Disaster looms for world’s first wave pool after string of setbacks as local officials wring hands in worry: “Surf Snowdonia is important for the reputation of the whole of north Wales!”

But a silver lining?

Before Kelly Slater wowed us with his miracle in Lemoore, there was Surf Snowdonia. Oh but do you remember the very first commercial wave tank there in pastoral Wales? Do you recall the very first time you saw waves, almost real waves, peeling across a lagoon miles away from the coast?

Inspirational. Dream-like. The park, which opened in 2015, used Wavegarden technology and found itself in pastoral northern Wales but lo, things have gone sour of late and Snowdonia’s owners fear that they might have to sell the glory.

The head of Tourism North Wales, Jim Jones, put on a brave face about this bad news, telling the BBC, “I’ve no doubt it will continue. I think it’s extremely important to us in north Wales because we built our brand as ‘adventure capital’ on the back of Adventure Parc Snowdonia and many others. It’s probably one of the biggest attractions in north Wales, the investment in that site has been millions. It’s important not only for the rural areas of Conwy, but for the reputation of the whole of north Wales.”

The problems facing the tub are myriad including Covid closures and mechanical troubles though a new Hilton Garden Inn and Spa just opened providing hope.

Jim Jones added, “It would be a disaster if anything happened to it, but I’m absolutely convinced that an investor will come along and continue the good work that the Ainscough family have put into it.”

Worst case scenario, I suppose, Mr. Jones can lean into his name and turn the hotel and pool into a new Peoples Temple.


Mendes displays a ferocious competitive spirit in his infamous stoush with Mikey Wright from a few years back, pushing a fist into the Australian's chest over alleged wrongdoings in the surf.

In wildly ironic twist, Brazilian surf star defects to Italy for 2024 Olympics as Hawaiian wife set to surf for Brazil, “My great-grandfather on my father’s side was Calabrian!”

Roma signs Brazil's fourth-best goofyfooter for Teahupoo Olympic showdown!

Nationality swapping ain’t new when it comes to that dirty two-week sports carnival called the Olympic Games. 

Rare is the country that don’t fast-track an athletically gifted immigrant or wannabe immigrant if it gets a little extra glitter in the country’s medal cabinet. 

Kenyan distance runners, Jamaican springers, Russian wrestlers, Cuban boxers can choose whatever passport they want, pretty much. 

The Cuban-born British triple jumper Yamilé Aldama, for one, has competed for Cuba, Britain and the  Sudan. 

Sao Paulo’s Jesse Mendes, who doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting to Teahupoo in 2024 with a triumvirate of Brazilians world champions, Medina, Toledo and Ferreira, vying for the country’s two spots, has switched his allegiance to Italy. 

“My great-grandfather on my father’s side was Calabrian, my mother is also of European origins,” says Mendes, a strikingly unique beauty who is twenty-nine. “It took a while to get a passport but now I’m really happy: I’m a very good friend of Leo Fioravanti and my dream is to go to the 2024 Paris Olympics.” 

To add to the Italians’ surf muscle, another Brazilian, the 2015 world champ Adrian de Souza is the Italian national surf coach. 

“[Adriano] can make this new generation of Italian surfers strong and our nation will have a future in competitive surfing,” says Fioravanti.

Readers will be familiar with Jesse Mendes’ wife, the Kauai-raised Tatiana Weston-Webb who surfed as American on tour but switched to Brazil prior to the Tokyo Games, where she finished ninth.

“Brazil has always been an important part of who I am and, recently, I was approached by the Brazilian Olympic Committee with an opportunity to represent the country in a major way,” she said.

In move certain to re-snare surf champion Kelly Slater’s sustainable heart, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen sages her car to rid bad Tom Brady juju!

Sleepless nights!

Surf fans, already whipped into an obscene frenzy over Gisele Bünchen and Tom Brady’s sudden split, could not believe the news, this morning, that the Brazilian supermodel very publicly took a wad of sage out to her car in order, presumably, rid the ride of the star quarterback’s bad juju.

Those who are aware of sage’s mystical properties know that its burning has purifying, restorative effects. More to our point, though, the move might also have been a smoke signal, as it were, to the greatest surfer of all-time Kelly Slater.

Slater and Bündchen famously dated across 2005 and 2006, those years, maybe not coincidentally, being two of eleven championship seasons for the Boy from Cocoa Beach.

A lost day and age when surfers dated stars. When our kind was embodied by pure gorgeous as opposed to adult-learning flubber.

Might we be back, though?

As it happens, Sage Erickson is an ambassador for Kelly Slater’s Outerknown, a company that prides itself on renewability etc. The right way to live. Etc.

Per Vogue:

Last year, sustainable men’s label Outerknown debuted its first women’s collection with a unique campaign. Founder and 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater certainly could have asked a few of his athlete or celebrity friends to participate, but instead, he cast a trio of activists working in climate change and sustainability. To the average Instagram user, they probably weren’t familiar, but the women Outerknown hoped to engage likely already followed them. It was an early example of how a brand can align its vision, mission, and marketing in a truly authentic way.

