waco pool
Waco, Texas (October 12, 2018) – Results of environmental sampling conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (WMCPHD) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) found evidence of Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba (single celled organism) that causes Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, a rare and devastating brain infection with an over 97% fatality rate at the BSR Cable Park and Surf Resort (BSR). A New Jersey resident who had visited BSR this summer died after contracting the disease. Epidemiologic and environmental assessment indicate that exposure likely occurred at this facility.

CNN: Dead New Jersey surfer “likely” exposed to brain-eating amoeba at Waco Pool!

State and federal officials find evidence of brain-eating amoeba at BSR cable park. Meanwhile, Waco pool press release declares "water tests come back clean." Bullish!

A day before Stab High last month, a New Jersey surfer, Fabrizio Stabile, was dead in hospital after visiting the Waco wave pool.

Whether he got it in the unfiltered water of the pool or not wasn’t clear. Maybe he’d stuck his head under water in the hotel jacuzzi. Maybe he’d dived into a rancid backyard pond.

Who knew etc. Until today.

Stabile “was exposed while visiting the BSR Cable Park and Surf Resort in Waco, Texas, during the summer,” a Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said. 

From CNN:

Water samples taken by local, state and federal health officials at the beginning of the month ‘found evidence of Naegleria fowleri,’ the amoeba that causes the infection, according to the health district.

The health department concluded, “epidemiologic and environmental assessment indicate that exposure likely occurred at this facility.”

Although the amoeba itself was not found in water samples from the park, “the presence of fecal indicator organisms, high turbidity, low free chlorine levels, and other ameba that occur along with N. fowleri indicate conditions favorable for N. fowleri growth.

The tests were taken from the park’s Surf Resort, Royal Flush and Lazy River features. Those areas are to remain closed until “all health and safety issues have been addressed and mitigated appropriately,” the health department said, adding that the owner of the park is cooperating and working to develop a “comprehensive water quality management plan to include current regulatory requirements.”

The BSR Cable Park said on its website that it is installing a state-of-the-art filtration system on the three features to ensure that they are “as clear and clean as humanly possible.”

Contrast those results with the park’s press release.

It really is a bullish spin. Appropriately Trumpian.

“BSR SURF RESORT, Lazy River & Royal Flush slide WATER TESTS COME BACK CLEAN” and “BSR Determined to Go the Extra Mile, Set Highest Standards for Safety.”

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire staff at BSR Surf Resort, our hearts and prayers are with Fab Stabile’s family, friends, and the New Jersey surf community. A precious life has been lost, and we are deeply saddened for his loved ones.For the past two weeks, increased awareness of this incredibly rare disease, Naegleria fowleri, has swept the globe. What will come of all this news coverage and commentary? At BSR Surf Park, we are determined it will help save lives.
Although comprehensive test results have now confirmed that the water at BSR Surf Resort meets every standard for safety, today I am announcing that we are going the extra mile and hiring a North Carolina firm to install a state-of-the-art filtration system to make our water in the surf, on lazy river, and at the Royal Flush slide is as clear and clean as humanly possible. It will take us to February to complete the installation of this new filtration system working very closely with local, state and CDC officials.

There are only a few of these man-made surf parks in the country today, but many more will be built. Our goal is to set the highest standard for these facilities. Going forward, BSR Surf Resort will have the cleanest water anywhere in the United States.

I built this water destination resort so people of all ages could learn to surf and wakeboard — and then go home safely to their families. We take pride in our park and the safety of every guest. And to be clear, it’s not just the guests that use the park. It’s also my family, our friends, and our employees that essentially live in our water. My two year-old twins play on that beach, and — as kids do — they drink the water every time.
So you better believe my cousin, who tests and treats the water every day, is damn sure no one gets sick.
BSR wants to thank everyone that has supported us from the start, and believed in what we are trying to do. We want to make people happy — and safe — and that’s what we are going to continue to do.

We will update you on our progress through social media and our webpage, and look forward to seeing everyone soon with clear, blue, clean water.


You going?

(Editor’s note: If you want reassurance, and a little more spin, click here.)

World Surf League on Quik Pro: “Massive attendance at the beach with 1000s of people worshipping their idols!”

It's time to believe!

