Melbourne: Australia’s first wavepool to open Jan 2020; $3500 VIP season passes!

And a new wave setting, The Beast, very difficult, but ever so thrilling…

You want to surf in Australia’s first surf tank, in the world’s biggest version of the Wavegarden Cove built on almost five acres of land a couple of clicks from Melbourne airport?

All the details, at least the ones that matter, how much it’s going to cost, what’s on the wave menu etc, have just been released.

First, a one-hour session is going to cost seventy-nine dollars, and that’s if you’re quick hitting the bookings when they open a little closer to opening day. ‘Cause it’s going to book out fast. Try getting into Waco even two years after it was built. It ain’t easy.

Luke Hynd on what looks a mysto Indo grinder.

If you want to be one of the first in the pool in December and ride it every week and you’re a season pass kinda person, there’s Foundation Memberships for $A3500 or 2400 American dollars. This includes the pre-opening surf, four sessions a month and a few other bits and pieces. Sounds like a ton of cash, and it is, a little hot for your old pal DR, but four sessions a month will eat up $3600 over the course of a year.

A gold-pass will cost $A3100 and you get the four surfs a month but not the pre-opening sesh and a few minor perks like a “test pilot” tee, a wristband and a tour of the joint.

The wave menu is looking pretty dialled, a few readers calling in to talk up The Beast, described by the company’s media guy Rupert Partridge as “an intense, slabbing, sidewinding barrel that also offers sections for turns and airs.”

Mitch Crews, the former WCT surfer, smudges his lipstick inside a green apple tube.

A wave a very well-known surfer, and patron of BeachGrit, couldn’t get to his feet when it was being test in the Basque Country a year or so ago.

A little later this morning, Julian Wilson, Sally Fitzgibbons and missing-in-action double world champ Tyler Wright will light up the tank.

More soon etc

Breaking: World Surf League announces surfing competition reality show featuring Kelly Slater, Dana White and maybe you!

Dreams come true!

I’m on a big story right now, a serious one. A story that will forever change the way you think about surf history so don’t have time to really get in the weeds on the just announced World Surf League network program Ultimate Surfer.

Didn’t Kelly Slater have a video game named Ultimate Surfer?

Where you could surf in space?

Here’s the press release:

EXCLUSIVE: ABC has greenlighted surfing competition reality series Ultimate Surfer, headlined by 11-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater. The eight-episode series, from prolific unscripted producer Craig Piligian’s Lionsgate-owned Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios, will feature top up-and-coming surfers. They will train and live together as they battle it out at WSL’s state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, which employs by Kelly Slater’s man-made wave technology. (You can watch a video about the facility below)

Slater will serve as on-air talent and special correspondent for the show, executive produced by Pilgrim CEO and President Piligian, WSL Studios President of Content and Media Erik Logan, and UFC President Dana White. It is slated to begin production in 2020.

In Ultimate Surfer, men and women will compete in individual and team challenges focused on specific surfing disciplines. Weekly eliminations will leave two men and two women as finalists who will vie for the male and female titles of the Ultimate Surfer and the opportunity to compete on the WSL World Tour.

And are you excited?

You can be in the show. Sign up here!

And as always, more as the story develops.

Watch: “A man is not finished when he’s defeated… he’s finished when he quits!”

The Empire Strikes Back.

For the second time in one year I’ve run headlong into the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise and been sent sprawling, reeling, arms, legs, head akimbo. Waking up minutes later on my back, or maybe hours, in a foggy daze. Skull aching. Am I concussed? Probably. Badly hurt? Maybe. Depressed?


The first was when I cajoled the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios and Newberry Medals Erik “ELo” Logan into a podcast. “Ha!” I thought. “I will push him around the conference room and surfers, real surfers, will rejoice.”

But it was Mr. Logan that pushed me around the conference room, rendering me mute with a constant stream of upbeat business-speak and bright-eye’d affirmations. He deeply and profoundly shamed me in front of the entire surf-reading public and I carried that pain in my heart until it was time for a new plan of action.

When I discovered that professional surfers are not free, that they are gagged by the insidious Article 189 that prohibits them from disparaging either the WSL or the sport of surfing. “The bastards!” I thought. “Now is my time to rise again. My time to be the Harriet Tubman of professional surfers. Their Gandhi. To free them from happy shackles and lead them into the more comfortable Grouchy Place.

