Sydney’s “Surfing Nirvana” lodge and wave pool backed by Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, gets green light!

Paradise found!

And the hits just keep on playing. 2020, a bummer year for most, is almost out the door and a spate of anti-depressive news is heralding its impending departure. We have Hurley making the products of our dreams, Channel Islands employees re-purchasing the iconic brand and now a new lodge and wave pool getting the green light for construction in Sydney.


Officially set to open in 2022, The Retreat at Wisemans will free the New South Welsh from having to travel to Melbourne for their surf-on-demand kicks. The $75 million project will have a large wave pool, 54-room hotel, restaurant, bar, conference facilities, nine-hole golf course and is backed by surf royalty including Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, Josh Kerr, Olympic coach Bede Durbidge, Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard.

Digital marketer John Du Vernet, one of the three principals in the project, came up with the idea for the resort while in his garden a few years ago and told Financial Review, “I was jealous of my friends who could play golf and go cycling all the time, while the surf is only good a few days every year, and everyone knows when that is because of [surfing] apps. A good surf and wave can live with you for months and years, but it’s hard to get that experience.”

Very nice.

The most exciting part is that the pool will feature Waveloch technology, the most promising of all and if you don’t believe me you must re-listen to its inventor, Tom Lochtefeld, discuss. The fact that Tom looks like Doc Brown from Back to the Future only cementing his genius and superiority.

Architect Kelvin Ho is in charge of the hotel build which will feature a “relaxed design that will be a nostalgic nod to Australian surfing culture.”

Pictures of Occy, maybe.

And Mick Lowe.

Those who aren’t staying in the hotel must buy memberships in order to use the facilities and I am very tempted to purchase one even though I live all the way across the Pacific in sunny Southern California because Sydney has it all. An opera house and now a Surfloch.

Extremely exciting.

Breaking: In feel-good story of the year, Channel Islands employees pool their money and buy iconic brand back from snowboard giant Burton!

Happy days are here again!

And has the worm actually and finally turned? Human beings deciding enough bad news is enough bad news and endeavoring to be anti-depressive again? Punching fate in its mean mouth and loudly saying “NO NO DOGGY…”?

Maybe so.

Breaking news out of southern Santa Barbara shows us that the brave Channel Islands employees are doing their part, re-purchasing the iconic board brand from snowboard giant Burton and let’s go straight to the press release.

(Carpinteria, CA) Burton Snowboards has agreed to terms for the sale of Channel Islands Surfboards brand to CI Surfboards LLC, which is led by Britt Merrick and comprised of senior members of the Channel Islands management team, employees and teamriders.

“For my family and all of us at Burton, this is a very happy ending to Burton’s chapter in the Channel Islands Surfboards’ history,” said Donna Carpenter, owner of Burton Snow- boards. “We look forward to the day when CI returns home to the Merrick family, and we know the brand will be in good hands with Britt Merrick, Scott Anderson and the dedicated employees and teamriders at Channel Islands.”

“We’re extremely grateful for our time with everyone at Burton, they’ve been nothing but good to us over the last 14 years—and continue to be incredibly supportive during this transition,” explains Scott Anderson, CI’s General Manager for the last 25 years. “A lot of the staff at CI have been here their entire adult lives, so it feels natural to us that the business becomes an employee and team rider run model.”

I am thrilled and reached directly out to Britt Merrick, before receiving the press release, asking, “Is it true?”

“It is!” he responded. “It’s funny because when we did Dirty Water you were chiding me about it but I couldn’t divulge.”

That is some enviable self-control, there, but also what a day to be surfer.

Big is becoming small again.

The core flexing atrophied muscles.

Time for BeachGrit employees to re-purchase the World Surf League and by “employees” I mean you.

Spirited Oceanside locals keep up brave guerrilla front against Australia-based surfboard behemoth JS: “STØP THE TRACTOR!”


What a time to be alive and to be a surfer. Hurley finally making the products we deserve, Lemoore snagging the title Douche Capital of the World from longtime holder Menlo Park, a professional surfing fantasy league that finally makes sense and an olde-school blue collar vs. corporate/California vs. Australia/locals vs. blow-ins war raging in Oceanside, the sunny place for shady people.