  1. The World Surf League seems to really be hitting stride, really finding its voice. I sometimes joke at the perceived tone-deafness but whatever is happening now is pure art. It feels just too good and did you watch any of today’s finals? Of course Longtom has the best wrap around but you really should go back and watch some highlights.

It is like the day bent toward the WSL’s will. Remember, the forecast for the event was less than stellar. It was bad, even, but there, on finals day, the most perfect French waves streamed to shore with the best surfers in the world plying their trade magnificently.

A show in the best sense of the word and do you believe in manifestation?

Oprah Winfrey does. She says:

I think we manifest the very thing we put out. If you’re putting out negativity, then you’re going to retrieve that same sentiment. If you emanate joy, it comes back to you.

Or maybe that was Robin Wright but no matter. The message is the same as it was when Kevin Costner declared, “If you build it, they will come.”

We mocked the WSL’s manifestation, or at least I did,  but today there were near perfect waves for a French final and tomorrow there will be massive attendance at the beach with thousands of people worshipping their idols. Not literally tomorrow, obviously, the event is over, but figuratively tomorrow.

Don’t believe me? Examine this bit of Universe tinkering.

See it there in the bottom right corner? Massive attendance at the beach with thousands of people worshipping their idols?

Do you believe?

I do. Not literally believe, obviously, because I’m a Gen-X cynic, but figuratively believe.

Quik Pro Finals: Julian Wilson wins; Wilko weeps; Gabriel Medina new world number one!”

Hossegor wraps in fine, six-foot velvet…

Justified criticism from Tired of Winning and Nick Carroll that yesterday’s wrap was unjustly harsh to Keanu Asing, or that I wasn’t qualified to deliver the message. Maybe it was but nothing personal.

The harder the WSL wraps its athletes in fairy floss and spins magical thinking into them the more disposed I feel to tell the brutal truth. They spent the majority of Keanu’s stint in the booth quizzing him on how to win heats.

That was cruel. This is a man who clearly does not know how to win heats. His rookie year was so bad that even with an event win he was kicked to the QS curb. His return year, 2018, is even worse. The better, if much harder and more awkward questions would be: why do you keep losing and what do you need to do, to improve, to win heats?

Convict logic? Jumped the shark?

Instead of pumping the guy up with false hope and a bland denial of reality wouldn’t it more humane, as well as more sporting to simply state the obvious: the guy ain’t cutting it on the CT. At least give him a chance at some honest self-reflection and chance to improve. Pete Mel could simply observe his skill set isn’t up to scratch, his surfing is well below the criteria rather than the incessant droning that “He belongs here, he’s got a huge heart etc etc”

I say the numbers don’t lie and Asing’s are woeful. Nowhere near CT standard. Instead of pumping the guy up with false hope and a bland denial of reality wouldn’t it more humane, as well as more sporting to simply state the obvious: the guy ain’t cutting it on the CT. At least give him a chance at some honest self-reflection and chance to improve. Pete Mel could simply observe his skill set isn’t up to scratch, his surfing is well below the criteria rather than the incessant droning that “He belongs here, he’s got a huge heart etc etc”

In so many cases: Ethan Ewing, Matt Banting, Mike February, just to name three off the top of my head, there are many others, pro surfers seem helplessly caught in this spider web of deceit – an innocent fraud, to be sure – being wrapped around them in the guise of …. what? Kindness? Positivity? A memo written from middle management?

Positivity and kindness are great for children and the elderly but to sports people we owe the truth. It just works out better for everyone that way. My personal qualifications to deliver that message? In a BG surfwriter man-on-man or man on woman surf off at Surf Ranch I would beat Chas, only because he has a busted wing. Otherwise, just a guy who can read and understand numbers.

Snake is doing it right. Colapinto straight away fingered the reason for his heat loss: caught between two mindsets, even with Rosie coming in too hot. And he surfed an amazing heat. Zeke, even if the chest thumping is not to your taste ( I dig), has quickly figured how to win pretty and win ugly.

Dream day today in France. Six-foot glistening beachbreak. A day when pro surfing stands and delivers. You can never really foretell these moments, they just seem to pop up randomly like a magic mushroom in a cow paddock after rain. Ready to blow your mind.

