Owen with his two-time world champ sis Tyler. He got stiffed for eight hundred gees, Tyler almost six.

Surf Olympian Owen Wright says says theft of almost one-million dollars of his personal fortune by glamorous blonde bookkeeper forced him to risk early-onset dementia by competing and destroyed relationship with his parents, “(It’s) still damaged because of the anger issues I had around this”

"The physical risk I‘ve taken on to keep surfing was a choice I made because I was not financially in the position to stop my career.”

The surf Olympian Owen Wright has told a courtroom the theft of almost one million bucks of his personal stash by a family friend employed as the fam’s bookkeeper led to his estrangement from Ma and Pa Wright as well as friction with his siblings and his pop star wife. 

In a victim impact statement read to court prior to the sentencing of horse racing aficionado and poker machine enthusiast Shane Maree Hatton, who copped five years at the top with a three-year non-parole period, Owen said he accused family members of stealing and even told his wife, accomplished songstress Kita Alexander, to lay off the spending. 

Owen said he was “emotionally worn down”, couldn’t sleep, was perpetually pissed off and anxious. Accusing his parents of ripping him off had lasting ramifications. 

“My relationships…are still damaged because of the anger issues I had around this,” he said.

And, because of the theft, he couldn’t get out of the pro surfing game despite his catastrophic 2015 brain injury.

“I wanted to retire but I couldn‘t financially (due to the impact of the offending) and fought back into my career risking my life in the process… I was still being stolen from while I could barely walk and while the doctors were saying I would never work again in my career. The physical risk I‘ve taken on to keep surfing was a choice I made because I was not financially in the position to stop my career.”

Owen told the court he’d been saving for a family home and trying to set up a retirement fund, two enterprises stymied by the theft, although regular BeachGrit readers will remember the $5.1 million beach shack O bought in Byron Bay three years ago, which he later developed into four luxury villas, selling one for $6.5 mill, another of which he kept, 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 (sold for 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).

Everyone’s version of a happy retirement is different, I think.

Owen’s ma, Fiona, said she felt “somehow responsible” for the theft ‘cause she recommended Hatton to run the books. 

“Her stealing from us was a heartbreaking despicable act,” she said.

Davey Prodan. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Milquetoast Strategy and Brand Officer for World Surf League Dave Prodan punctures organisations wall of positive noise edict with blistering tweet, “Treasonous, spineless shit stain of a human being…That’s your legacy you racist, bigoted, craven asshole”

Dave goes nuke!

If you knew Dave like I know Dave you’d be enchanted by his big eyes, delicate hands, never dirty, and silky hair that he smooths vigorously each morning in the hope of flattening a cow-lick which rears from the top of his skull. The living embodiment of the World Surf League’s pivot away from surfing’s roots and to its generously inclusive, diverse, LGBTQ+ friendly model. 

Given this background, I was dazed, shocked, and finally intoxicated, when Prodan, architect of the WSL’s Wall of Positive Noise, punctured the his own edict with a tweet eviscerating Republican senator Josh Hawley, noted for his Conan Hayes-esque objection to Joe Biden’s victory in 2020, but famous now for running terrified from the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol. 

Following a post of the Jan 6 video, which shows “Hypocrite and coward” Hawley raising his fist in solidarity to the revolting throng before fleeing out a side door, Prodan went nuke, 

“…that treasonous, spineless shit stain of a human being @HawleyMO is very good. That’s your legacy you racist, bigoted, craven asshole. That image. We all know it.”

Infinitely more thrilling to be enslaved by a hero than a devoted company man.

Do you think this signals a pivot by the WSL to the more exciting principles of drama and conflict in sport?

Or, no.

A spasm of honesty and boldness, but temporary.

Surf Journalist (pictured) on the road.
Surf Journalist (pictured) on the road.

Surf Journalist embarks on epic quest across great United States of America in order to find mythical non-surfing World Surf League fan!

Someone has to do it.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan appeared recently on the much-loved Lipped podcast and dropped jaws with an incredibly rosy assessment of professional competitive surfing. Engagement through the roof, new fans turned each and every day, partners fighting each other to throw money at the unfolding glory.

Long part of the bullish WSL growth push, since it was acquired for free by billionaire Dirk Ziff, has been converting those who don’t surf but fall in love with the “sport” as passive consumers much like the UFC has non-combat fans and football has non-brain damaged ones. Transitioning into “real,” as it were, or at the very least “legitimate.”

I am certain both China and India have multiple of these wonders who spend fourteen to sixteen hours a day locked in small cubicles loving professional competitive surfing deeply but for anything to really pop it has to pop in the great United States of America.

Even diminished, the land of the free, home of the brave, still reigns pop supreme.

And so I will drive from Cardiff by the Sea to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee before ending in Nashville. My steed, a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon in black, that must be delivered to my ultra-talented soccer playing daughter at Vanderbilt.

Leaving in hours.

What will I find in bars and roadside hotels along the way? Gas stations and rest stops?


That, friends, will be the story of our time.

Of professional competitive surfing’s true rise or, as the case may be, Logan’s lies.

More as the story develops.

