Gerry Lopez
Surf Ranch, and maybe Gez Lopez, is coming to Austin! | Photo: KSWaveCo

Update: Doug Coors to remove obsolete Wavegarden machinery from NLand as part of agreement with WSL!

What's that mean? Surf Ranch is defs coming to Austin.

Three years ago, almost to the day, the Seattle-based surf historian Matt Warshaw saw the Slater pool reveal and announced that Wavegarden just went Betamax.”

Warshaw added, “Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk!”

His prophecy may’ve just been proved correct.

As revealed earlier today, newly formed Delaware company Tumbleweed Opco, which is owned by Kelly Slater Wave Co, which is owned by the WSL, had bought NLand Surf Park from Coors brewery heir Doug Coors.

Coors, you’ll remember, some with glee I’d imagine, spent what he calls “boatloads” building the first commercial wave pool in the US (forget Arizona’s Big Surf) only to see it superseded, first by Kelly’s Surf Ranch, then by American Wave Machines in nearby Waco and then Wavegarden itself, with its Cove re-boot.

The WSL has now told BeachGrit that ol Doug Coors will be taking all his dang Wavegarden equipment and “technology” with him, although it’s unclear what the Denver-based engineer is going to do with the wave-creating equivalent of a dozen containers filled with slightly used VCR players and laser discs.

Fact: Jen See absolutely crushed you and everyone you love this holiday season!

She even crushed the World Surf League's Erik Logan, a heretofore impossible feat!

I have a neck tan so intensely defined right now that it’s almost embarrassing. I went surfing just about every day during the holidays. No big road trips. No exotic destinations. Just wake up, drink a couple espressos, and find some waves somewhere in the neighborhood. I also tried organic pop tarts for the first time. This was not a good decision.

My holiday surf binge did not get off to the most auspicious start. There I was, changing out of my suit, all post-surf glow, and a bro needed some wax. Because I am not always an asshole, I gave him some. He swiped it across the deck of his board and handed it back, covered in sand.

I vowed right then and there, that the next person to ask me for wax, would receive a nice hard chunk of tropical. To be clear, here in Centralish California (don’t at-me, bitches!), the water temperatures are not currently tropical. How much fun to watch them slide as their wax flakes joyfully off their boards!

There was the day with playful windswell and three guys out. I’m not sure how this happened, but it did. The next day, there were three-hundred guys out, in much the same waves. I’m not sure how this happened, either, but the parking lot full of van life should have been a warning sign. Apparently, you need a Sprinter van to go surfing now. I really wanted to know what was living in the vans, but it seemed slightly forward to ask for a guided tour.

There was the day that Dane Reynolds almost turned on my face. Fortunately, because it was Dane, he did not actually turn on my face. It takes a real pro to manage these things correctly. It was a very nice turn on an extremely diminutive wave. Normal people do not surf like that, is a thing I said, and then I went to find a tiny wave of my own.

Somedays, the wind ricochets around the Santa Barbara channel, bouncing off the coastal mountains, whistling through the canyons, and slamdancing into the islands, only to return straight back to the coast. Onshore. Offshore. Sideshore. Every direction at once. I went over the falls four times before I got lucky.

And luck it certainly was. I slid down the rib of the peak, the wind puffed offshore for a moment, and a glowing green wall appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Right then, I felt that wondrous ease and grace that comes so rarely to those of us not named Steph Gilmore.

The tourists and their vans rolled over and through us, looking to cross Rincon off their bucketlist. I sat in southwind-fucked soup and wondered if it really counts when you surf a famous spot in bad waves. The tourists on their softops seemed consistently stoked, regardless of what the ocean offered them. High tide, low tide, south wind, no wind. It didn’t seem to matter at all. It’s all so awesome! This is so fun!

But can you say you surf Rincon or Trestles or Malibu, if the waves were a shadow of their true selves? Is there a Platonic ideal of the thing — or is it just a place on a map where sometimes the waves are good? For magazine photo editors (RIP), the perfect version of the place matters, maybe. For the rest of us, it’s probably so much unnecessary bullshit. I’m glad the tourists enjoyed their bad waves. To be clear, I also had fun in the bad waves. I have no standards.

One day I showed up to a full parking lot to find a friend changing out of his suit. I sat and waited for his spot and we bantered about the kind of dumb things you banter about in the surf spot parking lot. I told the story about lending wax to the guy with the sand-coated board. We talked about crowds and holidays. Then I parked and went surfing.