I immediately began organizing a protest for this Friday the 15th outside the World Surf League’s Santa Monica headquarters that would include cotton candy, a mariachi band, angry signs, yellow beanies and chants while furiously reaching out to President Logan via Instagram and cake.

Demanding that he tear down that wall. That he give professional surfers their God given rights.

He never reached back, not even letting me know if he tried the cake I slaved over. Forward I pressed, anyhow, only slightly disheartened, until yesterday when I learned that zero employees will be in the Santa Monica headquarters this Friday the 15th.

They will all be in Hawai’i including President Logan himself.

It almost broke me right in half and I am beginning to think that President Logan has true military skill very similar to the famous Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson who could quickly determine weak points in his defenses and close gaps with lightening speed.

President Stone-Positive-Wall Logan.

The most brilliant tactician I have ever faced.

Still, I had to send a message, or at least find out if professional surfers are ok, and went after the collaborator Chris Cotê, hoping that he had not boarded his Hawai’i-bound flight yet.

He had not but swerved and dodged, answering all my questions without answering any of them. A classic public relations move elevated to art by Cotë’s quick collaborative tongue.

Things are bleak this morning but when times are extra tough I find solace in the wisdom of Richard M. Nixon who once said, “Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.”

Like Nixon, I refuse to quit.

Jen See breaks down last leg of Women’s Tour: “There will be fear out there, but you’re going to do it anyway because you’re best friends with fear!”

Let's get ready to Lululemon!

It’s been a minute. I left you somewhere in Portugal and I hope that you found your way home safely. You seem like smart people who can handle that kind of thing.

We are currently two weeks out from the final event of the women’s championship tour. Carissa Moore still leads the rankings, but Lakey Peterson is very close behind her. Thanks to her win at Portugal, Caroline Marks sits third.

I will do the world title scenarios when we get closer to the start of Honolua. If I do them now, I will forget all of it by the time Honolua starts. This defeats the purpose entirely. Also, I have the memory of a freshly hatched fruit fly.

Olympics, yes they matter

Australia has its Olympic team set (provisionally) with Sally Fitzgibbons and Steph Gilmore heading to Japan. But the two U.S. slots are still totally in play. Moore, Peterson, and Marks hold the top three spots on in the world rankings, and only two of them can make the team. That third place is definitely going to sting.

And yes, “real surfers” (whoever they are) may not care about the Olympics. But for women athletes, the Olympics matter a great deal. At least in the short run, making the Olympic team promises a nice bump in sponsorship. An athlete can more easily the notice of mainstream sponsors, which typically have deeper pockets.

As an “Olympic hopeful” Peterson has already picked up a deal from Toyota. Expect more of that in the next year. It’s not the kind of thing that lasts forever, but neither does a career as a pro athlete. Get it while you can, girls.

Same as it ever was, 2020 CT schedule

In the meantime, the WSL released next year’s CT schedule. Same-same. The only change is G-Land for Keramas, a switch we have discussed at some length on the men’s side. Tati West and Caroline Marks will be frothing. I am a fan of adding a left to the women’s Tour, so G-Land is a good decision, from where I’m sitting. But I also liked Keramas. Why can’t we have both? Related, why doesn’t money grow on trees?

Similar to 2019, there is no women’s event in Tahiti. Should there be? During my brief visit to Lemoore this September, I asked this question to several of the CT women. Enthusiasm levels varied, though none of the women I spoke to were opposed to the idea of competing at Teahupo’o.

Characteristically, Gilmore took a cautious approach. “I think women have some kind of like, commonsense button in their brain that goes, ‘boop, boop,’ I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said. “But in saying that, I think if we have an event there, the women will go there and train and make that happen.” (As an aside, Gilmore is not the only female athlete who has told me that they believe women approach risk differently from men.)

Gilmore would like to see a standalone event for women at Tahiti as a first step. “Then we can pick the conditions that we know will challenge us, but kill us,” she said. This last bit came with very Australian deadpan humor, which I deeply enjoy.