Three-man Round 4 heats seem to deliver the magic. The first one with Connor Coffin, Jordy and Wilko was tight. Connor seemed a bit highballed for point-and-shoot tube rides. Jordy had mid-rangers. The crucial wave around which the heat turned was ridden by Matt Wilkinson with 9.42 remaining in a 30 minute heat. It was a wave which defined his whole year. He went upside down tight in the pocket on a medium-sized right. Once, twice, four times. A low six all day every day. He needed a 5.9. Judges gave it a 5.57, just .3 better than a two turn wave he opened on. It was perplexing.

Wilko was close to tears in the presser. Cooked on the inside and out.

“It felt like a point better,” he said “but it wasn’t.”

What now? Back to the QS? Or a devastatingly truncated career ending? There are no good options left for Wilko unless he wins Portugal and Pipe. I may be jumping the shark again here but the chances of that are nil.

The next heat will likely be the heat of the contest. Maybe the year. De Souza, Callinan and Cardoso. It opened right up, became Rimbaud’s famous banquet from Une saison En Enfer at which all “hearts opened and all wines flowed”. Callinan blitzed the place with an improved Occy approach. Actually more like another Australian goofy-foot who came and went too quickly, Shaun Cansdell.

The great Adriano De Souza answered back. If there is anyone qualified to speak about winning heats, both through strategy, mental warfare and adapting skill set it is ADS. The first to get under Slater’s skin after AI and rattle his cage. One of the very few to totally update and perfect a skill set when most ossify and stagnate. For the first time all event a crowd on the beach felt the vibe. Callinan finished with a pair of nines. Check the analyser but it won’t have the sudden impact of the live viewing.

The next two heats mellowed out. Medina looked insane but still lost to Mikey Wright in round four. Rosie bought that to his attention and he gave a little smirk.

“We’ve had some weird heats,” he said “but I can’t say nothing.”

The Quarters were sick. Connor smacked a wave starved De Souza, who got lost paddling in the rip. I haven’t got the stats in front of me but I know R-Cal enjoys a solid winning record against Jordy and despite a patchy middle section of his heat he beat him comprehensively.

Julian and Mikey had the best Quarter of the four. Whatever Julian has done since Surf Ranch his surfing has never looked so free and so radical. He opened with a greased straight air to the flats first wave. Intention noted. A tad past the half way mark he pumped three times and launched a straight slob air, very high,that made a mockery of the red bull Air show. Judges lowballed it and in the end the heat looked closer than it was. Mikey was outclassed.

Final quarter was Medina hunting a line-up in the throes of deterioration from a niggling S wind and raging tidal flow. No man alive flenses the carcass of a decaying beachbreak like Gabe Medina. He proved that in last years Final and again, although the scores looked close at the end and Seabass surfed insane Gabby was dominant from start to final siren.

God it’s a relief when the back markers get out of the road and a man can be truly and honestly positive. I think the Tour should be stripped back after Surf Ranch and enter Europe lean and mean.

What? You think that’s convict logic too? PS: How good does Mikey Feb look on a Red Beauty?

Ah shit…. mutherfucker. I tapped again and hit the couch, thinking they would finish tomorrow. A little bing woke me up. They are finishing. They are finished.

Semi finals in classic French high tide left-hand shorebreak. Good looking crowd of mostly healthy people. R-Cal riding the wildcard dream wave over Coffin.

No great insight to pick another epic showdown between Gabe and Julian Wilson as the heat of the contest. And that was what it was. Totally nutty. Julian threw an air, Gabe launched. Wilson greased a huge corked, inverted backside rotor. Judges took an age to award a unanimous ten. Gabby rode a million more waves but couldn’t find the one to equal the boost. Again, it made the air show redundant.

What is it with all the studs getting their rigs out in the pressers? Is that building the audience?

A fog delay. Unbelieveable. They start the final. R-Cal gets a score, then another. The fog moves in again. I am hallucinating off my head. Sun sets, five minutes to go. Julian lays out another fully corked tail high backside rotation. That’s it.

Thats the victory.

Time to swill the Wilson kool-aid.

