Southern California, stretching from El Cajon up to Santa Barbara, is a country in and of itself. With a population greater than Australia and more economic might than the United Kingdom, the bottom quarter of this Golden State is certainly something. Now, I am not from here, originally, having sprouted in Oregon but folk here, especially the ones who have not blown in, take great pride in their various cities and towns even though, to the untrained eye, Southern California is one contiguous sprawl. Those who call Leucadia home, like Chris Cote for example, where that “L” haughtily on their foreheads (in ball cap form). Those who dwell in the aforementioned Santa Babs sneer at outsiders while slurping fresh sea urchin, like our very own Jen See.
Oxnard, west of Thousand Oaks, south of Ventura, doesn’t get much press though its locals are no less fiercely satisfied with their stretch of coast, including Silver Strand, famous for its wedges and menacing local reputation. Though, this morning, its 200,000 souls are waking up seething rage, plotting some form of revenge as the town was named “least fun city in America” by personal finance company WalletHub.
The list was compiled by ranking cities across this great nation on their “entertainment and recreation, nightlife and parties, cost of living” and sixty-five other metrics including “average business hours of breweries.”
Las Vegas, as you might imagine, ranked number one.
Oxnard, without explanation, dead last.
Timmy Curran pissed.
But have you ever been to Oxnard, yourself? I have a handful of times, none memorable except for the time that I visited Timmy Curran, surfer famous for inventing the alley-oop. Seeing what I saw in his eyes, I’d be terrified if I was a WalletHub exec. Absolutely terrified.
More as the story develops.
While it is developing, though, enjoy early Curran alley-ooping.
"Riding the wave starts at $100 for beginners (group of 12), $150 for intermediates (group of 12), and $200 for the advanced (group of 9)."
Three years ago, the world’s best surfers lined up to jiggle their thumb tips against the Palm Springs Surf Club’s pygmy dingus, a proto-wavepool built on the site of the old Wet N Wild in that storied little desert town.
“The surfing footage is fairly routine until the film’s climax, a contest featuring some spectacular shots of surfers seen beneath the overhang of breaking waves,” wrote the New York Times’ reviewer. “Otherwise, the surfing, writing, direction and performances are of a caliber to interest only undiscriminating adolescents.”
The surfing world quickly fell under the spell of the Hawaiian surfer Cheyne Magnusson who had singlehandedly altered the course of aerial surfing at BSR cable park in Waco.
“I come in and play the piano,” Cheyne told me of his role complementing the wave tech. “Give me a bunch of knobs to move water and I can make it sing.”
The pint-sized proto was built and surfers, including Mason Ho, Jackson Dorian etc, came from all over the world, flared and made clips. The pool was then demolished to make way for the full-sized tank.
Now, the pool has been revealed and…a couple of things.
Oowee, don’ look much diff to the proto. Waves look small, Typhoon Lagoon-ish little, and it ain’t cheap.
Tiny burgers cost hundred bucks an hour, one-fifty if you wanna approximate a turn, and two hundred for the best it can pump out. If you’re an Australian swinging into town, that makes it roughly 350 shekels.
Here’s the spiel from the PR gal.
Situated just a short drive from Los Angeles and minutes away from downtown Palm Springs, PSSC spans 21 acres and combines the finest features of resort and leisure attractions, creating a vibrant community-based destination centered around surfing and the beach lifestyle. While the motto emphasizes that surfing can be for everyone, non-surfers are also catered to with a range of additional attractions and offerings. Enhancing the visitor experience, large LED displays are strategically placed throughout the club, capturing and projecting the dynamic surf action, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the excitement.
PSSC is redefining the surf pool landscape with its advanced pneumatic wave technology, pioneered by industry veteran Tom Lochtefeld, the founder of Surfloch Wave Systems. This innovative technology offers on-demand, customizable waves designed by expert surfers to cater to varying skill levels, ensuring a memorable surfing experience for all. Accommodating up to 25 surfers simultaneously, the park’s waves are not only pre-programmed for individual preferences but are also a testament to sustainable practices. PSSC stands out for using just 1% of the water volume required by a typical golf course while generating over 70% of its energy resources in-house.
Though crowds will come out to surf and watch the waves, guests visiting the facility (ADA-accessible) will also have access to a lazy river, waterslide attractions (opening later in 2024), cabana rentals, and more. Amala restaurant will provide sustainable eating options that will fuel a day of surfing and play. The open indoor/outdoor design is the perfect place to relax and take in the club’s desert surroundings. Three full bars with custom cocktails and beers on draft will round out the beverage offerings on-site. Guests are welcome to visit Amala for the restaurant experience and forgo the park entrance fee. Those hitting the waves or lounging poolside can also grab a quick bite at Drifter’s, the club’s second restaurant on-site. The retail store will have a curated selection of wetsuits, clothing, and accessories.
A wide selection of rental boards will be available for surf session reservations with a variety of boards available for purchase as well. Riding the wave starts at $100 for beginners (group of 12), $150 for intermediates (group of 12), and $200 for the advanced (group of 9). Winter club entry starts at just $20 and reservations can be booked at https://palmspringssurfclub.com/ beginning on 12/13/23.
All pricing is subject to change.
