Perth wavegarden
Here, the new version of Wavegarden, a joint where even middle-aged men can swing into a wave every fifty-five seconds

Believe it (or not): A Perth Wavegarden!

Smoke! Mirrors! Etc.

Are you getting a little over, maybe even a little suspicious, of all these announcements for Wavegardens in Australia?

Already, we’re apparently going to get man-made waves in Melbourne, Sydney, and revealed today, Perth, or if we’re going to be specific, the suburb of Alfred’s Cove, midway between Perth and Fremantle.

One year ago, Wave Park Group CEO Andrew Ross told BeachGrit he was aiming for ten pools in a decade. Australia’s vast continent sprinkled with the fairy dust of wavepools. What could be finer?

From the PR spin: “Wave Park Group is thrilled to announce the location of WA’s first Wavegarden, to be located at Tompkins Park in the City of Melville.  With river frontage and lush green surroundings, the A$25 million URBNSURF Perth development is set to break ground in late 2017…”

Is it really set to break ground in a year?

That would presume the site had been acquired, that all development approvals had gone through, the poor old bastards whose lives revolve around the Melville Bowling Club (lawn bowls, not ten-pin) had been given somewhere else to shuffle their balls.

How close is Wave Park Group?

The local council hasn’t even considered let alone endorsed the project.

Does a press release that trumpets 300 jobs and a $250 million injection into the economy (“over the life of the project”) seem a little presumptuous to you?

Smoke? Mirrors? Right now, yeah it is.

And, if you were the local council, and if you had even an ounce of research behind you, wouldn’t you wait to at least see commercial applications of the WSL/Slater tank before you threw prime riverfront land away?

Welcome to URBNSURF Perth! from URBNSURF on Vimeo.

Parker: “I’m Gonna Be a freedive hero!

Can Rory hit two-hundred feet on one breath?

Back home for a minute. Just enough time to wash my clothes, repack my shit. Hop back on a plane to BI. Gonna try and be a freedive hero. We’ll see how that goes.

Shaky moment last night. Sleeping at the in-laws. Fancy pants in Manhattan Beach. Started running a high fever around bed time. Total delirium all night long. Finally broke before dawn. Shit came out of nowhere. No lasting ill effects.

But it was dicey there for a moment. Airlines don’t smile on sick people leaving a third world country. Kept telling the wife, “Don’t say anything about me being sick. I don’t want to get stuck in LA.”

She’s no fool. Didn’t need to be told twice. Especially didn’t need me to ramble on incoherently about it.

We had a very good time. Living in the lap of luxury. Granada hotel houseboys bringing the mojitos. Wake up to massages on our private veranda. Breakfast brought up soon after. Spinach quiche and excellent french press Nica brew.

Ruined an Australian group’s dinner one night. Paid a street musician to play Guantanmera and La Bamba for them. On repeat.

One guy got so upset!

“Please stop! We’re not paying you!”

“It is okay, you no need pay. Would you like a different cancion?”

Musician guy totally got the joke. Was playing well at first. Worse and worse as he went on. Basically banging on his guitar and shouting. Big shit-eating grin on his face. Comedy all around.

Drunk wife had to spoil the joke. Asked if they enjoyed our gift. But they were good sports. Laughed it off. We bought them a round. Made some new friends.

Shit got weird when we unlocked our front door. Someone’s been in my home. Muddy boot prints through every room. I don’t own a pair of boots. No way they could’ve been mine.

They dug through my closet. Nothing in there but clothes.

Laptop still sitting on my coffee table. No surfboards missing. Spearguns where I left them. Wife’s jewelry box in plain view, but everything still there.

Place was closed up tight. Put new locks on a few months back. No one else has a key.

Very unsettling. Might be time to buy a gun.


Blood Feud: Surfing mag vs. Slater 10!

"The second one was a piece of shit..." says the mag!

Kelly Slater’s final day at the Billabong Tahiti Pro could not have been any better. He won the event, beating the world’s newly minted number one. He won the AI commitment award that has a light inside. He won 10s.

Except Surfing magazine’s very wonderful Michael Ciaramella hates one of those 10s! The second one! He writes:

The second wave was a good wave. That’s about it. Kelly took off deep, no-hand pumped, set his rail, and shot through it. A nail in the coffin, sure, but not a goddamn sledgehammer to Keanu’s head.

And ouch! Such a stinger! Such passionate defiance! Such a rock through heaven’s window!

Should we watch it again?

Does Kelly not come out with the spit? Is he not maxing out speed, power and flow? Would it not be a 10 any and every day of the week?

What the hell is your fucking problem Michael?

But do you agree with him? Was Kelly’s second wave “shit?”


Wavegarden: “A mushy $18-million fail!”

A loud conversation in a quiet restaurant re. wave pool technologies!

I went to lunch today and was minding my own business but two men across from me were not and forced me to listen as soon as it became apparent they were speaking about wave pool technologies. One of them, I believe, was designing one. The other, I believe, was an engineer.

And this is what the one I believed to be an engineer said as I furiously typed his words:

The owner of Wavegarden spent 18 million dollars and was told he would get 6 foot high barreling wave and he got (air quotes) a “failure” 5 foot and mushy.” It barrels less than 5% of the time. He finally came to terms with it. Didn’t really hurt his business model.


They didn’t do the right simulation. The owner should have gone to a third party to validate. Once we have a design…thank you Wavegarden, thank you Wave Loch, now we want to have this validated by a third party. Higher level. This will work. Wave generation mechanism in that format? Depending on the wave size and peel angle 15 to 17 seconds. And the way to go longer is just this switch. So…

…There’s a conversion of wave energy. Convergence of two waves that ends up being the biggest section. Deeper to shallower. Wave fizzles out then reforms. Doing that on purpose. The goal being chest to head high wave…

Make it better go wider, wider pool make it better more room. Beginners are always going to be riding whitewater….

And then I got my bill and left. But is any of that interesting? Elucidating in some way? I don’t know. I failed geometry.

Brad Gerlach
"Everything is so… safe… it's gotta be… what can I do with this wave? How loose and alive can I be on this?"

BeachGrit TV: “How to Game the Tour!”

With the noted surf coach and former world #1 Brad Gerlach!

Three weeks ago, the noted surf coach Brad Gerlach publicly processed his thoughts on Conner Coffin (“technically and intellectually ready to be the best surfer in the world”), Kelly Slater (“He’s fucking shredding!”) and the tendency in pro surfing circles to “work” on your surfing.

The work-play conundrum formed the hub of the piece, even if it was superficially contradictory given Bradley’s work with Conner. Still, it raised a good point. “There’s work and there’s play. What you tend to hear from a lot of these surfers is, ‘I’ve been working really hard.’ Working, working, working, working, working. Have they ever considered that watching someone…work…isn’t that much fun?

Watch that episode here. 

Today, Gerr examines what it takes to game the tour, how it feels to be “surfing better than everybody else at certain spots and knowing it,” the advantage of having an Olympian father from a sport that’s “beautiful, judged, acrobatic, smooth, powerful” as a coach, why the new generation excites the hell out him, how “safe” everything feels and why young surfers, who should be getting better as they grow, actually start to plateau.

“Is it fear?” says Gerr, who posits that competitors are so terrified of not making the quarters, of being relegated to the WQS, of losing a bonus, that it bites into their surfing.

“All that thinking is the worst thing you could be doing,” he says. “The worst!”

So, how…do… you succeed? Watch!