"Not yet, my friends. Not yet."
"Not yet, my friends. Not yet."

In wild scene echoing great American folktale John Henry versus The Machine, startup drone company declares it can best German male lower leg for wave measuring accuracy!

Perfection from the heel of das boot up to das knee.

I am currently sitting down to a breakfast of poached eggs in hollandaise, asparagus dusted with chili, pancakes smothered in rhubarb in Germany’s vibrant Berlin. Delicious. Last night, it was the Sleeping Beauty at the Deutch Oper performed with exceptional flair by the Staatsballet. Phenomenal (more later). And there may be nothing this country can do wrong including unlocking the long-debated mystery of how to most accurately measure wave height.

Ahhh the German male’s lower leg. Say it loud and there’s music playing. Say it soft and it’s almost like praying. Scientists from the United States discovered the secret after teutonic Sebastian Steudnter achieved number one surfer in the world status by riding its largest wave. But how to measure? Yes, his lower leg and debates were instantly settled from the low-balling Hawaiian isles to the utterly insane offices of Surfline.

But the bend of history is moving toward automatization. You certainly recall the American folk tale where John Henry, a steel drivin’ man, took on a steam machine in a race to see who could pound the most railway stakes into the ground. Henry won but died in so doing.

And now an evil unmanned drone has set upon the beautiful German male’s lower leg. From industry source Drone DJ:

Meteorologist Teddy Allen and algorithm expert Milan Curic are the driving force behind Henet Wave, a startup they created using a sensor packing drone to accurately measure the size of waves their fellow surfers can never, but ever agree on. The pair has attracted other swell riders and geek-inclined teammates to develop their technique of deploying a UAV equipped with a high-resolution altimeter and sophisticated GPS monitor over breakers. The results have been accurate readings of liquid dimension are currently “calculated” with too much pure eyeballing to be entirely reliable.

The duo formed Henet – from the Egyptian for “pelican”– in 2020 after reading an article about a women’s big wave surfing competition. The piece debated aspects of how winners of competitions were determined, with the element of size oddly being less of a factor than “making” the giant swells – that is, riding them all the way to the end.

“To us the bigger debate should have been the ability to differentiate between a 73-foot wave and a 69-foot wave using subjective methods,” the startup’s website recalls, with Allen and Curic immediately deciding approximative appreciation was flawed to begin with. “Henet was born… (and now) guides surfers into the new world of purely objective real time XXL wave measurement.”

Damn the machine.

Long live the German male’s lower leg.

Mick, man of the people.

World’s most beloved surfer Mick Fanning auctions five-day vacation at his lavish beachfront house, money raised going to NSW flood victims, “(Mick) and his wife have been working non-stop to raise money for the families”

All hail Saint Mick.

Ain’t a surfer alive, pro or no, who has emerged from the chrysalis of his boozy mid-twenties, without brain or backbone, and transformed into a butterfly as soulful as the three-time world champ Mick Fanning. 

Fanning, who turns forty-two on Monday and who grew up in hard-scrabble Tweed Heads, where life on a bar stool boring hell out of the girls working the taps is about all you can aspire to, has turned into surfing’s greatest philanthropist. 

During “one-in-one-thousand-year” floods on the NSW north coast, an hour or so south of Mick’s joint on the Gold Coast, he spent days on his jetski evacuating the wretched from their watery prisons. 

And, now, Mick is auctioning off a five-day vacation at his Hamptons-themed three-storey house on a eleven-thousand square feet of  beachfront dirt at Bilinga, just across the road from Coolangatta airport there, to raise money for flood victims. 

Mick paid $3.25 mill for the block in 2011 and built the three-level house, complete with elevator, two years later.

It’s the same place, you’ll remember, a mysterious strawberry blonde busted into a couple of years back. 

Sarah Foote, a thirty-nine-year-old from Ballina, “an obsessed mother”, was accused of following Fanning between January 29 and February 4, the break-in allegedly happening on Feb 2.

Foote was accused of sending four letters (“Rambling hand-written letters with accusations of pedophilia, declarations of love for Fanning and thoughts of wanting to kill him”), three by post, one personally delivered.

Each included hand-drawn love hearts, a self-portrait by Ms Foote, and one contained a beaded bracelet.

The excerpts were chilling. 

“I occasionally want to kill you … to end our occasional miserable bullshit … I wouldn’t want to end our best times though. Because I have so much love for you and I would like to see what’s in store for future for us two.”

“You really are a strange man.”

“What is wrong with you? Or for that matter, what is right with you?”

