Oliver Kurtz
The Florida surfer Oliver Kurtz, visiting the pool shortly before shutdown.

Waco pool closed until March 2019; no refunds (only credits) for pre-bookings!

But good news! Filtration system to be installed!

It always astonishes me, and it shouldn’t by now after so many orbits, how quickly life can turn.

On the day before the well-received Stab High event at the BSR tank  in Waco, Texas, a New Jersey surfer, Fabrizio Stabile, was dead in hospital after contracting Naegleria fowleri, known as “brain-eating amoeba”, shortly after visiting the pool.

Whether he got it in the unfiltered water of the pool (it’s classified as a lake not a swimming pool and therefore doesn’t, or at least didn’t, have to comply to the same standards as a public pool) or somewhere else ain’t clear.

But it did mean the pool had to close while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested for the deadly amoeba. And, now, it’ll be shut for the next five months.

It may not end there for BSR.

The family of Lauren Seitz, who died of the same infection as Stabile, is suing the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a million bucks.

And if you had sessions booked at Waco?

A Californian reader emailed this morning to say he’d booked a thousand bucks worth of pool time for he and his six buddies next Sunday (October 7) and after the sudden closure had been offered a “gift card” but no refund.

Upon reopening in March, we will continue to add chemicals to treat our lake but with a newly added filtration system, much like a swimming pool. We will be canceling all sessions currently booked and will be applying the total amount spent under each reservation to a gift card for future use.

“Coming back at a later date is not an option,” he writes. “Emailed for a refund but no response.”

Does the spectre of brain-eating amoeba put the wind up him a little?

“Ha! Fuck ya it does,” he wrote, adding that he might return if Waco got “a new filter and a bigger barrel.”

Mea Culpa: Wave Pools are the future and you should enjoy!

Fun on demand!

I’ve feeling bad all day after teeing off on dirty fresh wave pool water yesterday. I mean, not “bad” but bad if you can parse the difference because all those poor wave pool inventors and trying their best to bring surf to inland folk fun and good time and surfing and what am I doing? Drinking vodka and teeing off from a coastal enclave like a true unsolicited dick.

Like basically the bad guy of the whole #metoo movement.

And so I spent the day wondering if I was too harsh… or a prophet that should be heeded. “Hark I say unto thee, freshwater is shit and maketh eye infections and/or worse so run to the coast and be therefore cleansed in the salts.”

But of course I don’t “really” really think I’m a prophet which means I was too harsh.


And so I totally think you should go to surf a tank and enjoy every last second of gorgeous waves on demand but I don’t want to and am not because I realized I love saltwater.

Like really really love saltwater. “Really” really love saltwater and feel that it is more essential to our experience than we previously understood or at least I previously understood.

So yeah, go rip one just don’t take your kids if you have any and don’t take me because I hate them and think they are poison garbage that fucking suck so so so so so bad and worse than ever.

You won’t catch me dead near one and if you do catch me dead near one then I am dead from a brain eating bacteria.

Competition: Professional surfing should employ Ryder Cup format!

Teams and jingoism!

I neither watch nor play golf well. A problematic attention span plagues both pursuits. I love to drive off the tee but can’t be bothered with the self-discipline necessary for a successful short game. I love to tune in but only if Tiger Woods is screwing up so I can say, “Hey guys… remember this?”

Very uncool, I know, but the other day I caught a tiny bit of the Ryder Cup and lights flashed behind my dull eyes.

The Ryder Cup, for those who have better things to do, is a golf tournament that takes place between The United States and Europe every two years. There are captains who run their teams, made up of American golfers and European golfers, of course. Now, this is where my understanding gets fuzzy but I think the golfers pair up with one of their countrymen and take on a pair from the opposing bloc. The pair alternate shots and try to win and then the most pair victories helps the team win but there is also individual play. Or something.

The knowledgable can fill us in better but I was thinking the format, or an approximation of, could make for brilliant professional surfing. What if, every two years the surf world was broken into The United States, Europe, Australia and Brazil. Teams are formed, with captains, and then the professional surfers are put into pairs and then they surf against another pair for a heat.

Let’s say, for example, it’s Kolohe Andino and Brett Simpson for the USA and… Julian Wilson and Mikey “he-puts-the-wild-in-wildcard” Wright.

So they all paddle out together and each surfer has to bag a score and the highest combo wins but the teammate surfers can also play defense, block, annoy, tug leashes etc. How much fun would that be with nifty strategy and lots of laughs?

The jingoism would be fun, the internecine struggles, the botched captaining and the stunning upsets would be fun too.

It would all be fun, in fact. A new bankable format.

You’re welcome WSL.

board punching
When you rich and good on a board you don't have to pay a single rupee! And you can beat 'em to death if they don't dance.

Quiz: How much did you pay for your last surfboard?

Eight, nine, ten hundreds?

I was nineteen when I hacked up the most I would ever pay for a surfboard. It was $560 and I’d worked for three months in an island bistro slinging drinks and being sexually assaulted most nights by the bar’s riotous manager (I have protruding nipples and rare is the woman in power who can resist the impulse to feel their hardness or to brush a palm against their stubborn points).

I kept my twenty-dollars bill in a velcro wallet and took a boat to the mainland where the board was displayed in a window. The shop owner took the board off a stand and handed it to me. No tailpad, leash, wax, not a damn thing but a surfboard I hoped would mirror the dancing I’d imagined in my head.

Of course it didn’t.

And I’ve never paid $560, in adjusted dollars it’s important to add, since. Which is no surprise, I suppose, because I work in the surf game although the favours I have to give to get a board at cost would price ’em at around ten gees apiece.

It’s you I wonder about. The man and then woman out there, without connections, who must go into a store and negotiate and offer trades and all those things. I see surfboards that cost one thousand dollars and I wonder, who pays that much?

Does anybody?

Do you?

Tell me, discreetly if you must: how much did you pay for your last surfboard?


Kai Lenny
The multi-discipline surfer Kai Lenny models the inflatable back carrot.

Watch: Kai Lenny debut “the inflatable back carrot!”

A must-have vegetable-themed accessory currently doing the crowdfunding circuit…

Two days ago, the multi-discipline surfer Kai Lenny introduced, with a flourish, a giant inflatable carrot that delivers a kick of speed for downwind foilers.

“I got this from Lou Wainman and you’re meant to go real fast downwind with it,” says Kai, who turns twenty six years old in a couple of weeks and who lives on the Hawaiian island of Maui. “Supposedly, way up in the atmosphere where it’ll be it’ll catch the wind and propel you forward. The idea of the carrot is it catches just enough wind to help assist me going downwind faster so now it’s a light wind and I can feel it pulling on me to catch onto the next swell. Still gotta get used to having a carrot on my back!”

Lou says, “I’ve made some prototype tubes about 20 to 30 feet tall tubes that create a lot of drag/power in the wind. I think they could be good for Stand Up Paddleboards to go downwind without needing to paddle. Maybe even hydrofoilers could make it work to go upwind and eventually surfers, when designs get modified and evolve. I’m looking to build more prototypes and test them here on Maui to eventually do a production run and some promotions to get it off the ground. It’s actually a lot of fun just to stand on the beach with one on. There is a lot of power there.”

Kai’s conclusion?

“Does the future have space for the carrot? I say YES!”

Lou’s chasing thirty gees for his carrot biz. So far he’s raised $645.

Wanna make a dream come true? Donate here.