Man (pictured) gazing lovingly at local surf shop.

Unexpected Surprise: Surf Shops come blazing out of quarantine, smashing sales projections, defying all odds!

Welcome to Ron Jon's, I love you.

We are entering a new phase of the Coronavirus Dystopia, a sort of respite between the pandemic’s first wave and second wave where mass unemployment leads to mass homelessness leads to mass food shortages leads to solving that problem by watering the world’s crops with Brawndo™ because it has electrolytes.

The only retail that remains open, after we’re through, is Costco, St<a>rbucks exotic coffee for men and, quite unexpectedly, core surf shops.

Industry newsletter Shop-Eat-Surf revealed today that sales at many of the world’s surf shops are not only surviving but thriving, smashing forecasts and even outpacing last year’s numbers, which may say more about last year’s numbers.

Per the report:

Patrik Schmidle of ActionWatch has repeatedly said during this crisis that core stores could be better positioned than many traditional retailers when they are allowed to open. Many industry stores are not located in malls but in individual locations or strip centers, which can make customers feel safer. And more importantly, they sell a lot of activity based goods like skateboards, surfboards and body boards – all things people can do in this virus era.

Fantastic no?

Very surprising… or maybe not. We surfers, we proud descendants of Spicoli, seem primed to thrive in our new future.

Now go away.

‘Batin.


My favourite moment from the the Sunshine Coast Surf Ranch's promo film. Here, "Kelly Slater" with slick of rich Asian quality hair and holding a Mayhem-shaped surfboard.

Queensland wavepools ride COVID wave of taxpayer funding: “To save bushland and floodplain we need to bulldoze it, 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!”

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”.

Fabulous.

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.


Listen: Wade Goodall talks “schlock Australian new wave cinema” that influenced Pentacoastal and hears, for first time, about surf mag that incinerated twenty-thousand copies of his first film Passion Pop!

Secrets brazenly revealed, a few laughs, not so many tears.

In today’s episode of Dirty Water, Charlie Smith and I three-way with Australian child prodigy, and star of Vans’ supercharged new full-length feature film, Wade Goodall.

Goodall, if you know a little surf history, was an air queen whose signature move, a shuvit in the skies, became the fulcrum upon which Billabong’s big 2006 feature, Passion Pop, pivoted.

Fourteen years later, Goodall, as lead, and filmmaker Shane Fletcher behind camera, both editing, created Pentacoastal.

A few caveats about today’s convo.

I’m fucking awful, screeching and interrupting, recounting shit stories like the time I interviewed Nick Cave about his film The Proposition; Goodall’s net connection via telephone is even flimsier than is the norm in Australia although we’ve tried to edit out most of the glitches and Chas heads off for a dinner party three-quarter of the way through.

Still, it’s free.

The conversation hits high points, I think, when Goodall talks about how Australian New Wave cinema, specifically the films Wake In Fright and Walkabout, that influenced the colour treatment and vibe of Pentacoastal; when he recounts the three times he’s snapped a leg and his joy when he hears that Australian surf mags used to incinerate two-thirds of the surf film DVDs that were supplied as cover mounts.

In Passion Pop’s case, twenty thousand burned out thirty k supplied.

And, a bonus: anyone who leaves a review on iTunes, good, bad, don’t care as long as it’s entertaining, will get a BeachGrit tailpad. All you gotta do is write the review, email us the link ([email protected]) and you’ll get a tailpad in some random colour.

(Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn + Alexa, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Pocket Cast, Castro, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Deezer and Listen Notes.)

Share here. 

Listen here.

Or hit the button below.


Witnessed: The greatest lineup fight in surfing’s long and sordid history!

Closed eyes, pursed lips.

The sun popped out, after a touch of morning grey, a light wind carrying with it the scent of sea, of good times waiting. I tossed my board in the back of the truck, coasted down the hill, parked, crossed the train tracks, crossed the street and beheld smaller than expected surf but still fun.

Shoulder-ish high on the sets.

It wasn’t particularly crowded, a sort of easy-going vibe that complemented the lack of critical sections nicely.

A kid was trying a few airs on a new-ish Christenson. A goat boater, fully bearded, vested with a CamelBak and helmet floated next to him.

A wave came and I watched as a chubby 30-something riding a round-nosed mini-mal dropped in on a ginger pre-teen riding a Wavestorm who was then dropped in on by a nondescript 40-something riding a yellowing gun.

When they all came up the pre-teen Stormtrooper flipped his board over and paddled back out. The chubby 30-something floated next to his mini-mal and started jawing at the nondescript 40-something, who floated next to his yellowing gun.

Their faces two feet apart.

They jawed for a handful of moments and then it happened.

The chubby 30-something splashed the nondescript 40-something in the face. The nondescript 40-something returned fire and splashed the chubby 30-something in the face. The chubby 30-something went back for seconds. The nondescript 40-something, not willing to concede, went back for seconds too.

And then it went full on. Both splashing each other in the face, from two feet apart for a solid 30 to 40 seconds.

No punches, no pushes, just rage-filled splashing for a weirdly long time.

I had never seen anything so positively wonderful. Both had their eyes closed, lips pursed, in order to keep that saltwater out. Heads tilted up, slightly.

The splashing reached critical mass where the hands couldn’t quite move fast enough to inflict much water damage plus with the eyes closed, heads tilted up, it was difficult for each to regularly hit the target but I did see the chubby 30-something gasp for air at some point.

And like that it was over.

I applauded and noted to those around me that we had just witnessed the greatest lineup fight in surfing’s long and sordid history.

They all agreed.


Happy surfer, pictured, returning to Costa Rica post-Covid.

Bullish: Costa Rica predicts itself to be the “no. 1 surfing destination in the world after Covid-19!”

"Costa Rica is, today, the nation with the lowest mortality among the 10 favorite world destinations for to surf."

Have you already started to think about your next surf trip, when all this madness ends? Maybe a quick jaunt to Bali? Mexico? Oahu’s south shore? Lemoore, California? Travel will be brutal, I imagine, with once-friendly stewards and stewardesses dressing as extras from the film Contagion…

…zero food or drink, inflight magazines burned in giant barrels etc. but surfers gonna surf so where will you head?

The Central American nation of Costa Rica is predicting itself as the real winner, post-Covid, and let’s learn more about the surprisingly bullish claim. Let’s get our information directly from the Q Network.

Surfers who will travel again in search of waves and also consider the sanitary measures carried out by country during the coronavirus, will find that Costa Rica is, today, the nation with the lowest mortality among the 10 favorite world destinations for to surf.

With a mortality rate of just 1.08% during the contagion days so far, Costa Rica is today, the ninth country in the world that has best treated the health emergency, but the first among the 10 most visited destinations for surfing reasons.

Both National Geographic and other international media have repeatedly placed Costa Rica among the Top 10 of privileged countries to surf in their publications.

The other nine destinations are: Indonesia, Hawaii, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Brazil and Ireland.

However, Costa Rica, within that Top 10, is with the lowest mortality rate and with the least amount of infections in relation to the entire population.

Very wonderful, I suppose, though again… bullish. Less than two months ago, Costa Rican police officers appeared to shoot at surfers in the water, very much not wanting them at all.

Could it all be a trick?

A trap set where many surfers fly to Costa Rica with promises of disease-free waves and then get locked into work camps to slave and atone for the 1992 Gérard Depardieu vehicle 1492: Conquest of Paradise?

Possibly.