Mad, mad scenes at Ballina Council chambers.

Wild scenes of jubilation as people power kicks WSL to the curb and Ballina Councillors reject proposed Easter Lennox CT!

A decade, at least, before they try again.

Wild scenes of jubilation at Ballina Council Chambers as people power kicks WSL to the curb and Ballina Councillors reject the proposed Easter CT at the Point 8-2.

Mad, mad scenes.

Huge turnout from local surfers, of all ages, many many artistic signs suggesting various points of the anatomy in WSL could stick their proposed comp, liberal usage of the now classic Fuck the WSL, many collared shirts, high vis, bambinos, surf media stars, spanner crab fishos, aftershave applied to dampen the humid Balinese afternoon sweat etc etc.

very heartwarming scene. Not boomer-ish at all.

Local dawn patroller and teacher Ben Holmes delivered the case against and did brilliant. Yours truly was thrilled to hear councillors lifting whole chunks of BeachGrit text as one by one they eviscerated the WSL proposal.

Councillors referenced community opposition, texts, phone calls, media.

Much hooting and hollering as the reality sunk in. 

Unofficial merchandise.

What now for the Woz? Back to Bells?

I received a text from SurfCoast Shire Mayor Libby Stapleton during the meeting claiming she couldn’t supply me with any info about the Easter Bells Comp and to contact the WSL, to which I replied: you better contact them Libby they are presenting the case for a CT at Lennox as we speak.

Bells is gone.

Many phone calls, frantic I expect. 

Can WSL General Manager Starkey survive this fuck-up of monumental proportions? 

Should we prepare the last rites, write the obit?

Unconfirmed reports on Prime7 News the WSL has withdrawn the application stating, “They will not go where they are not wanted”.

A decade, at least, before they try again.

By which time, Elo, Starkey and probably the WSL itself will be long gone.

Starkey, you will not be surprised to hear, did not take my call.

More as the story develops.

Jordy Smith, a popular Bells winner, 2017. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Breaking: Dates confirmed for Lennox WCT preclude Rip Curl Pro at Bells, “Very much confusion and white-hot anger!”

Surfing Victoria's Adam Robertson knows nothing, still expecting to set up. Torquay Councillors in the dark. Bells still on WSL site and Visit Victoria website as Apr 1-11.

Dates have been confirmed via Ballina Shire Council for the Lennox WCT event. 

“The proposed event is a professional championship short board surfing competition for men and women. It is proposed to run from 1 to 11 April 2021, with bumping in/out extending the event period from 25 March until 14 April 2021.”

Ergo, Bells cancelled.

Surfing Victoria’s Adam Robertson knows nothing, still expecting to set up.

Torquay Councillors in the dark.

Bells still on WSL site and Visit Victoria website as Apr 1-11.

At Surfing NSW, permit holders for any NSW events, an unidentified man answered the phone and said, “I’m not obligated to tell you anything.”

Ballina Shire Council GM Paul Hickey recommends council support Lennox CT proposal despite WSL claiming community support and written objections from said community orgs.

ie. WSL claims Support from Lennox National Surf Reserve Committee.

Actual statement from Surf Reserve:

We, as custodians of the LNSRA (Lennox National Surfing Reserve Association) have not been approached about the proposed contest by the WSL or BSC. We have had to contact you. Community disgruntlement is already occurring in regard to this proposal. Approving this contest will divide the community even more. Does BSC really need another point of division like the Lake Ainsworth road debacle

The LNSRA is also concerned that mass protest in the water while the event is on (paddle-outs to interfere with the contest) could result in injury to community members, contestants, officials, and security.

The Association also points out that under Federal, State and Local legislation within the Lennox National Surfing Reserve. ‘All current activities, access and licences which have been issued by regulatory authorities to individuals, or groups will also remain unchanged.’ If BSC allows a contest to occur they would be in breach of these laws as surfers would be restricted from the Reserve (the water) throughout the contest period.

And, at least once councillor, Jeff Johnson, is publicly against the event.

Very much confusion and white hot anger and potential chaos/mass protest paddle-outs.

More as the story develops.

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.