Sunshine Coast Surf Ranch and Surf Lakes line up for free money…
Things are gurgling up, hard, in the post-Covid wavepool world in Queensland.
Like other tourism destinations, the state, famous for hosting the opening CT Tour event at Snapper Rocks, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, shit beer, a twenty-year quasi-dictatorship when developers ruled the roost etc etc, has been economically flayed by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of the virus.
Back the tape up to the November series on the proposed Coolum surf ranch proposal.
We noted a king hell public relations offensive was in the offing by WSL’s Australasian head kicker Andrew Stark and his property developer pal Don O’Rorke. Shots are now being fired and a government in thrall to shiny tourism baubles which could stimulate a morbid economy is being tickled pink by the prospect of a wavepool led recovery.
The Coolum proponents are luxuriating in the warm spa of a shiny new website (strangely, down the list on a Google Search, maybe SEO was not in the budget).
It paints a beautiful picture, an entire alternative universe even.
I appreciate an alternative Universe as much as the next absurdist and this one is a real doozy. It’s a place where to save bushland and floodplain we need to bulldoze it, truck in millions of tonnes of fill, carve it up into a canal estate and stick a water and power hungry wavepool there that only a few will ever be able to access.
No surprises there.
Of course we’ll have solar panels and an eco-lodge with high thread count organic cotton sheets.
Why would we believe in the 2+2=5 tenets of this wonderful universe?
Because the WSL is behind it, trumpeting itself as an Environmentally Conscious Organisation du jour.
How could they do wrong by MotherEarth, how could Kelly cash his cheque on a project that was not as green as the greenest grass?
This Golden Goose will shit pure green eggs, bank on it.
Don O’Rorke is a smart man.
He claims 75% community support, not something I found on the ground there randomly talking to as many people as I could, and has created a website where the only feedback mechanism possible is a “register your support” button.
Genius. So even if you want to kick it in the nuts it gets registered as “support”.
Anything can and could happen in this magic pudding world. The development itself grew from a hundred million when the first breathless presser was released on Sep 30 by a factor of 11 to 1.1 billion less than two weeks later when further pressers were leaked to the media.
Don’s holding big time; not just the wavepool, which is the carrot to get the housing development and other big ticket items over the line, but a huge fuck-off stick. That stick is a threat to turn the whole site into a sand mine. It’s a head I win, tails you lose scenario.
Pure gangster position, and I use the term euphemistically, obvs, because I don’t want to get in a screaming match with Don’s lawyers at midnight on a schoolnight explaining that even if I liquidate my quiver it ain’t gunna cover a days worth of their legal fees.
Coolum is not the only wavepool development hoping to find itself on the right side of Govt money used to stimulate an influx of pale legged southerners looking for easy tubes and vitamin D. And they are looking at it.
Word from my mole in the Queensland government is at least six or seven politicians are aware of the proposal and taking it very seriously.
The Yeppoon surf lakes site with it’s temperamental plunger, that according to the website: “full stroke of the plunger and therefore full wave height has yet to be achieved. Expect this to come in 2020!” is also on the sniff for a little hand-out to make the prototype tub into a full scale commercial operation.
I find this a far more exciting proposition because a: the wavepool is not a Trojan horse for a monstrous canal development and b: Central QLD with its dry tropical climate is a truly great place for a fly-in-fly-out surf trip.
Surf Lakes has been shy of good news lately, it’s website is looking a little moribund. It’s last licensee anouncement was with an unnamed group in California back in the innocent days of March at an unnamed location with the only clue offered that the licencee was “well positioned to contribute to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles”.
But closer to home (and reality) Surf Lakes CEO Aaron Trevis came out publicly and claimed if the Queensland Govt “spent ten million they’d get around two billion in return.”
That’s a multiplier of 200!
With those numbers it only sounds like prudent business sense for the gubbermint to get behind the Yeppoon facility. They have my guaranteed patronage and I will tell all my Queensland relatives around the Christmas ham to vote for any politician who tips in.
But seriously now, with all the cheap money sloshing around, why not go big, very big.
Invest in a half-dozen Surf Lakes, really go all in (as ELO would say) on the concept of a wavepool-led economic recovery from the ravages of Covid.
It could be bigger than the New Deal and a global export we could be truly proud of.
Bamm, bam, bam, they are popping up all over the place like mushrooms in a cow paddock after rain.
Speaking of exciting developments, four sleeps until Elo’s next call on the Future of the Tour, this year and beyond. Yew.