Who needs full disclosure when you've got boardshorts!
Who needs full disclosure when you've got boardshorts!

Surfing’s Great Veil of Secrecy (Stupidity)!

Billabong settles class action lawsuit! But doesn't admit to wrongdoing! The rare win-win!

The surf industry is a very strange nightclub’s backroom, roped off from the main party and dancing to its own strange DJ named Cutsnake. Few people enter. Nobody leaves. Conversations mutate while the records spin and paranoia descends like smoke from the smoke machine. Or, wait. Maybe that is smoke from the smoke machine? Does it smell the same? Musty? I think so.

In any case, it is an eddy near the shoreline of a rushing river where water stagnates and refuses to travel toward the sea. No water in. No water out. Or, wait. Is that how eddies work? Do they actually stagnate? Water has to come in right? But if water is coming in and not leaving then wouldn’t that part of the river overflow its bank? Is that what happens?

In any case, it is ridiculously cloistered and it can be because so few people are watching, listening or care. And so, in the surf industry you will see higher ups peddling straight bizarre lies (Hello, WSL CEO Paul Speaker! How much does Kelly Slater earn, per year, again? How deep is Cloudbreak?) and you won’t see any repercussions. Because so few people are watching, listening or care!

But apparently, courts and lawyers in Australia bent their ear for a few moments last week and slapped Billabong with a 45 million dollar bill for “allegedly misleading and deceiving shareholders” with its earnings forecast. Let’s read about it in the Gold Coast Bulletin!

GOLD Coast-based surfwear group Billabong will pay a total of $45 million, inclusive of legal costs, to settle the claims of a class action.

The class action began in 2015 and was pursued by law firm Slater and Gordon on behalf of about 730 institutional and retail investors who acquired Billabong securities between February 18, 2011 and December 19, 2011 and also registered to participate in the class action.

Proceedings were launched in the Victorian Federal Court, accusing Billabong of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct over a series of earnings updates almost four years ago.

It sought unspecified losses and damages for a Melbourne retail investor, Newstart 123, trustee of the Malone Family Superannuation Fund, which lead the claim and whose $30,000 investment in Billabong was slashed in value by more than 50 per cent.

The action accused Billabong of failing to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations. It said the fund would have acquired Billabong shares at a lower price, or bought shares ‘in another listed entity instead’’ if the surfwear giant had not allegedly misled or deceived shareholders with its earnings forecasts.

Slater and Gordon Class Action Lawyer Odette McDonald said the proposed settlement was a ‘fantastic result and class action participants will no doubt welcome the news’.

“This is an excellent outcome for group members and, based on our assessment of their losses, investors will receive a strong return if the settlement is approved,” Ms McDonald said.

“Slater and Gordon’s class action was supported by a large group of current and former shareholders, ranging from small retail investors to prominent institutional investors”.

The lead plaintiff in the action was Newstart 123 Pty Ltd, trustee for the Malone Family Superannuation Fund.

The proposed settlement will be put before the Federal Court for approval, and class members will receive details of the proposed settlement shortly. Billabong makes no admission of liability under the terms of the settlement agreement.

And ain’t that great? I like making no admission of liability for 45 million dollars.

But really, if investors want to pour money into surf and expect rigorous, detailed truths they should maybe watch some World Surf League events first and listen to the upcoming EPIC conditions that are guaranteed to thrill JUST around the corner! Then wait for it…wait for it…oops! 2 ft onshore slop!

Hello again, WSL CEO Paul Speaker!

Kelly Slater wave pool
Can you imagine? Swing your blade over at the Slater and, later, move to the Wavegarden.

Retraction: Pools not better than travel!

Why travel when you can get crummy winds and brain-eating bugs in a pool?

A few months back I wrote you a letter citing “picturesque but unmakable runners,” “GI parasites” and “unfavorable wind” as things that I would seek refuge from during a future trip to NLand surf park. 

I regret to inform you that you may need to issue a formal retraction as the three elements cited above appear to, or will at some point, exist at this location in its current form.

You’ve done a great job of shedding light on the inheriting health risks of a large, mostly stagnant, body of fresh water languishing in the Texas sun. So much for parasite free.

