Nev in Vanuatu. Cue jokes about being a house for ants etc. | Photo: Nev House

Australian shaper to the stars Nev Hyman delivers stinging rebuke to hostile story in Australian Financial Review: “Nev House is not a crash-and-burn story! These fools, by trying to throw me under a bus, have risked everything!”

The return salvo from the owner of the kinkiest afro in town.

Yesterday, I wrote a little piece built around an investigation in the Australian Financial Review about Nev Hyman’s plan to sell cheap flat-packed houses to Third World countries, Vanuatu, the Philippines, Indonesia and so on, at an enormous profit.

“The pitch seemed irresistible,” wrote the AFR’s Carrie LaFrenz. “Save humanity and the planet, and make a fortune in one fell swoop… But after eight years and $8 million in multiple fund raisings, the promise of the sale of tens of thousands of homes by Nev House’s founder has evaporated. Now, a group of angry shareholders is demanding answers after raising serious questions about how the company is operated.”

The story sure did give it to ol Nev, so when it appeared on BeachGrit, he hit me with a text, “Thanks Derek (sad face emoji). How about you just give me a call like a friend would do?” 

Been a while since I’d called the ol’ ginger so when he picks up, the first item of business is the enduring redness of his kinky afro. 

“Gingers don’t go grey, mate, virile to the end,” he laughs. 

Second matter is the photo of him and his former CEO Tony Morris cosying up to Imelda Marcos, wife of Ferdinand, the long dead former president of the Philippines who bled his country for billions. 

The inference, of course, and it was so irresistible that I jumped on it, too, was, and in Nev’s words, “that we were rubbing shoulders with despots. Give me a break! We spent three hours talking to an eighty-five-year-old woman. It doesn’t mean we were sucking up to her to use her evil money from the past to fund Nev House.”

The meeting, he says, happened shortly after another meeting with the Aquino government in Manila. One of his team, connected as anything, asked if, since they were in town, they wanted to meet Imelda Marcos.

Nev said, “Holy shit! Meet Imelda Marcos? That’s awesome!” 

Imelda was surrounded by photos of her with Cuban prez Fidel Castro, New York artist Andy Warhol and her lavish living quarters were dressed with gold bars and pantings by Renoir and Picasso. 

“She chewed our ears off for three hours about Ferdinand and all the great things he did for the Philippines. It was hilarious. We all agreed that we wouldn’t use any of the images that were taken in that scenario to promote Nev House. We’re not idiots. I’m not an idiot.”

The AFR story is pretty damning, I tell Nev, who deflects the blame to a couple of disgruntled former employees.

“They’ve got a vendetta against me and by selfishly bringing this stupid story to the press, they’ve risked the shareholding of all existing shareholders who’ve been faithful to me and my team for seven years. To use Layne Beachley and Kirk, and Sally (Fitzgibbons), they’re supporters! They’re not happy but they’re supporters. They know this is a journey. There are one hundred and seventy other shareholders who want to see this through. These selfish bastards have risked everything by accusing me of  being either fraudulent, dishonest or, and, inept. Anyone who knows me, and I say this boldly, knows that’s not true.” 

Nev says that what hurts the most that is he used to be able to say, “Google me and you won’t find anything negative.”

“And up until Saturday morning, that was a fact,” he says. “Now I’ve got people thinking I’m a poor choice of character and that I’m risking shareholder capital for my own benefit. (The story) implied that I lived the life of Riley in Bali. Oh my god! I was flying back and forth, not to surf, our head office was there. I stayed in rooms in people’s houses. As for flying business class, I did, once. Six years ago. Using my points. In the article it implies that I was flying back and forth in business. Bullshit.” 

The AFR  story wraps up with a quote from Gary Flowers, the former Mirvac chief operating officer and Australian Rugby Union chief executive, who writes in an email in 2017, to persons unidentified, “As night follows day there is nothing more certain than the fact that this is headed for the ‘dust bin’ of failed corporate ventures.”

Says Nev, “(Flowers) confirmed to me yesterday that he would not say that now.”

Nev says his case is a lesson for everyone in business, but adds, 

“I don’t what the lesson is yet. Maybe that I trusted people and I gave people the benefit of the doubt. It’s backfired badly.”


“The people I’ve got now, they’re brothers. I’m so proud of the team we have. Watch this space. There’ll be an announcement in two weeks with what we’ve achieved. I’m not going anywhere. This is not a crush-and-burn story. There’s no one chasing me down the road with a microphone asking where the money has gone. Every cent is accounted for.” 

Update: Easter Lennox WCT contest a “bait-and-switch for Bells”; Pipe and Australian leg to crown world champ!

