A very poor quality frame grab of Mr Surfads on a surfboard he calls his Mandingo.

Opinion: “I’m a size queen, bigger and uglier the better; constant progression is the cancer of surfing!”

Man goes against fish and mid-length grain, rides giant performance surfboards…

I have a fetish. It’s embarrassing, but find me one that’s not?

It ain’t fondling toes. Or sexy Kurdish step mums looking to discipline naughty sons.

I like big boards. Like, stupid big.

I hesitate to call them mid-lengths, because it’s more than that. When it comes to everyday beachies, I worship Volume and Length in equal measure.

Current loves are: 6’8″ Campbell Brothers A/O. Seven-four Sam Egan Indo gun. Seven-foot dreadnought twin. A favourite 7’10”, a big boy’s big wave board I picked up for $250, the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen, has just been ridden into the scrap heap.

I carry a little weight, yes. But my dims are ridic. My standard shorties have been relegated to boardriders, boat trips and the odd local reef ledge. Buying off the rack or from a shaper becomes a battle of wills.

“Bro, are you sure you wanna go that big? With your size and weight you should be riding this one three inches shorter than usual. That’s what Mick rides.”

“Nah thanks mate, I’ll take the 6’9″.”

Flicky, skatey shorties just don’t do it for me. There’s no smoother feeling than an early roll in, or the extra hold from a long rail carve. Plus this whole sport grows increasingly absurd, a big nothing. The seas of gym jocks in Hurley wetties earnestly crabbing their 5’10″ Spineteks turn my stomach.

Constant progression is the cancer of our species.

But I ain’t a mid-length hipster, either. I’m just an auto-contrarian.

The surfing world’s going one way, so I go the other.

Big, and ugly.

Thankfully, Gumtree caters to my proclivities. There are many, many boards in my chosen idiom. Ones abandoned by disheartened VALs or gals getting better or guys getting fatter.

I sit in the wings and snatch up their refuse like a spider on its web.

(I especially love the tell-tale signs of an imminent good deal. eg.oard measurements in centimetres or tail pads placed suspiciously high above the leash plug. Come closer, my dear, and show me what you’ve got…)

The boards don’t always come through.

But when they do… *kissy fingers*

It was a fish that started it. Late nineties, chop hop, 5’5″ x 19 ¼” era. Everyone was on ‘em. I couldn’t afford a Mayhem so, being the industriously lazy teen I was, I hacked the nose off an old board with a handsaw instead.

Anything to get me closer to Wardo (I know, I know).

Then fate steered me sideways. I got my hands on a Peter McCabe, shaped for a stout friend who had left it at a mate’s house where I’d stash my boards. He stopped surfing and I claimed terra nullius.

This wasn’t your usual Grubby Indo blade. Wide and thick through the chest but with tapered, low rails and a killer swallow. Purple with black rails. It felt way too big under my arm.

But when I got it in the water? Float, glide, sting in the summer stop. It took me places I hadn’t been before.

My first plumper. I’ve experimented widely ever since.

And so I find myself, in 2019, combing the surf world’s detritus to satisfy my perversion.

Sometimes I wonder if I take it too far. I do worry what people think. Where I surf a 6’2″ is considered a step-up. I know friends laugh behind my back as I walk down the beach with my plus sized loves.

The other day I saw a YouTube clip of a lady that eats sofas. Piece by piece. She carries round bits of foam in her pockets to chew on as she goes about her day.

And there’s another guy who’s in love with his car. Who makes love to his car. Strokes its door handles. Whispers sweet nothings into the modified exhaust pipe.

Maybe they’re just doing it because that’s what sparks joy for them.

Because they know shit’s fucked up too.

It’s their own little protest against a world going mad.

So that’s what I tell myself as I glide into the water on my PWC, sniggers still ringing in my ears.

I’m a performance artist, I scream, taking wave after wave after wave.

I’m a goddamned activist.

