Wavepool maestro Tom Lochtefeld fires back at claims hotly anticipated Palm Springs Surf Club tank has been shelved, “We’ll be filling her with water at the beginning of 2023!”

But no sign of wave-creating virtuoso Cheyne Magnusson nor his guy-pal, the hot Hawaiian eye-candy Kalani Robb!

Two years ago, the world’s best surfers were lining up to jiggle their thumb tips against the Palm Springs Surf Club’s pygmy dingus, a proto-wavepool built on the site of the old Wet N Wild in that storied little desert town. 

Wet N Wild was the pool used in the opening sequences of North Shore, a film from 1987 that tells the fictional tale of Rick Kane, a boy who learns to surf in a wavepool and then attempts to transpose his skills to Pipeline with mostly good results.

The surfing world quickly fell under the spell of the Hawaiian surfer Cheyne Magnusson who had singlehandedly altered the course of aerial surfing at BSR cable park in Waco.

Magunusson joined hands with the “godfather of artificial waves” Tom Lochtefeld and his Surf Loch tech to soup up the ancient Wet N Wild site.

“I come in and play the piano,” Cheyne told me of his role complementing the wave tech. “Give me a bunch of knobs to move water and I can make it sing.”

The pint-sized proto was built and surfers, including Mason Ho, Jackson Dorian etc, came from all over the world, flared and made clips. The pool was then demolished to make way for the full-sized tank.


Crickets, as they say. 

The PSSC Instagram account is blank, Magnusson hasn’t posted about the tank in two years and hasn’t responded to messages from BeachGrit re: the project, the pool’s creative director Jamo Wills hasn’t posted about the tank since November 2o2o, Kalani Robb, also involved in the joint, hasn’t posted about the tank in a year. 

It’s Facebook page is, to be generous, perfunctory, fifteen likes, zero followers. 

Worried that the joint has been shelved, although not shelved in the sexy sense, I contacted Thomas J Lochtefeld who reassured me the PSSC will be ready to be filled at the beginning of 2023. 

Lochtefeld also offered me a free flight to dance on his waves in the coming American spring. 

“Are you game?” he asked.

“Yes, daddy,” I said, lips parted, eyes closed, ripe for the act.

As for Magnusson, Lochtefeld says he’s still consulting for Surf Loch.

“He is a phenomenal wave composer, a virtuoso on our equipment.”

Igarashi (pictured) kicking sand on Slater's shallow grave.
Igarashi (pictured) kicking sand on Slater's shallow grave.

Kelly Slater’s childhood Olympic dream steps foot into grave as one-time American Kanoa Igarashi stabs surfing icon in the back!

Cold tamahagane steel twisting lightly.

The International Surfing Games, 2022, is officially over and with it a culmination of the highest stakes professional surfing has ever witnessed. For those unaware, the “team” (i.e. nation represented by surfer) that won the contest would be awarded a bonus slot into the 2024 Teahupo’o Olympics, an extra chance to claim gold at “the end of the road.”

As it works, countries with ranked World Surf League surfers get two slots each on both the men’s and women’s sides. The winner of the Surfing Games now has three with the third and that winner, for the men, was Japan in the very handsome form of Huntington Beach born and bred Kanoa Igarashi.

Igarashi took down Indonesia, Australia and Portugal to hoist the extra spot for the Land of the Rising Sun high above his head with one hand. The other was busily stabbing surf icon Kelly Slater right in the back.

For if Igarashi had been surfing for his hometown, that slot would have gone to the mighty United States of America and if it had gone to this land of free, home of brave, Slater, at time of writing, would have been Tahiti bound, gently stroking his childhood dream of standing high on a three-tiered podium as the Star Spangled Banner wafted.

Imagine that pain throbbing between shoulder blades. Cold tamahagane steel twisting lightly.

I suppose Slater could blame Kolohe Andino and Nat Young, who lost in rounds six and seven respectively, but what good would that do?

In better news, the U.S. women’s team won so now Courtney Conlogue can go to the Olympics.

Silver linings.

Australian surf star Chris Davidson killed in alleged fracas outside country pub; man charged with assault causing death, “He was one of the most gifted surfers in the world!”

Recent years weren’t so kind to Davo, although let’s be frank, he did burn the candle at both ends, as well as the sides and through the guts.

The wildly talented Narrabeen shredder Chris Davidson is dead following an alleged “one-punch assault” outside the grandly named South West Rocks Country Club, five or so hours north of Sydney.

Davidson, who was forty-five, was allegedly knocked unconscious around eleven pm last night, treated at the scene by the ambos and taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Grant Coleman, brother of the noted rugby union coach Darren Coleman, was arrested thirty minutes after the attack and charged with “assaulting Davidson causing his death.”

Coleman, who is forty-two, was refused bail and is due to appear before Port Macquarie Bail Court on Sunday.

Davo was anointed as a surf star in his early teens, the raw foil to Tom Curren in Rip Curl’s then cutting-edge Search advertising campaign.

In 1996, aged nineteen, Davo was gifted a wildcard into the Rip Curl Bells event, then one of the most prestigious contests in surfing.

Now, you gotta remember, in 1996, Kelly was at his peak, twenty-four, unstoppable.

Dave, loose as anything, more rockstar than Hoy and co, rolled up to his round one heat with a borrowed board and no leash.


Davo, lowest seed, got Kelly, highest, in round three and did it again, Kelly so sad he gave the finger to the judges.

