New ruling: “Blanket bans on surfing are illegal!”

It's a new day in Florida!

You’ll be happy to know that, last night, Orlando’s finest did not descend upon the palatial estate I am lucky to be sharing with Matt Warshaw and David Lee Scales.

They did not rouse me from slumber and drag me down to the station, unkempt and red-eye’d, for questioning in regards to a charge of violent physical assault and/or emotional distress from one A. Goggans.

I’m not out of the woods yet, though. It took the Orange County (California) sheriff’s department a good three weeks to call and inform me that Ashton Goggans wanted to bring the full weight of the law down upon me after I leapt across a reclaimed wood coffee table in his general direction.

It’s delicious irony, I suppose, that Orlando is also in an Orange County.

Well, I’ll be ready for a stern knock on the door or phalanx of men in blue visiting the Orange County Convention Center for day two of Surf Expo where I will be giving an important talk on media alongside David Lee.

And speaking of the full weight of the law plus Florida, did you know there are beaches here where surfing is outlawed? It’s true but a recent ruling suggests that those bans are illegal and let’s turn to the South Florida Sun Sentinel for more.

Surfers who dare to catch waves off Hallandale Beach are breaking a town law that bans the sport.

But the ban itself may be illegal, experts say.

A landmark ruling handed down 48 years ago prohibits cities from outlawing surfing.

“That could be taken to court,” said Tom Warnke, executive director of the Surfing Florida Museum in West Palm Beach. “The [Florida] Supreme Court ruled you could regulate it, but you can’t ban it.”

Hallandale’s ban has been on the books for at least a decade.

Back in 1964, the town of Palm Beach banned surfing. Soon Riviera Beach and Palm Beach Shores outlawed the sport too.

The Florida Supreme Court struck down those bans in 1970, citing them as arbitrary and unreasonable.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, says the legal precedent regarding a ban on surfing is clear.

“A city can ban surfing in an area where it might be dangerous because of rocks or ships coming out or where they might be colliding with swimmers,” Jarvis said. “But you can’t do a blanket ban.”

Jarvis said Hallandale is likely not the only city to run afoul of a landmark case.

“This happens all the time,” he said. “Think of how many ordinances a town has. And a lot of ordinances are on the books and never get enforced.”

Hallandale Beach has not cited anyone for violating its ban, city officials say. And if the lifeguard gives them a verbal warning, most people comply.

Let freedom ring.

Stab editor Ashton Goggans socks Chas Smith, Day one, Surf Expo!

Brings honor back to a long line of Gogganses!

So there I was at 11:30 am walking into the Orange County Convention Center south concourse ready for a day of Surf Expo. I think it was the south concourse though may be wrong. Orlando lives for convention. It lives for convention and waterslide parks but there I was.


It is the first true surf trade show I have ever done and there was much to see and much to do. Jon Pyzel has a fabulous booth and I chatted with him. Matt Biolos came over from his fabulous booth and we all chatted together about the best bars up the Waimea Valley on Oahu’s North Shore.

I found a bar, which is more difficult than it should seem, and ordered a few vodka sodas then did more rounds. Hurley, Otis sunglasses where I caught up with New Jersey’s other favorite surfer Tommy Ihnken, Von Zipper where Rhode Island legend Sid Abruzzi and GT shared the most wonderful stories and then I had to visit the restroom and badly.

That’s when I saw Ashton Goggans, Stab magazine’s editor, wearing a yellow stocking cap and a lanyard around his neck.

You may recall that I leapt across a reclaimed wood coffee table in Ashton’s direction, once, during the taping of a podcast and he called the police on me.

I thought I’d have a little fun so did an old-school World Wrestling Federation elbow tap, like Ric Flair used to do before sticking my hand out for a shake while saying, “Hello, Ashton Goggans.”

He was not pleased. Not pleased at all and said, “I’m not shaking your hand. I’m not shaking your fucking hand…” whilst getting very close to my face.

His face happened to be covered with a hypnotic sort of fuzz. An almost shag carpet of fuzz and he was very close so I reached up to feel it. It was soft, like it had been conditioned but he still was not pleased, nor should he have been, I suppose.

He said something like, “You and your fucking sunglasses.”

