Progress: Tap turned back on at Yeppoon’s giant plunger wavepool!

Lagoon partially filled, "full-sized waves soon" etc…

You remember the hoo-ha last year when the former world champ Joel Parkinson flew to Central Queensland to test the full-sized prototype of the Occy and Barton Lynch-endorsed wave pool.

The waves were very small, one-to-two feet using a generous ruler, but the reveal was stymied when the giant plunger buckled while operating at only fifty percent capacity.

Surf Lakes said the failure was a manufacturing fault, that a new part was being built and that the Yeppoon prototype would be operational, again, by the end of January 2019.

Fast-forward to mid-June and it appears the tank is inching closer to having another swing at producing waves.

The company reports:

The buzz around Surf Lakes’ full-scale Research and Development facility in Yeppoon is building as the onsite engineers have completed the repairs and have now moved into preliminary testing. The repaired structure is much stronger than it was during Phase 1 testing, in October of 2018. On top of this, the team have been making many other improvements to allow for much more detailed monitoring of the machinery. This will enable the Surf Lakes crew to access information swiftly, relating to stress placed upon various components. It will also allow the team to better understand efficiencies.

In breaking news… earlier this week the tap was turned on, filling the lagoon partially, so initial systems testing can take place!

Dry commissioning has now begun and is due to be completed this weekend, after which the lagoon will be filled to the brim in preparation for full commissioning.

This is a major milestone for the team as we inch closer to Phase 2 surf testing.

Can the engineering work?

The shaper, yet-to-be-realised wavepool inventor and theoretician Greg Webber, whom you’ve read about here, here, here, here, here and here, says the design is fundamentally flawed and that unless the plunger is “over-engineered to a silly level” they’re either going to have a “very weak type of wave” or the driveshaft is going to snap again.

Rejoice: Edinburgh set to open “World Class” wave centre to develop local “surfing talent!”

Is Dirk Ziff now stuck building a product only his sworn enemy might enjoy if he gets to do it for free?

Just four days ago our great Longtom put the very final nail in the wave pool coffin, declaring the experiment a failed one, writing:

“Kelly boldly claimed wavepools would democratize surfing.

After four years that call looks staler than the August air at Lemoore. The wavepool looks deader than the Dodo. The way out for the WSL?

Remove Surf Ranch from the 2020 schedule, and reinvest in Trestles and Cloudbreak.”

He is, of course, right per the norm but look at yesterday’s piece and you’ll see a vision of Chinese surfing in their newest tank and read below about brave Scotsmen and Scotswomen building one of their own and let’s do that first before postulating rudely.

Wavegarden Scotland said it expects to create up to 130 jobs and generate up to £11 million for the local economy every year.

Andy Hadden, the co-founder of Tartan Leisure Ltd, which is developing Wavegarden Scotland, said: “We are delighted that Wavegarden Scotland has been approved and we can now start work on site to create this wonderful addition to Scotland’s sporting and leisure scene.

“We know that this facility will deliver many benefits for the local community and for Scotland.

“It will be a fantastic destination for locals and tourists alike, and Wavegarden Scotland will offer an amazing opportunity to nurture surfing and sporting talent in this country.

So while Longtom is right, per the norm, and the wavepool is deader than the Dodo it has also come back to life as a new and improved waterslide for people who have very little interest in surfing, surf culture, surf history etc.

Wavegarden, the Basque company quietly rolling out the most user-friendly splash parks, seems to have figured it out properly, grinding directly up against the World Surf League’s vision of high performance surf action. There are many Wavegardens around the world, earning money, plastering smiles across pale faces. There is still only one Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

Barreling across Lemoore.

Newbies, shoobies and VALs don’t want technical, intermediate action, they want to play and have fun and “surf” the first time they stand on a brightly colored foam board.

Newbies, shoobies and VALs are, also, now the vast, and growing, majority of surfers.

Which brings me to my very important question. Did co-Waterperson of the Year (2018) Dirk Ziff completely misread the market, imagining that the average man on the ground in Toledo, Ohio wanted to bring his family somewhere they could all get sneaky little tubes for $5,000 dollars per day?

Is co-Waterperson of the Year (2018) Dirk Ziff now stuck building a product only his sworn enemy, the grumpy local, might enjoy if he gets to do it for free?

