Shock as hotly anticipated build of $120 million Wiseman’s Ferry wavepool collapses only four months before first sod turned!

All money, say the operators of the failed tank, will be refunded on 31 July 2023 to the bank account nominated by the investor.

Three years ago, the dream of every money-rich, time-poor Sydney surfer appeared set to become true with the launch of a luxury, member-only wavepool an hour and a half drive run north in the Cayenne from Bondi Beach. 

Initially set to open in 2022, the pool and resort at Wiseman’s Ferry on the Hawkesbury River was backed by Joel Parkinson, Stephanie Gilmore, Josh Kerr, Olympic coach Bede Durbidge, Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard.

Digital marketer John Du Vernet, one of the three principals in the project, came up with the idea for the resort while gardening. 

“I was jealous of my friends who could play golf and go cycling all the time, while the surf is only good a few days every year, and everyone knows when that is because of [surfing] apps. A good surf and wave can live with you for months and years, but it’s hard to get that experience.”

The way it worked was you buy a membership, either base, gold or platinum plus an annual fee and it gave you a set amount of time in the tank, which was gonna be a Tom Lochtefeld Surf Loch but later turned into Endless Surf tech, and guaranteed rooms at the Kelvin Ho-designed resort. Investors were encouraged to use their retirement funds (called superannuation in Australia) to buy in, memberships cleverly configured a part-ownership of the joint. 

Now, and as per a report on SwellNet which came via a press release on Facebook by a regional radio station, the project has been canned following wild rains on the notoriously flood-prone river although cost blow-outs is the official reason for the tank’s collapse.

Funny, during those rains I kept thinking, ooowee, wonder how the boys up at Wiseman’s are doin’. Texted ’em, was reassured and so on.

But here we are. 

From Central Coast radiation station Coast FM, 963 on your dial if you’re in the area, 

The glossy masterplan for “Australia’s first private resort-style surfing destination”, at Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River, was certainly alluring.

To be set among 18.2ha of bushland an hour from North Sydney, the Wisemans Surf Lodge will have a “12,600sqm ocean-like, wave-generating pool, a chic hotel, restaurant and six-hole golf course,”  a destination tourism experts believe could be a drawcard if done right. And, with a minimum investment of $30,000 to buy into an ‘integrated resort destination’, the appeal was there.

Now, a mere four months since building was set to start reforming a thirty-year-old hotel on the property, developers are handing back investors’ money.

“The recent news regarding the completion of our civil tender and the challenges we have faced in securing a viable price during a hyper-escalated market may have left questions (to be answered),” said a spokesperson in a statement released earlier this week.

“Unfortunately, since the completion of our civil tender, we have been unable to secure a construction price that maintains an adequate contingency for the fund due to hyper-escalation. 

“While we’ve completed several rounds of preliminary project pricing throughout this journey, to maintain an accurate and viable fund build-up, the development costs have changed so dramatically that simply adding more debt or equity to compensate does not preserve a viable financial model that the investment is based upon,” added the spokesperson.

“No unitholders’ funds will be lost, all investments will be refunded in full. Unitholder funds have never been used for any purposes and have been held in the Custodian’s trust account as outlined in the PDS. 

All money will be refunded on 31 July 2023 to the bank account nominated by the investor.

Like Teahupo'o only not at all. Photo: WSL
Like Teahupo'o only not at all. Photo: WSL

In bizarre twist, U.S. Olympic surfing head coach Brett Simpson declares team will use Kelly Slater Surf Ranch facility to train for Teahupoo!

"It’s the longest, it’s got the most power, it’s the most challenging."

Right exactly at time of writing, the Wallex U.S. Open of Surfing has just gotten underway in 2 – 3 foot Huntington Beach. A summer crowd is beginning to gather, to watch the surfer bash the lip all the way to the sand. It is not very exciting, if I’m to be all the way honest, though next summer we will have quite a different spectacle to enjoy during this window.


The Place of Broken Skulls.

You, of course, know that Tahiti’s gem is set to host the surfing portion of the Paris Summer Games and all are very excited, save Brazil’s Filipe Toledo. The ledging left, sucking water off the reef and creating a thick, dynamic tube is one of the world’s best waves. One of its scariest too. But how shall the U.S. Olympic surf team, coached by Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson, prepare? Maybe a trip to Hawaii? A little jaunt to Puerto Rico?

But no.

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, which creates a mechanical wave not one thing like Teahupo’o, will be utilized.

