"I couldn’t be prouder to see it get underway in my home town," says Ryan Callinan. | Photo: @tsherms

WSL confirms Merewether as “fourth” championship tour event after Lennox Head fiasco; Bells, Margaret River and Gold Coast still “tentative”!

"I couldn’t be prouder to see it get underway in my home town," said Ryan Callinan.

The World Surf League has pivoted, successfully, from a disastrous campaign to host an event at Lennox Head, to Merewether, a couple of hours north of Sydney.

Merewether, famous for its multi-generational talent, including four-time world champ Mark Richards, Matt Hoy, Ryan Callinan, and Craig Anderson, was an irresistible choice for the WSL, given the NSW state government had been strung up on a rack of frustration after Lennox locals turned on the event and was desperate to get a contest, anywhere.

Some quotes.

“The NSW government and World Surf League worked together to ensure that this competition went ahead,” said NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro. “Sun, surf and sand are a way of life in our regional coastal towns and we’re doing everything we can to ensure our coastal communities can reap the recreational, tourism and economic benefits that surfing provides.”

“WSL is excited to be commencing the Australian leg of the CT at the world-class break in Newcastle,” said WSL APAC General Manager, Andrew Stark. “We sincerely thank the NSW Government for all of their support in not only holding a CT event but for also agreeing to land our flight and accommodating our quarantining international competitors. We’re also extremely thankful for the support of the City of Newcastle to enable the event to proceed and we look forward to working with the local community in the delivery of the event.”

“I couldn’t be prouder to see it get underway in my home town,” said Ryan Callinan.

A chartered bird is gonna bring the tour’s surfers, men and women, into Sydney, mid-March, for two weeks quarantine before the tour leg starts.

Event dates are April 1 to May 31, although this encompasses the other three “tentative” CT events, Bells, Margaret River and the Gold Coast.

Victoria, WA and Queensland have been real trigger-happy on border closures and deeply hostile to opening their doors even to Australians travelling interstate.

Word on the street is the WSL has been sniffing around Pacific Palms, a dreamy stretch of beachbreaks a little north of Newy.

More if it develops.

Scientifically Proven: Surfing included on list of human activities creating a “destructive sound environment” under water thus damaging precious marine life!

Losing Nemo.

Anyone who surfs, actually surfs and is not all VAL-ish about it, knows well that surfing is neither healthy nor good. It is a bad habit for generally bad people as evidenced time, time and time again. I have, of course, spent my surf journalism life hammering this point home here and my various surf-adjacent memoirs but science, real science, is finally backing me up.

According to a just published article in the journal Science, the ocean is becoming toxically loud and destroying the breeding, eating, migrating, etc. habits of marine animals. Oil spills, chemical dumps and whatnot dissipate within a few hundred miles but even the thickest amongst us knows that sound travels well through water, making noise pollution a serious menace. The New York Times, never one to pass up pointing a finger, jumped on the story and identified major culprits including big shipping boats but also…

Explosions of mines, missiles, and bombs during naval warfare or military exercises also represent a source of destructive sound. On a small scale, even coastal recreational activities—such as small motorboats, swimming, SCUBA diving, surfing, paddling, flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), or fireworks—contribute anthrophony to marine soundscapes.

Surfing, you see, making it difficult for fish to hear and find their homes and not just bad fish like sharks but cute ones like the clown fish featured in Finding Nemo.

Imagine if that Disney classic had ended with Marlin and Dory swimming aimlessly while Nemo just stayed with that crew of tank fish.

Actually, that wouldn’t have been so bad.

Those tank fish were very chill.

Losing Nemo: A Surf Story.

Making being mad look good.

"Hey, man, what I’m offering is a professional situation here. I’m offering you a WCT."

Newspaper for eco-left virtue signallers reports on WSL’s Lennox Head fiasco: “Quaint little surf town opposes lure of vulgar capitalist super-spreader!”

"Why a beachside Australian village turned down the World Surf League."

The Guardian is the UK broadsheet for the discerning eco-left virtue signaller who cares deeply about the working class as long as they stay out of their garden and think buying a five quid pack of vegan sausages is radical direct action. 

They do occasionally print some actual journalism though, one of the only UK nationals that still do that these days. 

They’re also the only example of an internationally known paper, as far as I can ascertain, that’s printed anything about The Lennox Head WSL Fiasco.

Quite a long piece in fact, that isn’t even that embarrassing.

(Read here.)

They appear to have gone for the classic “quaint little surf town opposes lure of vulgar capitalist super-spreader” angle, plus the usual references to John John, Gabby, Slater, et al for the clicks. 

The whole thing kind of reminds me of that film Local Hero. 

There’re some quotes from both the mayor, deputy mayor and the “head local”, and a reference to a possible protest paddle-out, almost certainly the first time that phrase has ever been printed in any international broadsheet. 

Weird though that the disgruntlement of locals is referred to under the umbrella grievance of not being “able to use headlands for seventeen days over period the competition held and set up [sic]”.

