Property prices at surf enclave Lennox Head “recalibrated” after record-breaking $18 million sale of “seaside masterpiece”

New owner drawn to Lennox Heads’ “low-key appeal”.

If any further proof was needed of the wildest property bubble in Australia’s history, the 18 mill sale of a joint in Lennox Head, once a hardscrabble town of surfers and blue-collar workers, is probably it. 

The “seaside masterpiece” at 44-52 Blue Seas Parade, Lennox Head, which looks right into the guts of the famous righthander, is “the best property on the east coast, in terms of what it offers in terms of 8.5 acres sitting on one of the most easterly points of Australia with panoramic ocean and coastal views,” selling agent Nick Bordin told the Australian Financial Review.

The vendor, retired software developer George Farley, bought the land in 2012 for a little under three-mill and built the five-bed pavilion style home.

He was chasing twenty-mill, but settled for an undisclosed amount between seventeen and eighteen mill. 

But the value wasn’t so much about the house, pretty as it is, but about the…land. 

Software developers ain’t dumb.

Farley got council approval to create a sub-division of eight luxury homes alongside the main house so, likely, the new owner will bring in the dozer and the cranes ala Owen Wright’s $30 million Byron Bay development.

Two years ago, the director-headliner of retro-surf movie Breath, Simon Baker, shucked his seventeen-mill mansion in Sydney for a cement block and timber beach shack a few hundred metres from Lennox Point. 

Baker, who is fifty-four, bought the two-bedder at 23 Dress Circle Drive, Lennox Head, for almost three-mill following the breakup of his marriage and the subsequent sale of couple’s Bronte house for seventeen-mill; a place they bought in 2015 for six-and-a-half mill. 

His Lennox joint, a sleepy eyed derelict, is one of the last remaining original houses in Dress Circle Drive, the modest holiday homes having long given way to man’s urgent need for compounds and monoliths. 

“This is the ideal site to make a terrific new statement,” advised the selling agent. “It stands on an elevated 505sqm medium density allotment within strolling distance to the beach, cafes and all of Lennox’s amenities. This is a rare real estate offering that will bring fantastic rewards to those wishing to upgrade, knockdown/rebuild or develop the site and capitalise on such a tightly held setting.”

Surprisingly deft on a surfboard, Baker grew up in Lennox before treading the boards in Sydney, Los Angeles etc.

“You can’t deny the power of this landscape,” Baker told 60 Minutes while standing with reporter at Lennox Point. “It’s got this intensity and whether you like it or not it will have an impact on you.”

A cursory jog through Lennox’s recent property sales reveals it ain’t Byron Bay’s poor sister any more. 

Mill and a half for a townhouse, two mill to be near the beach. If you don’t have generational wealth or are at least four rungs up the property ladder, you ain’t buying. 

Rent forever kids, although one thing money can’t buy is a deft rock jump.


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World Surf League delights most ardent fans by releasing wackiest slogan yet!

"All action, no lulls."

The wait is finally over. Surf fans have, since the invention of the World Surf League in 2015 circa 1976, have circled these rough dates on the calendar and wait with bated breath each and every year. For it is generally around this time, here, that the “global home of surfing” releases its tagline which will be used for the season.

The World Surf League, dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke, has produced some memorable ones in the past.

But who, here, could forget the classic “You can’t script this” which directly highlighted the fact that professional surfing can, in fact, be easily scripted.

Or the gem “It takes a tour to make a title” that was rolled out right as the brain trust was sorting out how to make a title happen in one finals day.

All very good but 2024’s has to be the best.

“All action, no lulls.”

Now, the aforementioned surf fans know, well, that professional surf watching is around 80% lull, even when the waves are firing. We also know that this past 2023 Championship Tour season reached a whopping 97% lull. It is an accepted part of the game, moments when Joe Turpel dribbles words, Strider Wasilewski ups amp, Pete Mel considers orthopedic shoes. “Lulls” are essential but I’m certain the conversation around flat seas reached all the way to the offices of the twin CEOs, whom took over after Erik Logan’s belittling, and started the wheels turning.

How to fix?

Like anyone who has ever been taught “how to master a job interview” in high school, the WSL brass decided to turn weakness into strength, though.


The new slogan is “All action, no lulls.”

David Lee Scales and I discussed, anyhow, during our weekly chat along with a dive into professional baseball being way, way edgier than surfing.

In the parlance of our time, it was “all action, no lulls.”

Hollywood heartthrob Rob Lowe clowned by NFL broadcasters for wearing Kelly Slater Surf Ranch hat to football game!

"What hat are you wearing, Rob? Where's the NFL one?"

Of Kelly Slater’s legion fans, the second most famous, after Joe Rogan, must certainly be Rob Lowe. The 59-year-old actor/director, still heartthrob handsome, has been nothing but effusive in his praise of the greatest surfer to ever wear the singlet. Who could ever forget when he went on his podcast “Literally! With Rob Lowe” and openly declared, “I’m geeking out, man. Everybody talks about people being the GOAT. Tom Brady’s the GOAT, Tiger Woods is the GOAT. They’re…GOATS… they’re…GOOOOOOATS…but they’re not The GOAT. Today, we have The GOAT Kelly Slater. The greatest surfer who ever lived. Eleven-time world champ. Youngest world champ and then oldest world champ. No one has dominated a sport, any sport, individually, ever, in history than Kelly Slater and surfing.”

One GOAT to rule them all.

It would be understood, and appreciated, then by surf fans that Lowe appeared at a recent football game wearing a Surf Ranch hat.

