The gorgeous Haydenshapes surfboard factory in Sydney, destroyed by fire.

Thirty firefighters fail to save “world’s most beautiful” surfboard shaper’s iconic Sydney factory

Haydenshapes' spectacular Mona Vale factory destroyed by fire…

A couple of weeks back your ol pal DR spent a delightful hour or so shooting the breeze with the shaper Hayden Cox and his biz partner, marketing whiz wife Dani at their factory in Mona Vale, Sydney.

It ain’t hard to admire this pair. There’s Hayden, the sunny faced forty-one-year-old with a boyish face and his rock star chic gal Dani who still own a biz that could’ve fallen into investors’ paws years back, pouring their hearts into a conga-line of new ventures. For these kids, it’s all sweat equity.

And the factory is spectacular, what you might call a paradoxical minimalist grandeur. The pair proudly showed me through the place, their baby, with its concrete floors, the soaring ceilings and its acres of glass.

I wasn’t surprised. The couple has collabed with Audi, Alexander Wang, IWC watches, Dion Lee, Mr Porter (for their eponymous surfwear brand) as well as making resin furniture for high-end Australian brand SP01.

So it’s a little heartbreaking to hear the joint went up in flames earlier today, thirty firefighters and hazmat crews “racing to control a fire belching enormous billows of smoke…but the well-known surfboard factory the fire sparked within was destroyed.”

The Haydenshapes factory at Tengah Crescent lit up in the late afternoon, although a cause has yet to be determined. One staff member was treated for burns.

Hayden started Haydenshapes in 1997 when he was twenty-two, and who wrote a best-selling book seven years ago called New Wave Vision about his climb to the top.

I described it back then as “a wonderful story of a driven kid who shucks the expectations of his family (accountancy!) to learn to shape, build a surfboard company, create a unique method of surfboard construction and, eventually, be feted by icons as diverse as Audi and Alexander Wang. A tough biz-man, sure, and…oowee… a little sensitive to the inconsequential yapping of critics, but his advice, his thoughts, are compelling… as a window into a young shaper’s rise, fall and rise, of the challenges of the surfboard game, of defiance in the face of unsupportive parents, of making your way in the world on your own terms, it works.”

Head judge quits and, inset, trans-shredder Eddie Rodrigues from Brazil.

Prestigious longboard event dealt new blow as head judge quits following “transphobic” comments by organiser, “Hatred develops from words!”

"Love is the only way and we are all love. Humans all have hearts that beat and lungs that breathe and blood that pumps through our veins."

You’ll know, by now, the imbroglio surrounding the Mexi Log Fest, a much-loved longboard event that has been getting heat from trans-activists after the contest organiser included the rule, “There are only two divisions: natural born women and natural men.”

Like I always say, don’t upset the trannies, they ain’t got the humour they used to.

(Contest organiser Izzy Preciado was slammed, first, by Fringe Surfers New England, which was quickly followed by Surf Equity, whom you’ve read about here, here, here, here and here. )

Following the heat, Sponsors Oatly and Hydrophile Surfcraft pulled out of the event and, now, the festival’s head judge, Erin Meza-Ashley (aka worm), pronouns she/they, has quit, explaining her decision on Instagram thus: 

Please bare with me It has always been a point of pride that one of the driving principals of @mexilogfest has been able to provide a platform for all the talent in the world that cannot be contained by 16 person invitational. @mexilogfest has also strived to create an event that enhances the community by creating an environment for people to make deep seeded friendships with others from across the world as well as being the first longboard contest to see the value of men and women as equal and proving it by providing equal prize purses for all. 

It has been my great privilege to be a part of the judging family and specifically Head Judge at last years event where i got to see some of the best surfing i have ever seen in real life from both the women’s and mens division. In light of statements made by The @mexilogfest on how they are going to discriminate against what is an already marginalized group; it is with regret that i have to resign my position as a judge for The Mexilogfest. 

Our actions and words in and out of the water have the ability to limit other peoples possibility to reach their full potential; furthermore hatred develops from words, prejudice through exclusion, and escalating violence towards those that word aim to dehumanize. 

The talent pool around the world has been growing exponentially over the past few years and i really hope it continues to do so. It is also my great hope that the community grows with open hearts and welcoming arms for all of our brothers and sisters who love the ocean as much as i know we all do. We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. I hope to see y’all in the ocean soon.

Commentary below the navel is interesting, with cameos by Lucy Small a Sydney-based longboarder and surf feminist who rocketed to fame when she gave organisers of a longboard contest hell from the stage for paying the women half as much as the men, and former Channel Islands frontman and log wizard Devon Howard, who is far too slick to be straight, let’s be frank.

Kassia Howard, big-name logger and face of Roxy, summed up the mood of the less militant.

“Love is the only way and we are all love. Humans all have hearts that beat and lungs that breathe and blood that pumps through our veins.”

Meanwhile, in Rio, BeachGrit’s fav crossover gal Eddie Rodrigues tries out her new equipment!

You go T-Girl!

Signed Kelly Slater surfboard “personally used” by 11x World Champion up for auction in support of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation!

