Hemmes, inset, and Byron pied-à-terre. | Photo: Sothebys

Iconic Australian surf town described as “Abu Dhabi with cafes and warm-water peelers instead of air-conditioned malls” reels as billionaire smashes records spending $17 million on two-bed “beach shack”!

"The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists. Ayn Rand on a mid-length."

The glamorous Australian billionaire Justin Hemmes, a man who gives women a muscular reaction in their nether parts despite looking like a benevolent old sea turtle, has peeled seventeen million dollars from his billfold to buy a Byron Bay beach shack built in 1962 that last sold for a little under three mill in 2012.

Hemmes, who is fifty, is the driver of his family’s pub, hotel and restaurant fortunes, gobbling up failing venues, giving ‘en a lick of paint and a swish of cool, and turning ‘em into the hottest joints in town.

The sale of the two-bedder at 20 Childe Street, Belongil Beach has set a beachfront record for the gorgeous little sandspit that drew headlines one year ago when a Great White nearly stole the world’s most-loved broadcaster from his fans.

Do you remember? Jed Smith, the rowdy and insolent half of Ain’t That Swell whose writing is part Hemingway, part Mao Zedong and which is a highlight on the Stab website, was surfing four-for brown water tubes when the shark hit.

Smith said the White “smashed a fish near me and did a triple spinning pike flip”. Shortly after, he issued a public service announcement about the encounter, warning surfers of the danger of sharks, all gassed up and feisty as hell as they feed on livestock washed into the ocean.

Belongil ain’t a stranger to hits from Whites.

Four years ago, a Byron surfer had to be airlifted to hozzy after being bitten on the thigh by a juvie White.
A pal described the scene as, “a lot of thrashing and splashing. He started screaming, we didn’t realise until we paddled back to the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg. There was a lot of blood, a lot of bleeding. When I heard the screams he was making in the water and then I saw a chunk of his board floating off, that’s when I realised it was pretty bad. He was conscious but … his eyes were drifting around a bit, he seemed a bit dizzy. He was saying his breathing was labouring … overall I think he was alright, he was just in a bit of shock.”

If you’re wondering, the Hemmes joint is on 20,000 square feet and apart from the two rooms for sexing, has one shitter and a single carport.

Shortly before his disappearance, the writer Longtom , who lives in nearby Lennox Head, penned his best work for BeachGrit with a stinging take on Byron Bay and surrounds.

If New York City is the spiritual and actual home of VAL-lit, inspired, perhaps by Bill Finnegan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, then Byron Bay is it’s Mt Everest, Valhalla and Nirvana. The apex of the peak for the lifestyle obsessed VAL.

Six am and the carparks are packed.

Range Rover, Audis, idle in the carparks, the scent of diesel fumes wafts over the line-up. The serfs have had their hit, time to man and woman the cafes. Byron is Abu Dhabi with cafes and warm-water peelers instead of air-conditioned malls. Euro-babes and Brazilian studs do the coolie labour instead of South Asians.
It’s a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists running riot in an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket. Ayn Rand on a mid-length.

Glory days. Sorely missed.

Open Thread: Comment Live on Day One of the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach where the moods we generate are our own!

Welcome to the "toughest wave" on tour!

Fanning (left) and Slater. Stars on the rise. Photo: WSL
Fanning (left) and Slater. Stars on the rise. Photo: WSL

Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning to star as alter-egos of futuristic selves in off-beat adult comedy titled “The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe!”

Thor's brother too!

I bet that was not news you were expecting to lead your surf-centric morning. Bet, heavily, that the names Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning were not bouncing around in your noggin attached to phrases like “alter-egos of futuristic selves,” “off-beat adult comedy,” or “The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe” but that’s what’s great about waking up or, in the parlance of football, “why we play the game.”

Per film industry source Deadline:

Australia-based Bronte Pictures has signed a sales deal with Archstone Entertainment for three new projects, which will be launched at this week’s EFM in Berlin.

The Greatest Surf Movie In The Universe is set to star Luke Hemsworth (Westworld), eleven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater (Baywatch) and three-time world champion surfer and shark attack survivor Mick Fanning as their futuristic alter-egos. The off-beat adult comedy will include stop motion animation characters.

I told you.

“Stop motion animation characters” too.

And this may answer percolating questions about Slater’s future. The 11x world champion is currently sitting equal 17th, heading to a wave he actively dislikes before a finicky Portugal, fat Bells then Margaret River and the mid-season cut. Will he make it? After his lousy Pipe performance, things are not looking good and I was wondering what was next.

A return to acting (Baywatch) makes all the sense in the world.

But do you think Mick Fanning like’s “shark attack survivor” as his handle?

