Newcastle residents (pictured).
Newcastle residents (pictured).

In stunning move, Bells Beach steals iconic easter weekend Rip Curl Pro surf contest from city of Newcastle: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome!”


Residents of New South Wales’ second largest city Newcastle are reeling this morning as it was revealed in stunning announcement that Victoria’s Bells Beach has stolen the iconic easter weekend surf contest from its shore.

The Rip Curl Pro, which will kick off its inaugural running at Merewether, just three kilometers east of Newcastle’s town center, in mere weeks has been the pride and joy of the town for hours. Residents were looking forward to watching their waves in the World Surf League broadcast spotlight, sharing their charms with visiting surfers and spending the expected $15m the contest will inject into the local economy.

“Newcastle has a long history when it comes to surfing – some of the greats and champions,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro told the local newspaper. “The opportunity here is to showcase Newcastle to about 10 million viewers globally. And Newcastle is a global city. It was the perfect fit for this.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes called the event was “a massive coup for Newcastle.”

That coup, however, was quickly squashed as the contest will move south for 2022 – 2006 as Torquay, home of Bells Beach, inked a just-announced four-year deal with the World Surf League.

Surf Coast Mayor Libby Stapleton said the surf competition will be “an integral part of our identity and economy” and estimates an $8m cash infusion.”

“I think that the World Surf League, Rip Curl and the Victorian Government recognise that this event is really unique and we appreciate their efforts in having helped ensure future events will occur at Bells Beach,” she said.

It is uncertain how Newcastle’s population will cope or if professional surfing’s governing body will move the inaugural Billabong Pipeline Masters to Merewether for the upcoming season.

More as the story develops.

KP, who is forty-four, spent almost twenty years in this joint.

Former World Surf League commissioner Kieren Perrow offloads Byron Bay-adjacent beach shack for almost $3 million!

And swoops on knockdown for $2.2 million on giant almost beachfront hunk of dirt.

Kieren Perrow has always been regarded, and correctly so in my opinion, as the owner of surfing’s best and most determined mind. 

Hardly a natural talent, although almost without peer in big surf, KP once told me that he “felt like I had something to prove in surfing. No one thought I could qualify. I was never a stand-out. I was never being touted as the Next Big Thing. It didn’t upset me but part of me wanted to say, Fuck you, I did it.”

His first year on tour? Seventh. Rookie of the year. 

KP would finish a career with two event wins, Margarets and Pipe, and a job as “commissioner” of the WSL. 

His smarts have become apparent, again, lately, with the sale of the Byron Bay-adjacent house he bought in 2002 for $525,000, sold for a bullish $2.8 million. 

The old nineties brick house, which had undergone a significant renovation but still featured KP’s Gerry Lopez Pipe Masters single-fin trophy affixed to the wall, as well as framed prints of Hugh Holland’s vintage skate photos, proved a hot item last December when it was listed. 

Here’s a taste.

The listing agent, I’m told, even pointed out to prospective buyers the spot under the mature Pandanus tree where KP buried the ring he got for his twenty-first birthday and the very spot in the yard where he married his wife Danielle.

Living in Byron Bay has suddenly become a rite of passage for middle-to-upper-class Sydney bankers, freed from the strictures of office work, to live the sub-tropical dream. 

A hedge fun manager’s Morning of the Earth epoch.

Perrow’s latest joint, bought for $2.2 million last September, squats just one street back from the beach. It features an unlovely and brooding brown brick house begging to be demolished.

Another smart play. Sub-div the land, build a couple of adobe-style coastal retreats and oowee etc.

Examine here and explain your architectural plans for the site in the comments.



One-time Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson fronted Balter Beer brewer sets out to break kitesurf distance record: “I tried onion eating but that was way too hard!”


Brian Kiss von Soly, 36 and one-time brewer for Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge etc’s Balter Beer, is more than just nifty with hops and mountain spring water. The Ocean Shores local is a dreamer, the sort of dreamer we all were as much younger children and should have been as younger adults.

Mr. Kiss von Soly, you see, received a Guinness Book of World Records when he was 21 and his imagination became instantly sparked. “I looked through the book and thought what records could I do. I tried onion eating but that was way too hard,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. But not too hard is the world kitesurfing distance record and set out from his northern NSW home, pointed toward to Melbourne and hoped to shatter.

Thursday afternoon, when he sailed past Werri Beach south of Wollonggong, he achieved the dream.

862 kilometers.

An unofficial new world record.

Guinness bound.

He is still headed to Melbourne, even still, a few liters of water on his back, a few puffs of wind in his sail. Sort of lame wind though, this year, with too many southerlies.

“It can get pretty gnarly out there but I do everything I can to reduce the risks and stay safe. My mum still worries about me, though.”