The next day, I showed up around the same time to see my same friend changing out of his suit. While I waited for his spot, I warned him against the organic pop tarts. Don’t go there, man, it’s the bad place. I like to help out my friends. Just as I got out of the car, I looked up to see him walking toward me. I figured he must have forgotten something. Instead, he tossed me a bar of wax — not tropical! — and ran, laughing, back to his idling car.

I can’t remember if the waves were any good that day, but sometimes, a fresh bar of wax and some laughs in the parking lot are the best parts of the whole damn thing.

Just in: Doug Coors sells his Texas Wavegarden to Kelly Slater Wave Co!

A Surf Ranch for Austin, Texas?

Earlier today, it was revealed that Doug Coors, beer guy, had sold the wave pool he opened two years ago to a company called Tumbleweed Opco, a Delaware-registered LLC in care of Kelly Slater Wave Co on December 28, a company formed only two weeks earlier.

A very good sell for Coors, and a good buy for the KS Wave Co. Coors gets to shake his fur and take off back to Denver, Colorado, where he lives, and the Slater Wave Co, which is owned by the WSL, gets 160 acres of pool with accompanying beer barn to retrofit with Kelly’s superior pool technology.

The pool, I think, had been a monstrous headache for Coors ever since he floated the idea with the local burghers.

(Read, Broil: NLand Surf Park vs Travis County for background.)

And, you might remember the rumour floating around a month ago, that the park was going to be closed until 2020, the smart money being on this theory: NLand was losing steam to BSR and the investors made the call to throw their cash at new technology, either remodelling the old design into the newer, more American Wave Machine-ish Cove or overhauling the original machine to “make it more compelling.”


That ol Wavegarden foil gets thrown in the dumpster and in swoops Surf Ranch?

Why, it’ll make the entire state of Texas hush in awe and respect!

Question: What did our President of Content, Media and Studios do next?

Welcome to 2019, the #yearofnopaddle!

It is Friday, January 4th and The World Surf League’s President of Content, Media and WSL Studios has officially been on the job for three days, assuming he didn’t head into Santa Monica’s High Tower on New Year’s Day.

I have so many burning questions. What was his first order of business? Is he getting along with everyone? Does he miss his old office in the Oprah Winfrey Network?

But I have even more burning questions about his first Instagram post as our official President. Let’s really study.

First, he writes:

Cruising into 2019. Mission for this year – MORE FUN. Back into the morning routine, up early to catch a few waves start the day, then off to the office! #bestwaytostarteveryday // What’s your routine? #liveandloveyourpassion #longboarding #surf #yearofnopaddle?

Oh, of course I don’t care what your #bestwaytostarteveryday is but is he really losing the paddle? Like really really?

He listens!

More importantly, though, the picture. The number of possibilities held herein is virtually uncountable and what do you think our president did?

A) Backdoor the section and come out with the spit.

B) Hit the lip, blowing out the fins.

C) Hit the lip and soar into the sky, air reverse.

D) Hit the lip and soar into the sky, full rotation.

E) Drawn out bottom turn around the first barrel before tucking into a long runner.

F) Midface 360.

G) Other.

I don’t offer “walk the nose” “drop knee bottom turn” classical anything because ain’t no way Elo goes that way.

He is progressive.

But what do you think he did on this little gem?

Derek Hynd: “Lust in the history of mankind has always conquered logic!”

Have you ever lost an eye then been molested?

David Lee Scales has interviewed very many people in surf. He has interviewed Derek Rielly, Devon Howard and me amongst hundreds of others. Possibly thousands of others. I was so impressed with his talent that I became his partner on the sometimes bi-weekly podcast Grit!.

Another episode drops tomorrow featuring the wonderful Devon (fucking) Howard and you’d think that either Derek Rielly, Devon Howard or me would be the greatest interview of David Lee Scales’ young life but none of us are.

The Australian impresario* Derek Hynd is.

Do you not know of Derek Hynd?

The historical impresario* Matt Warshaw describes him thusly:

Bright, quirky Australian pro surfer and journalist from Newport, New South Wales; world-ranked #7 in 1981; author of hundreds of surf media articles and columns between the early ’80s and the early ’10s.

Ben Marcus, a one-time surf writer, freaks out, literally, when anyone is compared to him. Like, loses his mind but literally not figuratively.

David Lee Scales, the podcast impresario*, says, “This is perhaps the greatest 20 minutes of audio I’ve ever captured.”

Should I have my feeling hurts? Probably but I’ve also never lost an eye before getting sexually fiddled with while it was getting put back in.

I think you should listen.


*Impresario is defined as “A person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas.” None of these people do that, as far as I’m aware, but don’t you like the way impresario feels? It has gravitas.

Don’t you think?