I had been wearing a pair of vintage Ray Ban sunglasses all day even though we were indoors because I don’t like fluorescent lighting but also, if I’m going to be honest, because I like the general vibe of dubious next door neighbor.

I don’t recall seeing it coming but next thing I knew… WHAM-O! My vintage Ray Bans had been smashed off my face by the heel of a hand that I imagine was supposed to be a fist. A hand heel fist right into my jaw.

I gathered myself and tried to straighten my hair but he held my hands at my sides like we were dancing a lady dance in 18th century England. It was a nice punch, I think, and well-deserved. Imagine the amount of emotional duress that poor man has had to endure since he last called the cops. Imagine the bubbling fount of rage from me bringing up weekly, if not daily, that he called the cops and tried to press charges for a coffee table leap.

He did what he should have done and I continued to the restroom, once he loosed my hands, where I proceeded to use it and fix my vintage Ray Bans. Thankfully the lens popped right back in.

The day ended moments after that and I retreated to the vast estate where I am staying with Matt Warshaw and David Lee Scales. We toasted the marvelous day. The fun booths and fun surf friends over our pizza dinner. I proposed a separate toast to Ashton Goggans. He had done right and he had done well vindicating himself and bringing honor back to what I imagine is a long line of proud Gogganses.

I’ll admit, though, I’m waiting for a midnight call from the Orlando police department. I hope that a page has been turned but one can never be entirely certain.

Don't wanna make it easy to get to these pretty spikes…

From the last-corner-of-paradise dept: Crescent Head council gonna tar road past (famously) epic back beaches!

Keep that dang road dirty!

Ain’t a lot of places around the NSW coastline that haven’t felt the bite of local councils and their incessant need to pave, rezone and demolish.

For whatever reason, this desire for what’s called progress has eaten up all those classic coastal towns on the NSW coastline.

One of two hold-outs has been Crescent Head, five hours-ish north of Sydney. Crescent, maybe you know, is a soft point that thrills long boarders and holidaymakers. Oh it’s pretty as anything but it’s the back beaches you’d come to these parts for.

Vaughan Blakey, commentator, Goons of Doom minstrel, sometime creative artist for Rip Curl, former editor of Waves and SW, has a joint round those parts. (Click here and have a swish around. It looks like a little something El Chapo would build for retirement. You can rent too!)

And he called yesterday to tell me that Crescent and surrounds “are in the midst of being steamrolled by a Kempsey Council decision to push ahead with the sealing of a stretch of dirt road that leads from Crescent to Lime Burner’s Creek National Park, despite having previously promised to leave the area pristine and untouched.”

There’s a Say No to Tar rally at Crescent this Sunday and if you’re around, swing on by.

As reported by the Echo, a local news organ.

Beautiful coastlines, no traffic jams, dirt roads and that ephemeral ‘character’ note that is slowly being beaten out of Byron Shire and northern NSW still remains at Crescent Head in Kempsey Shire and it is something that local residents think is worth fighting for.

Locals are rallying together this Sunday January 13 at 8.30am to highlight their opposition to the tarring of Point Plomer Road that takes people out to the headland at Limeburners Creek National Park.   

‘This is one of the last two places on the NSW coast that has a dirt road leading to the headland,’ said Amy Bruce from the Crescent Head Ratepayers and Residents Association (CHRRA).

It’s incredibly beautiful, and so far relatively unspoiled. We’re worried that the developers are ready to pounce. We see the tarring of the road as a means of opening up the area for rezoning and development.’

The tarring of the road was previously rejected in 2003 when the region’s rich heritage and significant Aboriginal sites were identified and residents and Indigenous elders are saying that the council has made the decision to tar with no consultation.

Local Aboriginal elder James Dungay decided to hand back his Certificate of Appreciation for his personal contribution to Wigay Cultural Park, presented to him by Kempsey Shire Council mayor (KSC) in 2012 over the lack of consultation. However, when he tried to make a time to hand his certificate back to the mayor at the council meeting on December 18 he was told by staff that he could hand it back over the counter at the council office.

‘I have lost faith with Council,’ said Mr Dungay.

That little wave we shot the Twenty softboard short at with Chippa Wilson? It used to be the dreamiest drive in before the council-developers built thousands of oversized houses with their bleak little aluminium windows and unlovable orientation away from light and cross-breezes.

