Torquay locals (pictured) in state of great shock and sadness.
Torquay locals (pictured) in state of great shock and sadness.

Champagne Pop: Virginia Beach plucks crown from Bells Beach’s hung head; becomes home to “longest continually held surf contest” in the world!

Long live VB!

A grey pall hangs low in the sky, this morning from Melbourne, through Geelong, all the way to the shore of Torquay and not the typical grey pall, either, but one infused with overwhlming sadness, with deep shame, with mourning.

For the region’s gilded crown has been plucked from its hung head and taken all the way across the sea, then a continent, and placed upon the regal pate of Virginia Beach where its professional surfing contest, the East Coast Surfing Championship, becomes the longest continually held surfing contest in the world, replacing Torquay’s Bells Beach and its Rip Curl Pro.

Much wailing. Many teeth gnashed. Tears falling, unrelentingly, into schooners of VB.

Victoria Bitters becoming woefully prescient.

And you will certainly recall, a few months ago, when the World Surf League cancelled the Gold Coast’s Corona Open followed shortly thereafter by the cancellation of the Rip Curl Pro due fears over Coronavirus. At that point in time, Bells had been surf contest king but with Santa Monica’s decision to let fear rule the cancelled the reign and now happy Virginia Beachers are dancing in their streets.

The contest kicked off yesterday, its 58th straight running, with the following Coronavirus adjustments in place.

-The event will not allow more than 50 people to be on site, with only surfers and staff allowed on location. No spectators are permitted.

-Unlike in typical years, no international surfers will take place in competition.

-Masks are required.

-The non-surfing sporting events and concerts that typically accompany surfing will not take place.

58 in a row.

Long live VB*.

But while I have you, do you think that stripping the one and only thing that allowed Bells to remain on tour will make it vulnerable to a cutting?

Quite possibly.

*Virginia Beach

Breaking: Yeppoon, Australia’s Surf Lakes wave tank releases scintillating photo of legend Mark Occhilupo “standing in a round one” thereby sending shivers of desire through all residents of Loompaland!

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do, what do you get when you guzzle down sweets?

But did you know that Oompa-Loompas hail from Loompaland? We all should have as Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made it very specific and certainly recall the orange-tinted shorter people dancing and singing throughout the eponymous film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but where they actually came from, in the film, was given short shrift.


Loompaland, though, we learn from the book. “Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world – hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles.”

So you can certainly imagine the shivers of desire running through the whole of that country with the just released image of Oompa-Loompa-adjacent Mark Occhilupo “standing in a round one” from a recent test session at the Yeppoon, Australia research and development facility.

Like Teahupoo for their kind.

A brilliant pivot away from Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch dumb and Waco death.

Know your target and hit it. Marketing 101.


I’ve never taken a marketing class and perpetually bother my partners Derek Rielly and James Prier to make t-shirts that read “KELLY SLATER BLOCKED ME” in bold font but in order to get one Kelly Slater must have actually blocked you and you must send proof.


Like a li’l barrel.

Neither Derek or James agree. Tell them they’re wrong.

The original complaint, filed April 9, 2019, alleged gross negligence on behalf of BSR for a failure to keep the water safe. Stabile’s family alleged that BSR had “actual subjective awareness of the risks” but proceeded “with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and/or welfare of others.”

Wrongful death lawsuit continues against owners of Waco wavepool; dead surfer’s family claim destruction of evidence and say proposed sale of park is an “intent to hinder, delay, or defraud”

A lawsuit that could have major consequences for the burgeoning wave pool industry.

On September 21, 2018, Fabrizio Stabile died from a brain-eating amoeba after visiting BSR Cable Park.

The following year, Stabile’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against BSR in April of 2019, seeking more than one million dollars.

The original complaint, filed April 9, 2019, alleged gross negligence on behalf of BSR for a failure to keep the water safe. Stabile’s family alleged that BSR had “actual subjective awareness of the risks” but proceeded “with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and/or welfare of others.”

Stuart Parsons, the owner of BSR Cable Park, initiated discussions to sell the assets of BSR in May 2019, less than a month after the initial suit. The sale would have kept the liabilities in shell corporations owned by Parsons but lacking assets.

It was scheduled to close on January 6, 2020.

According to a motion filed by Stabile’s family in December 2019, BSR had a “paltry” $1.5 million liability insurance policy.

The motion also alleged that a jury trial would result “in a judgement of $15-20” million.

Fearing that they would lose the ability to collect on the judgement, in December of 2019 the Stabile family requested that the court protect the revenue generated from the sale. The family claimed that the pending transfer was fraudulent, as it was made with “actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud” the Stabiles.

The family also alleged that Parsons and BSR engaged in numerous acts to destroy evidence.

They claimed that BSR attempted to destroy any evidence of the amoeba “through a massive chlorination of the surf pool” one day before a scheduled CDC inspection. In a report, the CDC admitted that BSR performed “high-level chlorination” which may have skewed the water quality results.