Much to discuss.

Casting Call: Men’s luxury brand seeks black man who can surf, dive and swim for new campaign!

Be the next Tyson Beckford!

Our new, multicultural, multiethnic, multi-flavored era is the greatest thing currently going. So great, in fact, that even traditionally lilly-white surfing can’t help but be intoxicated by diversity. We need it more than most and crave it too and it is therefore my great honor to to announce that a leading men’s luxury brand is looking for some surf waterman flare and let’s read the casting call together.

(Leading men’s luxury brand) is in search of a black man who can surf dive and swim. Good looks are important but his athleticism is just as important. This is for an Upcoming campaign of shooting with (famous professional surfer) and (semi-famous athlete).

Is this you? Email [email protected]!

Is this your neighbor or your pal who you see regularly around town? Do the right thing and email me on his behalf.

If you take 15% of his cut you can then be his agent.

Good luck!

From the mysterious orient: First vision of surfers riding China’s secret wavepool!

The Party unveils its own version of the Western imperialist wave machine!

Five months ago, what appeared be some sort of computer-generated vision of a Chinese wavepool did the rounds.

There were no surfers on the waves and readers, understandably, responded with a dynamic contempt.

“My immediate impression,” wrote Nick Carroll,  “is that it’s a hoax. How come the wave is running ahead of the foil? How’s that even possible? And how come there’s a wave on both sides but a foil curve only on one side?”

There ain’t a lot the Chinese can’t do, of course.

Clever and beautiful and with robust hair that will dull even the sharpest scissors, it’s a country that has mastered the art of imitating anything that comes out of Europe or the US.

(And with the added bonus of inbuilt government surveillance.)

Now, here, revealed for the very first time, are surfers riding China’s first wavepool, which you’ll find in the ancient city of Anyang (population five million) in Henan province.

It ain’t KS, more Wavepool mach 1, Surf Snowdonia etc.

Shocking: The World Surf League and Facebook Live exclusive deal deemed a failure!

The latest postmortem!

Of all the great mysteries in our surfing world, the question “How many people actually watch professional surfing?” is chief. It is more confounding than “What really happened to Mike Boyum?” More perplexing than “Where are Miki Dora’s alleged millions of dollars?” Because “How many people actually watch professional surfing?”

Well, however many people actually watch professional surfing just jumped by 25% after the World Surf League annulled its exclusivity deal with Facebook Live and shall we read the newest, just released postmortem together?

It would be silly not to and let us turn to digital industry website Digiday for the latest.

Last year the World Surf League signed an exclusive two-year digital distribution deal with Facebook in an effort to grow its audience around the world. A year later — and a year early — the WSL has ended that deal’s exclusivity and has seen its audience around the world grow.

In 2019 the number of viewers tuning into the live broadcasts of the WSL’s professional surfing competitions online and on TV has increased by more than 25% compared to last year, according to WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. That viewership increase appears to be less a referendum on Facebook’s live-streaming service, which the WSL continues to use to broadcast its events on a non-exclusive basis, and more an indication of how the league has worked to broaden its content and distribution mix in 2019, including the formation of an in-house studio to produce original programming, in order to broaden its audience.

There was also a limitation on the league’s ability to generate revenue from the Facebook Live streams. Facebook pays the WSL to air its events through Facebook Live, and the WSL is also able to sell event sponsorships. But, while Facebook runs ads within some live and on-demand videos and shares the revenue with the media companies and creators, that wasn’t an option for the WSL. Facebook does not allow ads to run within live sports broadcasts, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

“We were happy to collectively rework the partnership with World Surf League. Doing so enabled us to serve different audiences with different viewing experiences, including one on Facebook Watch where fans can watch together in a highly interactive and social environment,” said the Facebook spokesperson in an emailed statement.


You should read the entire report here but let’s get back to that 25% number. Does it mean that the World Surf League has had 25% growth overall this year or that literally the 837 people who watched professional surfing on Facebook Live (the average number floating in the corner of those broadcast) has grown by 25%?

Also, does anyone you know use Facebook Watch where fans can watch together in a highly interactive and social environment?

It sounds very wonderful. Like our own analog “Comment Live” feature except with data mining and modern technology.

Also, “What ever happened to the brand Analog?”

That is the second greatest mystery in our surfing world.