But let me catch you up.

Australia-based JS Industries, a surfboard behemoth, recently purchased a warehouse in the very heart of Oceanside’s board building district, painted it black and stocked it with pristine, high-performance Monsta Boxes etc. flown in from Australia and Thailand.

The locals were not pleased, tagging the black paint with, “you fuk up! fuck ozz. O’side. Get out!!!

The U.S. president of JS Industries’ California operation, Heath Walker, responded that the graffiti, “…hurts a lot, I’m not going to lie. It really took a chunk out of my armor. But we are here for the long term and I know getting acceptance will not happen overnight… We’re living in a world of shit sandwiches right now. Our objective is to be a positive person in the community. It takes time.”

Well, the locals are still not in an accepting mood and have opened up a new front with wheat paste posters, in Christmas colors, being spread all over town demanding, “STØP THE TRACTOR” and “OSIDE SUPPORTS LOCAL SURFBOARD MFG.”

A vicious purposeful slap by using “TRACTOR” instead of JS’s preferred “TRAKTOR.”

An intense ratcheting up of tensions but do you think that the campaign will force JS to relocate? To hire local board builders?

Will there be retaliation in Australia?

Tit for tat?

I, for one, have a bib around my neck and am licking my lips, enjoying every delicious bite of this shit sandwich.

More as the story develops.

Horror footage: Florida Man Wrestles Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy From Jaws of Killer Alligator; says prying open its jaws was “extremely hard!”

And a timely warning for surfers!

Florida, as they say in The States, is where the weird things are.

A champagne-disco potpourri running the gambit from eighteen-dollar gin and tonics in Miami to toothless reptile wrestlers near the Everglades. Whenever a faux pas is committed anywhere in the US, it can often be redeemed with, “Its ok, he’s from Florida.”

It does, however, have its share of heroes.

Richard Wilbanks, who is seventy-four, was walking his three-month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Gunner around a pond close to his house when “it (alligator) came out of the water like a missile. I never thought an alligator could be that fast.”

The reptile grabbed the puppy in its jaws and dragged it underwater.

“I just automatically jumped into the water,” Wilbanks told CNN.

Wilbanks said holding the alligator wasn’t difficult but prying open the jaws was “extremely hard” adding he had no hard feelings towards the killer gator.

“They’re part of nature and part of our lives,” he said.

Alligators and crocodiles would be the last thing surfers would need to concern themselves with, you’d think.

But they’re around.

A British surfer was taken whole near Elephant Rock in Sri Lanka in 2017.

And, in 2018, in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, an American surfer got his leg and head spun like raw pretzel dough while crossing a river on his board.

On a simpler biological note, like the Tharu and the Danuwar tribes of Nepal who have built an immunity to malaria through centuries of exposure, has Mr. Wilbanks inherited an innate ability to wrestle gators by simply living in Florida? 

More important, how far would you go go to save a best friend?

Best I’ve done to date is change his hot water heater…

"The World Surf League is deeply committed to ocean health and is implementing new initiatives centered around reducing our carbon footprint, refusing single-serve plastics, and leaving every coastline better than we found it." | Photo: WSL Pure

Revealed: The diary extracts of a WSL heartthrob and climate activist surfer, “Read that takeaway coffee cups aren’t even recyclable. Raging. Call agent and get the ball rolling on 500,000 non-disposable coffee cups with my logo on them. Feel much better.”

#blessed #theresnoplanB

It’s been six months since WSL heartthrob Drexel Wilson had an epiphany: climate change was real, was happening now, and if someone somewhere didn’t do something quick many of the world’s oceans would be rendered unrippable.

There and then Drexel slammed down his disposable plastic smoothie cup and phoned his agent.

Below is an extract from his diary as a climate activist.

15th June
Oops! Looks like old Drex gone broke the internet! Put it across my socials that I could no longer in good faith put my name on another “disgusting hunk of plastic based foam destined only to rot in a landfill or float for eternity in our pristine seas”. The socials blew up. Phone’s melting with calls from all the mags. Even New York Times and The Guardian lifestyle sections want a piece of Drex. Inertia’s coming over to do a video profile – full media engagement.

