Wavepool king Tom Lochtefeld on his Palm Springs Surf Club Miracle!

How to create the best wavepool on earth and why Surf Lakes gonna self-destruct!

All that heat about the new Palm Springs Surf Club wavepool, featuring the tech of wavepool king Tom Lochtefeld, has been entirely warranted despite earlier fears it was a modern incarnation of the old Disney Typhoon Lagoon.

Three years ago, the world’s best surfers lined up to ride the then proto-wavepool built on the site of the old Wet N Wild, the same pool used in the opening sequences of North Shore, a film from 1987 that tells the fictional tale of Arizona’s Rick Kane, a boy from a broken home who learns to surf in a wavepool and then attempts to transpose his skills to Pipeline with mostly pleasing results.

The Tom Lochtefeld tech, which is called Surf Loch, is diff to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, Wavegarden, American Wave Machines and Surf Lakes. It uses a combo of vacuum and pressure to make waves.

“An opening at the bottom of each chamber allows the wave energy pulse to be released into open water independently of each other. The controlled variations of the independent pulses can generate an infinite variety of wave swells.”

The Hawaiian-raised surfer Cheyne Magnusson, who turned the Waco tank into the hottest party in town, was handpicked to run the tank and help push it to its full potential.

“He is a phenomenal wave composer, a virtuoso on our equipment,” says Tom Lochtefeld.

“I come in and play the piano,” Cheyne told me of his role complementing the Surf Loch 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, which opens to the public on January 1, 2024. 

Tom Lochtefeld is a long-time friend of BeachGrit and its co-master Charlie Smith.

In this long-form interview Lochtefeld reveals the secrets behind creating better-than-perfect waves, why Surf Lakes is gonna self-destruct and why the Slater plough is destined for the junkyard.

Jamie O'Brien (pictured) pondering lawsuit against scurrilous Surfer.
Jamie O'Brien (pictured) pondering lawsuit against scurrilous Surfer.

Surfer magazine bot throws sexually charged grenade at Jamie O’Brien!

Trigger warning.

The very sad degradation of Surfer Magazine has been one of the stories in 2023. Purchased by The Arena Group just one year ago, the “Bible of the Sport” has been plagued with embarrassing stories since, including “Emily Morgan,” “Jake Howard” et. al. eventually culminating in a damning expose that the aforementioned Arena Group was using AI bots as writers.

C-Suite executives were fired followed by their Chief, Ross Levinsohn while the stock price plummeted.

Dark days.

And yet the bot clicks away unconcerned with “human stuff.”

Most recently, a word salad was uploaded by “Dashel Pierson” about Jamie O’Brien and Pipeline, ostensibly, and shall we read together?

They’ll stand in the parking lot, insulated, $75 coffee cups in hand, gossiping, grab-assing, procrastinating, and contemplating a session for ridiculous periods of time – questioning the crowd, the tide, or any number of ludicrous, inhibiting factors.

Sometimes, it’s almost like…do we actually even wanna paddle out? Or are we just a bunch of posers who pretend we surf, but find any excuse possible not to?

Eventually, most of us finally do paddle out, but after much deliberation.

Like the Jamie O’Brien clip above.

What the heck?

Which amongst O’Brien’s crew is standing around with $75 coffee cups sexually harassing whom whilst pretending to surf?

The charge is extremely loaded in this day and age.

Asses no longer there for unsolicited grabbing.

Here’s the clip, anyhow.

Surfer, man.


French Olympic chief (insert) sneering at ISA and its puny demands.
French Olympic chief (insert) sneering at ISA and its puny demands.

French Olympic Committee sneers that it will build its Teahupo’o tower, International Surfing Assoc. be damned!

"Sniveling upstarts..."

Who but who could have ever seen this fight coming? Oh, Olympic committees and organizers bowling over the poor and powerless in order to build civic monuments to world sport is nothing new. Likewise, international sport governing bodies sucking off the Olympic teat for a taste of that sweet, sweet Coca-Cola dollar is an old cherry. But here, on the idyllic island of Tahiti, we have local folk standing tall and we have the upstart International Surfing Association waving a fist toward Paris.

All shouting “Non!”


As you well know, the aluminum judging tower proposed to replace Teahupo’o’s wooden one has caused quite the ruckus. Protests rocking the “end of the road,” incompetent barge drivers smashing reef etc. Yesterday, in a shock move, the aforementioned ISA declared it “will not support the construction of the new aluminum judges’ tower at Teahupo’o (Tahiti).”