Breaking: Kelly Slater hits pharmaceutical giant with bombshell allegation and reveals own mother’s shock reaction to COVID vaccine, “My friend’s mother is in hospital in Florida right now and she’s dying slowly from the effects of the Pfizer vaccine!”

"My mom lost feeling in her jaw and tongue and in her hands and feet."

A few days back, the Australian press went after Kelly Slater after he teed off on COVID vaccines despite recent revelations the vaccines may not have been the miracles they were promised, heart attacks now as common as catching a cold, athletes collapsing mid-game and so on. 

Now, and in the same interview referenced by the Aussie press where he was labeled a “cooker” or conspiracy theorist, Slater has detailed his mother’s shock reaction to the vaccine and says a pal’s mom is slowly being killed by the Pfizer vax.


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“A number of people I know died,” the just-turned fifty one year old said. “I know a doctor who stopped administering it in Australia because two or three of his patients died on the Sunshine Coast. My mom was personally affected. She lost feeling in her jaw and tongue and in her hands and feet. She has what seems to be some type of transverse myelitis (a neurological condition caused by an inflamed spine).

“My friend’s mother from Barbados is in hospital right now in Florida and she’s dying slowly from the affects of the Pfizer vaccine. She’s on a quick dark, downward spiral and they don’t know how to fix it.”

Slater says he now fears the libertine west is on a sharp slide into a dark authoritarian place.

“It’s baffling to me that anyone would be forced to have a vaccine to keep their career, their job, their schooling, their place in society, their ability to go buy food in the store, all these things… it’s like a dystopian society to me. And I don’t think people realise that because it comes on in small waves and get you condition ed to being okay with this and then this and then this and then this rule.”

Not that he’s gonna ban the vax or tell you what to do with your own body.

“Man, it’s wild, but if you want the vaccine go get it. That’s fine. I’d rather you not because if something did happen, you can’t really reverse it, but force it onto me or my loved ones and don’t make me out to be a bad person because of it. ‘Cause if it works then you’re fine and you shouldn’t worry about me.” 

Two things I want to take out of this.

One, if it ain’t true and Pfizer can prove it, it won’t take much for their squad of lawyers to orchestrate his ruin via the sledgehammer of a defamation trial. What’s Slater worth? Thirty mill?

If they don’t touch it, what’s that mean?

Pfizer is a champion of free speech or they ain’t so confident about their miracle juice?

I don’t have skin in the game, neither pro or anti-vax, and only got the jabs so I could go outside, travel, hit the gym etc, but, man, every little murmur in the chest, every tingle in the arms, well, it feels like your weathered old pal is nearing the end of the line.

Remember me when I’m gone.

I pray Slater is wrong.

Rage boils over in Australian surf town Byron Bay as pro surfer reveals long road to recovery following collision with adult learner’s leashless longboard, “Byron Bay is a glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare!”

"The girl says her legrope broke but CLEARLY there is a massive issue in our town with people not wearing them."

The ongoing battle between VALS living the retro-nostalgia dream of riding leashless logs in crowded lineups and regular joes wanting to swish around on a few waves without being decapitated continues following the near-death of pro surfer Matt Cassidy at Wategos a few days back.

Cassidy, who is forty-nine, in his own words, “nearly bled out on the beach and nearly lost my arm when someone dropped in one me out two-foot Wategos without a legrope. After an hour on the beach being held together by some absolutely legendary humans I was rushed via ambulance then helicopter to GC where I’m currently awaiting specialist advice.”

In a post yesterday, Cassidy gave an update on his condition, thrilled, obviously, surgeons weren’t forced to amputate his arm thanks to quick-thinking spectators using a legrope for a tourniquet.

“I am at home now and they’ve managed to save the arm. We aren’t sure of the extent of the injury long term but I’ll attack rehab the same way I do everything else. • With everything I’ve got. It’s an emotional time and I just want to take a second to address the girl involved in this horrible accident.
I hold you no bad will, I saw your face on the beach and I have no doubt you have learned a lesson. You have my total forgiveness and compassion as long as you practice safe surf etiquette for the rest of your surfing life.

I’d ask the community to do the same in regards to her but let’s continue the surf safety conversation this accident has started. We clearly need better education and management in the surf.

If three things can come out of this I’d wish they be these:

1. I get full use of my arm back so I can surf again.

2. That people look on the inside twice before even paddling for a wave. Kids look both ways before they even step onto a road to cross it, the surf should be no different.

3. As I’ve stated, I’ll accept that the girl says her legrope broke but CLEARLY there is a massive issue in our town with people not wearing them. Read the comments around my injury posts, there’s been a litany of injuries to children, wives, mothers, husbands, partners from people losing their boards because they are too egotistical to wear a safety device. Please let’s get this mandated and back it up with strong education.”


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Question: is it ever acceptable in these busy days to surf leashless and, further, what do you think goes through the mind of anyone taking a log to a crowded lineup sans leash?