The Wall of Positive Noise™ has another crack in it…
Thank God there is a moratorium on the moratorium between BG and WSL because the wall of positive noise has another crack in it.
I’ve had blood feuds with Greg Webber about wavepools and ridden the hobby horse about taxpayer subsidised pro surfing for a decade, so when the chance to combine the two passions arrived I jumped at it.
The angle, that tubs and pro surfing were backed by the many and benefited the few, even if I personally thought that was a fair deal, was very much not appreciated by the National High Performance Director at Surfing Australia, Kim Crane, who was quoted in the article after a phone call that day.
She was so exercised she took the extraordinary step of calling me at home at 7.40am to express her displeasure. Despite me identifying myself as a journalist to the desk and to her personally she felt ambushed. I lacked courage by not coming and seeing her personally, to which I replied I could see her immediately…
She was so exercised she took the extraordinary step of calling me at home at 7.40am to express her displeasure. Despite me identifying myself as a journalist to the desk and to her personally she felt ambushed, presumably by the tone. She said I lacked courage by not coming and seeing her personally, to which I replied I could see her immediately, when was she available.
Well, now there was no trust, the article needed to be taken down so we “could start again at zero”, then she could talk me through the way money was being spent on the high performance program.
A quite inappropriate suggestion, I thought.
As news to me she confirmed a “silent” deal had been made with KSWC for the training where they paid “next to nothing” for the training and that the performance gains from the time in the pool “will never be able to put a value on”.
I merely suggested the value put on it was the simple metric common to all sports: winning and losing. Based on that metric the training sessions were a dismal flop.
Crane implied my perspective lacked “big picture context” but if she had done the slightest due diligence she might have found I sat down for hours with then head honcho Mario Agius (Papa of Dion) in 2006, more than a decade before she took on her role. And had lengthy discussions with Andrew Stark. No jernalizt in the game has more knowledge of the big picture context of how government-funded sports bodies and tourism agencies are backing “organised” surfing.
At least Kim and I were able to agree with the proposition that all sports in the Australian High Performance System, including surfing, are accountable to the public. And as she was hired to bolster the goal of building a continuous pipeline of Australian World Champions on the World Tour there should be some pretty straightforward metrics available to see whether the old Aussie taxpayer is getting value for money from their peak surfing bodies.
The story turns.
Wednesday, I’m chillaxing on my birthday with a new goat, Sunshine Coast Council knows nothing about any planned Kelly Slater wave pool.
Thursday, it’s front page news.
Sunshine Coast council still has no idea about planned pool, no paper-work submitted.
The tub is being pitched as a huge tourism facility with a high-performance training centre angle. Office of QLD Minister for Tourism confirms Kate Jones has been to Lemoore and swallowed the Kool-Aid. Huge fan.
And the accessibility, I ask? At $US55,000 a day would the government support it? A spokesman confirmed government support depends on the facility “becoming more accessible”.
Andrew Stark, head of WSL Oceania and Australia, took my call. He confirmed there were many planning hoops to jump through with a best-case scenario seeing shovels hit dirt “mid next year.”
How about accessibility? Same biz model?
“We have a lot of work to do on that aspect of it,” he said. “We’ll certainly run events and have programs for people to come and enjoy the facility, yeah. The business model is still being worked on for the Australian market. We would certainly see that we would have community access”.
“Not those specifics at this point”.
Is the principal aim of the pool still as a high-performance training centre?
“It’s everything. A place for recreational surfers to enjoy and to surf. It’s a place for high-performance training for athletes. A place for events. It’s a multi-use facility, a place for everyone to enjoy”.
He confirmed the WSL remains committed to holding CT events in wavepools and that the Sunny Coast tub was a potential Olympic venue for a SEQLD 2032 Olympic bid.
Questions to the QLD Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, who put the planning/environmental hoops in place, about the timeline were unanswered at time of writing.
Open to the public. Accessible. An hour up the road from Bribie Island.
I feel a little giddy.
What a miserable little turncoat I am.
Like I said, I love my socialism, especially if it’s paying for me to get shacked.
So much more to the story, more as it develops, of course.