Bold but odd considering how thirsty ISA chief Fernando Aguerre was to court the Olympics, traipsing the world in garish local costumes etc. His wish was granted, Olympic surfing’s Tokyo debut came off… uninspiring but whatever but Teahupo’o on the horizon. A wave so grand it is sure to stamp our favorite pastime as THE event.

Telling Paris chiefs how to run the show, in any case, a dangerous gambit.

Well, those Paris chiefs came back today, sneering in a very French way.

Tony Estangue, president of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee, hours ago declared, “We respect the almost unanimous decision taken locally to continue with the launch of the construction work” and added that the ISA proposal, a tower on the beach with a long lens camera, “was judged to be not feasible on several fronts. On the technical front in terms of filming the images but also surrounding security it poses a lot of questions.”

Sorry not sorry, puny ISA.

A clear win for Big Aluminum but will this saga take another unforeseen turn?

Stay tuned.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre and new Teahupoo tower
ISA prez Fernando Aguerre and artist's impression of the sexy aluminium tower that'll be bolted onto the Teahupoo reef. | Photo: ISA/Paris 2024

ISA blames French Polynesian government for Teahupoo Olympic tower fiasco

ISA absolves Paris 2024 organisers of blame for environmentally catastrophic judging tower.

After maintaining a conspicuous silence on the building of a five-million dollar judging tower atop Teahupoo’s fragile coral reef, the International Surfing Association has taken a baseball bat to French Polynesia’s government while absolving Paris 2024 organisers of blame.

In a just released statement, the ISA, governing body of world surfing apparently, says its advice was the Teahupoo contest should be judged remotely via “live images shot from land, water and drones” although “subsequently the French Polynesian Government decided to go forward with a plan to build a new aluminium tower on the reef.”

You hear a little alarm bell going off?

The ISA’s advice was on December 9, three months after locals started throwing heat at Paris 2024 for the Teahupoo build.

Multiple protests followed, you’ll remember, and a visit from the mayor of Paris ensued as the ISA remained silent.

Nothing on social media, no statements, crickets, as they say.

Why silent?

The ISA didn’t care to rock Olympic masters?

A reflection of the fragility of surfing’s inclusion in the Games?

And, correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the president of French Polynesia Moetai Brotherson tell the Pacific Islands Forum that maybe, in light of  opposition from Teahupoo locals, they should shift the three-day event to Taharuu, forty or so clicks back towards Papeete?

“At the time, it wasn’t possible. In view of the issues at stake and the protests today, perhaps we can revise this option,” said Brotherson.

Teahupoo just beat out Taharuu as the choice for Paris 2024 following a visit by delegates in 2020.

In a response to Brotherson, Paris 2024 organisers said in a statement,

“Tahiti was chosen because of the Teahupoo site and its legendary wave, one of the most beautiful in the world. As our president, Tony Estanguet, recently pointed out, our priority today is to find a solution that will enable us to organise the surfing events of the Olympic Games in Tahiti, at the Teahupoo site, in the best possible conditions.”

Wooden tower (pictured) mocking aluminum. Photo: WSL
Wooden tower (pictured) mocking aluminum. Photo: WSL

International surfing assoc. takes fierce anti-Olympic stand in Tahiti!

Big Aluminum to blame?

The Teahupoo judging tower business is a story that refuses to die. In case you need a brief refresher, Paris Olympic organizers decided that the surfing portion of the Games would be held at Teahupo’o, halfway around the world. Surfers immediately cheered save one (Filipe Toledo) though smiles soon turned upside down as the committee declared it would build a massive new aluminum judging tower on the reef.

Locals, angry, opposed the plan.

To prove how wonderful it would be, the French authorities drove a barge onto the reef.

More local rage.

Capitulating, organizers said they would build an aluminum tower in the same footprint of the existing one.

Now, the International Surfing Association, governing body for Olympic surfing, has shouted “Non!”

A wildly oppositional position by any stretch.

In a press release titled “The ISA will not support the construction of the new aluminum judges’ tower at Teahupo’o (Tahiti)” the ISA made clear that it does not support the construction of a new aluminum judges’ tower at Teahupo’o, which just so happens to be in Tahiti.

Wonderful, but how do you think the French powers that be will take this very public knock from a minor Olympic player not even two cycles in?

More importantly, how many times has the word “aluminum” been used over the past few months as it relates to the imbroglio?

Is this a Big Aluminum conspiracy?

More as the story develops.