Aerial photos reveal new Kelly Slater wave pool on Abu Dhabi’s Hudayriyat Island already operational, with tank filled, hydrofoil in place and stadium lights installed!

"The biggest and most advanced artificial wave facility in the world… the world’s longest ride, biggest barrel, and largest man-made wave pool.”

Earlier today you read about the imminent opening of a new Slater pool, only the second of its kind ever, on the new gussied-up version of Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi. 

It’s been almost a decade since Slater unveiled his man-made miracle to the world in the American winer of 2015, and the day after the Brazilian surfer, Adriano De Souza, with whom he’d engaged with in a long-running blood feud had just won the world title. 

Shortly after Kelly dropped the pool clip a BeachGrit reader screenshot this exchange between a Kelly Slater and another surfer. The reader couldn’t verify the authenticity of the parties involved, but it still makes for gripping reading.

Old history, yeah, but prophetic, I suppose, as Adriano never reached the same heights and retired soon after.

Anyway, according to the presser, “Surf Abu Dhabi will be the biggest and most advanced artificial wave facility in the world… the world’s longest ride, biggest barrel, and largest man-made wave pool.”

The tank is part of a 51 million square metre development of the island that’ll add fifty-three clicks of coastline to the city, with attractions including a velodrome with a roof-top track, 220km of bike trails, a giant urban park, high-end residential communities built on two different hills affording 360-degree views of this paradise on the Persian Gulf.

Gotta love it when that Middle Eastern money spigot pours in your direction and far away from the stupid environmental regulations of Australia and USA, Queensland, Coachella and Florida, all promised superb versions of the pool but were scuttled by pressure from community groups.

Now, a sharp-eyed BeachGrit reader has used Google Earth to discover just how far along the pool is and, oowee, “Looks like they’re already operational, the tanks filled, hydrofoil is in, they even have stadium lights installed,” he wrote. 

Slater tank, far left.
Ain’t she a peach!

Until now, I’d never entertained the idea of swinging over to the UAE, something about enslaved Filipinos and Bangladeshis don’t feel right. I get the same vibe in Bali.

But with a Slater pool? Winter temps in the seventies and summers hitting 120?

Why wouldn’t you?

Good surfers enjoy coke!

Cocaine and Surfing continue a sensual pas de deux as officials bust smuggling ring stashing toot in wave sliders!

The moral? Best to stay away from temptation.

Three men are in custody in what police say was an international drug ring, smuggling cocaine inside surfboards from Uruguay to Europe.

According to counter-narcos, dogs sniffed out six surfboards leaving Carrasco International in Montevideo on May 23. Upon secondary inspection, police noted the boards’ unusual weight. After a quick pinata party, 51kilos of cartel candy spilt out. Operation Iris, it’s named.

Officials allowed one of the boards to make its way to Portugal where two Italian nationals were arrested attempting to claim their baggage. A third man was popped in Italy.

The Uruguayan prosecutor’s office highlights the bust as proof of success in the global war on drugs, calling the transatlantic operation “a model of international success.” Uruguay, Spain, Italy, and Portugal took part in the bust.
Uruguayan National Police Director Jose Manuel Azambuya stated, “Operation Iris is unprecedented in our country because of the scope and significance of international cooperation.”

Yet surfboard stuffing is nothing new as a delivery method in the small pharma biz. Rainbow Surfboards (McCabe, Hynson, et. al.) were the mavens, stashing their particulars in foam and fin to extend their Indo fantasies. It went South as drugs tend to do that sorta thing to business and businesses and family and whatnot.

Most consider drug harvesting, smuggling, selling, partaking, etc. a sick practice. Others may be ambivalent, having blood somewhere dried under the fingernails. (For a wide-eyed analysis, read Cocaine and Surfing: A Love Story.)
And some may think it romantic,(and certainly more appealing than trafficking a bloated, balloon-filled mule) where lean, sunglassed figures float in and out of airports, siphoning fear with breezy talk at check in, nothing but pure adrenaline pumping through the terminal. Every small move building into a play. Those flawless and free characters we read about, the true magicians.