“Right now in my eyes it’s still the best wave pool out there,” Simpson told Your Central Valley. “It’s the longest, it’s got the most power, it’s the most challenging. I think that wave is so long so you, as a surfer, it’s great. As a beginner you get a lot of ride time, but at an expert level you have a lot of room to make mistakes. I think for the youth and these younger kids to train, it’s something special and I think you’re seeing it. You’re seeing the level rise.”

Oh. I guess he’s talking about training for the Los Angeles Games, which will take place in Los Angeles. Do you think the tub will be the site of the surfing portion there? San Clemente and the aforementioned Huntington Beach are in the mix. Will Lemoore rise above?

If it does, it’ll be the end of Olympic surfing.

Maybe a good thing.

This story number 4979 brought to you by Klly Slater’s Turtle Moon sandals which would like to remind you that the turtle and the moon both have cycles, or something.

Photo: Breitling
Photo: Breitling

Kelly Slater bucks equality trend in sport, wears luxury watch 57% more expensive than Breitling “Surfer Squad” members Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons!


Culture is an odd thing, though, no? Forever shifting, moving. What was totally acceptable yesterday, using the gender binary, for example, is today a form of assault. Drinking soy milk, let’s say, a disgusting, hormone disrupting habit when it was, just a handful of years ago, the healthy future of iced-coffee drinks.

It is almost impossible to stand ground when the shift begins, takes real moxie and verve to hold to “the old ways.”

Take the move, particularly in sport, to “equality.”

Equal opportunity between men and women. Equal pay between them. Equal, equal, equal.

It is, and should go without saying, a wonderful evolution but it appears Kelly Slater has reached his limit with equality and is drawing a line in the sand.

The 11x world champion, considered the greatest athlete to ever live by many, is part of the luxury Swiss watch maker Breitling’s “Surfer Squad,” as you certainly know. The other two members just so happen to be Australian greats Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.

Both openly female.

Well, in a recent spread, both gals sported Breitling Superocean’s retailing for $7,190 Australian. Slater, the lone man, wore the Superocean’s $11,490 Australian model.

A solid 57% percent increase.

It was not just in one pictorial. The Boy from Cocoa Beach wore a 57% more expensive watch whilst the three lounged in a car,  ran on the seashore, stood on some rocks making apparent jokes.

Gilmore and Fitzgibbons never got to wear it.

Only Kelly Slater.

But do you imagine if he takes over as World Surf League CEO, as many want, that the men will receive a 57% pay bump while with the women remaining flat?

Moxie, man.

This story number 4978 brought to you by VAER watches. Use promo code splendor15 to receive 15% off the non-sexist watch of your choice.

Coastal San Diego enclave declares “local state of emergency,” mulls changing e-bike rules after tragic accident claims life of 15-year-old

"Do we want kids to die and ride bikes and be free and all that, or do we just want kids to be safe and not die?"

E-bikes have, for better or worse, become a ubiquitous part of the Southern California surf experience. Like manna, or locusts, depending on your personal bent, they have descended upon beach towns from San Diego to Santa Cruz, whizzing along various bike paths at various freeway speeds, carting whole families plus their Yeti coolers, umbrellas and Wavestorms, cutting the tradition Trestles walk from twenty minutes to two.

Joel Tudor, anti-e-bike, recently posted a video mocking a tens upon tens of freedom machines getting taken out by a rogue wave, recently.

Fans of technology excoriated him for being grouchy.

Thus far, there are very few regulations concerning electric power. They are allowed everywhere that traditional bikes are but the tide may be turning.

During the early part of this summer, in Encinitas just thirty clicks north of San Diego, a well-liked 15-year-old was struck by a work van and tragically died. By all accounts, the boy was not being dangerous nor the driver at fault. Just a horrible accident though one that may lead to changes.

The city council declared a “local state of emergency,” in the aftermath and is debating putting at age limit on e-bikes, require a written test and a photo ID for those without driver’s licenses.

Niko Sougias, owner of Charlie’s Electric Bike in Encinitas, told Channel 10 news, “We should consider maybe 13, 14 or 15-year-olds be exempt from e-bikes. I just cringe anytime I see a kid almost get hit, and it’s like, what are we? Do we want kids to die and ride bikes and be free and all that, or do we just want kids to be safe and not die; I want kids to be safe and not die.”

