Surf-starved city says no to “safe, accessible, welcoming” wave pool!

No free crown land for wavepool developers in Perth, Western Australia.

Four years ago, the former investment banker and self-appointed “hard-core” surfer Andrew Ross announced a masterplan to dot Australia with Wavegarden-powered pools.

The first of the ten pools, which is being built near Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, is going to get its tank filled in a few weeks with testing to  follow before it opens to the public in time for the southern hemisphere summer.

It’s an interesting play. The tech, Wavegarden’s Cove, has never been built to this scale.

Will it work?

Will it thrill?

Nobody, not Wavegarden nor Ross’ company Urbnsurf, knows.

A second pool, which was going to be built in the Perth suburb of Alfred Cove and, importantly, a few hundred metres from my parents’ house, has hit a potentially fatal roadblock.

The state government has refused to kick Urbnsurf a chunk of crown land for the build.

From the national broadcaster,

Lands Minister Ben Wyatt announced yesterday that a proposal by the City of Melville to utilise a portion of Crown land for the project had been rejected.

Urbnsurf founder and executive director Andrew Ross said he only found out via a phone call from Mr Wyatt yesterday afternoon.

“We have been progressing with this project for a number of years now and I think the reasoning that has been given, I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to me,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

“They felt that the Crown land needed to remain available to the general public.

“We are deeply disappointed that we have put so much time and effort and money into this, to have it all sort of end at this point.”

Mr Ross said Perth was “screaming out” for the wave park.

“We need to have big, clever ideas about how to reinvigorate Perth,” he said.

“Perth has a wonderful climate, we have a huge surfing population of 80,000 people, but we do not have a dedicated surfing facility.”

The waves in Perth, of course, do suck. It’s unimaginably bleak.

Blown out and small in summer; blown out and small in winter.

Question: should the Western Australian government turn over a parcel of land owned by the citizenry for the profit of a private company if it gives pleasure to the aforementioned citizenry?

And, if you live in Perth, does the idea of getting out of the reach of the many Great Whites that patrol those waters thrill you beyond measure?

Surfers who longboard without leashes “having a love affair with times past!”

Australia's government goes to war against "hipsters!"

Australia’s government took an official position on retro-style surfing yesterday in an important vote won overwhelmingly by progressives.

A motion was introduced by Byron Councillor Cate Coorey for a safety awareness campaign about the problem of “hipsters” surfing leashless in and around the Byron area. And let’t turn to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation without delay. Let’s go straight to Councillor Cate herself.

“It comes from personal experience and many people I know have nearly been mowed down by out-of-control boards,” she said.

“A couple of times I’ve actually grabbed kids to keep them out of the way of the board.

“I just think it’s incredibly irresponsible.”

Cr Cate said the trend appeared to be particularly rife among so-called hipsters trying to emulate a retro style of surfing.

“It’s mostly people riding long boards who seem to be having a love affair with times past, but we also used to drive without seat belts and there were many fatalities,” she said.

“Sometimes there is a good reason for advances in technology.”

The council’s decision to embark on an education campaign and investigate other possible deterrents has been welcomed by the surfing community.

Seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley said people riding boards without leg-ropes were a disaster waiting to happen, and it should be mandatory for people to wear leashes at point breaks.

“It’s getting crowded out there and when people lose their boards, especially the long boards, and they just come running through the line-up, it can cause some serious damage to people,” she said.

I usually don’t like top down approaches to social problems nor do I like campaigns for safety awareness but I like the cut of Councillor Cate very much, especially when she talks about hipsters having a love affair with the past.

Imagine, though, if she met the future, in the form of the World Surf League President of Content, Media and Studios Erik Logan galloping across the horizon on a SUP foil.

Would she still think there is a good reason for advances in technology?

Much to consider.

Matt Damon shucks #VALlife for aggressive localism.

Progress: Hollywood VAL emerges fresh from chrysalis as “grumpy local!”

Matt Damon shucks #VALlife for aggressive localism.

I was wrong about Matt Damon. Recently converted surfer. Byron Bay fiend. Friend of Thor.

I tarred you with the VAL brush and I was wrong, wrong, wrong. 

What we saw at the Pass was just a show. It had to be a show.

What else could explain this? 

Matty D was recently paparrazi’d wearing a hat emblazoned with the postcode of Carnarvon, Western Australia. For those not familiar with the area, Carnarvon is base camp to some for some of the heaviest waves in Australia.

Damon, Tombstones, Bluff local etc.

Turns out he and Thor just got back from a trip out there to the desert North West. Where death comes in a thousand forms.

Sharks. Cyclones. Gun-swinging locals. Lips as thick as Ben Affleck’s post J-Lo waistline.

Tombstones. Motherfucking Tombstones. The place even pros fear to tread

And our boy Damo tamed it all.

Just look at the hat.

According to the Newcastle Herald:

The hat is branded with Carnarvon and its postcode 6701. This reflects the concept of localism in surfing culture.

“We do that on T-shirts as well. Locals love it because they can get shirts with their own postcode and images of their surfing breaks,” he said.

Did you read that? Jason Bourne is a local. Possibly grumpy. We cannot confirm. But a Carnarvon local, there’s no doubt.

So what does the hat tell us?

It tells us he can take two wave hold downs like you or I take a morning dump. It tells us he could send in apex predators with the faintest of sideways glances.