Adam Gopnik, in his book “The Real Work,” describes such mastery as a “slow carpentering of fragments into a harmonious whole.”

“Mastering” certain things, Gopnik explains, “relies on learning to pretend what you’re doing isn’t incredibly dangerous.”

And dangerous it is as reality has not been kind to the practice. As many have tried, many have failed. Some notables:

• 1994. Frank de Castro Diaz. Denpasar Airport, Bali. 4 kilos in 2 boards.
The give away? Frank also checked a saw.
• 2011: Three men. Bilboa Airport, Spain. 50 kilos in 9 boards.

The give away? One month prior, fools were busted for shipping coke in Manolo
• 2014: Jesse Edgardo Herrera, of Pomona, LAX, California. 3 kilos in 1 board.

The give away? According to TSA, fresh glue permeated from board bag.

And so many other stories of failed magic. You may have your own. The moral? Best to stay away from temptation. Hell, my boy’s on Oahu and my girl in Kihei. I’m scared to bring 4 oz. of Colgate in my carry on.

Coming real soon to Abu Dhabi's Hudayriat Island, only the second Slater pool in the entire world!

Kelly Slater pool featuring “waves up to 8 feet” set to open next month in sunny Abu Dhabi!

Surf Mazraea.

Could it be true? After all these years, all these rumors and whispers, that another Kelly Slater facility is ready to open? Be still my beating heart. A very fine bit of gossip, anyhow, just floated across my radar and that “the plow” has, indeed, already been built in oil rich Abu Dhabi there hugging the Persian or Arabian gulf, depending on your alignment.

The source, almost always correct, declares, “Solid rumor that a new Kelly pool is opening in Abu Dhabi next month. Actually built and real. And also that the wave breaks up to 8-foot – a couple of feet bigger than Lemoore.”

Could it truly truly be?

Wavepool Magazine buoys hope.

Touted by the Crown Prince’s news organization as “the biggest and most advanced artificial wave facility in the world,” the surf park will open at the end of 2023.

“Surf Abu Dhabi will be the biggest and most advanced artificial wave facility in the world,” the company said in a statement. “Designed in partnership with Kelly Slater Wave Co., the landmark destination will offer a high-performance surfing experience, featuring the world’s longest ride, biggest barrel, and largest man-made wave pool.”

The Emiratis, tender and downy, will not need that extra girth, but a Middle Eastern tank could change… everything. Have you spent any time in UAE? I have done multiple tours, first heading to Dubai after spending 3ish months in Yemen. It is Blade Runner-y and odd but an event there might actually be interesting plus staffed by Pakistani slaves.


And could this explain where World Surf League CEO Erik Logan has disappeared off to? For his sake, I hope so. The Bvlgari Resort ain’t a bad place to spend a few hours.

More as the story develops.

Scottish surfers (pictured). Photo: Trainspotting
Scottish surfers (pictured). Photo: Trainspotting

Scottish surf scene continues stratospheric rise as “teenage tale of surfing, sex and hellfire” set to open Edinburgh International Film Festival!


The surprise of the year, so far, has certainly been the implosion of the World Surf League and subsequent disappearance of its Chief Executive Erik Logan, who appears to have entered the witness protection program after infuriating then infantilizing the proud South American nation of Brazil. Near eclipsing, though, has been the continued stratospheric rise of Scotland as a surf culture powerhouse.

Who could have possibly seen that coming?

But here we are and it’s true. The northern bit of that Great Britain, usually known for delicacies made from intestines and plaid, has placed itself firmly alongside California, New South Wales, Hossegor as an arbiter of wave sliding cool.

It all started to shoot skyward, of course, with a keen-eye’d writer from one town, or another, up there who rose to be the definitive professional surf tour correspondent. Yes, a contest is not truly over until JP Currie has opined. How are we supposed to feel about what we saw without his direction? Without his dissection of this or that? He is, now, firmly number one stepping right over the great Longtom and whichever hungry hippo Stab has trying to make sense of Callum Robson’s backside attack.

