Erin Brooks (pictured) flying the Maple Leaf.
Erin Brooks (pictured) flying the Maple Leaf.

Yet another defection from United States as Canada officially accepts surf prodigy Erin Brooks to Olympic team!

Maple leaf waving high.

The United States of America, once a proud Olympic power, cannot win for losing, these days. The nation that has won more gold, silver and bronze medals than any other celebrated, initially, when surfing was accepted as internationally respected. But cheers soon turned to jeers as native born talent fled for other pastures.

In surfing’s Tokyo debut, you’ll certainly recall, Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi won silver for Japan.

And in the upcoming Teahupo’o running, the American phenom Erin Brooks has a shot at the podium for… Canada.

Per that dastardly Globe and Mail:

The 16-year-old Brooks was born in Texas and grew up in Hawaii but has Canadian ties through her American-born father Jeff, who is a dual American-Canadian citizen, and her grandfather who was born and raised in Montreal.

Brooks’ citizenship bid was initially turned down. But Immigration Minister Marc Miller has had a change of heart, it appears.

Surf Canada confirmed the government’s change of heart.

Do you think these betrayals (Igarashi, Brooks, etc.) will lead to changes in U.S. policy? I am currently in San Francisco and just toured Alcatraz for the first time. “The Rock,” hovering in the middle of the bay, served as one of the most notorious prisons on earth until 1963. The cell blocks etc. are still largely intact and I would imagine could be reconstituted as sporting re-programing facilities fairly easily.

Mandatory singing of The Star Spangled Banner at 6:30 am followed by readings from Kid Rock’s “Redneck Paradise” before a hot dog and dill pickle luncheon.

USA, USA, USA.


Kelly Slater reveals plan for Lewis Hamilton electric car racetrack at Texas wavepool!

“Even if you don’t surf it’ll be the best place ever.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Benji Weatherly that meanders around various topics including his new hip and how he surfed Abu Dhabi eight weeks after the operation, Kelly Slater has revealed his plan to partner with Lewis Hamilton on an electric car racetrack.

Y’see, Kelly Slater, is knee deep in his latest project, designing what’ll be the third Surf Ranch in the world, built on the bones of Doug Coors’ failed Wavegarden in Austin, Texas.

You’ll remember, or not, who looks in the rearview mirror these days unless you’re looking up the hot Muslim girl you worked with twenty years ago and sending boozy messages that read, “I’d like you to enjoy the smooth, cool feel of my perfect tiny balls in your claws”, when Doug Coors sold the site to a company called Tumbleweed Opco, a Delaware-registered LLC in care of Kelly Slater Wave Co

It was a good sell for Coors, and a good buy for the KS Wave Co. Coors got to shake his fur and take off back to Denver, Colorado, where he lives, and the Slater Wave Co, which is owned by the WSL, got 160 acres of pool with accompanying beer barn to retrofit with Kelly’s superior pool technology.

The pool had been a monstrous headache for Coors ever since he floated the idea with the local burghers.

After failing to get a Surf Ranch built in Florida, Japan and Palm Springs, Kelly Slater is full-speed ahead with Austin. He says it’s going to be called Austin Surf Club and the logo is a surfboard going through the A. 

It’s a real estate development play, many oceanfront villas, there’ll be an eighteen-hole golf course, two skate parks, a recording studio (Austin music very hot, says Slater) and, crucially, two…two…waves. 

But that ain’t all.

“I’m trying to talk Lewis Hamilton into designing an electric racing car course, like a track, electric car track,” says Slater. “Even if you don’t surf it’ll be the best place ever.”

Lewis Hailton’s surf bona fides have long been documented. A regular at Slater’s Surf Ranch, he has ridden the Melbourne tank and in 2021 posted a moving tribute to Kelly Slater on his Instagram account.

“He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly changed my life for the better. I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is. I am forever grateful for the time you have given me, for the insight and your passion for the waves. Thank you @kellyslater! Can’t wait until we can hit the waves again (praying hands emoji).”


Great White shark

Students at Elliston school left reeling after two surfer-teachers attacked by Great Whites leaving one dead, one severely injured

"It's really difficult to estimate how hard it's been for the kids at school…”

The children of a remote school in Elliston, South Australia, have been “hit hard” by news that a second teacher has been attacked and severely injured by a Great White shark.

Three days ago, Murray Adams, who is sixty-four and who had just celebrated forty years as a teacher, was bitten between the ass and legs by a Great White shark.

Adams had been surfing Blacks, the archetypal South Australian slab. Swells swinging onto shallow limestone shelf before evaporating in uncomfortably deep water, notorious for Great Whites.

Adams paddled in, climbed the cliff, refused an ambulance and drove himself to hospital, reflecting the chaotic nature of a Great White hit and the difference just a few millimetres can make.