Famed pig hunter Chas Smith (pictured).
Famed pig hunter Chas Smith (pictured).

Surfer shares horrifying story of being brutally savaged in Hawaii lineup by crazed pig: “It had a bloody face as if it had been attacked, the longest snout, with tusks like a baby mastodon!”

"There was a giant bite mark. That could have been me."

Any surfer who has traveled to the Hawaiian Island chain knows that it is paradisiacal but also knows a dark menace lurks beneath the plumeria and hibiscus flowers. Violently spilled açaí bowls. But also wild pigs. Nasty things that defecate in water sources, root around for goodness only knows what and terrify the unsuspecting.

Usually, this terror occurs on terra firma with the beasties snorting and glaring. They are not afraid of humankind and so gladly charge, tusks bloody and gross.

Sometimes, though, it occurs in the surf and let us, quickly, to Igrid Seiple’s harrowing tale on Oahu’s North Shore.

One day in December 2021, I drove out at dawn to Mokulē’ia beach on Oahu’s north shore. I picked a spot to surf and went down to the shore with a friend. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was out and the waves no bigger than two feet. We paddled out; he went right and I turned left. The nearest people were 200 metres away.

I began surfing the waves, then saw something floating towards me. I wondered if it was a seal, but it looked stiff. Suddenly, it lifted its head out of the water. I was eye to eye with a wild boar, only 1.5 metres from me. It was shocked – and so was I. It had a bloody face as if it had been attacked, the longest snout, with tusks like a baby mastodon, and a look of desperation. I was afraid and, more than that, surprised. What was it doing here?

It started piggy-paddling towards me with all its might. I turned to paddle away, but its face was at my foot. I got off my board and placed it between us as a safety barrier. The pig pulled itself up and took a chunk out of the board with its teeth. I swam underwater in the other direction, and when I surfaced 3 metres away I realised it had broken through the fibreglass casing of the board and crunched through the foam. There was a giant bite mark. That could have been me.

Seiple, thankfully, made a getaway but if she hadn’t I’m certain the most feared pig hunter on the island would have been called in to TCB.

Yours truly.

Or don’t you remember how I was an integral part of a crack team that slayed a terror up Kualoa Ranch way.

Refresh here.

Y'telling me someone has already bought the McCabe for ten bucks? How about this? I'll…double it… yeah, you like that? I'll be there in twenty.

Imminent collapse of global economies creates golden market for surfboard collectors, “The flotillas of big-name machine shapes purchased in frenzy during the height of the boom are now being jettisoned as the proles look to tighten their belts and ride the bust!”

There’s never been more surfers, sure. But there’s also never been more surfboards. Stretching as far as the landfill can see.

Am I the only one who finds the notion of a recession romantic?

Everyone back to square one. On equal footing. Starting from scratch.

Legions of once-pencil necked corporate types suddenly freed of their neoliberal masters. Lounging around all day, eating salted pork and sauteed bike tyres. Repairing old jalopies between mid-morning surfs and afternoon moonshine benders.

Kids running amongst golden fields of grass, dirt-faced but happy, patched-up overalls hanging languidly from their sun-kissed shoulders.

While all those fat-cat speculators and entrepreneurs sit weeping in their abandoned co-operative work spaces, the “elaborate” and “innovative’” business models that served to only further exploit the working class finally laying in ruin.

The culture that exalted home ownership as a model for accumulation of capital. Bunnings and Home Depot our new cathedrals for weekend worship. Casualised workforces. Laissez-faire economics.

The LinkedIn cult of the corporate. “Bring more of yourself to work” so work can bring more of itself to you.

All collapsing in on itself like a cursed dwarf star.

Sure, I jest. I know there’s clear links between economic downturns and rates of suicide, family breakdown, crime, drug use etc

And it’s usually the working class man that feels the pinch the most.

But the socialist in me does want to see this smoke and mirrors capitalist shitshow we’ve laboured under for the last fifty years falter just a little more.

Even a slight touch on the breaks of unlimited economic growth. Maybe take into consideration factors other than just GDP when looking at a nation’s wealth. Push a few of us back into the warm, egalitarian embrace of market regulation and big government.

Economic rationalism isn’t, as they say.

At the very least, the threat of recession makes a great market for secondhand surfboards. Jeez there’s been some steals of late.

There’s never been more surfers, sure. But there’s also never been more surfboards. Stretching as far as the landfill can see.

The flotillas of big-name machine shapes purchased in frenzy during the height of the boom are now being jettisoned as the proles look to tighten their belts and ride the bust.

The result? It’s a buyer’s market, just like that greasy real estate agent will tell you.

There’s almost no argument now for buying new boards. Check out your Gumtrees, Craigs Lists, FB marketplaces near even the mildest concentrations of surf populations and there’s a plethora of deals to be had.

Unless you’re spending good money to buy a handshape from a guru, you gotta go secondhand. It’s an ethical as well as economic imperative.

Me, I’ve long been a fan of used goods. But the pendulum has swung so far now in my favour that even I can’t believe some of the scores that present themselves. Especially for those underground gems that might not attract the SEO hits of a JS, a Hayden, a Sharpeye.

