Surf journalist plunges into Germany’s Black Forest in search of hidden surfing secrets, discovers iconic Kelly Slater no longer world’s greatest surfer!

11 x 0 = 0

As you may, or may not, know, I am currently on a great quest. A crusade to discover more potential secrets of our surfing hiding in plain sight as it was recently revealed that the German male lower leg is the most accurate standard for which to measure waves.

Mind blowing considering Surfline’s decades long misinformation campaign and the only thought that has pumped through my brain, since it was announced that Sebastian Steudtner, from Nuremberg, broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest wave ever surfed with a crack team of scientists sorting that his tibia is the holy grail has been “Well, if this is out there, think how much more is out there. This is the kinda surf information that tells me to go out there and BE somebody!”

The gong grew so loud that, after a week of sleeplessness, I simply had to book passage to Munich.

So long, family. Goodbye, important responsibilities n stuff and I was off.

Hours in the Bavarian cultural capital whispered to me, confidentially, that there is another option than Ray Ban for the surf journalist who has lost his much-adored sunglasses.


And I would have loved to tarry, head to the Eisbach and rip a river wave, but had unfinished business in the Black Forest. Two decades earlier, before I was a surf journalist, you see, I took a teaching job in Bad Dürrheim there on its southern edge. I flew to Stuttgart, was picked up by one of the school’s faculty and driven to a beer hall surrounded by trees and a fairies’ tales.

It was almost cool but my colleague seemed super lame, all grouchy and un-chill, and my students were going to be adults who specialized in engineering but needed to speak English in order to do business or some such. I thought, “This school must suck. Anarchy. Etc.” so hopped a train in the middle of the night and fled, never showing up for my assignment.

Rude, rude knowing that engineering puts the E in STEM thereby saving humanity from global warming and especially rude in the new light that Liverpool’s revered soccer (football) coach Jürgen Klopp grew up in that wooded wonderland, in the town of Glatten, and has identified the aforementioned Sebastian Steudtner as the greatest surfer in the world even though it has long been held that Kelly Slater is the greatest surfer in the world.

In a video message to the GOAT, Klopp said, “Hi Sebastian! Since we met – and with we, I mean LFC – we are surfing on a high wave (or maybe not seeing as defeat by Manchester City), as you know. But we will never, ever reach the height of your wave – 26.21m (41.3 German male lower legs) is absolutely insane. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart. I knew you are the greatest, now the whole world knows it, really. Enjoy the night, enjoy the awards (?) and you should be proud – I am. So have a great night, all the best and see you on the next biggest wave. See you soon, my friend. You’ll never walk alone, or you’ll never surf alone, hopefully!”

Suck it, Kelly Slater.

So I am off to make amends in that Black Forest and hopefully find the Klopp childhood home and lay a wreath on its doorstep with both my name and Kelly Slater’s name attached, signed “with many apologies.”

More as the story develops.

Owen Wright, at left, with seven-time world champ, Stephanie Gilmore. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Sweet redemption for dumped world tour surfer and Olympic medallist Owen Wright as redundant Byron Bay villa sells for $6.5 million!

Bullish sale for down-and-out former world title contender.

The one-time world title contender and Olympic bronze medallist Owen Wright, who was dumped from the world tour one month ago following a series of shock results, has achieved redemption of sorts after selling one of his luxury Byron Bay villas for $6.5 million. 

(The Big O was made real sad by the mid-tour cull, telling the Lipped podcast “It failed the first time and it’s failing again. I’d love for it to never happen again in the future… I don’t know how it’s gone ahead. Every time it gets brought up it gets brushed under the carpet.”)

A little over three years ago, Owen paid a pretty wild $5.1 million for an unremarkable beach shack at 2 Daniels Street, a few hundred metres from The Pass in Australia’s Bryon Bay. 

It wasn’t Owen’s first property play; he’s been buying and selling up and down the coast for the last decade. 