And this is my statement.

This is my raised fist.

I feel sexsomnia coming on.
I feel sexsomnia coming on.

Warning: Mining tycoon blames “sexsominia” for accusation of sexual assault; Australian surfers panic!

Worse than the black lung!

But what have you hustled in order to chase your surf dream? What job have you worked with decent wages and much time off so that you could fly here, there, to Indonesia for months at a time?

Oh it’s the surfer way and especially the Australian surfer way as those in that Lucky Country have a robust mining industry and very few citizens to work it. An enterprising Gold Coast lad can, conceivably, head to the wide open western spaces, crawl down a shaft and months later emerge with enough salary to fly here, there, to Indonesia for months at a time.

A dream?


But also a dream with potential pitfalls for as revealed today in the United Kingdom’s well-respected Daily Mail, mining tycoons often suffer from the very rare disease of “sexsominia.”

What is sexsominia?

Well being sexually aggressive while asleep, I think, but the United Kingdom’s august Daily Mail will set our record straight. Let us go there without delay.

A Canadian businessman who is accused of sexually assaulting his blind date says he was experiencing ‘sexsomnia’ during the alleged incident.

Karl Richard Antonius, president and CEO of Boreal Metals Corps, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2015 during his trial this week in Vancouver, Canada.

In response to prosecutors, the 51-year-old claims he suffered from sexsomnia at the time of the alleged incident and therefore was not in complete control of his actions.

Sexsomnia, or Sleep Sex, is a sleeping disorder similar to sleep walking that causes an individual to involuntarily engage in sexual acts.

The initial accusations against Antonius were made in April by an unidentified woman who testified that he sexually assaulted her in his apartment.

Vancouver Sun reports that the two had visited several places before she lost her keys and Antonius suggested they go to his ‘work’ apartment at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.

The woman says she had no interest in having sex with Antonius and wanted to get some sleep before tackling the task of finding her keys the next day.

On and on the horror tale goes and I can see Australian surfers panicking now, wondering if their mining bosses suffer the same affliction.

Do they?

Is sexsomnia like the black lung?


Should Australian mine working surfers be worried?


But also, seriously, which job is your surfiest job?

Mine (no pun intended)?

Piloting a submarine of course.

A boy can dream...

Give: The gift that every surfer, murfer, Bight Fighter, SUP pilot and ecologically-minded wave tank proprietor craves!

Give the gift of BeachGrit!

What is your favorite holiday movie of all time? Do you go for the classics like White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street, the modern classics like Home Alone and Elf or the super-modern, likely-to-be-classics like The Best Man Holiday?


Oh, I go for the darkly poetic The Silence of the Lambs, which came out January 30, 1991, counting as the very far reaches of “holiday.”

There is one scene in particular that really speaks to me. The famous one where Buffalo Bill is dancing to Goodbye Horses while getting all gussied up as his guest tries to befriend his dog.

When I watch, I picture the World Surf League’s President of Storytelling Erik “ELo” Logan as Buffalo Bill and you in the pit. Instead of him putting on the body parts of previous victims and make-up, though, I picture him putting on BeachGrit merchandise.

I picture him putting on our Ultra Hard Beach Candy t-shirt.

Buy here!

Or I picture him putting on our VAL and Proud t-shirt.

Buy here!

Heck, sometimes I even picture him putting on our “Girls” t-shirt, a print which Derek Rielly describes as, “Our boldest yet.”

Buy here!

In each and every case, though, I picture you in the bottom of the pit trying to coax Kelly Slater to come save you by throwing chia seeds and conspiracy theories.

A nice scene, no?

Go Black Friday at BeachGrit and give the gift of… imagination!

Question: Which wave pool technology will be first into the dumpster in our new and glorious, environmentally-friendly Surf Ranch Era?

With every boom comes a bust!