Board shaper calls raging, take issue with “disgusting hunk” phrasing. Agree to at least ride the warehouse load of signature models I already have. Pitched hemp as viable option and could shaper research it. I think he went through a tunnel at that point.

18th June
Read that some takeaway coffee cups aren’t even recyclable. Raging. Call agent and get the ball rolling on 500,000 non-disposable coffee cups with my logo on them (retail $20) and 800,000 non-disposable drinking straws (retail $10 per pack of 10) with my name written along them. Feel much better.

Cash some air-miles for a quick hop from sunny So-Cal to slightly less sunny Germany. Car company wants some optics on me driving around a beach in their new hybrid. Straight to the airport, straight back to So-Cal. Turn on my phone when I hit the tarmac – message from Nate. Swell hitting Mexico tomorrow morning. Lucky I’m already at the airport!

Feel this is karma for all the effort I’ve already put into saving the planet. You’re welcome planet! De nada!

20th June
Looks like we might finally be getting the ball rolling on my new range of signature boards. Nate reckons he knows a guy who knows a guy in Brazil who’s cultivated a certain type of bamboo that with a certain type of care and attention (I didn’t catch all the names of the chemicals involved) can be shaped into a right little ripper! Progress!

24th June
Call the energy bar sponsor and lay down the law: all products vegan from now on. They’re not happy, something something production costs, reconfigurations, contracts blah blah. Damn suits. Can’t stand conflict, messes with my aura. Fly up to Vancouver and have it out face-to-face. It’s me, some nerd from RnD, some desk jockey from marketing and my agent. The marketing kook comes up with a plan, different bars based on different spots around the world: mango from Indo, avocado from Costa Rica, chilli and chocolate from Mexico, orange from So-Cal, coconut from Hawaii etc etc.

I point out Costa Rica’s major kooksville but marketing dork says it needs to go “cross-markets to be viable”.

I agree provided that all the ingredients are the real deal, flown in, none of this additive shit. Done. #hustle4theplanet

25th June
Seems we went overboard on the non-disposable cups/straws idea. Agent calls to tell me a quarter of the batch won’t sell and will have to be blah blah blah. Didn’t catch her last bit. Saw a racoon licking a burrito wrapper and guess I kind of zoned out. #nature

27th June
Take a break from saving the world to actually get some surfing done! Tell Nate to do a ring around the gang – Aus trip! This weekend! No excuses! Put it across the socials. Greenpeace send over 500 vinyl stickers to hand out to the Aussie groms – brand optics etc. Get to the airport. Baggage over weight limit by a couple of kg. Dich a board. Comes down to the stickers or the spare selfie-stick. Ditch stickers.

5th July
Some great sessions in Aus but even on a trip with my buddies the work never ends! Climate change doesn’t take a vacation! Hook up with my sunglass sponsor and some local marine conservation group and give an interview for some doc about the Great Barrier reef. Get a great view of it flying up to Indo for a couple of bonus waves. Feel proud to be protecting such a beautiful wonder of the world. #blessed #theresnoplanB

7th July
Agent phones in a meltdown re: vegan protein bars. Turns out the mango farm in Indo uses slave labour and the Mexican chili company killed a couple of union members. Don’t know who Union are, a soccer team or something? Suggest calling Indo workers “environmental volunteers”. Says that could fly for a bit.

Speaking of flying; Portugal’s pumping! Airport. Lisbon. Supertubos!

15th July
Fly down to Brazil with shaper for a meeting with the surfboard wood guy. Seems legit. Big house. Big staff. Barbed wire. Private security. Showed me his fleet of bulldozers. Gives me a tour of the lab where they hope to make this new bamboo stuff. Smelt weird. Felt woozy so didn’t catch all the details, had to go outside and take off my gas mask. Shaper said something about rights of Amazon tribes. Last I saw of him he was getting a private tour of the gym with one of the security guys.

20th July
All day meeting with WLS reps re: making the tour more green. Only hybrid or electric model’s car sponsor logos on rash vests; all flags made from hemp; WSL logo green coloured on all products and promotion materials.

Good to know they’re on-board and I can compete with a clear conscience.