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. 

Listen: “World’s best shaper” and modern Rasputin Greg Webber on pools, artificial reefs and jungle sex romps with Indonesian pygmy!

"He oozed closer and jerked his hips!"

I enjoy, very much, any conversation with Australian surfboard shaper and architect of floating reefs, environmental friendly shark nets and yet-to-be-built-best-wavepool-ever, Greg Webber.

Greg, who is fifty-nine, and with a mouth sticky with cocktails, made concaves his own personal fiefdom, beginning in the late eighties. Thirty-five years on, his designs are adored by Kelly Slater. 

He is the inventor of a yet-to-be-made wavepool so good that he insists it will make the little blue veins in your neck bulge like delicate pencil marks.

Wavepool sketch by Greg Webber, circa mid-eighties.

His shark nets promise a bloodless solution to Great Whites hitting surfers. 

In private, Webber will offer a complex case for single-sex hierarchies in society and will posit that we spend too long on love, lovers past and present, as well as sexual jealousy.

But, not today. 

Society isn’t ready for his revolutionary thoughts, he says.

Greg is equipped with a certain amount of arrogance, although he is his own severest critic and his range of criticism includes his life, his career and just about everything else.

In this podcast, Charlie and I listen politely and then clap like children after Greg’s opening gambit of sex games with a crotch-grabbing midget on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa.

A compelling reason to travel.

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"You sleep like an angel, just like Kelly." Matt George, with Hawaiian Matty Liu, from In God's Hands.

Miracle anti-malaria drug approved: “The fever, the chills, the convulsions, the romantic madness of it all!”

For a little sobriety, sixty-five humans were killed by sharks last year. Around 400,000 people died from malaria, almost 70% of them kids.

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved the chemical nootkatone for use as a legitimate mosquito repellant and potential insecticide. 

It was developed by the infallible Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Are you kidding me? Did my online chemistry class start already? 

No, and anyway you should really just read your syllabus.

This bit of news from the EPA is about surf travel and saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

But, mostly surf travel. 

Mosquitos, as we know, like to play give-and take with mammals, drawing blood as they leave a particular parasite causing the disease malaria. 

It’s a risk that’s taken when rummaging coastlines for waves in areas of Asia, Africa, and South America. 

It’s a horrible condition and nootkatone might be the end of it. 

From the dirty ol NY Times,

“Adding a new weapon to the fight against insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and malaria, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday approved a new chemical that both repels and kills ticks and mosquitoes.

The chemical, nootkatone, an oil found in cedar trees and grapefruits, is so safe that it is used by the food and perfume industries.

Nootkatone is considered nontoxic to humans and other mammals, birds, fish and bees, the E.P.A. said in a statement…

“In tropical countries, malaria and yellow fever are major killers; elephantiasis is also spread by mosquitoes. Lethal Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is spread by ticks, and kala azar is spread by sandflies.

Manuel F. Lluberas, a public health entomologist who has worked on mosquito-control campaigns all over the world, said he hoped that nootkatone would be accepted by people who fear synthetic repellents and that it could be made cheaply enough to be bought by foreign aid programs like the President’s Malaria Initiative.”

Sure, pre-trip meds and nets and smoky fires can help stave off thirsty mosquitos as you huddle in the night waiting for the next day’s surf.

But nootkatone, a natural substance found in citrus, is the first chemical to be cleared to be used as a reliable repellant in over a decade.

Tests have shown that it’s up to 83% effective. 

It’s also been seen to actually act as an insecticide, killing the bugs as they try to poke you. 

Fair odds, yes?  

I knew this was science class!

Yeah, well, this is important to anyone who’s planning their first post-covid trip.

And after all, this is serious, man.

You remember what happened to Travis Potter?

Or better-yet Matty Liu in In God’s Hands? 

The fever, the chills, the convulsions, the romantic madness of it all! 

As gripping as a performance as it was, Matty’s portrayal failed to share the slightly less cinematic bouts of rabid diarrhea, which fully eliminates the chance of a beautiful beauty nursing you through.  

I had my own trouble with jungle sickness a few years ago with the unexpected kick-in-the-crotch, snake-in-the-grass surprise. 

I attest to the madness, the pain, the neurological effects.

They’re real. 

Finding solid doctors in small Peruvian villages is a challenge. 

Wrong medications, wild diagnoses. Eight weeks of a PICC line shooting who-knows-what into my heart balanced by a fine bouquet of pain killers knotted my body like the midday Cross-Bronx Expressway, torturing the liver. 

All hubris gone.

And while the dramatic weight loss was flattering, pallid-syphilitic wasn’t the look I was aiming for that season. 

Humiliating and frightening.

And for a little sobriety, sixty-five humans were hit by sharks last year. 

Around 400,000 people died from malaria, almost 70% of them kids.

 It’s hard to wrap the head around that figure.  

So, let’s be happy for science. 

It looks like nootkatone will be added to lotions and soaps, easy to carry on your next trip and give away to locals who will still be battling mosquito swarms as we dance away, remembering how feral we were.