You will not, I think be surprised to learn that Courtney Conlogue would go for it. “I feel like it’s in my blood,” she said. “It’s not that I would be careless about it. I prepare myself in every aspect and I know the risks I’m taking.” Conlogue says she always looked up to women such as Chelsea Georgeson, Rochelle Ballard, and Melanie Bartels, who competed at Teahupo’o when it was still on Tour.

“There’s just something about a barrel,” said Conlogue. “It’s so special. And all the spots like Tahiti are the view of a lifetime. And the adrenaline. I feel like those sensations you get in barrels like that are amazing. There’s probably moments in other sports where you experience that same feeling where everything slows down. But there’s nothing like being barreled where nature is like, hugging you. It’s like this nice little cocoon in the barrel. But I feel like, I would embrace going to Tahiti, for sure!”

Here’s Conlogue in Ireland, recently, going for it. She looks mighty small on that wave, doesn’t she.

Eventually, the question of a women’s event at a spot like Teahupo’o or Cloudbreak brings us back to the question of money growing on trees. It’s a sport, not Unicef. Sending the women out in giant Teahupo’o probably won’t make the sport look great in the short run. In the long run, though, raising the level means pushing boundaries and making friends with fear.

Casey Brown, one of the top women in freeride mountain biking says it well: “There’s never going to be stories from comfort and security. And there will be fear out there, but you’re going to do it anyway. Because you’re best friends with fear. Fear’s your buddy.”

lululemon, your favorite new surf brand

The Maui Pro starts on 25 November and yes, yes, of course, I will write about it. I did not mean to wander off during Portugal. Sometimes, things happen over here! I love Honolua the most and will have my eyes glued to every heat, while also chewing my nails down to nothing over the world title race.

For the 2019 edition of Maui Pro, clothing brand lululemon has stepped in as the title sponsor. lululemon Maui Pro. And yes, the brand does not capitalize the first letter. Don’t say you never learned anything here at Beachgrit! It is so educational. As you all know, because you watch her heats obsessively, lululemon currently sponsors Malia Manuel.

What could lululemon possibly have to do with me, I ask, eyeing my teetering pile of color-coordinated sports bras and work-out wear. Yes, yes, my gym clothes have to match. I blame the part where lifting involves standing in front of an assortment of mirrors for two hours. Honestly, it’s amazingly distracting if your sports bra does not match your tights. And socks! If my socks don’t match, it’s totally over.

Also, the plates must be reracked by size. But really, I’m not at all OCD. It’s fine over here! It’s totally fine.

Okay, let’s all watch the lululemon Maui Pro in two weeks and you can hold my hand when it gets too stressful! I get so nervous when the title race is super close. Please come hold my hand and watch the scary heats with me!

It may be of interest to learn that similar bricks of coke, also marked “diamante” or “brillante”, were washed up on Florida beaches after Hurricane Doz in September. | Photo: @cbsnews

Breaking: South-west France awash in free cocaine! Almost one ton of uncut South American lands on surf beaches!

Health hazard, call police etc.

Every ten years or so, a coke shipment from South America via the French ports of Saint-Nazaire or Le Havre is lost at sea and is, eventually, washed onto the beaches around Hossegor, site of October’s Quiksilver Pro.

Over the past few weeks, almost one tonne of cocaine with an estimated purity of eighty-three percent (oowee) has washed ashore on the beaches from Lacanau, just north of Hossegor, to Biarritz, thirty-minutes south.

On Monday, a seventeen-year-old was arrested with five kilos of coke in Lacanau. He’d driven three hours from Toulouse to secure his bounty.

The cops have closed beaches and are searching beach walkers and anyone leaving a beach carpark.

According to the wire,

Philippe Astruc, the prosecutor in the western city of Rennes, where officials are coordinating the searches, said in a statement “we’ve recovered 872 kilos” and that “Intense surveillance has been set up by different services, notably the customs agency, all along the French coast.”

The prosecutor has urged people who spot packages not to discreetly put the packets under their shirts but to immediately call the police.

Police also said the purity of the coke, worth sixty-mill or so on the street, meant it was a health risk.

(A polite way of telling users to cut it a little before painting your beak.)

Read more here. 

And buy Chas Smith’s Cocaine and Surfing here.