The broadcasters in the booth, though, used the moment to make fun of the former Brat Packer. The segment began during a break in the action when one of them, maybe Kirk Herbsreit, says “There are stars in the building. I’ll show you one right now. There’s Rob Lowe and… what hat are you wearing, Rob? Where’s the NFL one?”

The California bear brand of Surf Ranch clearly visible (photo above).

But you will recall when Rob Lowe became very famous for wearing an NFL hat to a football game. He was clowned mercilessly for his choice.

Back to our present time, though. Do you think Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch will see a wild boom in merch sales?

Here’s to hoping, I suppose.

Go Surf Ranch!

A little off the shoulder dungaree outfit.

Beloved Japanese-Australian surf brand Banks Journal suddenly shuts down after almost a decade in biz

"On Friday, October 13th, we will close our doors for the last time and bid farewell to all of you."

Tears in Byron Bay, Los Angeles and across the Pacific and slightly to the south in Tokyo after the shock announcement that Banks Journal had closed its famous brand after nine years in biz.

“I’m writing to everyone who has lovingly supported Banks Journal since we embarked on this journey back in 2014,” writes Rama McCabe, whom we’ll talk about shortly, and who created the brand along with his Byron Bay pal Tim Cochran and some Japanese investors. “We started this project to merge style and function with a sustainable approach to design and development. We were fortunate to have a unique perspective on coastal living, inspired by our Japanese and Australian heritage.

“We’ve come a long way from our original office in Bondi Beach, Australia, and we wouldn’t have had this opportunity without each and every one of you. From the incredibly talented individuals we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside, to the retailers who always believed in us no matter what, our factories that went above and beyond to provide us with beautifully made products. Last but not least, to all the people who have one of our products hanging in their closet, you’re the friends, family, and supporters who have turned the dream of creating Banks Journal into a reality.

“On Friday, October 13th, we will close our doors for the last time and bid farewell to all of you. Our hope is that you will continue to support our incredible retail partners until the last Banks Journal products have left their shelves, and that you will find an everyday journey with our brand in your life.”

The chisel-jawed nymph Rama McCabe started off at Rip Curl, swung over to Globe, then O’Neill, Critical Slide for a while before joining a Japanese-Australian gang to form Banks Journal.

I remember in 2006, in Fiji, when the then-famous surfer Nathan Webster described me and Rama as Big Dez and Little Dez.

I was thrilled more than Rama, he better looking and dazzling in the water, me, shark-nosed, thin-lipped, flamingo legged, belly fat, but thirty pounds heavier and maybe six inches bigger where it matters. (Height). Sorta same haircut gave us a vague similarity, which I milked.

Over the years I got Rama to design various surf trunks, the high point being our Bill Cosby and Black Enuch trunks, short in the leg, gentle on the hips, grippy on the thigh. Works of art, I think, through sales were slow.

It’s a been wild couple of days for Rama.

His brother Pritamo, the head judge of the WSL men’s tour for the last five years, has just been replaced by Brazil’s Luiz Fernando Steffen Pereira following the near mutiny of Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo after they weren’t gifted victories in every event on tour.


World Surf League appoints Brazilian head judge in wake of near-mutiny from Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo!

There's a new xerife in town.

Last year’s real World Surf League mess, which led to the unceremonious firing of its Chief Executive Officer Erik Logan, began in Salvador wherein shoddy judging was called out by Brazilian superstars Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo. Each former champions. All masters of their craft.

The aforementioned Logan was, however, not impressed and fired back an “open letter” so bitter, so altogether nasty as to make that evening’s cocktails very unpleasant.

He was, anyhow, gone during the Brazil event after making alleged monkey business. The World Surf League, though, still barely standing has made a major change for the upcoming 2024 Championship Tour, replacing former head judge Pritamo Ahrendt, Australian I think, with Brazil’s Luiz Fernando Steffen Pereira.

Per the press release:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the appointment of Luiz “Luli” Fernando Steffen Pereira as the Director of Officiating and Head Judge, succeeding Pritamo Ahrendt, WSL Director of Judging, as he steps away from this role to pursue other opportunities.

With Pereira’s appointment, the WSL Tours and Competition team has evolved the structure and scope of the Head Judge position. In this new role, Pereira will serve as Director of Officiating and will serve as Head Judge for all WSL Competitive Tours.

“We are thrilled to welcome Luli Pereira into the role of Director of Officiating and Head Judge,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. “Luli’s comprehensive understanding of competitive surfing, coupled with his deep commitment to excellence in judging and officiating, makes him the ideal person to lead this team. I am excited to partner with Luli and look forward to the great work that lies ahead.”

Pereira brings a wealth of experience to this role. With a distinguished career in competitive surfing that spans over two decades, Pereira has served as a Judge on the Championship Tour (CT) panel for the last 18 years, including serving as the Women’s Head Judge since 2020. Additionally, Pereira served as a judge in surfing’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Pereira brings unique experience from his early career as a professional surfer on the South America Qualifying Series. Pereira also has a distinguished educational background, holding a law degree from the Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and he is fluent in three languages.

“I’d like to express my admiration for Pritamo’s leadership as Head Judge and for his extraordinary impact on the sport,” Pereira said. “I am honored to have been selected for this new role and I am looking forward to building on the legacy of excellence in judging and officiating.”

Ahrendt had been on the job for five years, having been a regular old judge for nineteen. Derek Rielly liked him, if I recall. There was no word if he was pushed or if he jumped. What do you think?

Also, do you imagine Filipe Toledo’s daddy Richard is pleased?

More as the story develops.