Question: Surfboards have always been loss-leaders for surf fashion but, in the dystopia, they are the only thing being purchased. Have shapers, glassers, Costco adjusted?

Also... are you blowing it?

Earlier this morning you were treated to the high-water mark of surf journalism and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. But now, let us return to your regularly scheduled programing.

In theory, I could call, text, email a number of wonderful folk in the surfboard industry right now and ask this question then write a meaningful, well-researched piece that would actually matter.

But it is late-ish in the day, baseball’s World Series is about to launch game two, I’m writing a book and the most wonderful folk in the surfboard industry are here, commenting daily.


I have a question for you (wonderful folk in the surfboard industry).

Surfboards used to be a loss-leader for surf fashion with razor thin margins. And I understand that Pyzel, Merrick, Parker, future Prime Minister Maurice Cole, Wavestorm etc. have carved out fine livings carving fine foam but… billions of dollars were never there like they were t-shirts ‘n trunks.

Surf fashion is, at time of publication, dead. Surfboard sales are, on the other hand, dystopically too alive.

So are you bros getting rich?

Like, crushing it or forgetting to adjust those razor thin margins?

Inquiring surf journalistic minds want to know.

And if you’re not getting rich….

…. are you blowing it and being all poor and overworked?

Like surf journalists.

Photo courtesy: Patrick Jambura/Icthyological Research
Photo courtesy: Patrick Jambura/Icthyological Research

Swordfish stabs shark through the heart in deadly sea battle, alarming scientists and signaling new potential threat to surfers: “It is another case that shows how aggressive swordfish are.”

En garde.

In yet another sign that we are living in a surf dystopia, scientists have become alarmed, recently, with the “increasingly aggressive” behavior of swordfish. And you, of course, are well versed with swordfish likely from your youth, as its name is evocative, and its depiction in the whimsical Fish card game was very fun.

It may have even been your favorite animal at some point but, alas, the fastest creature on earth may very well be out to lop your head from your shoulders.

And let us travel to Libya, where a thresher shark recently washed up on shore, dead, with a broken swordfish sword lodged in its body, nudging its heart.

Researchers determined the attacking fish was 10-feet long.

The trouble, now, is that thresher sharks don’t prey on swordfish meaning the swordfish went out of its way to plunge its blade deep. Mr. Jambura, a PhD student, said it was “an alarming signal.”

Alarming because do you imagine that swordfish will stop with sharks?

Of course not and of course surfers, heads and shoulders bobbing above the water, would be next.

Such easy marks.

Such deserving marks.


"Don't forget to ask if he is scared of sharks."
"Don't forget to ask if he is scared of sharks."

Financial Review magazine issues most exhaustive, best, interview in surf journalism’s storied history: “How often do you surf and where?”


I have been a surf journalist for the better part of my working life, now, and have conducted many interviews but none so thorough, so exhaustive, as the one just conducted by Financial Review (officially Australian Financial Review).

The business and finance magazine, founded in 1950 and publishing six days a week, sat down across from Nick Garnham, a Victoria-based director of a furniture company, yesterday, and asked every single surf question possible, including:

How long have you been surfing and how did you get into it?

Goofy footer or natural?

How often do you surf and where?

What are the biggest waves you will tackle?

Do you surf in all temperatures?

What are your favourite surfing spots in Australia?

What about elsewhere in the world?

Has COVID-19 affected your surfing?

How do you feel about travelling overseas to surf?

What have been your most memorable times surfing?

How many boards do you own and what are they?

Do you surf on your own?

Who’s your favourite surfer?

Who would you most like to go surfing with?

Any tips to become a better surfer?

Have you ever been scared in the water?

Any injuries or catastrophes in the water?

What’s your favourite surf gear?

Is there anything you dislike about surfing?

What’s your view on sharks?

What do you most like about surfing?

What do you think about when you’re sitting out there on your board?


First, I am deeply ashamed of my entire past body of surf journalism. Profoundly ashamed. But, second, as we round the bend toward another holiday season, one fraught with political/pandemic-related pitfalls, I think these questions can form the entirety of our interactions with co-workers, family members. I think we can print them up and tape them to the insides of our fedoras and quickly review if cornered by any non-middle-aged, white, male nihilists.

