the bar guys in bahasa and they’re cool. I leave the drink on the bar and go to the bathroom. All of these acts, ordering mixed drinks, not watching them being made and leaving a drink unattended, are fatal errors in Bali, but this evening, I wasn’t too concerned. I have not been out for a drink since Gerhard died six months ago and the fun in Bali stopped.

Half-way through the second mojito (also poured out of view), the Rohypnol kicked in with fury. I knew what it was because this happened three years ago and it was terrifying. From the speed in which this was happening, it felt like multiple doses.

Today is G’s birthday and I know we all miss him more than he could ever know.

Half-way through the second mojito (also poured out of view), the Rohypnol kicked in with fury. I knew what it was because this happened three years ago and it was terrifying. From the speed in which this was happening, it felt like multiple doses.

I have no way to know and or prove who did it, but I grabbed a photo of the bar guy who made the drinks. Asked him for a photo of the tattoo on his face because it’s so cute. Righto. I then subtly tell three women in the bar whom I don’t know what has happened, to be very careful, and to not let anyone follow me out of the place when I leave as I don’t know who did it or who will try to follow me, to create a diversion. I only have 200 metres to walk home safe.

I exit the bar, turn down the road, walk maybe 20 metres and fall flat on my face, out cold. A motorbike passes, circles back around and stops. I can remember no detail about the driver other than he was Caucasian. My face is split open. I told him to take me back to MJ’s and he seemed to know where it was. He was trying to clean my face up, and I remember telling him it was fine. I know what is going to happen next and I don’t want him to witness it.

Emilio comes home, worried about my disappearance, and the motorcycle guy explains what has happened, that I’ve been drugged. I am now nearly paralyzed and can barely talk. And what happens next is, between projectile vomiting and loss of all bodily function, I nearly go into organ failure.

I can feel my body shutting down. MJ runs into the bedroom, throws the guys out of the mess (we didn’t get to thank the guardian angel, but thank you, whoever you are) and deals with this catastrophe. Dunno how to thank you, either, MJ.

She gets me washed off and into bed. She sleeps next to me because she is really worried. My breathing is superficial and interrupted, a symptom of Rohypnol overdose. She doesn’t sleep much that night. She saved my life.

I know it may sound weird that we wouldn’t go straight to the hospital, but the hospitals here wouldn’t know what to do either, in the case of severe benzodiazepine poisoning, and my stomach and bowels had already been purged: my body was fighting hard to save itself.

I come to late yesterday feeling like I was run over by a truck. I really don’t know who would think it was funny or a good idea to slip a 51-kilo woman enough Flunitrazepam as to nearly kill her, but it reconfirms for me that they aren’t the type of people I want around me.

Bye, Bali and Fuck you, as well.


John John Florence J Bay Pro
…this JJF huck in round four was an object of beauty, and not just for the slickness of the move, but for the way he murdered fifty metres of wave. maybe three turns, face to reach the section. Who does that? | Photo: WSL

J-Bay: “JJF flourishes sword-blade!”

And Kelly Slater strolls into the quarter finals… 

Didn’t Chas write something recently about the small-wave ability of top-tier pros? About how they can just fly across flat sections, lay huge rail turns into sections with nothing behind them?

I’m typing this at seven am without a cup of coffee in my gut, but I’m pretty sure he did. Or he should, because it’s true. Pretty much anyone can surf good in overhead perfection with plenty of power behind it. But fitting you frame into a tiny little runner, flawlessly linking your turns, is a mark of genius.

I’ve watched in awe as guys dismantle tiny Rockies or Ehukai or El Porto or 54th st. It’s neat to see. But it doesn’t really translate to video sans heavy editing.

It was a real bummer to see them run today. Not because the waves were bad, they weren’t. But paddling out in surf this small with eight days left in the waiting period means that there ain’t much on the horizon. I know Turpel and Mel said they expected it to build through the day, but that’s their job. Starting off the webcast with, “The waves are small and most of today is going to be tedious,” would get them fired. Probably deservedly so.

Speaking of building hype. I finally got my second podcast guest lined up! We’re recording early next week. Stay tuned for more info, it’s gonna be sweet tits one hundred percent!

The day started with Bourez and Seabass doing the best they could with what they had. Bourez did a great job showing how to build speed and pant a rail. But it was small stuff. If you were paddling back out and saw one of his turns from the shoulder you’re jaw would drop. Camera lens flattens the world and it’s kind of a drag.

Bring to mind the long asked poorly answered question of why no one ever uses a fat flat little fishy type board during heats. Today seemed perfect for it.

I’ve heard numerous explanations over the years, but nothing concrete. Maybe one of our more experienced and knowledgeable commenters can clue us in?

Wilko faltered in round three, his title campaign took a kick in the nuts. I have no idea what the numbers are gonna look like post event.

I liked Wilko better when he was losing all the time. Which has gotta suck for him. He’s gotta win heats and sell his personality. So hard to do both at once!

Medina/ Melling saw the first attempt at small wave air surfing for points. Medina earned a 8.17 for a backside tap followed by a backside three. Which was enough to shut down his opponent. Too bad, Melling has been surfing very well this event.

The question now: If the judges are scoring the high for one air, as opposed to five turns, will we see more competitors take to the air? Seems like an easier approach. But I’m more or less talking out of my ass. The one and only time I got my board to rotate all the way around backside I looped out on the landing and ended up in urgent care with a nasty case whiplash. Which hurts so fucking bad. Happened more than five years ago, I haven’t done more than a fly-away since.

The man with the curly blonde locks knocked out Parko. The waves looks so damn fun, just not super contestable.

The judges should just call a meeting, tell everyone it’s an air comp now. It’d make for better viewing.