Aforementioned vulgar capitalist super-spreaders are given their say right at the end.

“Unfortunately, the timing is not right to move forward with the event as planned as the council did not approve our proposed event permit. We appreciate the feedback from all stakeholders who were consulted and look forward to exploring alternative locations for a fourth championship tour event in Australia in 2021.”

So dry and corporate you can barely detect the reek of sour grapes. 

The only serious major omission?

Stab gets a mention but no credit at all to BeachGrit’s own tireless investigative efforts.

They’ll be getting a strongly worded letter. 

Julian Wilson, winner of the 2020 Surfest and currently living in Newcastle, alongside runner-up Ryan Callinan, born, bred Newy. | Photo: WSL

Just in: WSL turns to Newcastle after dramatic sinking of proposed easter contest at Lennox Head!

"We’re a town with little man’s syndrome, forever in nearby Sydney’s shadow, and will jump at the chance for any spectacle to put us on the global map."

With Lennox’s stunning bitch slap still ringing in its ears, the WSL has been forced to scramble and find a fourth location for its earmarked Australian leg of the tour.

But with COVID outbreaks continuing to pop off across the country and state border crossings currently resembling a game of snakes and ladders, pressure is mounting on the Woz to find a suitable spot that’s not likely to shut up shop the moment some poor sod gets the spicy cough.

Half-sucked cocks etc.

Not much time, not many options.

Easy, no? No?

As it turns out, the answer might be right in my own backyard. Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Your correspondent joked in the comments section yesterday about the potential for NSW’s second to third largest city embracing the tour to its bosom like a roadside madame would a weary traveller.

Sources say there had been some quiet back channeling going on for some weeks between the WSL, Destination NSW and Newcastle council regarding Newy as a potential back up location, despite our six star ‘QS being cancelled for the first time in, like, forty years due to COVID.

Turns out I wasn’t far off the mark.

Sources say there had been some quiet back channeling going on for some weeks between the WSL, Destination NSW and Newcastle council regarding Newy as a potential back up location, despite our six star ‘QS being cancelled for the first time in, like, forty years due to COVID.

It’s now being reported in the local rag that our Lord Mayor has been in direct conversations with tour officials on the possibility.

From behind the paywall:

Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes confirmed the ongoing negotiations on Thursday and said the city was ready and willing to host the Championship Tour.

“Bringing a WSL tour event to Newcastle would be a coup for the city and something we are actively working on with the NSW government,” she said. “It’s been fantastic to have the support of the NSW government and Deputy Premier John Barilaro to work on attracting the premier international WSL event back to NSW and Newcastle. Aside from offering a fantastic sporting spectacle … the event would be a major economic and confidence boost to our tourism sector at a time when operators are still struggling to overcome the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses.”

The WSL did not deny its interest in staging a round in Newcastle, saying it “continues to have conversations” with Australia’s state governments about event locations.

Yes! Newy! Home to Surfest, one of the longest running comps in the country.

Scene to some of the greatest competitive stunts in surfing history, like the surf off between all twelve(then) world champions in ‘99 or the time Layne Beachley took on Andy Irons in the men’s division – first female to ever do it – only for them to come fourth and third in their round three heat, respectively.

We’re a town with little man’s syndrome, forever in nearby Sydney’s shadow, and will jump at the chance for any spectacle to put us on the global map.

It’s also a cracking time of year for waves. The annual Nudie Australian Boardriders Battle (held around February/March every year) has been saturated with memorable swells for three years running now.

April’s just as good a time, if not better.

Would the local community be in support of the event? With the right planning and safety protocols, I’d say yes.

None of the issues that plagued Lennox apply to us here.

However, it’s widely recognised that Newcastle is my town.

Any event won’t get the go ahead without my Don-like nod of approval.

WSL: please leave $10,000 in unmarked bills in a Woolworths shopping bag buried under the southern lifeguard flag at Newcastle beach in the next 24 hours, and we can take it from there.

Breaking: Daughter of famous wetsuit designer wins over Bachelor with her ability to surf in high heels!


Oh to be young and in love, or at least young and competing for love on a very famous reality television show, and should we meet Kit Keenan, a 21-year-old contestant on this year’s running of The Bachelor? We’d be remiss to turn it down.

Kit is daughter of famous wetsuit designer Cynthia Rowley and let us catch up on the action quickly.

From the start, Kit made a big impression on Matt James. Even though she is the youngest competitor on this season of The Bachelor, Kit and Matt connected over living in New York City. After several group dates, she finally got a one-on-one date during the week 5 episode, where she and Matt made cookies together. Kit expressed how happy she was to have that particular date, since she had mentioned to Matt how much she enjoys cooking with her mom. The two had a great time and Kit left the date with a rose. Some fans thought that Kit came off spoiled because she mentioned how difficult it was to live in the public eye and have a famous parent, but Matt clearly sees something else in her.

What else did he see in her?

Maybe an extraordinary ability to surf in high heels.


Would you ever like to be a Bachelor or Bachelorette?

What about surfing in high heels?

Very Noah Johnson.