Very helpful.

Seven-timer Stephanie Gilmore with Caz Marks. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Sixty-six-year-old man convicted of stalking seven-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore; magistrate describes case as “Chilling with a menacing undertone”

According to the police prosecutor, Gilmore's stalker has a “long history” of violence and breaching apprehended violence orders and he feared for Gilmore’s wellbeing.

A man, previously banned from coming within even half-a-click of seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore, has been convicted and fined after approaching Gilmore at the Tweed Coast Pro in September.

Squires Winter, a sixty-six-year-old, told police he was a surf coach who’d “briefly worked with Steph” and that his understanding of the court order was that he only to stay one hundred metres away from Gilmore in the surf.

Winter had scared hell out of Gilmore in previous incidents earlier in the year and had sought a personal violence order.

Squires Winter, sixty-six, convicted of contravening an apprehended violence order.

As part of the order, Winter wasn’t allowed to contact Gilmore, look for her or come within five hundred metres of her workplace.

In facts tendered to court, Winter appeared next to Gilmore as she was unloading a surfboard from her car.

Police allege Winter said, “Hi, how are you going?”

Gilmore responded, “Great, thank you,” before recognising Winter.

When he suggested “catching up later” she said, “No, no we won’t. Bye.”

Police allege Winter said, “We are going to catch up later, aren’t we?”

Gilmore said “No” and walked away.

Winter was allegedly found by police fifty metres from the carpark.

He allegedly told ‘em he was on his way to Brisbane, an hour or so north, and that he saw Gilmore on his way back from the shitter.

The police prosecutor Sarge Chris Martin opposed bail at the time and said Winter had a “long history” of violence and breaching apprehended violence orders and that he feared for Gilmore’s wellbeing.

The magistrate agreed, noting the distance Winter had travelled to allegedly bump into Gilmore and that it “indicated fixated behaviour and some degree in planning.”

Yesterday in Tweed Heads Local Court, Winter appeared via videolink from custody, and was convicted and fined $1000 for breaching the protection order.

The police prosecutor told the court Winter’s story “did not make any sense” as he wasn’t able to swing across the border due to COID-19 restrictions.

Winter has form.

He’d previously been convicted of breaching apprehended and personal violence orders eleven times, convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm, three times, and twice for assault.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy described the case as “chilling with a menacing undertone.”

In 2012, a homeless schizophrenic junkie, Julius Fox, was sentenced to four years in jail after bashing Gilmore with an iron bar, breaking her wrist, outside her Tweed Heads apartment in 2010.

He was released in 2014.

In March, 2020, a “mysterious strawberry blonde” was charged with stalking Mick Fanning and sending letters accusing him of pedophilia (and confessing her love).

The Gold Coast, eh?

Protest signs before being disappeared.

Signs protesting WSL’s billion-dollar “intensive” housing development and Kelly Slater wavepool on Sunshine Coast floodplain disappeared by mysterious agents: “Trench warfare is a game of inches!”

Andrew Stark, general manager of the WSL and Kelly Slater Wave Co., said they bare no responsibility for the theft but condemned the signs as providing misinformation…

Last week, two dozen signs protesting the WSL’s proposed billion-dollar pool and “intensive” housing development on a Sunshine Coast flood plain were stolen by agents unknown.

The signs, designed by the non-profit Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), provided Coolum Beach area citizens information about the environmental impacts of the development omitted by the WSL.

(For background read: Longtom investigates WSL’s billion-dollar wavepool development, parts one and two, here and here.)

The WSL/Consolidated Properties plan features a wavepool, over 1,500 “waterfront homes,” and accompanying urban buildup, all smothering parts of the Maroochy River flood plain; it’s a utopian wonder, really, gently drawing its water demands from the river.

The signs represent a dissenting opinion of the proposal, allowing citizens to consider the proposed construction from an ecological stance.

After all, examining multiple dimensions of a tricky issue is ethical debate 101.

So, if the WSL truly believes the development to be an honest net gain for the area, its citizens and environment, why not welcome these multiple perspectives in good faith?

The development is about improving the lives of Coolum residents, yes?

But trench warfare is a game of inches.

