Injection of government millions guarantees Australia surf gold in Tokyo!
Whatever you think of bureaucracies like Surfing Australia (and I’m looking square at you Maurice Cole), you gotta hand it to ’em: they sure do know how to squeeze shekels out of every tier of government.
Last week, Surfing Australia unveiled the seven-million dollar renovation of its pre-existing facility at Casuarina, half-an-hour or so from Byron Bay. The state government gifted three mill, the federal government two-and-a-half mill and Surfing Australia covered the final five hundred gees.
The joint has more foam pits, trampolines, climbing walls, skate ramps and so on than before, as well as underground parking, a boardroom, 100-seat auditorium etc.
As reported by tabloid The Sunday Telegraph,
And here it is: Australian surfing’s first-ever factory for Olympic gold medals.
The 4000 square metre, state-of-the-art centre for high performance will be used to coach Australia’s current world champions including Stephanie Gilmore and Tyler Wright.
Every day the new home of surfing excellence will be used to motivate the next wave of rookies towards the sport’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo games.
“We’re one step ahead of the rest of the surfing world, because I don’t know of any other surfing nation with a facility like this,’’ Mark Occhilupo, the 1999 world champion, said.
“If they are, they’re doing it in secret.’’
Australia’s past and present world champions including Joel Parkinson, Pam Burridge, Tom Carroll, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, Wendy Botha, Phyllis O’Donnell, Pauline Menczer, Beachley and Occhilupo gathered on Friday.
“This is incredible – the timing of this centre is perfect, with the coaches we have at Surfing Australia, I can’t see why we won’t win an Olympic gold medal,’’ Parkinson said. “To walk in this building and see an Australian Olympic gold medal would be an amazing feat.’’
And yet, despite the rivers of gold, there is sugar in the wound.
As the shaper Maurice Cole pointed out in one of his two opinion pieces on the subject (Read: “Bureaucracy killing Australian surfing!” and “Why (the fuck) is Australia’s Olympic squad training at Surf Ranch?”)
It’s a system that’s broken.
It’s not producing anything except salaries for the people at the top. They’re more interested in having shitty contests every weekend in every part of Australia.
But when do kids learn to surf? To really surf?
Meanwhile, the French kids, the Hawaiian kids, they’re out there charging. Killian Guerin just surfed Waimea. He’s fourteen. These kids can all surf top-to-bottom barrels no matter where. By the time they get to the WQS they’re ready to graduate to the WCT.
Surfing Australia, I feel, is a mediocre bureaucracy that produces mediocrity. We have some of the best free surfers in the world, Ando, Creed, Noa and we have that in bucketloads, but for the competitive kid, all they get prepared for is years and years on the QS.
Right now is the lowest Australian competitive surfing has ever been and the Olympics are coming up. God knows how we’ll go. Normally, I’d say Australia is odds-on for a medal but I fucking doubt it. We don’t have the depth of surfers. But we have all the infrastructure, all the academies, the six-million-dollar high-performance centre, all the bureaucracies.
Why has Brazil produced all these amazing, hungry surfers? Not because they have more talent. They do a few local contests, do the ISA, world pro juniors then they’re straight onto the WQS. We dick around for another two years, hold onto ‘em until they’re twenty. Meanwhile, teenage Brazilians are spending their winters in Hawaii.
I don’t think you can buy enough curved-screen televisions and inflatable bags and climbing walls. I mean, look at the best surfers in the world: Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Filipe Toledo. They’re all products of coaching, yes?