Help: We’re hopelessly diseased!

The "is surfing a sport?" debate laid to rest forever!

The sun set at its normal time last night and Michael Ciaramella came over to examine a bee colony currently infecting the roof of my home’s guest unit. I had noticed the bees a few weeks ago, maybe a month, flying in through a vent. Worldwide bee die-off is a serious problem, I think, so was happy to host the bees at first but then they spilled outside the roof and it is time for them to move.

Michael told me it, is in fact, past time. That the bees’ honey will drip down the walls and cause lasting damage. I entertained just giving them the whole guest unit but living next to the world’s largest hive could prove problematic.

After he left I poured another drink and scrolled through Instagram, stopping on a picture of Julian Wilson threading a very fine barrel at Cloudbreak that was shot earlier that day. I then went over to Julian’s own Instagram feed and saw that he had been home just one week ago.

And it was either the bee infestation or the other drink but it really struck me how hopelessly diseased we all our. Very infected with surfing. Julian Wilson had been on Tavarua through the final day of competition at Cloudbreak two weeks ago, having made it all the way to the quarterfinals. He then flew home and then flew back to surf some more and just because. Not for points or for glory or fame or any other reason, as far as I can tell, than just because.

The NBA season ended a few weeks ago as well and what if LeBron James, say, went straight to New York and played all day in pick-up basketball games? What if Russell Westbrook flew straight to France so he could play on some new courts?

Sure,  all next level athletes train in their offseasons but Julian Wilson isn’t training for J-Bay by going back to Cloudbreak. He was, I think, compelled by a good swell and the never satiated desire for barrel.

I think this addiction that all surfers share, to some extent or another, is precisely why surfing isn’t a sport. Why it is nearer the opioid crisis than any other professional league. But what do you think?

Surf Lakes
Just look at the numbers!

GET RICH: Invest in Occy’s new wave pool!

A potential weekly revenue of six hundred thousand dollars!

Mark Occhilupo, world champion of 1999, is the “surf industry advisor” of a new wave pool company who wants you to send cash to help ‘em fill the sudden need for artificial waves.

Surf Lakes (Everyone Gets a Break) has issued an investors information memorandum “to raise up to $5,250,000 at 0.10 per share.”

Are you a dreamer? Do you wish you had something you could shovel money into? Something that would change the world for the better? Gift you an endless supply of waves? Will Surf Lakes fulfil this criteria?

The numbers are formidable.

According to the Memorandum, it costs half the price of Wavegarden’s new tank The Cove to build (Fifteen mill instead of thirty), creates more than double the weekly revenue of The Cove and two hundred times more than Slater’s pool (Six hundred gees versus two fifty k and three gees), creates 2400 waves per hour vs 1000 (The Cove), dwarfing estimates of fifteen for Slater’s pool.

So how’s it work?

Well, the tech ain’t immediately obvious, it’s not as if they provide diagrams of the machinery, but judging by the artist’s impression of the tank, it’s a vertical plunger that goes up and down to create a circular ring of waves, like the concentric rings created when you throw a stone into a pool.

You’ll get a throwing peak takeoff, with a wave that loses size rapidly after the initial takeoff. Plenty of waves created, but only a few you’d throw cash at.

Physics, right?

I may be wrong, but the artist’s impression implies a wave height that remains the same through the length of the wave. I can’t see it happening. You’ve watched that footage of the Cove? See how it quickly it loses size?

It isn’t a deal breaker, not even close. I can’t wait to spend days, weeks, months, riding that damn tank. Thousand bucks for a season pass? I’ll take it. It’s better than any wave I’ve seen recently.

But, why not aim for greatness instead of good-ish? Greg Webber (Oh, I can hear the groans! Show us something!) the shaper turned eternal promiser of a wave pool utopia, puts it this way.

“None of these things are as good as the great natural waves on earth. Not one of ‘em… yet,” says Webber. “That’s what’s gotta be done, to get to the same level as the great waves that we already surf on earth. It’s gotta be as good if to succeed at a global level.”

Webber says his full-scale prototype, which is 300 metres long by 150 metres wide, is going to be built somewhere between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and construction could, if all things go well, begin in a couple of weeks.

Surf Lakes says it’s already build 1:25, 1:10 and 1: 5 proof-of-concept protos with a full-sized tank being built in Queensland and ready, it says, by the end of the year.

I tell Webber I think the wave pool market appears overcooked. So many tanks chasing money. So few potential customers.

Webber tells me I’m wrong. He says that the “potential market is off the chart based on all the normal mechanisms that exist, the capitalistic world in combination with one of the most addictive activities on earth. If you can give this experience to another human being, a two-metre wave that lasts twenty seconds, and it costs one dollar and you can charge ten…”

It’s a point.