You’ll remember the $1.6 million house at Lennox Head with its indoor swimming pool that meandered through the living room,  the Federation-style house in Byron Bay (a little under a million), the beachfront townhouse at Thirroul (675,000) and the gorgeous mountain-top hideaway (bought for 750k, sold for a million).

Owen, of course, didn’t see a charming wooden home he might squeeze his little family into post-tour, he saw…land, half-an-acre of prime Byron Bay dirt right in the middle of the joint’s biggest ever boom. 

Owen, along with developer Burke Urban, built four luxury villas, keeping one apiece, and put the other two on the market. 

A few days ago, the first of ‘em sold for six-and-a-half mill, a wild result given the brittle housing market in Byron, a shire ravaged by flood and teetering on the biggest property collapse Australia has ever seen.

Stroll through 2  Daniels St, here, buy the other one if you got the change. 

The Sunshine Coast would be richer, I think, if there were green, warm-water barrels on tap, and not just during the big cyclone blows.

Council fires back at developer of WSL’s billion-dollar “eco-resort” and Kelly Slater wavepool on Queensland flood plain, “To say that the proposal should be supported because (the) site didn’t flood during the latest rain bomb is ridiculous”!

"Any proposal would need to be assessed on robust data analysis not anecdotes.”

Last week, the developer behind the WSL’s billion-dollar pool and residential play near the Queensland town of Coolum said the WSL would move the project to the Gold Coast, two hundred clicks south, unless government red tape was slashed and the project bathed in green light.

Consolidated Properties’ Don O’Rorke, who “donated the land and a half-a-million dollars for the Hurley HPC in Casuarina and was subsequently made a life member of Surfing Australia, said concerns the joint was on a flood-plain were unfounded, pointing out that recent heavy rains didn’t affect the site. 

Now, Sunshine Coast councillor Maria Suarez has fired back at O’Rorke, telling the Courier Mail, “To say that the proposal should be supported because the northern part of the surf ranch site didn’t flood during the latest rain bomb is ridiculous, especially when you consider the recent events weren’t even as significant as the 1992 flood event. Any proposal would need to be assessed on robust data analysis not anecdotes.”

Suarez said the proposed site was some of the lowest lying and most flood-affected land on the Sunshine Coast and “was a natural storage area providing downstream protection during major flood events.”

The council, she said, hadn’t changed its position on the build on the flood plain, not for any anti-development reason just ’cause it seemed foolhardy, and had suggested an alternative site at Beerwah East. 

The WSL and O’Rorke hosed down that idea. 

“The problem is the Beerwah East plan is not coming online for approximately 15 years, so it’s not an immediate opportunity,” said O’Rorke. 

You’ll remember, or not, pro-environment and wildlife advocate Kelly Slater who“urged” the Queensland to approve the development.

“This wave would become somewhat of a mecca and put the Sunshine Coast back on the (surfing) map,” Slater told the Courier-Mail. “iIt will bring a lot of interest to the area and it will be a place that I know a lot of people are going to want to surf and have an ongoing impact on the local area.”

The proposal includes a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.”

The WSL’s Andrew Stark said the local surfing community was “ecstatic and excited.”

Sasha Jane Lowerson (pictured) winning.
Sasha Jane Lowerson (pictured) winning.

Norm bustin’ trans swimmer Lia Thomas speaks out for first time in aftermath of Sasha Jane Lowerson’s longboarding dominance: “If you say you can compete but can’t score, or are in an extra lane, that’s very othering towards trans people.”


But you are certainly aware, if not out-righted opinionated upon, the “trans people in sport” conversation dominating professional sport. A mere theoretical in our surfing world until a short few weeks ago when Sasha Jane Lowerson smashed her competition to become the first surfer to win both men’s and women’s after a dominant performance at the Western Australian longboarding championship.

Inspiring to many but confusing to others.

Is it fair for those born male to switch and smash females in sport?

Is it proper?

The debate roiled with photographer Peter King declaring “stay out of women’s sports” and the world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, positing that trans athletes should be given their own category.