They also claimed that Parsons “dropped his phone in Lake Whitney just before being required to produce the text messages in discovery.”

The motion also contained an email from The Inertia to Stuart Parsons. The motion reads in relevant part, “a reporter for The Inertia, which calls itself ‘the definitive voice of surf and outdoors,’ e-mailed Stuart Parsons.” Not exactly a relevant point, but I thought it warranted mentioning that the The Inertia’s tag line appeared in a 600-page legal document.

Later that month, BSR responded to the motion, asserting that the claims of fraud and efforts to destroy evidence lacked any evidence.

Emails within the court record from the Texas Dept. of State Health Services stated that the amoeba was found in some of the pools “but not the surf pool, presumably because it was heavily chlorinated before samples were taken.”

They also stated that “there were extremely high counts of E. coli throughout.”

On December 21, 2019, the court granted the Stabile family’s motion to protect the cash sale proceeds, effectively stopping the sale.

BSR sought to overrule the injunction, appealing to the Tenth Court of Appeals in Waco, Texas.

A brief filed by BSR in January 2020 notably pushed back on the assumption that Stabile was infected while at BSR. It alleged that there was no judicial finding that Stabile was infected at BSR and raised the possibility that Stabile encountered the amoeba while working at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which “involved collect[ing] water samples.”

On February 24, 2020, the Tenth Court of Appeals ordered that the case be sent to mediation.

BSR objected the mediation, arguing that the issues surrounding the injunction blocking the sale of BSR made “mediation of the appellate issues impractical.”

In a brief filed by BSR in March 2020, BSR also recognized that the parties had not been able to agree on a mediator and “further time to consider mediators [would] not aid in an agreement.”

As of August 10, 2020, the suit is ongoing and the parties have requested “oral argument.”

In July of 2019, another man drowned at the BSR wave pool, though there is no evidence of a concurrent lawsuit.

This suit could have major consequences for the burgeoning wave pool industry.

Many of the newer wave pools boast slabbing waves breaking over shallow bottoms. Water quality or unsafe conditions could lead to a myriad of wrongful death suits. Liability appears to be widespread in these pools, ranging from the actions of the pool owner and operator to the actions of fellow surfers.

A rise in wave pool litigation will likely lead to changes in ocean lineups as well.

Surfing has largely remained shielded from legal intervention, as courts have been hesitant to implement their own legal standards. But, if courts are forced to adopt standards of care for wave pool lineups, it’s likely that those same rules will apply to ocean lineups.

Our unwritten rules may soon be legal jargon.

Donald Trump Jr. (middle) taking care of business for daddy.
Donald Trump Jr. (middle) taking care of business for daddy.

Exclusive: President Trump admits to “not being a big fan of sharks” and wins over untold numbers of the swing surf delegation to his campaign!

"It’s true. I’m not a big fan of sharks either."

Once, eight years ago, I attended the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida as a VIP guest in well-stocked with Diet Budweiser. I was not a delegate, nor did I have tickets, but sitting at the bar of a host hotel that afternoon I knew I must attend and so promised a boozy blonde that I could and would deliver the surf vote for her party.

VIP ticket followed.

And Mitt Romney subsequently lost though I did run into Ann Coulter in the hallway. Now, eight years on, the surf vote is as important as ever. “Bad Grandpa” Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump are locked into an increasingly tight battle with the margin to victory tiny.

The margin to victory is us and Trump went out of his way to court, over the weekend, declaring:

They were saying the other night, the shark. They were saying, ‘Sharks, we have to protect them.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, wait.’ They actually want to remove all the seals in order to save the shark. I said, ‘Wait, don’t you have it the other way around?’

It’s true. I’m not a big fan of sharks either. I don’t know, how many votes am I going to lose?


Try gain. A dog whistle to beleaguered wave sliders from sea to shining sea. To those getting eaten by Bulls in New Jersey, Spinners in Florida, Whites in California, Oregon, Washington.

How will Joe counter?

And doesn’t it feel good to be wanted?

More as the story develops.

Jeff Bezos unveils revolutionary new drone; promises “paddle-free surfing” and “ski-resort experience” in ocean!

Future, very bright.

It would be a rare surfer indeed who hasn’t, at some point, wished for a ski lift-style device, a pomer, a t-bar, to avoid the unpleasant business of pushing through a relentless short-period swell. 

Absurd, of course. 

Until now. 

Seattle-based mail-order business, Amazon, via its Prime Air division (launching August 31), has revealed patents for a drone-powered towing system for skiers, surfers and skaters. 

The drone would be very clever and allow the surfer to summon the drone to his location, fulfilling every lazy man’s dream of an easy and triumphant return to the lineup.

In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed his plan for drone deliveries, something that has yet to happen, as well may be the case here.

Examine patents below.

Clever readers invited to respond.

Read the other twenty pages, here.