Quiksilver Pro France Final Results:
1 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.34
2 – Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.23

Quiksilver Pro France Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.30 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.43
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.67 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.44

Quiksilver Pro France Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 13.50 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 7.83
QF 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.03
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.10 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.23
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.44 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.73

Quiksilver Pro France Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.50, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.20, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.80
Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 18.53, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 16.50, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.44
Heat 3: Mikey Wright (AUS) 13.96, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.90, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 6.70
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.90, Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.07

2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro France):
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 51,770 pts
2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 51,450 pts
3 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 47,125 pts
4 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 33,490 pts
5 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 32,020 pts

I did pick a bad week to stop sniffing glue!
I did pick a bad week to stop sniffing glue!

From the fly-the-friendly-skies department: United Airlines is the best!

Free surfboard travel to and from California!

Five days ago I woke up grouchy, half-read that United Airlines was waiving surfboard baggage fees for surfers coming to California, in celebration of surfing becoming California’s official state sport, and popped off half-cocked. Something about it being an abomination, flying surfers to California from elsewhere to steal all our waves.

Something dumb.

Well, if you can believe that in my grumpy fog, I both mis-read and misunderstood the announcement. In fact, all surfboard baggage fees either going to or originating from California are waved. A glorious gift!

Now, when the United Airlines representative read and reached out do you think he was chuckling and gentle or gruff and threatening?


I’ll tell you… chuckling and gentle!

Derek & Chas,

I admit I your story on United waiving the surfboard excess-baggage fee in California made me laugh. Funny. However, there is a slight correction to it. The surfboard excess-baggage fee is being waived for itineraries that start AND end in California. In other words, if you’re going from LA to Honolulu, your board fees would be waived. So it’s not just bringing the “hordes” of surfers to California that might happen, but “hordes” of Californians could be surfing elsewhere.

Oh United, never before has an airline spokesman been so kind. In honor, I am naming you The Official Airline of Chas Smith’s Rotten Attitude.


Thom Browne wetsuit
Bring Thom Browne in to style the pretend blubber suits. He good! Here, his $3900 creation from last year.

From-the-lab: MIT Scientists use “artificial blubber” to create wetsuits twice as warm and half as thick!

Get your suit juiced! The ultimate after-market accessory!

The good news: Our wetsuits are about to take a big leap forward.

The bad: The same 14-year old sass-mouths typically seen only in summer will soon be spraying you in the once-empty dead-of-winter lineup.

Sub-50 degree water sheds the weak like fire does dross off metal. But even with the hooded 5/4, heads ache and calves cramp after not too long. Am I warm or am I numb?

But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been spending countless lab hours thinking about how to warm our bodies as we play in the cold.

The United States Department of Defence by way of the Navy Seals approached MIT researchers Michael Strano and Jacopo Boungiorno about producing a wetsuit that would allow the frogmen more time and warmth as they quietly rescue and kill things in frigid waters.

And they did it.

The wetsuits we wear are made from thin layers of a synthetic rubber compound structured with tiny pockets, or pores, of air. The purpose of the air-filled pores is to reduce loss of heat as it travels from the body. Thermal conductivity through air has been the working principle of wetsuits before Jack O’Neill and now we’re all bored of the science lesson.

So, what’s new about Strano and Buongiorno’s work with wetsuits?

The two have figured out a way to replace the air inside neoprene with the heavy inert gases Xenon and Krypton. A normal off-the-hanger wetsuit (or even the ripe one out of your trunk) is put in a keg-sized “autoclave”where air in the suit is replaced by the heavier gas, which is two-to-three times as slow to conduct heat. The whole process takes about twenty hours. When asked about possible damage or decrease to a suit’s longevity or flexibility, Strano says, “For all practical purposes (except thermal) the wetsuit feels the same.” However, he also stated that the gas diffuses out of the wetsuit within a couple of days, so the suit needs to be “recharged” before a second session.

Their process has two practical benefits: First, the wearer of the suit can stay warmer for twice as long. It also means that suits injected with these gases could technically be half as thick.

Strano and Boungiorno have applied for a patent and are currently in talks with several unnamed wetsuit companies. Taking the long view, it’s a trade: they’ll be rich, but we’ll be warm.

Right now, the MIT boys are juicing up my three-mil Billabong and six-mil Hyperflex then vacuum sealing them for use in January.

It’s quite a magic show, and I’m wondering how soon we’ll start tripping over these little machines on the floor of every surf shop outside of the tropics.