Build the bitumen road and, pretty soon, the land’s gonna be sub-divided and unlovely houses will sprout like weeds after a good summer rain.

Go! This Sunday etc.

"This is your future, David Lee."
"This is your future, David Lee."

Dream Job: Become a professional indoor surfer today!

"As a professional sport, indoor surfing isn't particularly lucrative..."

I am in the great state of Florida just a handful of miles away from the Orange County Convention Center, very excited to collect my lanyard and get Surf Expo-ing. Many wonderful things to see and do, probably too many which worries me. I don’t do well at buffets. I always stack my plate to the sky with everything I love all at once. Biscuits and gravy, blueberry pancakes, coq a vin, gratin dauphinois, flæskesteg, chicken parm, a few meat pies and a giant piece of rhubarb pie. It never works out and I fear I’ll stack my metaphorical Surf Expo plate in the same manner, giving myself a terrible stomachache of the soul.

Thankfully, Matt Warshaw, surfing’s preeminent surf historian, and David Lee Scales, podcast impresario, are with me and I will lean on their advice. Where should I go? What should I do? Should I try that stand-up paddle rowing machine? What about that new and improved Flowrider?

I try to give David Lee lots of advice when we’re together and it throws Matt into fits of despair because he thinks it’s bad advice. Last night David Lee said, “I don’t have an addictive personality.” I told him that he has to smoke 10 cigarettes a day for 10 days to really find out. Matt Warshaw sighed deeply. I also told David Lee he has to get married quickly without thinking about it to a woman with good genes, either like a super scientists or pro athlete or something because he’s not getting any younger and should have some children. Matt shot me a dirty look and said, “Do not listen to him David Lee.”

Speaking of Flowrider, I read just this morning, on the Vermont Public Radio website that a person can become a professional indoor surfer and let’s peruse together quickly:

Vermont is not known for its great surfing. But the second-ranked pro indoor surfer in the world lives in landbound—and snowbound—Jay, and she’s not even out of high school yet. She’s 16-year-old Monica Caffery.

You can catch her riding the waves on the Flow Rider in the dead of winter every weekend at the Pump House indoor water park at Jay Peak Resort.

Monica says she got interested in the sport when the Pump House first opened and lifeguards were being trained on the Flow Rider.

“We had all the pros from all around the world and country come to teach the lifeguards and they talked to my cousin and said, ‘Why don’t you come down to Florida and Alabama to ride with us and compete?’ And my uncle invited my dad and I to go with them,” she said.

As a professional sport, indoor surfing isn’t particularly lucrative. At the nationals, Monica says she won $250 and got $500 for finishing second at the Worlds at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. To fund her travel costs for competitions, Caffery designs, silk screens and sells her own Flow Dog hats and tee shirts.

Today I’m going to convince David Lee to become a professional indoor surfer but I’ll have to tie Matt up and toss him in a closet first.

Drive in and jive straight down to the beach. It's beachfront!

Julian Wilson’s beachfront hacienda sells for “north of four million dollars”!

Makes small, though not insignificant, profit.

Three months ago, it was reported that Julian Wilson had put his award-winning beachfront house on the market, a gorgeous hacienda he’d bought three years earlier for $A3.52 million.

It is the sort of wood-and-concrete build that fills me with that old architecture of happiness. I imagine, one day, when I’m riddled with cancer and want to see out my diminishing hours by a swimming pool, a place to die to the sound of kookaburras laughing and cicadas snapping their wings, this is the sorta joint I’ll rent out.

Of course, any words I might’ve constructed for 31 Pelican Street, Peregian Beach, in the initial story could be no match for the real estate copywriter whose descriptions included,

“A master class in coastal luxe.”

“Banks of louver windows and stacking doors allow you to feel as though you live on top of the world.”

“The star of the home is the open-plan living space where a wall of glass completely retracts to perfectly frame the breathtaking views. You will want to step outside onto the sunny poolside terrace and take in that exceptional panoramic vista.”

And so on.

Did it sell?

Oh yes it did.

One week after hitting the market one dick-winger came in with a figure “north of four million dollars,” according to the real estate agent, although the actual figure is confidential.

Julian now lives in his wife Ashley’s hometown of Newcastle, which brings her closer to family and perennial world-title chaser Julian nearer to pals Ryan Callinan and Craig Anderson.