“I can be a real bitch.”

“The places I liked always became marred by murder.”

“I have smelt a murdered corpse in Rockhampton. She was very stinky, worse than any road kill I have ever smelt.”

“I met a kiddie killer, she smothered her baby. Only spent a year in a psychiatric hospital, then was released only to murder another child.”

“IDK when we will incarnate again together in this world.”

Anyway, Mick don’t live there any more, he bought a swinging little joint off the beach with its own skate ramp, “a three-million dollar masterpiece”, but offer enough cash and you could be legally owning the old place for five days. 

Right now, the highest bid is $16,044, the auction part of the Mick Fanning Charity Golf Tournament, being held on June 10. Steph’s got a board in there and former world number one tennis ace Ash Barty is giving a signed racket.

A local real estate agent, Mishy Canning, also involved in the philanthropy game, says Fanning has been a hero over the course of the past few months.

“He was out there in the community and was on the water meeting everyone and was really affected by their stories,” Canning said. “When you’re on the ground seeing how people are affected it’s pretty emotionally daunting. He (Mick Fanning) and his wife have been working non-stop to raise money for the families.”

Surfer pulled from Melbourne wavepool unconscious and with head injury “collapsed while paddling out and did not hit the wall”

A horror scenario but it was going to happen sooner or later. Heart attacks in middle-aged surfers are common as hell.

A few more details on yesterday’s “serious incident” at Urbnsurf’s only Australian wave tank that has left a man in a critical condition at Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

While the pool’s PR team can’t say much ‘cause of an ongoing police investigation, it can be revealed the surfer, a man in his forties, was pulled from the water unconscious and with a head injury by other surfers who performed CPR on his until the ambo’s turned up. 

A review of the footage, says Urbnsurf, showed “the surfer collapsed while paddling out and did not the hit the wall”. 

The tank owners have done everything right, which ain’t surprising given they’ve practised for this scenario since it opened two years ago.

The pool has been closed until further notice, counselling has been offered to friends of the man and surfers involved in his rescue and police have a free hand to investigate.

Horror scenario but it was always gonna happen.

Heart attacks while surfing are common as hell; a few years back it seemed like middle-aged surfers in the Mentawais were blowing hearts out every other week.

As for head injuries, yeah, it’s surfing, it’s shallow, it’s concrete.

I’ve seen two first-hand. One, a friend, has never gone back.


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In world first, surfboard leashes banned at surf park following tragic fatality.

A brave new future?

Not often does surfing’s most popular, and only, safety advancement of the last 50 years come under fire but we live in unprecedented times.

Following this past April’s utterly tragic death at a river surf park in Bend, Oregon, wherein 17-year-old Ben Murphy became trapped underwater for six minutes, staff undertook a rigorous evaluation as to what led to the horror.

It was determined that there was a gap between a gate and a solid block that gives the wave its shape. That has since been addressed along with a sweeping ban on leashes.

Per the report:

The review also found that a leash attached between Murphy’s leg and his surfboard, as well as low water conditions, may have played a role in his death. To that end, the parks department said it will prohibit the use of leg leashes at the Bend Whitewater Park for now. That rule may be adjusted in the future.

Parks staff said if people violate the leash ban, they may flatten the surf wave to gain compliance. They are also recommending that people wear helmets and a personal flotation device when surfing on the wave.

All much common sense but imagine the carnage this leash ban would impose on ocean beaches. Many 8 foot funboards rolling through lineups, knocking heads, causing ouchies. With helmets and personal flotation devices, though, maybe not too bad?

A brave new future?

Something to think about.

Vic shredder Nikki Van Dijk at the park's opening. | Photo: URBNSURF/Adam Gibson

Surfer in critical condition following “serious incident” at Melbourne wavepool; tank closed until further notice, police investigating

"As soon as the incident occurred, we immediately closed the park and are continuing to provide our full cooperation to the first responders and police."

A man in his forties is fighting for his life after suffering a “medical episode” while surfing at Melbourne’s Urbnsurf, Australia’s only commercially operating wavepool.

Paramedics were called at around 11:30 and the pool closed.

The man has been taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital and is in a critical condition.

Per Urbnsurf’s statement to press,

There has been a serious incident at URBNSURF Melbourne, our team has provided support and care for the friends on site. Our first priority is the health and safety of our customers. 

As soon as the incident occurred, we immediately closed the park and are continuing to provide our full cooperation to the first responders and police.

The facility will remain closed until further notice. As a police investigation is under way, we are unable to provide any further comment.

More as the story develops.