The Palm Springs Surf Club, 1500 S Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Chas Smith and a comprehensive breakdown of the best beach wagons of 2023.
Are you in the market for your first, or new, beach wagon?
In his latest vlog, Chas Smith (who hates surfing) discusses the essential beauty of the devices referencing an excellent review piece by thinking surfer’s website The Inertia.
“When daytime hours get longer and the mercury level climbs,” writes The Inertia’s beach wagon reviewer Dylan Hayden, “it can only mean one thing: extended beach days with toes in the sand and butt in a chair soaking up the sun with friends and family. These are the days we live for, but the major downside of these magical moments coming together is the schlep. That is, getting everything you need (and want) for the day into the car and down to the beach. This goes double when the cargo includes small humans. For days like these, a functional beach wagon is an essential piece of the puzzle.”
“For those looking for a capable classic fold-up wagon design that could easily pull double duty with kids and gear but is light on ancillary features like a shade or kid buckles, the Tupelo Goods Load Up Wagon is the answer. In testing, we found the Load-Up Wagon to be essentially an upgraded take on a classic with extra wide wheels for sand and uneven terrain, a tough powder-coated metal frame, quality tear-resistant fabric, and four colors to choose from.
“We liked the adjustable handle and ease of folding of the Load-Up. While the Load-Up’s design is very solidly in the utilitarian wagon lane, in testing we found ourselves wishing for some other handy features like an outer compartment for storage or to hold drinks.”
Chris Davidson’s killer admits to “obsession” with surf star
Paramedics treated Davo at the scene and he was taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.
Coleman pleaded guilty to charges of assault causing death, and common assault.
At a service at North Narrabeen, the beach and its associated culture that shaped Chris Davidson, hundreds of mourners celebrated the sneering, Billy Idol-esque preternatural talent that electrified surf fans.
In sentencing proceedings yesterday, Davo’s sister said their 77-year-old mother was drinking vodka to “try and stop the pain”.
“We can never forgive and forget and this incident should just never have happened,” she said. “My mother hates you for what you have done, she says she wants to kill you with her own bare hands … she is all of 35 kilos. She can’t understand why you are alive and her son is dead. I have been numb, you took him away and I will never forgive you.”
A lawyer for Coleman told the Newcastle District Court his client had taken a blow to the head from playing rugby and had been in multiple car accidents.
Coleman told the court he was “obsessed” with Chris Davidson ’cause of the surf star’s conviction of a child sex offence years before.
“My obsession came because I wanted to protect young girls,” Coleman said. “I’d heard rumours from his history and I wanted to let him know it wasn’t acceptable in our community.”
The sentencing process continues.
Australian surf forecasting giant Swellnet back in the news for lewd and rude “uninvited peeping”
You’d think men would have learned their lesson by now. Permission must, clearly and specifically, be granted for any amorous activity to commence. But no. All sorts of cretins continue uninvited ogling, pinching, cat calling. Chief amongst them, and completely out of line, is Australian forecasting giant Swellnet.
Two years ago, the surf conjuring website “decided to strong-arm the public by erecting cameras pointing toward cherished once-secret waves while also brutally censoring opposition on its various pages.” The move was criticized, at the time, though Swellnet’s C-Suite executives declared they would win over the opposition.
Two years on, the campaign has appeared to have failed.
The furore over the camera — which is discreetly attached to a private home overlooking the Winki Pop surf break at Bells Beach on Victoria’s Surf Coast — centres on privacy fears and now involves a petition of 2,500 signatures bolstered by a local surf group and an academic report.
Those who oppose the camera say it breaches people’s right to privacy and is in conflict with the rules and values surrounding Bells Beach being a Surfing Recreation Reserve, which includes a ban on commercial activity without a permit.
The Winki Pop camera can also only be accessed by those with a subscription to online surf forecast company Swellnet for a price of $10 a month, which has led to accusations from some locals of “filming public activity for private gain”.
Like revenge porn.
A petition which began circulating three weeks ago, demanding Swellnet take the naughty peeper away, already has, as stated, 2500 signatures and very much dividing the community.
Darren Noyes-Brown from the Surf Coast branch of the Surfrider Foundation said the camera was a “violation of the core values.”
Deakin University senior criminology lecturer Monique Mann said, “There’s a clear need here for further research to guide regulatory governance but ultimately, given that this camera has been installed in the absence of any community consultation or social license, there’s an argument for it to be removed.”
Sarah Reid works in a surf shop in Torquay and said, “A lot of people want to surf Bells Beach because it’s iconic, but it’s not a learner’s wave. If I can look at the camera at Winki Pop, I know I can send them somewhere safer or know that if they are absolutely set on Bells, I can check if it’s safe and let them know what to expect.” And added, “If it’s a privacy issue or a surveillance issue it’s absolute rubbish because they’re little black ants in the distance at Winki Pop. It’s [the camera] doing a service to the community. If someone wants to put a camera on their house that’s their agenda, I have no dramas with it. Bring on the cameras. I think it’s really funny that people signing the petition don’t surf, can’t surf or can’t get waves.”
Swellnet’s Stu Nettle, meanwhile, is back at headquarters, face pressed to computer screen beaming the illicit Winki images, drooling.