Controversy: Surf Snowdonia at odds with National Park over “Nazi hotel for dumb surfers!”

A planned expansion has come under heavy fire!

Imagine you are Surf Snowdonia, the very first of the next generation wave pools. You swung wide your gates and let the world in almost four-years-ago. An eternity before Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, a lifetime before Waco’s Cable Park and Australia’s Surf Lakes.

You were the crowning achievement. The kick-off. You made people see the possibilities but does the surf universe care? Does the surf universe even know you are still around?

No. You are a relic. You are the Apple II so what do you do?

Build a hotel, activity center (centre) and zipline, of course.

Yes, the owners of the pool there in bucolic Wales have planned for an expansion but it is being objected to by nearby Snowdonia National and let us turn to the BBC in order to understand why.

Surf Snowdonia faces opposition to plans for a 106-bed hotel and activity centre offering 100 new jobs.

Community councillors in Dolgarrog back the £10m plans at the artificial lake, sited on a former aluminium works.

But opponents, including Snowdonia National Park, fear traffic congestion and the scheme’s visual impact.

Planning officers said concerns about flood risk and contaminated land should also be addressed before Conwy councillors approved any scheme.

A zip wire, over the existing surf lagoon, stretching from the proposed five-storey activity building would also be included, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Snowdonia National Park said it objected because it felt the building design was out of character and that the size and capacity of the scheme was excessive, complaints mirrored by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

And there we have it. “Snowdonia National Park said it objected because it felt the building design was out of character and that the size and capacity of the scheme was excessive.”

Let us study the building design.

Very stern, I think. Very Templehof Airport in Berlin which is a classic example of the Nazi style, best described as a stripped-down neoclassicism and/or a utilitarian style for major infrastructure projects and industrial or military complexes.

The size and capacity issue is understandable, I suppose. Would you want lots of dumb surfers coming to your back yard? Dumb surfers staying in a Nazi hotel?

Understandable indeed.

Strider in his living room with the 18-foot high ceilings, as photographed and appeared in the New York Times.

Strider Wasilewski’s Malibu beach house destroyed in California Wildfires!

Star of the WSL's broadcast team loses house featured in NY Times…

Three years ago, the New York Times made a visit to the Point Dume home of WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski and his family, which includes one wife and three sons.

It’s a gorgeous story of a Venice surf rat and his real estate agent wife creating a rich reality, a lifetime home for their precious family.

Peel open the Times. 

As a 14-year-old surfing prodigy, Strider Wasilewski used to hunt the crowded Southern California coast for quiet surf spots. One of his favorites was Little Dume Beach, near Point Dume in Malibu, a crescent of sand half-hidden in a cove at the bottom of steep bluffs.

“It was an untouchable area,” gated off and accessible only to local residents, Mr. Wasilewski said. But he heard about a family that kept their gate open. “They lived right by the trail,” he said. “I used to run through their yard. They would yell at me.”

Lily Harfouche, a real estate agent and occasional surfer who spent part of her childhood in Malibu, ran through the same yard with her teenage friends to get to the beach. “You go down there, and it’s you and a handful of people,” Ms. Harfouche said. “It’s so incredibly beautiful.”

These days, Mr. Wasilewski, 42, and Ms. Harfouche, 36, are married (they met at a reggae concert on the Santa Monica Pier) and live with their three young sons on Point Dume, in a simple open-plan house they call “the barn.”

The front gate mural featuring Saint Mary Magdalene emerging from trunk of car.

The couple bought a place on a one-acre lot on Point Dume, took it down to the studs and created a dream home on the hillside — which turned out to be too big. “I remember texting Strider from the bedroom upstairs and asking if he wanted to watch a movie,” Ms. Harfouche said. “I thought, ‘This is nuts.’ ”

They often picnicked on a flat part of the property, and they began to envision a new house there. It would be small — around 1,300 square feet, plus a loft — and would reflect how they really lived as a family. The big house, which they still own, is now rented out.

The total budget was around $1.8 million, though that figure is a bit deceiving, because Malibu is a difficult, costly place to build. In reality, the house looks rustic and funky. The exterior was built using old barn boards, and the exposure to the ocean air has further weathered the wood and corroded the metal surfaces. “We just love that rusted, beat-down beach kind of energy,” said Mr. Wasilewski.

Little Dume Beach is a short walk from the house, through a quiet neighborhood of homes set back from the street and down a trail lush with vegetation. But Mr. Wasilewski and Ms. Harfouche no longer have to sneak through someone’s yard to get there, as they did when they were teenagers. Now they have a key to the beach gate.

Yesterday, California wildfires, driven by hot Santa Winds gusting up to a hundred and twenty clicks an hour, tore hell through the celebrity enclave of Malibu.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Lady Gaga. Caitlyn Jenner. Robin Thicke.

All of ’em hitting panic buttons.

And Strider’s house?

The chicest of ’em all. The only one that wasn’t a temple to the depravity and excess of celebrity?


(But not forgotten. Click here for a photo gallery.)

All safe etc.