Toledo shredded his first wave of the day to bits. Pupo couldn’t handle it. Ended the heat deep in a combo.

White lightning wildcard gave Igarashi his fifth in a row 13th place finish. That’s gotta sting. Methinks Kainoa might’ve been better pulling a Taj. Give up his first chance at the tour, use the year to grow some meat, polish his approach.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I understand him taking his shot. Thought it was crazy way back when Taj did it. But it was a good call. Dude ran a long successful tour career during one of the toughest stretches in the history of pro surfing.

Say… what happened to the magic shark buoy? Haven’t seen or heard shit about it since the event started. Though I haven’t been paying super close attention. Maybe missed it.

Dantas/Ibelli was boring. Wiggles won.

ADS took out Cathels without too much trouble. Have you seen the WSL piece about Adriano? Very inspirado, much swelling music. But really just fluff. Five minutes of people saying what they always say. He’s so nice and humble. Humble humble humble, always with the humble.

Didn’t learn a thing about the guy. Which is impressive, since I don’t know shit about him as a person already.

First heat of round 4 saw it turn on a bit. JJF murdered Kerr and Jordy. Big ol’ boost on his first wave. Judges are scoring ’em, but people still ain’t doing ’em. Just Medina and double John so far.

Kelly won his heat handily, pocketed a 9 and a 9.07. I don’t know… I think they were over-scored. Bourez’s 9.27 was as well. Muniz got what the points he deserved.

Surf definitely got better. Good call. Does the WSL know what it’s doing? Shocking!

I was really hoping Wilson/Medina/Toledo would go crazy. But it didn’t. Pretty standard stuff. Wilson won.

Round five left to go, then off ’til finals day.

You know what I’m really looking forward to? UFC 200! Today! Jon Jones ruined his career, we’re gonna get to see an out of shape Anderson Silva take on Cormier on three days notice. Crazy shit. And Mark Hunt’s fighting Lesnar! And the rest of the card! Oh my goodness.

P2P streaming is the best thing since sliced bread. The more people watching the pirated stream, the better it works!

Jordy started off his heat with a 9.87. Muniz wasn’t coming back from that. Local crowd screaming for their boy. That’s gotta affect the scores. No matter what the judges say, you can feel the energy. Definitely changes you perception of the situation. Very good reason for noise canceling headphones.

Kerr/Bourez was pretty close. Michel almost grabbed the W, but Kerr snatched it from his hands with a big nasty stalefish rev right before the buzzer.

Damn cool how he’s got those fuckers on lock. Ever tried to grab stalefish? So fucking awkward. Hard as hell off a little kicker in your driveway. Off the lip of a wave… I don’t even know how you can stay centered enough to try.

Battle of the Brazzos: ADS v Medina! Medina moved on to the quarters. De Souza looked a little off his game. Solid heat, but no highlights here.

Last heat of the day, Dantas/Toledo, was kind of “meh.” Nothing magic, solid surfing. Wiggles got sent home.

I’m dog sitting again. Not stoked on it at all. Finally got this dumb little piss-everywhere dog to calm down and listen. Then I shaved my head. Which the little trashcan mutt finds inexplicably terrifying. He really needs to go outside for a piss, instead he’s running and cowering like I’m some sort of monster. Which, from his perspective, I suppose I am.

J-Bay Open Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.20 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.10
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 14.83 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.93
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.40 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.20
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.73 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 5.20
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.67 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.26
Heat 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.20 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.27
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.00 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 15.17
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.80 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.67
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.04
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.37 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.60
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.93 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.66
Heat 12: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.73 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 12.30

J-Bay Open Round 4 Results:
Heat 1:John John Florence (HAW) 17.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.43, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.77
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.07, Michel Bourez (PYF), 17.67 Alejo Meniz (BRA) 10.50
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.83, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.77
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.93, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.27

J-Bay Open Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.73 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.00
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.30 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.93
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.03 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.40
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.50 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.27

J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

King of Tasmania’s adult learners!

Come meet Lawrence J. Burke II, the oldest adult learner on record and founder of Outside magazine!

The adult learner confuses me to no end. His adopting a very awkward dance late in life only to look foolish and never ever have any fun and get hurt. Her choosing to be an asshole, and only an asshole, with no hope of improvement. Ever.

I wrote about my confusion earlier and suggested the masochistic impulse that drove the adult learner to look foolish and be an asshole probably belied a deeper, very dangerous flaw and they should most likely all be killed. Or sent to live together in Tasmania.

And just this morning I read about a 73 year old man who is learning to surf and got his two front teeth punched out of his head by his board’s rail! He writes:

But I’m getting off to a rough start. After a few good waves during the afternoon session our first day, I somehow overlook a couple of kids playing with their mother in waist-deep water. When I hop off the board a little too close to them, the mother scowls at me, her eyes saying, “It’s a five-mile shoreline, you jerk, why are you ten feet from us!” Still focused on the tots, I reach down to grab my board when a wave suddenly flips it up into the onshore wind. The board’s rail slaps hard into my face, slicing my inside upper lip and knocking out my two front teeth. “What the fuck!” I yell. I had totally forgotten an important part of Surf Simply co-owner and instructor Harry Knight’s advice about not letting the board get between the wind, the water, and me.

The best part of all, this toothless masochist is Lawrence J. Burke II, founder of Outside magazine! The perfect King of Adult Learners!

A few years ago I got into a blazing Twitter war with Outside’s editorial staff. I made fun of them for wearing Tevas and living in New Mexico! I can’t remember what they said back but the fact that they engaged made me so happy with them.

And I’m sure Tasmania’s adult learners will be happy with their king.

Long live Lawrence J. Burke II, the first of his name and also last!

Read about his experience here!