Andrew Stark, general manager of the WSL and Kelly Slater Wave Co., said they bear no responsibility for the theft (and we ain’t suggesting it) but condemned the signs as providing misinformation.

Stark noted an image on the sign depicting a high-rise building among the endless homes, saying the proposed structures were only three-stories tall and would be “no higher than a palm tree.”

A clever use of tropical imagery although palm fronds and slender trunks will become brick and tile behemoths in this new utopia.

The SCEC and its allies are not happy.

I interviewed spokesperson Narelle McCarthy about the proposed development.

Narelle, who stole the signs?

We have our suspicions, however without any evidence we can only say we’re extremely disappointed there are those who appear to want to deny the wider community information and a better understanding of what the project is really about. While there hasn’t been any “open hostility” as such (and nor should there be), there has been relentless lobbying to the Queensland state government by Don O’Rorke of Consolidated Properties (CP) and Andrew Stark of WSL to back this proposal despite its myriad of issues and community objection. Some with vested interests who don’t necessarily fully understand (or care?) about the true nature of the proposal and its impacts have also helped perpetuate the ‘spin.’ It’s even had a ‘COVID recovery’ project tag conveniently attached to it when it would not otherwise be entertained. The irony is that any jobs, let alone the fanciful ten-thousand bandied about for this project would be years away and the touted economic, tourism and community benefits grossly exaggerated.

The WSL has a machine behind them, huh?

A slick PR and marketing campaign ―complete with the ‘consultation’ defaulting to ‘register your support! ― has been deliberately aimed at ensuring only the more superficially ‘attractive’ elements of the proposal are promoted i.e. the ‘Kelly Slater Surf Ranch/Wavepool’. Both O’Rorke and Stark have unashamedly used the ‘Surf Ranch’ as the ‘hook’ when it is in fact a Trojan Horse for intensive urban sprawl onto the critically important Maroochy River floodplain and conflicts with numerous and long-standing statutory planning instruments and intent.

Andrew Stark criticized the signs saying you were spreading disinformation, citing that the proposed buildings were only three-stories high. Is this a dodge from the real issues?

Yes, he does deliberately avoid/dodge the real and significant issues by taking this selective and increasingly convenient tack. It’s also a bit rich given their glossy and selective marketing campaign! The illustration style of the graphic design is intended to convey in an artistic visual ‘snapshot’ how any built form on such low-lying rural land would be a visual assault to residents who enjoy scenic views from the foothills of Mount Coolum and surrounds. Furthermore, any development would totally detract from the natural landscape with its significant indigenous cultural values and the magnificent green open space amenity of this area. It’s subtle, but also a play on the ‘Surf Resort’ with the ‘e’ and‘s’ dropped to send a message about what’s really involved with the overall development i.e. this is not just a ‘wavepool.’ Locals also recognise the likeness to a hotel just down the coast road from Coolum that was built in the early 70’s – the beginning of an era of rampant and unchecked development on the Sunshine Coast.

Have you had any interactions with him or the WSL about the development?

The only contact we have had with Andrew Stark was in a combined community group meeting (the ‘Community 6’ formed after this) over a year ago. Any questions relating to the housing and mixed-use development were batted to Don O’Rorke with Stark primarily keeping to the PR script for the ‘Surf Ranch.’ Their position is that there can’t be a wavepool without the urban component, hardly an attractive or sustainable proposition.

Among numerous unsatisfactory responses and unanswered questions in this one meeting, Stark was asked about the source of the water for the ‘wave pool.’ His response? “From the river, where else would it come from?” as if this was absolutely fine. Apart from being completely unacceptable and as far from an ‘eco-friendly facility’ as it could get, the Maroochy River and its tributaries are ecologically significant and have important recreational and social values. An energy intensive (not even powered by renewables) mechanical pumping system would create major issues and environmental risks when it could be avoided altogether. Why even contemplate urbanizing this floodplain?

Does the development look like a done deal?

While we would have preferred to have had the project unequivocally rejected before now, the state government is now in ‘caretaker mode’ until the Queensland State election on 31 October, so any major decisions can’t be taken. We are calling for the government and any incoming government to rule this project out once and for all. So, we’ll keep up the campaign until this happens. Science and proper process should prevail!