Today is Black Friday in the United States of America and I believe many other countries have taken up this ode to unchecked materialism as well. Do you celebrate with “door busters” etc. in Australia? Are stores running half-off cachaça sales in Brazil? Can overweight men be seen, right now, clubbing each other with loaded Harrods shopping bags in Jolly Old England?

I assume yes. But speaking of England, its newest wave tank at Bristol is up and running and I wonder how many of the United Kingdom’s surfers will find a day pass to The Wave under 2019’s Christmas tree? Or how many Victorians will find a BOGO coupon to Melbourne’s URBNSRF in their stocking hung by the chimney with care?

The wave tank explosion certainly is impressive and would have been impossible to foresee without Kelly Slater’s voodoo eyes a decade ago. There are so many that I can no longer keep them straight. Thankfully there is an online magazine dedicated solely to plungers, sleds, etc. and it is my pleasure to direct you toward Wave Pool Mag for all your curiosities and needs. They even have a wonderful podcast.

And I should be lobbing this question to them but it will be more fun to carry on ill-informed. Because as I see it, there is no way all the various technologies can stay viable and in business.

Take Surf Lakes, for example. After a botched preview ambassador/owners Barton Lynch and Mark Occy tried to get on the sled and reset but was anyone watching with URBNSURF coming online?

And while Kelly Slater and Co. bulldoze pristine land Australia, in an environmentally beneficial fashion, for their first open-to-the-public offering, Waco seems to still be firing right along with no end in sight. There’s going to be a private, members only facility in Palm Springs to compete with other Palm Springs pools but… the question I have for you, this Black Friday, the important matter for you to fully engage, is which facility will declare bankruptcy first?

Which glorious vision, millions in building, exciting marketing drawings etc. will be crumpled, shuttered and written off as a loss?

As a bonus question, which entire technology will first go into the dumpster? Or are the plungers, sleds, etc. all going to thrive?

They’re not all going to thrive. So which one will you be able to buy next year for free as long as you agree to haul it out?

Have fun shopping!

We'll bulldoze it all then build, get this, an "eco-resort" and…hee hee…an "environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways."

Longtom investigates WSL’s billion-dollar Australian wavepool development: “I’m sad that surfers will be behind the bulldozers, erasing this wildlife”

When Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

(Editor’s note: Last month, the WSL announced a billion-dollar development on 510-hectares, or 1200 acres, of “highly constrained land” near the Queensland beach town of Coolum. The proposal includes a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.” The WSL’s Andrew Stark said the local surfing community was “ecstatic and excited.” Over the course of the next week, the writer Steve “Longtom” Shearer will investigate these claims as well as the mood on the ground.)

I got into Coolum, proposed site of a massive Surf Ranch development last night. It’s not foreign territory.

I lived up the road for a few years, hustling up grub stakes in between overseas trips. I drove around looking for the old bottle-shop I worked at. Gone. Under the bulldozer’s plough. The town of Coolum, compared to how I remember it from twenty years ago, has been gussied up, impeccably landscaped, with a Stepford Wives feel about it.

For those unfamiliar with the area it’s a sub-tropical surf town, nestled against a series of headlands that are mostly crap but have golden moments and miles and miles of serviceable beachbreak in either direction.

To the south, the coastline breaks at the Maroochy River. To the north, the beachbreaks end at the vast headland complex with world-class pointbreaks of Noosa Heads. It has flat spells but no-one is angsting about being a surfer. A couple of hundred days per year of easy, warm water go-outs are on offer.

It’s prosperous.

Like most of coastal Australia it’s upgraded to Surf Cafe living, which is an actual book you can buy. The carpark outside my budget accomodation, chosen for it’s proximity to the best beachbreak in town is full of new four-wheel-drives.

Tradies and contractors are killing it. You’ll get change from nine hundred grand for a house and land just off the beach, but not much. One-point-nine million will get you a ten-bed ranch on acreage with deep-water access to the river abutting the wavepool land.