Photo via Bob Hurley's Instagram
Photo via Bob Hurley's Instagram

Massive surf slams Cloudbreak in time for WSL President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios’ trip!

The flip side of good fortune!

Of course you know that Erik Logan, the World Surf League’s President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios, is in Fiji right now with surfing great Tom Carroll at, I believe, something called #kalamakamp. He was very excited for the trip, as anyone would be, and spent the last month preparing and training at Manhattan Beach, California while taking us along for the ride on his now famous Instagram account.

But you know how difficult surf trips can be. You book weeks out, maybe even months, during windows that typically have swell, cross your fingers and hope beyond hope that your guess is correct. Many times it is not and you must suffer the vainglories of surfing very small waves or very bad waves.

Well, this is Erik Logan’s year and just look at that wave up there. Just look at surfing great Tom Carroll putting it all on the line.

The image alone gives my heart palpitations and I cannot even imagine being in the water with such oceanic fury. Cannot even imagine sitting in the channel but, then again, I haven’t been preparing and training either.

Do you think that Erik was thrilled by the extreme size? Would you be?

Well, I am certain we will find out soon. Stay tuned!

From the post-tour-retirement department: Matt Wilkinson buys $3.2 million resort!

Gorgeous old school turned guest house and restaurant for one-time title contender!

If Matt Wilkinson, the decidedly homely yet attractive one-time title contender, falls early at Pipe his WCT career is over.

Matt is thirty years old and rated 24th in the world, two places below the number 22 cut-off.  A round of qualifying events seems unlikely to appeal. And, therefore, after the obligatory good cry, he will disappear from our lives.

Where to next?

In May, Matt and his girlfriend, Anna Jordan, spent $3.2 million on the gorgeous Possum Creek school house, which had subsequently been rebuilt and turned into a $1500 a night guest house, out the back of Byron Bay.

matt wilkinson-anna-jordan
Here, patriarch Matt Wilkinson and his lover Anna Jordan, up Possum Creek, with paddle and friendly dog.
The ol Possum Creek school house turned Wilko-Jordan guesthouse.
Much potential for good sexing.

Let’s poke a little into its Air BnB listing. 

Just 10 minutes from the beaches of Byron Bay, Friday Hut Road Estate is a stunning hinterland property consisting of a luxurious 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with a private cinema, and a charming riverfront Boat House with 1 bedroom, plus living area, kitchenette, bathroom and 2 large balconies.

Like a plantation home (minus the yoke of slavery) from days yore.

The Estate is spread over 2 acres of cascading green lawns that lead down to our own private section of Possum Creek. This babbling river has pristine waters and is even home to a resident platypus.

The lawns of the Estate offer incredible views of the valley, and there are various large open spaces for guests to set up picnics or outdoor dining. Our outdoor bungalow and bar area also has a wood fired pizza oven available for guest usage.

If you’re lucky – you might even meet our resident koala and her new baby who spend their time lazing about the Eucalyptus trees at the front of the property.

Reviews are uniformly positive.

“Welcome to paradise! This home exceeded all expectations! So private yet so close to town! Equipped with everything we needed for the perfect gathering on the grass. Pizza oven was such a nice touch. The home has a beautiful coastal, homely feel and it’s own private river bank, serious heaven!”

“I’ve stayed in quite a few properties around the Byron Hinterland and this was one of the best! The layout of the place is incredible, especially the beautiful boathouse situation just above the creek.”

Perhaps the loveliest part of the operation is the option to buy surf lessons with Matt himself (click here).

As far as post-tour life goes, I think Matt has made several very good decisions.

Land, wife, ongoing income.

A sunset golden.

From the The-Inertia-is-resting Department: Dog with terminal cancer ticks surfing off bucket list!

It's tough to get a scoop out there these days but boom!

I read the most The Inertia story ever this morning. More The Inertia than overcoming childhood sexual traumas through learning to ride a mountain bike in Wyoming. More The Inertia than overcoming bullying and a speech impediment while learning to SUP foil in the Mentawis.

It is so The Inertia that when I read the headline Dog with terminal cancer crosses ‘surfing’ off his bucket list I thought that The Inertia would have paused all coverage of childhood sexual traumas, bullying and speech impediments in order to cover it wall to wall and raced over to see the different takes.

Somehow, though, Zach Weisberg and co. missed it. Missed the story of their year.

I feel sad for them but snoozers are losers so get ready to be uplifted to the max.

Jack Miller, a dog with terminal cancer whose owners created a bucket list of things for him to do before he passes, got to check one more item off his list Sunday, WECT reported.

When Kevin Murphy, founder of Ocean Cure in Carolina Beach, heard Jack’s story, he reached out to one of Jack’s owners, Jeremy, to offer a surfing lesson for Jack.

The surfing lesson for Jack was held Sunday morning at Carolina Beach.

Before the lesson, Jack posted on his Facebook page about how excited he was, saying, “On my way to Carolina Beach to try my paw at surfing!”

Dry those tears, Zach… you’ll catch the next one and that sweet dog is living the dream. Don’t be selfish here. Don’t be all self-absorbed.

It’s not a good look.