From yurt to ocean, minus leash.

Killers: Leashless VALS overrun Gold Coast; calls for compulsory leashes and ban on kooks!

Dramatic measures considered in wake of vulnerable adult learner onslaught.

Panic is sweeping across Australia’s Gold Coast like a well-aimed tropical depression.

But it’s not COVID19 or the oncoming thrust of libidinous pro surfers and their entourages that has the locals shaking in their Crocs.

Instead, surfers on leashless ‘logs’ – many of whom could be correctly identified as VALs – are losing control of their craft and causing collisions along the already crowded golden strip.

That distinct thwack of fibreglass on flesh on bone, simultaneously dull yet sharp, rings out  from Burleigh to D-Bah.

Fingers are poked into holes where cheeks should have been.

Exposed pink flesh grades white, then grey, then crimson red.

Victims shrieks as the horror of the injury sets in, while dreadlocked interlopers retrieve their bloodied craft and can only off a “Sorry bro, I totally didn’t see you there” in return.

It’s the soundtrack to the VAL-pocalypse.

And it’s reaching pandemic proportions there in south-east Queensland.

One lil girl has already ended up in hospital

Many more near misses that haven’t required pro medical care.

The community ain’t thrilled.

Local media are taking notice, again.

See this article, from The Gold Coast Bulletin, featuring local surf mum looking sternly off to the right of frame as she stands protectively in front of her brood.

The classic tabloid tableau.

A lack of respect and a flagrant disregard of surfing etiquette is causing havoc at popular Gold Coast surfing breaks – with a mother smashed by a rogue longboard at Snapper Rocks over the weekend. Later that day, a young girl hit in the face by a longboarder was rushed to hospital with stitches to her face, a broken nose and possible bruising on the brain. According to Terranora local Leesa Laug, surfing accidents involving “inexperienced” people on longboards, VAL, are becoming commonplace and she fears for the safety of her children in the ocean.

Another local, also quoted, calls for a ski-style ranking for surf access. Lesser talented surfers denied admission to the premier breaks, forced instead to ply their trade on the green trail peaks of a yet-to-be built local wavepool.

There needs to be respect for the unspoken rules of surfing, the article continues.

Basic safety measures. Legropes made mandatory. Crowd control etc etc.

Cute stuff.

I’ve spoken before about the death of the Pass as a surf spot.

Are Snapper and its nearby points that far behind?

Would you surf it on a four-foot south-east swell with light offshores puffing the endless caverns open for just you and your closest 3000 pals to enjoy?

Maybe, if you could get The One.


More questions:

Could a caste system for surfing, like the one being proposed at the Bristol wave pool, work for the Gold Coast? How would it operate? Would it even make a dint in the crowd at the Superbank, anyway?

And more fundamentally, do we need this Draconian level of state control?

Is the surfing world crying out for the firm hand of a benevolent dictator to bring order to its chaotic lineups?

As climate change-fuelled cyclone swells continue to unfurl down the east coast honey pot of points, and state and federal tourism boards in concert with the WSL do their best to send more surf-tourists there during peak competition times, things will only get worse.

The question will not go away.

Is there a vaccine out there to keep the VAL-pocalypse on a leash?

Does anybody have the cure?

I’ll leave the last words to mumma Laug:

“Back in the day if you were a learner you’d never go to a popular break until you were at a certain level, now everyone wants to be seen there and to project that cool image. Everyone needs to wait their turn in line and if you muck it up well back to the end of the line for you, these days there’s no such thing as getting in line. There’s no respect, it’s gone out of the window.”

Surfing heartthrob turned real estate developer Owen Wright reveals plans for $5 million hunk of land in Byron Bay!

"Inspired, he wanted to provide holidayers in Byron Bay with his own luxury, architecturally designed accomodation."

Seven month ago, world number nine Owen Wright paid $5.1 million for an unremarkable beach shack a few hundred metres from The Pass in Australia’s Byron Bay. 

Owen, of course, saw more than an idyllic little timber house surrounded by almost half-an-acre of grass and trees.

