“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.
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.