Famous wave to be fenced off; "virtually no mingling between WSL pro's, staff and the general public."

Much movement surrounding the WCT event at Lennox Head, a once sleepy town of seven thousand souls between Byron Bay and Ballina, and famous for its “weaponised ass-play” and as the home of the builder of “the world’s most advanced surf mat” Mark Thomson. 

According to BeachGrit sources,

There will be three thousand spectators allowed to watch the contest, with a local bias. Show a driver’s license?

The famous Point will be fenced off although The Coast Road will remain open.

An advertisement on Australia’s versions of craigslist, Gumtree.

Dates are still contested though it seems 1-11 April, a straight bait-and-switch for Bells. No confirmation that Bells is cancelled.

Rumour from a source in close contact to the WSL that this is it for the year.

Pipe and the Aussie leg crowns a World Champ.

More as the story develops.

Local graffiti.

Two surfers rescued from freezing cold 10 – 12 foot Massachusetts waves: “It was so big I couldn’t see them but they did a good job of staying together, treading water!”


The entire surf community, or at least the northeastern U.S. surf community, was praised, yesterday, by Marshfield, Massachusetts harbormaster Mike Dimeo who, along with his crew, performed a daring evening rescue at the beginning of January.

“Surfing’s a big thing in Marshfield,” he told the local Boston news, “and this is the first surfer call we had in 13 years since I’ve been harbormaster.”

And imagine that. The first surfer rescue in 13 years. A fine run, something we should all be proud of even if we aren’t from the northeastern U.S.

In any case, two surfers became troubled in 10 – 12 foot swell and Dimeo had to scramble his forces.

“They did a good job of staying together, treading water,” he continued. “It was my job to hold the boat steady and get down close as I could. The seas were a bit challenging as you can see (below). I was unable to get between them and the beach because of the waves that were breaking, the surf. You kinda want to avoid the breaking waves so I couldn’t get that much closer to them.”

He said the 10 and 12 foot waves were so high that he could not even see the stranded surfers.

“All we had was the fire department’s red lights and blue lights on the beach, so we knew we were in the right vicinity. That’s kind of the tricky part.”

After ten minutes of searching, they found the two hearty souls and pulled them to safety.

“I’m very thankful for the equipment that we have cause it makes your job easier. Had it been years past with subpar equipment that we used to have those things are not happening.”

A wonderfully happy ending. A feather in all our surf caps.

But did you know that I attended Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon?

Surfing was not a big thing there but Steve Prefontaine was. He had attended the same Marshfield High School a handful of years prior and I thought he was some lame hometown hero and couldn’t understand the hullabaloo over him until two Prefontaine movies were released, one starring Billy Crudup, the other Jared Leto, then I realized he was actually famous not just Coos Bay famous.

A real revelation.

Breaking: WCT event at Lennox head approved; announcement by NSW government imminent; locals warn of “civil war”!

“I thought the whole point of the Surfing Reserve,” says George Greenough, “was to keep corporate contests away from there."

Thanks to BeachGrit breaking the story about the proposed Lennox CT, which smoked the Mayor and others out, we’re past the rumour stage and deep into another public relations catastrophe for the WSL.

No formal announcement from the WSL, just a total debacle as “community consultation” runs amok and demons buried from the last time a CT event was proposed for Lennox get loosed and spark a civil war.

The factions break down as follows.

Faction A is throw the hands up, it’s paradise lost, we’re all fucked now, might as well let it happen. Faction B is WSL yay! let’s go. Faction C is Fuck the WSL/over my dead body.

If someone put a gun to my head and told me to estimate the split in the community I’d say 20:20:60. Conservative.

Amongst grass roots who still surf the Point, 5:5:90.

Good people in all camps etc etc. Which makes me both mad and sad. To see my comrades split and warring is reason enough for me to say Fuck the WSL.

Which is no surprise.

I tied my colours to the mast in 2008 when Rip Curl proposed a Search Even at the Point. The way they went about it then: trying to go through the backdoor, hand pick off opposition, duchess selected groups, divide and conquer is the same way they are going about it now, except on steroids.

Weird times.

The story broke on BG, which means someone in the Faction B camp broke ranks and leaked the story. Otherwise it’d all be behind closed doors with an upcoming breathless WSL presser announcing the done deal. Instead the story broke, mainstream media is all over it and the surf media have completely gone missing. It’s a story that’s happened plenty of places where the pro tour has colonised yet despite constant rumblings in Hawaii, a story that has never been told. A strange taboo subject.

Just got off the phone from a screaming match with the Mayor, who at least had the balls to return my call, unlike Andrew Stark and Kieren Perrow. The poor old Mayor had been wheeled out to do the heavy lifting in the information vacuum left by the Woz, after local press pounced on the BG scoop.