Former Olympic cyclist Shaun Wallace, though, disagrees, sharing, “Anything that regulates cycling is likely to have a net negative effect whether it’s requiring licensing, or registration or helmets overall because the benefits so outweigh the risks. Perhaps kids under 12 don’t really need an e-bike. It’s not like they’re going off doing the grocery shopping or commuting to work, so if they have to actually pedal the thing themselves on 100% kid power. I think that’s probably not a bad thing either.”

But what are your thoughts on the matter?

Do you believe that e-bikes should be free, that the nanny state will always lead to hell or that common sense has a limit?

Update: Bizarre twist in case of Sunny Garcia as court documents reveal Hawaiian’s father sued for $1 million by carer for alleged incidents including “throwing a suitcase…and threatening to commit further violence”

"Garcia Jr. made a false police report of 'imprisonment' that Plaintiff was depriving Garcia Jr. of food, and alleged other false crimes against Plaintiff"

(Editor’s note: The first version of this story interpreted court documents as a civil suit between Sunny Garcia and his carer. It’s since been revealed Sunny’s father, who shares the same name, Vincent Garcia, although his daddy is Vincent Garcia Jr and Sunny is Vincent Garcia III, is the subject of the case. Hence the update.)

A civil suit in a Texas district court has shone a little light on the state of Sunny Garcia, four years on since the world champ and perennial Triple Crown winner was found unconscious in room 210 of the Best Western Hood in Oregon, almost dead, and apparently by his own hand.

The forty nine year old had posted this shortly before he was found.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sunny Garcia (@sunnygarcia)

The lack of interest in Sunny beyond the initial outpouring of grief in 2019 indicated that no one was expecting any miracles.

Years on, whispers, rumours.

What was made public was Sunny, who is now fifty-three, was hospitalised, put into an induced coma, had kidney dialysis and lung surgery in California being being sent to a facility in Texas paid for by his wealthy Harvard-educated girlfriend Lori Park, one of the first software engineers at Google. Park was the Champ’s best hope of recovery, said our sources, as she has the “resolve and the resources” to, if not cure, at least improve Sunny’s condition. A good person to have in your corner.

A civil suit filed in a Texas court on July 10 by Park against Vincent Garcia Jr, Sunny’s daddy, for one million dollars, however, has shone light on a complicated and apparently fraught recovery.

In the statement of facts, Park is “saddened to initiate litigation related to these matters but is now forced to file to suit to preserve her legal rights.”

Among the allegations,

10. Garcia Jr. made a false police report of “imprisonment,” that Plaintiff was depriving Garcia Jr. of food, and alleged other false crimes against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s house staff including that Plaintiff “assaulted” Garcia Jr. and that Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s house staff performed “illegal medical procedures” and falsified records.
11. Garcia Jr. false allegations caused multiple HPD patrol cars to come to Plaintiff’s home late at night, terrifying Plaintiff. Plaintiff was eventually completely exonerated of these allegations by video evidence and an HPD investigation.
12. Garcia Jr. made false statements and threats to Plaintiff’s staff and conspired with a police sergeant who ran her security with the intent of impairing her ability to run and properly staff the home.
13. Garcia J.r agreed with Plaintiff that he was simply a guest in her home but then covertly attempted to establish residency in the home so that he could not be removed for his dangerous conduct. Garcia Jr. subsequently refused to leave Park’s property and misrepresented in different instances to police officers and others that he was both a legal tenant of the property and a 50% owner of the property. Garcia J.r lied to police by alleging that he had no other place to go besides Park’s home even though he owns his own home in Hawaii and Plaintiff had notified Garcia Jr. that she had prepaid for a hotel room for Garcia Jr. Plaintiff had provided Garcia Jr. with the hotel reservation confirmation such that Garcia J.r could verify the reservation in his name.
14. Additionally, Garcia Jr. lied to neighbors and security guards about the nature of medical care being provided in the home. This defamation caused the homeowners’ association to attempt to evict Park from the home during the Covid pandemic, forcing Plaintiff to retain legal counsel
and eventually being forced to purchase the property on short notice and with extreme financial cost
15. During this time, Defendant Garcia J.r assaulted Plaintiff by throwing a suitcase at Plaintiff, following Plaintiff to another room and throwing another suitcase across that room, and threatening to commit further violence against her. Plaintiff was forced to hire security to protect her in her own home because Garcia Jr. would not leave and was dangerous. Garcia Jr. had other violent outbursts and would talk of his past of “beating” and otherwise harming other people.

The Instagram account @freesunnygarcia2 claims Vince shared custody of Sunny with Parks but, well, yeah, see above.

More coming obviously.