Recent years weren’t so kind to Davo, although let’s be frank, he did burn the candle at both ends, as well as the sides and through the guts.

In 2006, he copped a ten-year driving ban and ten years later, officially back behind the wheel, he crashed his mum’s car into a tree while pissed, cops charging Davo with high-end drink-driving.

A resident who heard the terrific noise, went outside and found Davo slumped in his seat, unmoving. Apart from internal injuries, he suffered severe damage to the ligaments in his neck and would later undergo surgery to his right arm.

If you want to see surfing Davo at his best, watch any of Sonny Miller’s films for Rip Curl or if you want a taste of the man in all his raw glory, watch this.

Interviewer GT asks, “If someone wrote a book about you what would it be called?”

Without hesitation, Davo replies “Doctor Damage and his Tiger Blood!”

One of a kind.


Nathan Florence (pictured) with tears.
Nathan Florence (pictured) with tears.

Surfing drone heads into eye of hurricane, shames hurtful vloggers Nathan Fletcher, Koa Rothman by catching fifty-foot wave and uploading footage to YouTube!

Machine 1 Man 0

John Henry has long been one of my favorite American tall tales. The story of the steel driving man challenging a new-fangled machine to a competition, who could lay more track, winning then dying at the end. Poignant and beautiful, a rallying cry for hard working surf journalists who roll up their sleeves, sit down at computers and use their fingers to type as opposed to those at The Inertia who simply feed words into the patented Milquetoast Maker and publish the regurgitation.

Surfers, though, have a much more formidable foe, especially big wave surfers and vloggers who make their livings from conquering scary giants for a new drone has gone into the center of a hurricane and surfed a fifty-foot wave.

Per the august Washington Post where democracy dies in darkness:

At the heart of Category 4 Hurricane Fiona, a robotic surfboard managed to brave intensifying ocean swells and strengthening winds to capture rare footage from inside the hurricane.

Video from the ocean drone, driven by scientists from the company Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, captured about 360 miles southeast of Bermuda, depicts haunting blue water and monstrous waves, serenaded by howling winds. Torrential rain and ominous sea spray are seen swirling as the vehicle sways and lunges atop the ocean’s turbulent surface.

The Saildrone Explorer SD 1078 was in the best position to capture the never-before-seen footage from inside Fiona, the first Category 4 hurricane of the year, with wave heights of near 50 feet and winds over 100 mph on Thursday.

While the general public gaped and gasped, Kai Lenny, Koa Rothman, Nathan Florence, even Ben Gravy, held back soft tears. How could they compete with the Saildrone and its robotic surfboard?

Will it create its own vlog and suck up Monster dollars?

Vans ones too?

Soft tears now rolling down cheeks.

Pipeline, the scene of Slater's most iconic moments, including this with Seth Moniz just after Slater had won the 2022 Billabong Pro Pipeline, one week before his fiftieth birthday. Neighbour Jodhi Meares, inset.

Rumour: Kelly Slater creates “super compound” at Pipeline after buying beachfront house of neighbour, a wildly sexy former bikini model and ex-wife of controversial Australian billionaire!

The ultimate home for the man who has owned Pipe since 1992, winning seven Pipeline Masters, a Billabong Pro Pipeline and two Volcom Pros.

This rumour is a little old, a year maybe, only ‘cause the source, a real good one, asked me to leave a gap from hearing it to it hitting the streets. 

Jodhi Meares, who is fifty-one, is the wildly sexy former bikini model who married the Australian billionaire James Packer in 1999 (“Wedding of the decade”, 750 guests. Elton John twinkling the keys at the reception), divorced him three years later, came out of it significantly wealthier and rolled it into two successful fashion brands, first, Tiger Lily, then The Upside. 

Meares at fifty-one.

She ain’t dumb. Billabong bought Tiger Lily for somewhere ‘tween three and five mill and The Upside has turned into an Australian version of Lululemon. 

In 2009, Meares, who surfs, scooped up a beachfront house at Pipe, next to Kelly Slater.

And, now, we’re told, Slater has bought Meares’ redundant holiday house and combined the two properties into one super beachfront compound, the ultimate home for a man who has owned Pipeline, at least competitively, since 1992, winning the Pipe Masters seven times, eight if you count this year’s Billabong Pipe Pro, and the Volcom Pipe Pro twice.

The Meares House forms only a small part of Slater’s formidable Hawaiian property portfolio.

Keen readers will remember two months ago, Slater renting his five-bed, six-bathroom Laniakea mansion, which he bought in 2017, at $46,000 per month.

Architectural Digest sure likes it.

“(It) is infused with Asian and Hawaiian design elements, made especially apparent by the serene boardwalk over an outdoor pond with a Buddha statue sitting in the midst of tropical plant life.”

Slater’s got joints across the world, of course. Who can forget the two-million dollar whole floor beachfront apartment he keeps at Palm Beach, what you would call a recovering suburb, at least if you wanted to be kind, on Queensland’s Gold Coast?

It ain’t Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture wise, though there are notes of Mies van der Rohe, at least in spirit, but what is on the Gold Coast?

Y’got plenty of room and, best of all, it faces due north-east, which means the stiff summer heat is tempered by a sea breeze.

It isn’t Kelly’s only Gold Coast crib. Seventeen years ago, he bought a little apartment, with no views, in Tugun, just south of Palm Beach, for $445,000.