Burning sage.

Oh not “burning” in our parlance but restorative, spiritual, healthy burning. Exactly like surf fans, everywhere, are burning candles down to nubs for a Slater-Bündchen reunion.

Sleepless nights.

Astounding health benefits of surfing revealed in New York Times feature aimed at inspiring the millions upon millions of recent converts!

Listen to Dr. Newcomer!

Let us be altogether honest with each other. When you picked up surfing, all those years ago, health and wellness were, likely, not your top priorities. Rock n’ roll, boozy nonsense and shredddding, maybe, topped the list but you, sir, are an ugly dinosaur. A relic of a monolithic past that has been shattered by an unprecedented spike in participation amongst those who once felt locked out of the insular life.

But did you know many of these freshies come to both feel and be better?

It’s true and the august New York Times has just revealed how good surfing can be for the mind, body and soul.

Shall we?

Surfing is an outstanding cardiovascular and strength-building sport. It delivers bursts of extreme anaerobic exercise followed by a recovery stage, similar to high-intensity interval training, said Sean C. Newcomer, department chair of kinesiology at California State University San Marcos.

“What most surfers realize, and the general population probably doesn’t realize, is the vast majority of the time in the water is spent either paddling or stationary — a small fraction of the time (between 2 to 5 percent) is spent wave riding,” Dr. Newcomer said.

Surfers spend 40 to 60 percent of their time either endurance paddling to get to the lineup, where waves start breaking and surfers wait to catch them, or sprint paddling to catch waves — both of which strengthen muscles in the back, shoulders, chest and neck, Dr. Newcomer said.

There is some evidence that surfing can lead to better coordination later in life. One small study found that people between the ages of 57 and 64 who had surfed for several years had better balance and stronger posture than non-surfers their age.

Dr. Newcomer.

Hee hee.

Little Kalani meets hero Kelly Slater. "He was one of the most talented surfer/skaters on earth," said Slater.

Mother and father of Hawaiian surf-skate prodigy Kalani David locked in courtroom battle over destination of son’s remains as sister describes harrowing attempt to save her little brother, “I was right there, I gave him CPR. Like, I really tried”

"I really love him. He had a big heart and he never liked to see people cry and I just want to bring him to his home in Hawaii."

Barely had news broke of the Hawaiian surf and skate prodigy Kalani David’s death of a massive seizure while surfing in Costa Rica on September 17 when the family’s troubled core was laid bare. 

Kalani’s daddy David and his wife Andrea set up a crowdfunding account to raise the cash to bring their kid’s remains to Florida, chasing thirty-four k. 

David told me he wanted to get him to Florida so he could be buried next to his beloved grandfather. When he was little, David says, Kalani had nightmares of his body being burned into ashes.

David promised him that’d never happen. 

“I don’t want my son in a jar or spread on the water, as I would see fit for myself. I want to give him a place you can go see him and know he is listening when you share your feelings with him.”

Controversy built when many close to Kalani questioned the GoFundMe account.

Zoë McDougall, North Shore surfer and friend, posted that the GoFundMe was a “scam” and that a private fundraiser would be held.

Anthony Sherman of Ant Boards declared, “It’s a scam by his dad. Do not donate.”


(There is no suggestion by BeachGrit that the GoFundMe sponsored by Kalani’s Dad is anything but legit.)

Now, Kalani’s Costa Rican mother Maureen Barrientos, who was sixteen when she gave birth, and David David are locked in a courtroom battle over the final destination of their son’s remains.

Barrientos says Hawaii; David wants Florida. 

“For me he was everything. My little boy. I reconnected with him when he was 17. I was really happy,” Barrientos told Kitv. “I really love him. He had a big heart and he never liked to see people cry and I just want to bring him to his home in Hawaii.”

Former girlfriend Natalie Keali’inohomoku said, “Everyone knows in this world that Kalani loved the ocean, that’s where I know his heart and soul should rest and be celebrated is back home in Hawaii.” 

Kalani’s sister Rachel Feeney Zamora was in the water when he suffered the fatal seizure. 

 “For everybody he was like a world champion and great surfer, for me he was just my little brother,” she said. “I was right there, I gave him CPR. Like I really tried. I just want to bring him to his home where he belongs. All this family problems we’re having right now we had it before when he was younger so he was always trying to find peace within us.”

Whatever the outcome of the court case, one thing remains, surfing lost one of its wildest talents.

From Kelly Slater,

“Kalani was one of the most talented surfer/skaters ever on earth.”

And from friend and WCT stand-out Seth Moniz,

“He was literally the best surfer and skater of our generation,” WCT stand-out Seth Moniz said. “Not just that but him as like a friend was even better. Like that’s what made him Kalani David. The guy would literally give his shirt off his back to anyone that needed it. Just an incredible human and friend.”