Equally concerning is the photo in their consolation email. The ribby waist-high dribbler isn’t quite the “perfectly shaped six foot” prince that was promised. The picture also opens up an entirely different Pandora’s box: the wind.

NLand Surf Park

An uncle once said, and who knows if this is correct, that winds near the coast are predictable because the ocean is a more stable temperature than the land. In the absence of a strong weather system, mornings and evenings are usually offshore because the water is warmer than the nearby land. This causes the warm air above the sea to rise (hot air rises) and it is replaced by gas that has cooled off above the relatively cold solid ground. The result is a joyous offshore flow. The same phenomenon causes a mid-day seabreeze after the sun has warmed land to be hotter than the water.

Unfortunately for NLand, or any pool far from the sea, it would seem that their wind regime would be whatever it is in that area. Some .gov site (so you know it’s legit) says that in Austin Prevailing winds are southerly. However, in winter, northerly winds are about as frequent as those from the south.” 

Google maps seems to suggest that they’ve taken this into consideration as the plow thingy is oriented from northish to southish:

NLand Surf Park

But as we know, Wavegarden works in both directions to achieve its wave “every 60 seconds” promise.

I can hear the coaches now: Would you prefer the offshore forehand with a crumby backhand and giardia on the side, or the onshore frontside and hung-up backside with the brain-eating amoeba?

Both are great!

brain eating zombie

Brain-Eating Amoeba Closes Wavegarden?

Recent death at whitewater park the reason behind sudden decision to delay Texas pool?

As reported here two days ago, Wavegarden’s newest location, the yet-to-open NLand Surf Park in Texas, has been hit with a lawsuit for failing to comply with county safety codes.

As first revealed by the Austin American Statesman newspaper,

According to 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.

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.

And that, as they say, is the rub.

See, on June 19, a teenager rafter died of a brain-eating amoeba after a trip to the US National Whitewater Center, home to the “world’s largest manmade whitewater river”.

From CNN:

Levels of the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which killed an Ohio teen, were unusually high in water samples taken from the U.S. National Whitewater Center and were probably caused by the failure of the water sanitation system.

It’s also one of only three such systems in the United States that are not required to be regularly tested for pathogens, said Cope. According to local health officials, that’s because it’s viewed as more of a river, even though the park is made of concrete channels that recirculate 12 million gallons of water from the city’s municipal water system, some water wells and rain. 
The center was “not required to be a regulated facility, but that is being questioned for the future,” Mecklenburg County Medical Director Dr. Stephen Keener said.
Being killed by brain-eating amoebas isn’t the prettiest way to die. Convulsions, seizures, vomiting and hallucinations all intrude before a welcome death.
Therefore, NLand Surf Park, I’m guessing, has run into a wall of sudden health concerns. Which is a sonofabitch when you’re almost ready to flip the open sign.
In a press release this morning, the park says,
NLand will not open until we can assure our guests the park will meet the highest standards for quality and safety. We are disappointed the county commissioners would take such drastic measures, without explanation. We look forward to creating a win-win solution for Travis County, NLand and most importantly the millions of surfers and surfers-to-be worldwide.
On a positive note, Surf Texas photographer Kenny Braun captured this image of one of our first waves and we wanted to share it.
NLand Surf Park
Ironically, on the same day the commissioners voted to sanction our park, we hosted an orientation for over 150 new team members, more than 50 of whom are from Del Valle and Cedar Creek. Team members gathered on the pier for a group shot to commemorate the first week of orientation and training.
Does brain-eating amoeba concern you? Or are you ready to crack this thing open?

Julian Wilson is a bad mama jama!

Who's the toughest man in surfing? Wrong! It's Julian Wilson!

And now let us frankly assess the masculinity, the toughness, of surfers compared to other professionals and hobbiests. I think it is very fair to put lumberjacks at the very top and furries at the very bottom. Roughnecks, crab fishermen, strong man competitors are in the upper third, very near the top. Professional poker players, video game enthusiasts and surfers are in the bottom third, very near the bottom.

Like our furry friends we are anthropomorphic, dressing up as cute little seals and playing in the waves like friendly dolphins. We clap our hands and hoot and giggle.

But now look at Julian “motherfucking” Wilson standing between furry friend Kanoa Igarashi’s and Kolohe Andino’s lockers in South Africa talking prosaically about his surfboard’s dimensions.