6-2 x 18 1/2 x 2 1/2

How many win-wins are there in life? I count very few. Korean corn dogs, surfing in Mexico, sleeping with windows and doors wide open, internal combustion engines, Thursday night football, Joe Turpel’s someday retirement, Hugh Jackman back on the market, swatting a mosquito after it has feasted on your blood but before it can enjoy, Spam musubi and bidding on Kelly Slater’s surfboard in support of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation.

Yes, the 11x world champion has gifted a Wade Tokoro-shaped Slater Designs, 6-2 x 18 1/2 x 2 1/2 5 fin option with a round pin tail, to a fine charity.

The Vitalogy Foundation supports environmentalism, homeless eradication and indigenous people.

Each vital.

The board, ridden by Slater during his World Surf League Championship Tour 2022/23 campaign, is also signed by him.

Bid here.

Save the world.


Current number $3550.

California surfers breathe sigh of relief as state installs “odor sensors” near beachfront border with Mexico!

"If this doesn’t prioritize our crisis here, our emergency that we’re all living and experiencing, I don’t know what will.”

Now, there are many, many, many things that can ruin a good surf. Forgetting to properly wax board, lingering in parking lot until the wind picks up, chatting with pal while wave of the day feathers just right there, eye-catching man or woman being lightly too provocative, the smell of fresh sizzling carne asada wafting on a warm breeze.

The latter is of particular trouble in California’s very southern San Diego County where a weird piling fence thing from about 100 yards into the Pacific and up the sand separates Mexico from the United States of America. President Joe Biden, fulfilling campaign promises to his most liberal base, has bulldozed environmental concerns and is adding to his predecessor’s border wall while expelling who families from icky places like Venezuela. That’s all mostly happening points east, though, leaving California open to south-of-the-boarder distractions.

Like aroma of fresh sizzling carne asada or, even more problematic, al pastor slowly spinning on a spit, pineapple nearby.


Well, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (SDAPCD) has decided to take matter into its own hands and will measure the air quality near the Tijuana River Valley by figuring out what’s in it by setting up six new “odor sensors” in Imperial Beach.

Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide are the main focus for the odors,” Kevin Bradley, a senior chemist at SDAPCD told San Diego’s local ABC affiliate. “It’s a quality of life issue. It can affect mental health, you know, your appetite, all sorts of different things to be able to smell something that terrible. All these compounds contribute to poor air quality. However, the gasses that are of most concern in the Tijuana River Valley are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, with hydrogen sulfide being the main culprit that causes the pungent odor associated with sewage and wastewater. Sulfur dioxide typically does not produce odor at ambient levels but can provide additional information on hydrogen sulfide levels.”

Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre was happy about the odor sensors but also frustrated. “It’s unfortunate that we have to present hard data to make our case, right?” She said. “It’s very obvious we are having environmental impacts, public health impacts, impacts to our local economy. If this doesn’t prioritize our crisis here, our emergency that we’re all living and experiencing, I don’t know what will.”

I guess I didn’t know that melty panela cheese let off sulphur dioxide though, I’d imagine, it would be difficult sitting down for a boring old hamburger or slab of ketchup smeared meatloaf in Imperial Beach and being forced to smell grilled octopus and cilantro would be a huge bummer.

I surfed through the border, once, in Imperial Beach. Paddling from California to Mexico and actually had tacos on the beach right there.

Cutting the session short.

If I recall, I wasn’t allowed to paddle back and a pal had to come pick me up.

He had tacos too.

Very unchill. Photo: Bali Bogans
Very unchill. Photo: Bali Bogans

“Bali Bogan” reveals hideous plague awaiting visiting surfers on the “Island of the Gods!”

Terror nigh.

Any surfer who has had the good fortune of traveling to Bali has certainly experienced the vast pleasures contained on, and around, the Island of the Gods. From playful monkeys who gently steal sunglasses to curious visitors learning to ride motor scooters for the very first time, Bali is feast for the senses to say nothing of the waves.

Uluwatu, Nusa Lembongan, Canggu and Kuta, just to name a tiny few. In the water Brazilians share with Frenchman who, in turn, share waves with Australians. Afterward they all toast Bintangs and marvel at their blessings.

But alas, a hideous plague is manifesting, painful and unsightly, confusing to general practitioners (doctors) and a brave bogan is issuing a dire warning to other “Bali Bogans.”

The Tomcat Beatle.

The pestilence, which delivers an unsightly, painful rash, is most common in wet areas and, well, from the source herself:

“Noticed a blister on my leg at dinner after sitting outside… on a cane chair. The next day it blistered, burst and I noticed the scar like marks across my skin. I applied betadine and after I got home I’ve been on antibiotics… after some googling I figured out what it was. I felt nothing and saw nothing.”

She traveled home completely disfigured.

The Tomcat Beatle doesn’t actually bite its victim, but dares bleed on him or her when being drunkenly squished, leaves a toxin on the skin that flares hard.

Dieter Hochuli, ecologist and University of Sydney professor, said “Brushing them away can add to the problem, as you end up smoodging the toxin in the direction of the brush and spreading it. That’s why lots of the blisters look quite linear.”


In any case, the best thing to do is wash the area with cool and soapy water or, maybe, Bintang.

It generally takes a day or two for symptoms to appear but then weeks for them to go away, making it awkward and weird when trying to suntan post surf.

Best practice is to hide in the dark like a mutant and NOT surf.

More as the story develops.