“The waves so far are pretty good,” says Webber. “They’re not the same as the amazing waves we’ve already got but it’s the repeatability. We’re distracted by that. It’s neat and clean and keeps repeating itself. But is it throwing the same way as the great waves that we really enjoy? You’ve gotta be able to get deep inside that thing.”

Two years ago, Surf Lakes had a swing at raising half-a-mill via Indigogo. Eighteen backers provided a little over a thousand bucks.

Maybe now we’re all getting our heads around wave tanks it’s a buy.


Say it loud and proud!

Comedy: I Am Adriano De Souza!

An afternoon delight!

Had a rough day? Feeling like you need a drink to drown the sorrows of your humdrum existence? Or maybe you’re a crack-cocaine kinda gal?

Well leave those substances alone, Shirley! I’ve just the thing to perk you up and it ain’t even perc-o-cet — it’s comedy!

Surely you’ve heard of Tyler Allen. In recent months, the LA surfer has become something of a cult hero for his Instagram impersonations. He’s done Gabby and Kelly and of course Trump, but I think his latest masterpiece is his greatest. Say hello to Adriano de Souza(s)!

Da real!! @adrianodesouza @wsl @coconut_willie music by my favorite surfer Gabe Boucher @ocsabat_

A post shared by Tyler Allen (@tylerallenvo) on

And did you laugh? I did. I laughed the whole time and honestly I’m having trouble picking my favorite impersonation. My top three include: the guy in the hood, Strider, and the cut on the foot. Tyler’s was probably the best but he’s a pro so it doesn’t count.

Who knew surfers were so funny!

Fight Club: Battle of the Brands!

It's a no-holds-barred death match!

I didn’t remember how long it was between…. where was the tour last? Brazil? Fiji? and J-Bay. Each day feels like two days and it makes me very thankful for the World Surf League but also very angry at it. Why must you torture me so? Why must you leave me without when all I want is professional surfing or the vague hope of professional surfing each and every day?

And so, left with no options, I decided this morning to make my own professional surfing competition this time pitting surfboard brand logo against surfboard brand logo in sudden death heats. The impetus? I was shedding my very fine short sleeved Independent Surf Co. wetsuit just off D Street when I saw a man walk by with a very very old JS board. I studied it and especially took note of the logo, JS’s iconic earth mover, and thought, “That’s a fine logo but how does it stack up to others?”

I ain’t talking the performance of the board, the price, the selection etc. etc. No. This battle is purely about logos. The first three heats follow. Vote in the comments!


Heat 1


Heat 2


Heat 3



Pollution: “Bird poop, toilets and more!”

Which of California's beaches are the worst? Come get surprised!

The New York Times published a story this morning titled California Today: Surf, Sun and Bacteria which mostly seems like a rude and unnecessary east coast stone throw especially since there was no real new information inside.

Nearly half of California beaches earned grades of C to F during the wet weather, 12 percent more than the five-year average.

Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s chief scientist, said solutions lie in programs known to mitigate runoff pollution such as increased urban green cover and projects to capture, clean and reuse storm water.

“It’s indicative of a water mismanagement issue in California,” she said. “If we were doing a better job of rethinking that runoff we could turn it from a nuisance into a resource.”

Blah blah blah. Am I right?

The fun part, though, comes when it is revealed which of California’s beaches are the worst according to Heal the Bay‘s annual report card. And guess which beaches were bad bad. Like the worst bad. Can you?


The worst worst is in Humboldt County!

Humboldt County’s Clam Beach, which is fed by two creeks, was named California’s most polluted beach by Heal the Bay.

The problem there has vexed local environmentalists who cite a panoply of possible causes: bird poop, campground toilets, old septic systems, livestock and more.

“There’s no shortage of theories,” said Jennifer Kalt, the director of Humboldt Baykeeper, an environmental group.

Bird poop, campground toilets, old septic systems, livestock and more! That’ll keep the crowds down, I bet. Which other beaches are in the bottom 10? Ladies and gentlemen without further ado I give you…

10) Salt Creek!

9) Mother’s in Marina del Rey!

8) Luffenholtz Beach in Humboldt!

7) Capitola!

6) Santa Monica pier!

5) La Jolla Cove!

4) Lakeshore park in San Mateo!

3) Cowell Beach!

2) San Clemente pier!

With Clam Beach, as previously noted, taking the top slot. I will say, it surprised me how many northern California beaches were shitty. Does that surprise you too?

Viva the San Clemente pier!