But what a man, what a dream, and can you remember the first time you laid eyes on a Guinness Book of World Records?

I was ten, I think, and awed by the world’s longest fingernails, though never considered breaking.

Long fingernails, especially on men, are gross.

Back to Mr. Kiss von Soly. Do you consider his world record more or less impressive than one-time boss Joel Parkinson’s world title?


I agree.

Surfer hit by twelve-foot tiger shark on Kauai; same westside reef where Mike Coots lost foot to shark in 1997: “I looked and saw this big grey head and no eyes!”

And surfboard co-op Channel Islands to replace savaged Fish Beard gratis…

Gav Klein is a twenty-eight-year-old contractor and a shredder who describes his surfing as “a poor man’s Jadson Andre.”

Last Saturday, while surfing at a westside reef notable as the place adaptive surfer Mike Coots lost his foot as an eighteen year old in 1997 (“I remember flying down the road to the hospital lying down in the bed of the truck with blood just pouring out of my leg and down through the tailgate. I got attacked pretty early in the morning—around the same time kids were getting to school—and I remember passing all these cars full of parents and kids. As we passed them, they would look at me in the bed of the truck with my foot torn off and they would just pull over. I’ll never forget the look on their face when they realized what was going on”), Gav paddled straight into a twelve-foot Tiger. 

A pretty sorta day. Two guys out, Gav’s uncle and a grom. Gav remembers sitting up and looking to see if his Uncle had made a wave, and was pushing forward on his board when, he says, he ran into a rock. 

It’s a reef, there’s rocks. 

“But where I was it wasn’t shallow. Six feet deep.” 

Gav looks and sees “this big grey head. No eyes. Super fast. Everything moving super fast. It latched onto the nose of the board. I let go of the board and then floated over its head as it pulled it down.”

Next thing, Gav grabs the board back, the shark has let go, and he climbs onto the flipped board, hands and feet pulled out of the water and starts screaming at the grom to get the hell out of the water.

“That’s when I looked at the bottom of the board and saw the bite. Oh, shit, it really was a shark.” 

Gav says he froze for a moment, figuring the shark was going to come back and finish what he started. When he realised he was gonna have to get to the beach, he paddled hard, yelling at the kid, again, and his uncle to clear the water. 

On the sand, a giant turtle had beached itself. 

“It wasn’t there when we paddled out,” he says. “That the shark was chasing the turtle is a good assumption.” 

Gav didn’t post about the attack until word and photos crept along the grapevine and Channel Islands, via nineties pro Rochelle Ballard, contacted him and said they were going to replace his banged up Fish Beard gratis.

The aftermath of the attack, he says, has been a couple of weird shark dreams, although he ain’t claiming PTSD, he’s surfed hard a mile down the beach since and has no qualms about returning to this wave, and a feeling of gratitude that he isn’t shopping for prosthetics. 

“There was no time to be scared, no anticipation. If I had to watch the shark coming towards me and trying to eat me, that would be terrifying. It was almost like a I bumped into someone walking backwards on the street, like, ‘Oh sorry, man’, and we went our separate ways.” 

An Italian slice of the Med looking for all the world like Puerto Rico.

Meet the Italian photographer who’ll make you believe The Boot is a legitimate surf destination: “She is the school as well as the playground of the world!”

“The name of Italy has magic in its very syllables.”

When you think of surf in Europe, how far into the mental rolodex do you have to slide before Italy greases open a neuron?

France, Portugal, Spain are the pillars of surf from the Old World leaving the land birthed by Romulus and Remus as a core destination for foodies rather than frothers,

But, artists, those with an abstract eye, possess the innate ability to blow breath onto dormant or unnoticed things.

After seeing a photo, with its palm trees and water color, that seemed to come from some island near the equator but was revealed to be Italy, a message was dispatched to Italian photographer Andrea Giana to peel some skin off the Italian fruits.

Now, Italy ain’t known for its waves so I asked Andrea how is it to snatch an image that looks appealing? He tells me it’s easy, there’s so many epic lil spots.

Want to tell me where they are?

“The waves here in Liguria are very much on reef breaks, our spot was formed long ago after the war years (World War II), where in a very rainy period there were great floods and where they brought a lot of debris and rubble,” he says. “The locals thought of throwing all the rubble into the sea and slowly with the currents a particular point has formed. All thanks to our elders!”

One of his photos is of surfing at midnight because of Covid restrictions.

“My post spoke clearly and said that you could play night sports but only up to the established hours, because we are very respectful first of all of ourselves but above all also of the others. We hope to soon get out of this situation that is bringing all of Italy to its knees and beyond.”

Gimme me the three best joints to go surfing.

“Definitely my sweet home, then Levanto and Sicily and Sardinia.”

Tell me three things I need to know about Italian surfing.

“Passion, dedication and above all … attention!”