I surf that beachie at dawn, trying to get a read on the temperature of the local surfing populace on the KSWC proposal. Then head for a second surf down the road to a beachie filled with punchy wedges. Enthusiasts were thin on the ground.

So, what do you think of the Kelly pool proposed for Coolum?

Salt and pepper beard, late-forties on Lost Rocket: Shrugs shoulders. “Not much, it’s already so crowded. That’ll just bring more people here. They won’t get their fill there.”

Early-thirties shredder on stubby four-fin: “It’s fucken BS, we won’t get to surf it. Taxpayers subsidising the privileged.”

Early twenties on a twinny: “Sick if we got to surf it. But how much is it going to cost and where do they get the water from? Already too much development around here.”

Mid-forties on a thruster: “I’m suss on it eh. Taxpayer funded and locals will have to pay big time to play.”

By mid-morning I’d racked up a small cricket score of super fun waves; probably the best I’d had for a month. It was crowded, few grumbles in the carpark but the vibe in the water was sound. Free people enjoying nature’s gifts and all that. I showered off next to a sign: Please help us conserve water. Every drop is precious.

I had to drive to Noosa, twenty kilometres away, to find a true believer. On the way I drove around looking for the beach shacks I used to live in. Gone. Like the bottle-shop, they’d been bulldozed.

My existence here had been erased from history. In their place were architect-designed homes, tacky mansions; the spoils of wealth. A secret little beach track down to a reliable rip bowl left was the only piece of archaeological evidence of previous habitation I could find.

The two kids in the Rip Curl shop were non-plussed on the pool. Bring crowds, too expensive etc.

The manager, former pro longboarder Dane Wilson, thought: awesome. His take was it was as an amazing opportunity for the local kids to step up to the elite level and an interesting posit that the price of Mentawai travel might come down because people might come to the pool instead and the decreased demand for Indo might put downward pressure on prices.

Also, of course, a golden opportunity for surf retail inside the complex.

Coolum surf shop owner Genevieve Kendall was more ambivalent.

Her first response to the pool was “where will the water come from?” She described the mood at the initial community “consultation” meeting* with Andrew Stark as “frothing” but that as time had passed the vibe had become more subdued.

How much will it cost and how often will I be able to access it were unanswered questions.

A little strange, when they propose turning soil next year.

“I want my kids to have jobs in the area and the Sunshine coast does need jobs,” she said. “I’m broadly for it, I think a wavepool is a good fit for the area but there’s still a lot of unanswered questions.”

Husband Chris was concerned about the development outpacing infrastructure and the effect that would have on the lifestyle of the area.

Glancing left at the site which is bordered by the road the presence of water on the ground, despite the drought, is startling. Fifteen hundred residential lots, commercial, retail, hotels plus the wavepool on some of the lowest lying floodplain in south-east Queensland. What, as they say, could go wrong?

She mentioned the traffic and how gnarly it was around the site. I road-tested the gnarl and can confirm. Trying to enter the roundabout where Sunshine Motorway and Coolum-Yandina road converge was as fucking frightening as a three-am tweaker.

Drive-time from the airport is fourteen-minutes at a hundred k’s heading due north up the Sunshine Motorway. Glancing left at the site which is bordered by the road the presence of water on the ground, despite the drought, is startling. Fifteen hundred residential lots, commercial, retail, hotels plus the wavepool on some of the lowest lying floodplain in south-east Queensland.

What, as they say, could go wrong?

The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history. From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

I put boots on the ground at the site. I know this country very well. It’s in my blood. My people come from the Queensland cane swamps. They are Danes, Swedes, Sicilians.

Practical people.

They would understand the necessity of bulldozing the bush to make way for jobs. But I do not. The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.

From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

The greenwashing on the project will be immense. Next level.

But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

Next: Australia’s Chinatown?

*Described by upcoming state government election candidate Maria Suarez as “more of a sales pitch than true consultation”.