No comp without proper community consultation, he intoned gravely.

The timeline for the “community consultation” is not a good look for the WSL. It’s one of those things that looks very squiffy from a distance and even stranger when you get up close. Thursday was the initial meeting with council.

Well, the Mayor, anyhow.

None of the other councillors knew jack shit. By Friday he’d received an email saying the consultation was done. Less than a day to get the job done. Except they didn’t. Lennox Surf Reserve Committee members Don Munro and Terry Chandler hadn’t heard a thing. An ex-Surf Reserve member was contacted and his non-committal Faction A response was taken as Surf Reserve blessing. It was nothing of the sort.

As for Starkey and Kieren fronting up to a meeting and putting the proposal down in front of people who live here. Too hard basket. Maybe they learnt the lesson from the way Rip Curl got their arses handed to them when they tried to run a Search Event here in 2008.

“Fuck the WSL.”

“Absolutely a place for the people not these freaks.”

“Sacred ground not for contests – will blow it out forever.”

“Hope it doesn’t get up, it’s literally the last things this area needs.”

“It’s got to have public approval and no one is keen on a pro comp.”

Actual messages from people. School teachers, chefs, surfboard shapers, tradies. No one wants to stick their heads up over the parapet. Who wants bad feelings amongst their own surfing brothers and sisters?

“I thought that was the whole point of the Surfing Reserve,” said George Greenough, “to keep corporate contests away from there”.

Monday morning and councillor Jeff Johnston knows nothing about the event. He calls me later today, Tuesday, to give me the skinny.

There will be no community consultation. Council has been backdoored as well.

Deputy Premier from NSW State Govt will be appearing Thursday to make an announcement that the comp has been approved. There will be no due diligence. Starkey has shown how he will play his hand. Behind closed doors, sidelining anything in his path. A Grade A headkicker who hasn’t got the balls to front the communities he claims to seek approval from.

I can’t wait to hear Joey Turpel soft shoe shuffling the issue of local consent. Of which there is nil.

There will be war.

Most likely the comp will go ahead and be forgotten quickly, the stench from the way they went about it will linger for a long, long time.

Of course, I will be there to cover it.

I’m not a fucken idiot who lets the WSL steal the food from my childrens’ mouths.

We’ll be chatting face to face Starkey.


A lovely snap of Nev, far left, and Imelda Marcos, the wife of disgraced prez of the Philippines, Ferdy, who famously stole billions from his country.

Australian surfboard shaper to the stars and founder of Firewire surfboards under scrutiny over scheme to build cheap housing in third-world countries: “This surfer told investors he could save lives and make millions. He did neither…”

“The pitch seemed irresistible. Save humanity and the planet, and make a fortune in one fell swoop…"

You ever hear of the former shaper to the stars Nev Hyman? Maybe not. Short memories.

Nev is a pioneering surfboard shaper, first with Nev Surfboards, later with Firewire, who has caused a ruckus with his plan to make billions out of selling pre-fab houses to Third World countries.

In a lengthy investigation by the Australian Financial Review, Nev, sixty-two and who still wears a reddish afro, claimed that within five years his pre-fab company Nev House would be worth eleven billion-plus (US) and spitting out over a billion US in aftertax profits.

Seven-time world champ Layne Beachley and INXS guitarist husband Kirk Pengilly threw $US250k into the venture; Sally FItzgibbons and her dad and bros tossed in another five hundred k.

“The pitch seemed irresistible,” writes the AFR’s Carrie LaFrenz. “Save humanity and the planet, and make a fortune in one fell swoop… But after eight years and $8 million in multiple fund raisings, the promise of the sale of tens of thousands of homes by Nev House’s founder has evaporated. Now, a group of angry shareholders is demanding answers after raising serious questions about how the company is operated.”

Nev’s plan? Sell cheap flat-packed houses to Third World countries, Vanuatu, the Philippines, Indonesia and so on, at an enormous profit.

Nev House in Vanuatu.

“Glossy pictures in the investor slide pack show poverty-stricken areas and Hyman posing in a slum with plastic rubbish bags. The group said it wanted to be present in more than 50 countries by 2025. Investors were being offered the opportunity to buy in at $US30 a share.”

“It wasn’t that I set out to be a good bloke. It turned out this way,” Nev told Australian Surf Biz magazine.

“When asked about high salaries paid in the early days, he acknowledges that from time to time he drew wages based on advice from the CEO. “Perhaps the digital age of social media and internet companies making billions in a very short timeframe has skewed today’s investors thinking that anything they put money into will do the same,” he says.

On and on it goes.

Read the story here.