A little surf Olympian in the making!

Australia spends $6 mill on Surf Olympic Gold!

Sensible allocation of funds or comical extravagance?

If you were a president, prime minister, how would you allocate your country’s precious dollars?

Would you, like the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teddy Mbasogo, buy houses in Malibu and Michael Jackson memorabilia? Or would you splash out on a 130 mill crib in the middle of Paris like Gabon’s dashing prez, Ali Bongo? All while your people die in the streets and so forth.

The Australian government, a slightly conservative one at the moment if you were wondering, has always been prone to throwing cash at sport.

It’s a little country and the people, who have the mental agility of a giant prawn for the most, become terrifyingly elevated by Olympic gold medals.

Therefore, today’s announcement that the NSW state and federal governments had puked six million dollars at the High Performance Surf Centre at Casuarina, just across the border from Coolangatta, raised zero eyebrows.

Let’s go the newspaper of note, the Gold Coast Bulletin, for the story:

SEVEN-TIME world surfing champion Layne Beachley is confident Surfing Australia’s multimillion-dollar High Performance Centre expansion can create a gold rush for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.

The surfing Australia chairperson was on hand with World Tour professional Bede Durbidge, up-and-coming Tweed superstar Zahli Kelly and dignitaries at the Casuarina based centre on Tuesday to turn the first sod of soil on the $6 million upgrade.

With surfing set to make its Olympics debut in 2020, Beachley said the major expansion would set Australia up for sustained success in Tokyo and beyond.

“It (expansion) signals the turning of the tide for this organisation. We’re going to go to a benchmark facility we anticipate is going to bring home a whole host of gold medals in the future,” she said.

“We are confident that we will be ensuring athletes are provided with the opportunities for success.”

Works on the project – generated by $2.536 million in funding through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, and $3 million from the NSW Government – begin on Wednesday and are expected to be completed in July, 2018.

New facilities will include underground parking for 18 vehicles, a bigger and better AIS Aerial Surf Skate Training Facility, an improved and expanded world class gymnasium, 100 seat auditoriums, expanded treatment facilities, and 11 new accommodation rooms.

Wow, right?

I have mixed thoughts about flashy government spending.

One, the money’s going to be pissed up against a wall anyway so why not have a good time? Six mill is peanuts when your budget is 500 billion a year.

Conversely, I also believe that each dollar is as precious as gold and must only be spent on those things that really matter, health, education, defence and so on.

Oh I’m lost!

Therefore, I seek your counsel:

Do you think six million dollars spent on the off chance an Australian might win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in the category of surf is a sensible allocation of government funds?

Or comical in its pointless extravagance?

Thinking surfers gather.
Thinking surfers gather.

Classic: First ever The Inertia hit!

Come to adult website theinertia.com and be accepted into the warm, hairy, bearded embrace of the “thinking surfer”…

I am on the way to San Francisco early this morning for a very important business meeting. I woke before the sun, grabbed my things, drove to the airport, parked* and started marching toward the terminal filled with purpose and resolve.

Suddenly, I felt my phone buzz. I reached into my pocket, pulled it out, looked and there was a Facebook message from our dearly departed Michael Ciaramella who has moved on to the big Stab in the sky.

He had sent my a post titled Open for Daddy that was printed in Stab’s pages six years ago.

Six years!

That means I have been hammering on Venice-adjacent’s favorite antifa n vegetarian chili recipe website for six years. Rarely have I displayed such stick-to-it-ivness and would you mind if we celebrated this milestone with a reprise of the original?

There is a place, online, that amazes. And it is called theinertia.com and it is the planet’s largest network of thinking surfers. The best kind!

The topics endlessly fascinate. Some recent include, “Understanding the Alaia and Finless Revolution” “Life is Better When You Surf” and “Man Dies Surfing Near Hollister Ranch.” The humour is side-splitting. The health tips practical. The watchdog role it takes related to the rest of surf media so necessary!

But, and again, it is the constructive critical thinking embodied in each post and each comment that amazes. Thinking surfers!

And, who are the thinking surfers?

Thinking surfers have shitty haircuts and wear lousy clothes. Thinking surfers are dogmatic about pointless contrivance. Thinking surfers can and do write endlessly about minutia. Thinking surfers are zealots. Thinking surfers are Leninists. Thinking surfers are out of touch. Thinking surfers are old both mentally and physically. Thinking surfers love to read their own words so much. Thinking surfers feel picked on.

Thinking surfers only support progress that aids old men catching more waves. Thinking surfers hate making money. Thinking surfers complain that they don’t have enough money. Thinking surfers take themselves more seriously than anything on earth. Thinking surfers hate that they aren’t taken more seriously than anything on earth. Thinking surfers are socialists. Thinking surfers like you, if you are a thinking surfer.

Thinking surfers don’t like you, if you make money and/or disagree. Thinking surfers don’t rip. Thinking surfers are Trotskyites. Thinking surfers hate popular films. Thinking surfers hate French shoes. Thinking surfers hate French films. Thinking surfers hate fruity cocktails. Thinking surfers love bad, thick coffee. Thinking surfers believe in George W Bush’s vision of democracy taking root in the Middle East but attribute the vision to T.E. Lawrence. Thinking surfers are hypocrites. Thinking surfers don’t know how to synch their fundamental belief in the poor working class with their desire to have a home on the beach.

Thinking surfers don’t know how to synch their communist ideals and their belief in George W Bush’s vision of democracy taking root in the Middle East. Thinking surfers cry while watching The Cove. Thinking surfers mock those who cry while watching Valentine’s Day. Thinking surfers drink beer at a party. Thinking surfers complain if the beer at a party is not from a small batch brewery. Thinking surfers never bring beer to a party. Thinking surfers are Marxists. Thinking surfers would be social Darwinists if they were fit.