And continues its vertical climb with the just-announced opener of the august Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Per Variety:

The world premiere of Scottish writer-director Johnny Barrington‘s debut feature “Silent Roar” will open the 2023 Edinburgh International Film Festival on Aug. 18. Billed as a “teenage tale of surfing, sex and hellfire” set in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, the film stars emerging actor Louis McCartney as Dondo, a young surfer struggling to accept his father’s recent disappearance at sea. Caught up in grief, he is brought to his senses by rebellious crush Sas (Ella Lily Hyland), a high achiever who dreams of escaping the island. When an oddly-behaved new minister arrives on the island, Dondo begins to have cosmic visions.

By the description a must-see but have you ever been to Scotland?

I have, once, to the aforementioned Edinburgh, in fact. I was very taken by its Georgian scowl, medieval fortress perched on giant stone, glowering. It felt exactly like it should feel, which is a fine trait in a city and I ate many fishes and many chips and read Irvine Welsh, or at least thought about someday reading Irvine Welsh.

An injection, anyhow, of the Scottish flavor to our surfing world is so very welcome. Less preening, more punching.

No Oklahoma.


"Great facial expression before entry and tried to generate speed for a large entry. But he held onto the board for the full slide, which cost him."

Mick Fanning strips almost naked to pose as the Silver Surfer to help raise $2 million for research into “Stephen Hawking disease”

“It might take me a couple of weeks to get it off, but it’s all for a good cause.”

You never wanna get hit by motor neurone disease, one of the cruellest ways to slowly descend into a cauldron of misery. If you want evidence, watch any sorta video of the theoretic physicist Stephen Hawking, who lived with MND for fifty-five years, body increasingly twisted and ugly while his brilliant mind stayed forever sharp.

Mick Fanning, who is fit as a trout and as strong as a bear, meanwhile, has joined a who’s who of Australian celebrities, including Hollywood superstar Eric Bana, to help raise money to support Australian football legend Neale Daniher’s Fight MND campaign.

Fanning, who turned forty-two yesterday and whose staggering wealth had him crowned “one of the most successful post-retirement business athletes in Australia” stripped to a sexy shimmery leotard, covered himself in silver body paint and plunged into a pool filled with freezing water in front of tens of thousands of Australian football fans.

Although a firm fan favourite, analysis from Fox commentators was less than kind, sending the three-time world champ a rare defeat, finishing ninth from nine.

Costume: The ‘Silver Surfer’ from the old Marvel Comics. Brave choice to go topless with silver body paint and silver pants on a cold Melbourne day for a plunge into an icebath. Jonathan Brown though said it was a “missed opportunity” there was no inflatable shark in the water.
Entry and splash: Great facial expression before entry and tried to generate speed for a large entry. But he held onto the board for the full slide, which cost him.
Best quote: “I was thinking of wearing something minimal and getting really, really cold. It might take me a couple of weeks to get it off, but it’s all for a good cause.”

The last time we heard from Mick on these pages, of course, was three weeks ago when it was revealed filmmakers Nick Pollet and Vaughan Blakey, whose stop-motion epic The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe has taken the surfing world by storm, spared Fanning the humiliation of full-frontal nudity.

Why no dick for Mick?

“All the surfers fully trusted us on a level that was, I think, they knew we wouldn’t cook ‘em, in the way they present their lives and careers and their brand,” Vaughan said. All we did was amplify the perception of who they are. We knew we could flare up with Jack and Wilko.”

Why did Jack get a jock pussy and Wilko a noble shaft with a great thick cord, enlarged, charged, aching to get sucked?

“Toss of a coin,” said Vaughan. “At the premiere of the movie in Queensland someone asked Wilko if he liked the movie and he said, well, I could be biased ‘cause I have a huge cock in it but I loved it!”

Freestone, meanwhile, “was soooo stoked he had the tiny dick. He had such a good sense of humour about the dick. Fuck, it’s life imitating art!”

“We knew we couldn’t put a dick on Mick, no dick on Mick, basically, so Jack and Wilko were the only guys we could put dicks on.”


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