It tells us he would look down the line at a triple ledge with the insouciance only a lifelong shredder could possess, shoving his middle digit upwards at mother nature.

Look at my hat. Read the post code. Six seven oh one. I’m a Tombstones-adjacent, Carnarvon local.

So what’s left for Damo’s transformation to be complete?

I do feel he’s overplayed his hand. The first rule of the North West is you don’t talk about the North West.

It worries even me, a low-level purveyor of nostalgic surf twaddle, to mention it online. So that bridge may already be burned.

But he is obviously keen. Byron is taken (Hi, Thor!).

How about he goes a little further south?

Lets get him to Iluka. There’s plenty of property around there. Nice and cheap.

Or if he wants to, he could move into an onsite caravan at the local trailer park. Like any true grumpy local closing on to the wrong side of 50 would do.

Maybe he can buy an excavation business called Damo’s Demo’s (sic) to run into the ground, wasting his time checking the Wall but never actually surfing, complaining instead about the tide/wind/swell, while slowly but surely dismantling the few truly genuine and good relationships left in his ever-dwindling circle.

I can see it now. Damo. Old. Leathered. Faithful healer bitsa by his side. Playing out his evenings there at Sedger’s Reef bistro, drunk on cheap port and wine, worrying about the lump in his neck and the pterygium in his eye and wondering where it all went so fucken wrong.

Inspired: Lake Tahoe perfect new location for WSL Pretty Big Wave Tour!

"It was definitely rough out there and a little windy."

This year, our World Surf League based in Santa Monica, California made many major moves with regards to the Big Wave World Tour, most importantly transitioning it the the Pretty Big Wave World Tour with famous San Diego-based tuna company Chicken of the Sea signing on as title sponsor.

Initially, both Jaws and Mavericks did not meet the “almost impressive” criteria needed to run and while Jaws found a later, nearly big day, Mavericks died on the vine, staying too big all year long.

As it enters the offseason, new potential venues might be vetted and I would like to suggest Lake Tahoe, which straddles both California and Nevada and is not far from that scary Mavericks. And let us turn to San Francisco’s SFGate for more. Let’s dig right in.

The surf was up at Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe Tuesday.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Department captured video footage of a surfer hanging ten on the waves just after sunrise (see below). We can only hope he was wearing an extra-thick wetsuit while playing in the 40-degree water.

Whipping winds churned up Lake Tahoe, with three to four-foot waves rolling onto beaches.

“It was definitely rough out there and a little windy,” said Petty Officer Joshua Brown. “It’s nowhere near that today. It’s pretty calm today.”

3 – 4 feet, rough and a little windy one day and pretty calm the next? Plus inland like a Kelly Slater Surf Ranch?

Sounds absolutely ideal and you’re welcome WSL.

A glassing room filled with the aroma of JJF-Pyzel magic. | Photo: @pyzelsurfboard

Jon Pyzel on the boards John John Florence may (or may not*) ride at Snapper!

John John discovers the joys of girth.

In the event that John John Florence appears at the Quiksilver Pro in April, he will ride a surfboard shaped by the hands of Jon Pyzel, and finished by artisans amid the gentle whisper of country Oahu.

Pyzel has been making boards for John John Florence, who is twenty six, since the kid was five; since his mama Alex brought the boys to see him at his old bay at Sunset Beach and gave him two-hundred dollars for materials to build John a board.

The yellow four-six with  halo of orange rails is “hideous to look at” but now exists as a memorial to a boy destined for greatness.

John John is six-feet two-inches tall and weighs 175 pounds or 188cm and 80 kilograms. His surfboard, which is called the Shadow and originally made for Stab magazine’s blindfold test in 2018, measures  6’0″ x 18 7/8″ and is 2 1/2″ thick.

“It’s still roughly based off the Ghost but it doesn’t have such a refined rail, that super domed deck and the foam isn’t as far forward. It’s a pretty traditional looking outline, a straight-up hi-fi outline,” says Jon.

Other notes: the wide-point is at the exact middle of the board and not a little back, which you’ll find on most super high-performance shooters. It’s around 29 to 30 litres, if you’re into that sorta thing, and it has a single concave through most of the bottom which is loosened by a double concave within.

“I like the double concave because it splits the bottom in half and let’s you roll rail to rail a little easier without taking away any speed. If you have too much single concave, while it’s really fast it tends to get a little sticky. A double concave through that helps. It’s like a vee bottom without the slowness of the vee.”


Roughly the Same as the Ghost, says Jon, although a deeper concave gives it a straighter centreline rocker and it has a little more nose rocker from 18” back to the tip for a hi-fi curve.

Technical, yes? Did you know? That concave creates two different curves? The curve of the rail and the curve of the centreline?

The width of the tail, twelve inches up, is 14 1/2″ which is pulled in via a little hip.

Because Jon didn’t make John John any boards for six months during the Champ’s injury convalescence, he worked especially closely with his new signing, Jack Freestone.

“It was trippy for me,” says Jon, “because I’d been making boards for John for twenty years. At the same time, I started working with Jack. And Jack is a similar size to John, but a little heavier, so he rides a bigger version of everything that John is riding. And that convinced me to get John to try boards bigger than he’d normally ride. Getting Jack on those boards helped John’s direction.”

As for the name, it’s part of his “creepy family.”

Y’know, Ghost, Gremlin, Phantom.

“The Shadow fit right in there,” says Jon.