Thinking surfers are the exact sorts of people that flourish underneath the fluorescent lighting and prepared bedside meal deliveries and incontinence and visiting hours of nursing homes. They are the exact sorts of people that flourish when nobody, except for people exactly like them, is listening.

How fun! How the best kind!

Words that ring as true today as they did back then. Thanks for the laughs The Inertia! And thanks for the memories Mikey C (RIP).

*Do you, too, love the gluttony of parking at the airport instead of satellite parking? Sure it costs 50 to 100 times as much but almost nothing beats the feeling of walking from car to plane without having to board a shitty bus/tram/monorail in between.

This-ish big. | Photo: ABC News

Great White Attack near Bells: “It had me in its jaws!”

“I had to punch it until he let go.”

Earlier today, a Swiss surfer was hit by what he thinks was a ten-foot Great White at Cathedral Rocks in Victoria, and not a hell of a long way from Bells and Winki and so on.

The surfer, Marcel Brundler, told the Melbourne radio station 3AW that the shark had “sandwiched” him and his board in its jaw.

“At some stage, it had me in its jaw, I was shouting and punching it while it attacked me.”

And as reported by the national broadcaster, the ABC.

Marcel Brundler said he initially thought the shark was a dolphin.

“But then I realised fairly quick because it was more than half a metre wide, with a massive dorsal fin, and it looked at me,” he said.

“Then it kind of dived off, came back and circled me, and took a fair notch out of my board, circled me again, then it got me on my wettie, it got me on my hip.

“Luckily, it’s just a little scrape on my skin.”

 The regular surfer was wearing a thick wetsuit to guard against Victoria’s chilly waters.“When he got me he kind of dragged me on a little bit. Luckily I was wearing a really, really thick rubber wetsuit, which probably saved me from bigger injuries,” Mr Brundler said.

“Then I’ve just given him a punch and luckily a set wave came around and I’ve just taken off on the set wave and ridden it to the rocks to safety.”

He estimated the encounter lasted for at least a minute.

“A really, really unpleasant morning.”

Mr Brundler said he tried to keep quiet, and keep his pulse down, while fending the shark off with his board.

Earlier this year, it was reported that there had been a “massive surge” in shark sightings in the area.

Here’s a shark swimming off the Lorne Pier. 

Around the same time, a bronze whaler, weighing almost a quarter of a ton, was snatched off the end of Lorne Pier by a keen angler.

 Watch shark attack man’s video interview here. 

Torren Martyn, here, is the surfing representative of Need Essentials' all-black, cut-price vibe.

Eight-ball: Need Essentials is the future of surf biz!

The noted shaper Maurice Cole on why small is the new big… 

Earlier today, I posted a podcast with Kelly Slater and mentioned, in passing, that I’d interviewed Maurice Cole for The Surfer’s Journal. 

In that particular interview, Maurice, who is now sixty three and who was at one time the most in-demand shaper in the world, spoke about the great crisis facing the surf industry. Surfboard sales down fifty per cent, clothes thirty or forty.

Jobs lost, workers living in fear, the whole show crippled.

And, in that world, he says, it’s the little company, online-only, dynamic, that is going to survive and thrive.

Like Maurice’s pal Ryan Scanlon’s wetsuit and accessories brand, Need Essentials. 

(Read how Need blew into life here.)

“Go to Torquay and half the people in the water are in Need wetsuits,” says Maurice. “Adam Robbo just pulled me up the other day and told me he’d bought four. ‘I can buy three four-threes for 300 bucks apiece and I’ve got a dry wetsuit every time. Some of the best wetsuits I’ve ever worn,’ he said.”

According to Maurice, friends all over the world are getting into ’em. And it ain’t exactly rocket science why.

“People like Scanno are delivering really good technical product for a cheaper price. Scanno’s got as much fucking credibility as anyone else and people are loving the suits,” says Maurice. “Three hundred instead of six hundred. All blown away. Need was opposite me at a trade show recently and even my business partner bought one. One hundred and twenty dollars for a two mm suit. He couldn’t believe it.”

The surf industry, says Maurice, is either going to sink or swim.

“It’s like, fuck, a readjustment.”

Kelly Slater as background muzak.

Listen: Kelly Slater talks death, raising Chihuahuas!

One and a half hours of Kelly Slater!

Two days, two podcasts. I’m starting to feel it. I still believe podcast broadcasters need to cut and shave their interviews a little more, think talkback radio instead of meandering late-night conversation, but as muzak, it works.

Today, I cleaned the house, edited a story on the noted shaper Maurice Cole for The Surfer’s Journal and incited a fight between a cavoodle and a baby French bulldog whose big head had got stuck between the pickets of my backyard fence, all while listening to Kelly Slater on Firewire’s podcast, The Wire.

In this episode, Kelly, who owns Firewire remember, meanders, but does so in a compelling and likeable manner, on subjects as diverse as death (Kelly recites two good stories about a woman who was found frozen on a doorstep but was brought back to life, another is about a brain-damaged child prodigy golfer) Bill Murray learning to surf at low-tide Padang, his Gamma surfboard, Outerknown, Dane Reynolds, the damn busted foot and so on.

“So many people I know have died. In all sorts of different ways, two committed suicide last year, lost a lot of friends to cancer, random things, murder, disease, car accidents, drowning.”

“Is drowning ecstasy? I’ve heard that but how does anyone truly know? I spoke to Aaron Gold and he didn’t say that. I talked to Evan Geiselman and he didn’t remember anything.”

“At Pebble Beach, Bill Murray would stay on the green and sing Beach Boys songs to me.”

Listen here!