Here’s just a couple from the last few months.

Peter McCabe x Pacific Dreams 6’8 x 20 x 2 ⅝: $20

Yep you read right. A handshape from master craftsman Peter McCabe for $20. Shaped under the Pacific Dreams logo, Grubby being one of the many shapers to churn out boards for the iconic Newcastle brand over the years.

Some minor damage and dirtiness, the ad said. But otherwise good to go.

The twenty-dollar tube-throttling McCabe.

What’s crazier is the asking price on FB marketplace was even lower than what I ended up paying for it. I saw it pop up on a weekend scroll for $10.

Ten buckeroos. About the same as a pie and Coke at the servo. A few litres of diesel. One schooner at a fancy inner city bar, if you’re lucky.

I assume it must be a typo. Send a DM.

Hey, definitely interested in the McCabe. So it’s $10?

A quick response. Yes it is. Somebody else has already put a hold on it though.

I’ll give you $20.

Done. It’s yours.

Pick it up the next day. A younger girl living behind a commission flat out the back of town. Dogs barking in the driveway. Early model Holden Commodore rusting out front.

She’s immediately apologetic, like I’m doing her a favour.

“Thank you so much for taking it. I’m so sorry it’s dirty,” she says, pointing to the thin layer of grime on the deck. “It’s just been lying around here forever, and well, I needed the cash.”

“That is no problem at all,” I say as I slide it into the boot. “The pleasure is all mine.”

A quick clean up with some turps and a wax comb. Your usual compressions. The only real damage is a thumbnail sized hole in the bottom of the deck. In keeping with the aesthetic I plug it up with the old wax I accumulated from stripping it.

It’s a pulled-in square tail. Wide point forward. Subtle mass of foam under the chest but the rails are foiled nicely. Deep double concave out through the tail. Set of as-new Shapers fins (FCS1) with it.

Some weird spray paint art on the front which adds to the overall vibe.

Can feel the life force still inside it under the arm.

First surf down at Manly on one of those wicked SE mega swells we’ve had here of late. Four-to-five-foot with a few bigger ones. Some absolute drainpipes when they’re hitting the bank right.

It’s a board that tells you how it wants to be ridden from the get go. A few missteps when I try to pivot too much on the tail. Almost like a rounded pin masquerading as a square.

But quickly get a good feel. And it can find a tube. Almost feels like it’s on autopilot when you slide up and under the lip.

Next couple of surfs on a three-foot inside rip bowl back out the front. Not as responsive a turner as your modern day performance thruster but jeez it’s got some drive. Loves being put on rail. Can’t wait to get it on some of the local reef breaks once we get a run of clean swell.

What else would you expect from a McCabe?

I think about that girl. Going to all the effort of putting the board up and dealing with degenerates like me for a measly $10.

Or twenty in the end.


Mark Rabbidge rail channel fish 6’4 x 21 x 2 ½: $50

Another one where I had to double take at the price. We all know Mark Rabbidge as the shaper responsible for Tom Curren’s first go at J-Bay, widely regarded as one of the finest waves ever surfed.

Mark’s been at the forefront of board design for decades now.

So to see one of his shapes up in relatively ok nick for such a price was nuts.

It wasn’t advertised as a Mark Rabbidge, mind you. Just “old fish” or something similarly nondescript.

Turns out the guy selling lives only two hundred yards down the road from me. I’ve seen him in the water before and am confident he didn’t understand the gravity of the design he was holding under his arm.

Deep rail channels, you might even call them edges, run through the middle third of the board. They’re not belly channels. But they’re also not like a traditional Greenough edge which follows the curve of the rail.

The Rabbidge, total price fifty bucks.

The outline itself is like one of those big boy Aipa stingers. Fuller again through the nose. Plus it’s got one of them flame sprays. Ya can’t go wrong.

I messaged Mark about the board on Instagram. He remembers it, fondly.

“I see some shapers doing different styles of channels now but no one does them straight like that. I have made keel versions, four fins, twins – they all work. I started doing them back in the early ‘90s as handles for a surfer doing the Quik air shows and they helped with breakage as well – they put more strength in the rails. When he surfed it he said it pumped up speed so fast. I made them for some other team guys and they all said the same. Works best in short, wide planeshapes, I think it cancels out the bottom and plane shape curves.”

To be honest, me surfing and reviewing this board feels a little like somebody using a Stradivarius to hammer nails. A gross misuse of craftsmanship.

I’m also riding it as a thruster when I really feel like it should be a twin with trailer. But who the fuck still has FCS 1 twins nowadays?

Damn thing hooks regardless. To me it feels similar to a standard channel bottom – incredible on a clean face, but doesnt like the soup. The drive it maintains through turns is outrageous.

But it can also randomly buck you off without a moment’s notice, punishing any minor misstep or re-weighting through a turn, of which I’m responsible for plenty.

Here’s the limerick that runs through my head everytime I surf it.

There was a young man who said, damn!
I perceive with regret that I am
A creature that moves
In determinate grooves
I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram

Still but. $50!

Did I tell you it was $50?

It’s a buyer’s market, I’m telling ya.