The just-turned thirty year old saw potential.

And, so, Owen is going to build six pretty villas on the land, either sell ’em for a few mill apiece or rent ’em out via his new luxury accommodation biz Paradiso Property, which already rents out two joints in Byron Bay, a small studio and a swinging house for ten.

Owen is a professional surfer who has been competing on the WSL world tour for 10 years. Travelling the world he has stayed in many beautiful holiday homes. Inspired, he wanted to provide holidayers in Byron Bay with his own luxury, architecturally designed accomodation.

Owen ain’t afraid of playing the real estate game.

You’ll remember the $1.6 million house at Lennox Head with its indoor swimming pool that meandered through the living room,  the Federation-style house in Byron Bay (a little under a million), the beachfront townhouse at Thirroul (675,000) and the gorgeous mountain-top hideaway (bought for 750k, sold for a million).

What else?

For the first time in a couple of years, there’ll be three Wrights on the WCT.

Two-time champ Tyler returns to the tour full-time after overcoming a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosis that threatened to derail her career; Owen’s so-rare-it-didn’t-have-a-name delayed brain trauma that resulted in a push for compulsory helmets is a four-year-old memory and Mikey’s tweaked dorsal is good enough for him to have a three-contest showdown with Leo Fioravanti for the tour’s injury wildcard.

Aging core surfers demand: “Give us Laird Hamilton, Bruce Irons, James Duncan O’Brien for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics!”


But now that the Aquatic Guillotine has officially been declared the site of the surfing discipline for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games the fun can really begin. As you well know, surfing is making its grand Olympic debut this year in Tokyo though it is very difficult to care because Japan has small waves in the summer and whether Filipe Toledo is dancing down waist high lines or the other short Japanese surfer who won Huntington Beach’s U.S. Open of Surfing not named Kanoa Igarashi it will feel stale and/or lightly funny.

But Teahupoo. The Place of Severed Necks. Much fun and many opportunities to dust off some of our favorite surfers.

The Olympic surfing qualifying process is straight-ish forward. Each nation gets two male, two female slots which shall be earned via World Surf League standings and participation in the ISA World Surfing Games and the Pan American Games. Now, normal surfing nations like Australia, France, These United States, South Africa will fill their slots via the WSL ranks but there are hundreds of other normal-adjacent non-surfing countries like Bulgaria, Qatar, Bolivia, Iceland with not one professional behind that Wall of Positive Noise.

Again, who cares about Japan.

But Teahupoo.

And how much fun would it be for Laird Hamilton to strapped in one more time and Oh My God the world for proud little Latvia (citizenship sold for 60k Euro)?

How wonderful would it be for the great Bruce Irons to take one more swing for mighty Grenada (150k U.S.)?

Can’t you see Jamie O’Brien burning the Olympic rule book then the competition all while draped in Cambodia’s red, white and blue ($245k U.S.)?

Who else would you like to see?

Worth a crowd fun, no?

More as the story develops.

Official: French Olympic Committee declares “The Aquatic Guillotine” to be employed for 2024 Paris Games ushering in modern “Rain of Terror!”

Off with his head!

One does not have to stretch the faculties too far in declaring France the greatest country on earth. Wines from Sancerre, cheeses from Normandy, clothing from Rue Cambon in Paris. Art, music, mimes, romance, flowers, songbirds and the most picturesque uprising in modern human history.

What is not to love about the French Revolution with its Bastille, Egalite and Guillotine, that proud symbol combining justice and public entertainment?

From 1793 through 1794 2600 people made that regretful climb to the thrill of a passionate audience.

The “National Razor” was officially mothballed in 1977 but is being gorgeously re-imagined for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games and let us turn to Australia’s favorite news source for the very latest.

The International Olympic Committee has approved the Teahupo’o surf break on the island of Tahiti as the site of the 2024 Paris Olympics surfing competition.

Located 15,000km away from the French capital in the South Pacific, the French Polynesian island is home to one of the heaviest waves in the world.

