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”!
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
The sun rose late in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on February 1, bathing this pre-redemption Narnia tableau in sparkling glory. C.S. Lewis’s classic starring four brothers and sisters, talking fawns and beavers, a lion, witch and wardrobe was one of my very favorite books growing up. That admixture of adventure, eternally high stakes, children with swords, bows and arrows set my young heart racing though I didn’t understand how a world perpetually snowy was a bad thing.
I lived on the Oregon coast where it rarely snowed but perpetually rained.
I dreamed of snow, of Turkish Delight produced by dropping magic driplets from a horse-drawn sleigh into it, cozy fur blankets and, twice a year, when my family drove inland for weekends at Hoodoo Ski Bowl were absolute highlights even though there was neither Turkish Delight nor cozy fur blankets for Hoodoo’s motto spoke to my family’s ethos.
Steep, deep and cheap.
When it was time to finally escape coastal Oregon’s gloom for good, I raced to southern California then Australia then back to southern California, becoming a famous surf journalist along the way, but the snow, the mountains, haunted my dreams.
Maybe it was genetic.
My uncle-cousin is a legend in mountaineering lore. Art Gilkey, who was raised in Iowa but moved to a farm outside of Portland, Oregon after graduating university, was an early Alaskan explorer and part of the third American expedition to K2 in 1953. Their exploits, captured vividly in The Savage Mountain, detail feats of bravery, comradery, skill that are rarer and rarer in our lily-livered modernity.
An elementary and graphic lesson in surf etiquette…
The German big-wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner has released a graphic clip of what can happen when, panic-stricken, you throw away your board to get under a wave.
Steudtner, who has been a regular at Nazaré since 2012, was whipped into a set and, “setting up my line, saw a friend of @maya paddling out and thought I’m gonna go around him and give him space. He jumped off his board to dive under the wave, shooting the board right in my direction as I passed him. My right arm prevented damage to my face but redirected all the force to my chest.”
The collision dislocated Steudtner’s clavicular, fractured his ribs and tore hell out of the muscles in his neck and chest.
Two months later, Steudtner is only just back in the water.
The handsome German, who is thirty-five and from Nuremberg, famous in the thirties and forties for its lavish Hitler rallies and for the post-World War II trials that strung up as many of the bastards as the Allies could find, moved to Hawaii when he was thirteen to pursue his dream of becoming a big-wave surfer.
He is a two-time winner of the XXL Biggest Wave award, in 2010 and 2014.