Well, Lia Thomas, who became the first trans athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship, in swimming, spoke out for the first time just hours ago after declining interviews for months. In the fading light of Lowerson’s glory.

Thomas told ESPN exclusively:

The biggest misconception, I think, is the reason I transitioned. People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage, so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy, to be true to myself.

Trans women competing in women’s sports does not threaten women’s sports as a whole. Trans women are a very small minority of all athletes. The NCAA rules regarding trans women competing in women’s sports have been around for 10-plus years. And we haven’t seen any massive wave of trans women dominating.

If you say, like, you can compete, but you can’t score or you’re in an extra lane nine, that’s very othering towards trans people. And it is not offering them the same level of respect and opportunity to play and to compete.

It’s no different than a cis woman taking a spot on a travel team or a scholarship. It’s a part of athletics, where people are competing against each other. It’s not taking away opportunities from cis women, really. Trans women are women, so it’s still a woman who is getting that scholarship or that opportunity.

I very much wanted to ask Lowerson these questions, though was rebuffed, and appreciate Thomas’s clarity but what do you think? Does it assuage your toxic wonderings?

Do you feel those who swam, or surfed, against felt non-dominated?

How then can we then measure waves in German male lower legs?

More questions than answers but I’m, hopefully, discovering on essential quest.

In wild protest over state of industry, poor waves at G-Land, Florida man walks into surf shop, defecates on floor, uses surf-branded t-shirt to clean self!


Yesterday found me in quite a state. There I was, in Munich’s perfectly utilitarian flughafen, lightly jet-lagged and tragically without sunglasses. I had, hours earlier, lost my favorite pair of Garrett Leight’s at ballet rehearsal along with my wig and hat. Those were later found, in a pile, just in time for a fine performance, but sunglasses gone and no time to acquire new before flight.

What to do?

Duty free sunglass shopping is rife with potential impulse disaster. With display Tom Fords featuring bent arms that slip right off the bridge of nose or garish Guccis that feel right in the moment but do not reflect the personal brand outdoors.

Well, as luck, or fate, would have it, I stumbled upon a pair of Le Specs while almost falling into that classic Ray Ban Wayfarer trap. They were inexpensive but stylish-adjacent, did not broadcast anything good nor bad and would do perfectly for the quest I was about to undertake.

The German male’s lower leg has haunted me, you see, since it had been discovered as the perfect tool in measuring wave height. Kept me up at night. For decades upon decades, our kind has stumbled over the most basic task. How big are the swells we ride? Shall me gauge in Hawaiian? Meters? Stathams? The World Surf League’s forecasting tool Surfline has made matters that much worse by introducing utter absurdity into what should be neatly scientific.

But then German Sebastian Steudtner broke the official world record for “largest wave ever” and a crack team of scientists stumbled upon the German male’s lower leg as the perfect calibrating tool.

I lay awake in bed, fevered, pondering, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. If the holy grail of wave measurement is hiding in plain sight, in Germany, what else might be there?

After six days, I could take no more, bid my beautiful family auf wiedersehen and booked travel to Deutschland for this most important crusade. And, now, with sunglasses, I am ready to see great and concealed truths that will allow our beloved surfing to reach heretofore unknown states of bliss.

Outside of Germany, things are bad, for our surf industry, and getting worse. In wild protest over its state, and possible lack of waves at the G-Land Pro, a Florida man walked into a local surf shop and made a mess on the floor.

According to the Treasure Island Police Department, Gary Peter Bush, 69, walked into the Surf Style shop, located at 10701 Gulf Blvd., exposed his genitalia and proceeded to defecate on the floor near the dressing room.

Witnesses told police Bush wiped himself with a shirt belonging to the store, creating a biohazard out of the top.

Bush was arrested later in the day after being recognized by the store manager.

According to the arrest report, Bush told officers, “I was at the store earlier to get clothes. I returned to the store to get more clothes. I bought an outfit.”


My next stop, anyhow, shall be the Black Forest where fables spring from the ground.