The World Surf League holds an annual event at the wave for its men’s competition but it is one of two heavy barrelling locations — along with Pipeline in Hawaii — where women do not compete.

Olympic organisers will likely attempt to hold women’s heats on days when the waves are smaller but if a big swell rolls through there could be carnage.

A modern Rain of Terror.

Justice and public entertainment on display once more.

Very exciting and we should all prepare our favorite decapitation outfits.

Tell me again, about the tranny surprise in Thailand, you beast.

A treasure trove of true surf-travel stories: The dead Moroccan; a happy Mexican double-cross; a religious stoning in Egypt!

The best part about hitting the road looking for waves? When your world get turned upside down.

Remember the days of surf mag travel stories? Very congruous to an office memo regarding the proper procedure on how to write an office memo.

How many ways are there to describe a palm tree?

Bumpy road?

Gnarly locals?

Lots of wordage down a long road with an old description of a new wave.

The best parts were the flashes when things went wrong: a tranny surprise in Thailand, cartels in Colombia and so on.

Surfing does lead us down sordid alleys, but the stories are worth it.

True examples.

Spaniards love Moroccans: Flat surf in Cadiz caused by a NNE angled swell forced a rented car drive to Rabat where rumors of a sheltered right existed. While driving down a backroad at dusk, the car hit a Moroccan man of middle age.

Local villagers slowly surrounded the crash area.

Ambulance called.

Two hours pass with no response from the hit pedestrian or the ambulance.

Finally, the locals villagers insist it is ok to leave.

What about insurance and police reports? You are no longer in America my friends.

The car is returned to the Spanish rental agency.

When staff ask what happed to the car and you’re informed that the damages would have to be paid for, there is silence.

What happened?

Long pause.

We hit a Moroccan…

The Spaniard places two hands firmly on the driver’s shoulders and stares straight through him … Is he dead?… A pause, then louder, IS HE DEAD?

I think he’s dead…..

The cheers of euphoria from the car rental staff rivaled that of World cup soccer match. A blush fermented sherry paired perfectly with an aged manchego for the celebration was passed around.


The debt of the car damages paid for in Berber flesh….

Mexico double swap: A six-foot Mexican beachbreak. A lazy duck dive ruptures a leash. Board washes to shore. An altruistic local man fishes it from the shorebreak. The surfer swims to shore. Local man asks for the surfer’s rash guard. Says he needs it for lobster diving. The surfer give it to him.

The local reciprocates with marijuana rolled up in newspaper.

Surfer declines, local insists.

The surfer, with weed, walks ten steps around the rocks to find two policemen waiting for him. Cuffs pulled out and about to be placed on wrists. Surfer has visions of Mexican jail time. Gang. Rape.

The surfer offer to pay a fine on the spot. It is accepted.

Ten steps around the next corner reveals the same cops and philanthropic local exchanging confiscated weed and splitting the bribe.

All three look at the surfer, smile, wave and continue with transaction.

Surfer waves back happy in the knowledge that his culo will remain, unharmed, at for tonight for the simple fee of forty Americano dollars.

(Almost) Stoned in Port Said: Surf wise, February in Egypt will surprise you. That said, back roads in port Said reveal even bigger revelations, like having your girlfriend wear long pants and sleeves.

A quest for Egyptian cotton sheets lead to winding open corridors of paved brick down ‘streets’ that are three feet wide. One turn leads to another to another till you’re spinning like a top.

You finally see the souk in the distance and walk toward it down a tidy residential street.

Windows slowly open, raised voices seem like they are directed at you, but you continue, ignoring them.

More windows open, the voices are louder, now definitely meant for you.

Nervous, you continue.

Finally a cab flies around the quiet street and stops abruptly just for you.

“GET IN NOW!” screams the driver. HURRY!!”

By now, you realize the screams and gyrating fists are definitely meant for you.

In the cab, the driver reveals a back street Port Said secret: “Yes, we are a modern country, but some traditions hold strong. They were about to stone you because your wife was revealing too much.”

The girlfriend could care less about the near bludgeoning because she has just been called a wife…

And you?