“Riding the Monster Six, pretty much an identical board to what I was riding last year. It’s got a little J on it for J-Bay last year. My favorite board. It’s 6’0″ and a half, 18 3/4 just over 2 1/4…..”

Talking banally about what he rides but all bashed up and totally awesome!
That is the face of a fighter. Of a rodeo clown. Of a man who has looked fear in the eye and gotten sandpapered by fear but don’t give two shits.

I am going to dress up like Julian Wilson for Halloween this year.

He’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as he can be, hey
He’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as he can be

His surfboard measurements are perfect in every dimension
Its got a figure thats sho nuff gettin attention
He’s poetry in motion, a beautiful sight to see
I get so excited viewin his anatomy

Oops. Ummm. Did I just write, “I get so excited viewin his anatomy?” Shit. Maybe forget that last line.

Dane Reynolds Craig Anderson

Parker: 5 surf tips to enhance your life!

Involving booze, fins, leashes, drowning and non-edible wax… 

Got my shit done late today. Went for a surf, ate shit onto the deck of my board like a goon. Thought I broke a few ribs. Headed to urgent care to get checked out. Three hours of waiting room hell. Not their fault, place was jammed. Pretty good service, really. All things considered.

One family full of screaming kids. Not angry, crying. Screams of laughter. The absolute worst. Running laps around the adults, singing, having a great time.

People will take a crying child outside. But not a happy one. Because I’m supposed to love the joy of children? I definitely do not. Better seen and not heard.

People will take a crying child outside. But not a happy one. Because I’m supposed to love the joy of children? I definitely do not. Better seen and not heard.

Best never seen at all.

Got my x-rays, nothing broken. Just bad bruising. Sweet! Looking forward to my upcoming Nica trip, don’t wanna deal with an injury while I’m there. Doc says I probably bruised my spleen too. Which I guess isn’t a big deal, unless it turns into internal bleeding. Which I assume it will not. But I’ve got a week of the wife watching me like a hawk in store.

I also got a small bottle of percocet. Which is a silver lining, for sure. Perks to being injury prone. Kinda. Only because I can handle my shit.

Derek says to surprise you all and write about some surf knowledge. That which I have. Which is a bit, I’ve been playing in the ocean for a longish time. But I don’t know if I can drop any true knowledge bombs. We’re not the Inertia, I don’t know if many of our readers have less than a year under their belt. Fairly certain I can’t hand out anything that isn’t straight “yeah, duh!” stuff.

So maybe I’ll just share some surf knowledge it took me far too long to learn.

Cut your leash rope short: No one ever told me your leash rope can pull through the rail of your board if it’s too long. Found that out in my late twenties. After it happened on a small day at Log Cabins.

You can’t drown from a hold-down: Not if you’re a normal human. Toss your hat into the lunatic ring, try paddling into a skyscraper. Then maybe. But stay calm and just deal with the carbon dioxide build up and you’ll be fine. Learn who long you can hold your breath with just a little practice and you’ll be laughing at life.

I do enjoy Wassel’s take on apnea. “I can hold my breath for one minute.”

Because it only matters if you’re being flogged halfway to death. Five minutes in a pool ain’t shit.

(By the way, listen to the podcast if you haven’t. It’s good shit. Recording episode two tomorrow.)

Alcohol is terrible for your surfing: I wish it weren’t true. Could crawl in a bottle every day without my body slowing turning into mush. But the facts be the facts. With every day that passes my body bounces back with a bit less vigor. Just can’t go big one day and expect to surf worth a damn for the next couple.

Fins don’t make that big of a difference: A good set (Techflex Merricks!) is heaven. But you don’t need a fin quiver. That shit’s just marketing.

Marketing that got me to buy way too many slivers of glass that gather dust before I came to my senses.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe constant swapping would invigorate my jams!

I would happily admit so, publicly, were Futures to kick a few bucks our way. Wouldn’t do it for FCStitch. As far as I’m concerned one set’s too many. Especially with the shenanigans they’re trying to pull these days. Which I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about. Innocents caught in the crossfire.

You shouldn’t eat Bubblegum surf wax: I probably ate a few bars worth as a kid. Someone older told me you could and I didn’t even question it.