He was the second teacher from the Elliston Area School, right there on the Flinders Highway, to be hit by a Great White while surfing.

Eight months earlier, a teacher at the same school was hit and killed by a Great White shark on a crowded day at Walkers Rocks.

Forty-six-year-old science and sports teacher Simon Baccanello had only moved to the coastal town of one thousand souls and known for its epic waves as well as its dark history of shark attacks in January 2023.

Baccanello bravely warned others to get out of the water as the shark started swimming towards him.

When the Great White appeared, Baccanello told the terrified kids, “Don’t worry, get yourself to shore”.

Jaiden Millar, a twenty two year old, saw the fatal attack.

“It was such a confronting incident. It could have been anyone. The worst part was there was a 13-year-old out there and he witnessed everything,” Millar told Adelaide Now. “There was a bloke on the beach tooting his horn and as I turned around I saw everyone paddling in. I saw his board tombstoning, which means he’s underwater and his board’s getting dragged under … trying to fight his way back up to the surface… He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark’s obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time”.

Two weeks ago, fifteen-year-old Khai Cowley was killed after being attacked by a Great White shark while surfing at Ethels on the state’s Yorke Peninsula, three hundred clicks west of Elliston.

Now, Elliston mayor Andrew McLeod has said the spate of attacks is “alarming” and has called for a “targeted approach” to hunting the Great Whites.

He says students of the Elliston Area School were in the water when Simon Baccanello was killed and were “still coming to terms with the death of their teacher, affectionately known as Mr B.

“It’s really difficult to estimate how hard it’s been for the kids at school to have one of their teachers lost through a shark attack and now another one severely wounded due to another shark attack,” McLeod told ABC.

McLeod knows Great Whites.

In 2014, he was surfing with pals when a fifteen-foot Great White bit into his board, throwing him in to the water.

“He’d just paddled out and the shark came up from underneath and tried to eat him. He cleared the pointer to get back on the board,” his pal Tyron Swan told ABC. “He was ridiculously lucky; he should definitely not be here. If his legs were down [in the water] he would have been killed, if he had a smaller board he would have been killed, if he was hanging off his board he would have been killed.”


Two Australian icons. The one in the background out the door.
Two Australian icons. The one in the background out the door.

Cries of “traitor” fill air as Australia’s iconic Surf Lakes applies for U.S. citizenship!

Wrapping the Rusty Plunger in Stars and Stripes.

When one conjures “Australia,” Crocodile Dundee, Vegemite and Surf Lakes’ iconic Rusty Plunger immediately come to mind. Steam punking up there in Yeppoon, that wave-making device, straight out of Mad Max, was unveiled to the world for the first time by ultra-Australian Mark Occhilupo less than six years ago but has stamped its southern cross cred hard.

Alas, the winds of change blow furious and Surf Lakes is officially applying for U.S. citizenship.

Per the press release:

Surf Lakes has moved to become a USA-based company following the successful approval of a Scheme of Arrangement process in late 2023 and full implementation as of January 2024.

This new entity, Surf Lakes Global, Inc., a Delaware corporation, is now the parent company for Surf Lakes, providing access and momentum into the US market. Surf Lakes will maintain business operations out of Australia, including all research and development initiatives with the engineering team working at the Gold Coast and on-site at the R&D facility at Yeppoon. This strategic move was made due to many factors, including:

-The US represents a larger and more suitable market for Surf Lakes.
-The majority of Surf Lakes projects are in the US.
-43% of project enquiries to date have come from the Americas.
-The US has a much larger population than Australia (for perspective there are more people in Texas than Australia).
-Redomiciling in the US will yield improved access to US capital markets.
-The move allows for greater potential for investment in the immediate term and public listing opportunities in the medium-to-long term.
-Further strategic and business development opportunities.
-Closer and better connected to South America (Brazil represents another boom market for the wave pool industry).

Oi oi ouch.

But what do you make of this new development? An unforgivable betrayal or just the way things go down under (see: Mel Gibson moving to Malibu)?

Certainly more as this story develops.


Palm Springs Surf Club shut-down blamed on lightning strike!

“We understand the optics of this situation are not ideal, but we intend to use this down time to upgrade our advanced settings.”

Earlier today, the world awoke to the shock news that the Palm Springs Surf Club, a facility patronised and feted by the world’s best surfers, had been shuttered indefinitely because of “technical challenges.”

You’ll remember BeachGrit’s Com Turren visited the Palm Springs Surf Club shortly after it opened to the public on New Year’s Day, booking two advanced sessions, at two hundred dollars per hour, and one intermediate session at one-fifty, but was denied the tubes cause of tech probs.

Still, our man enjoyed himself immensely concluding, “150 for 12ish intermediate waves in an hour seems like a fairly even trade given the $80 million dollar investment in this place.”

Following its closure, an email to patrons advised:

“It has been a tough decision to make but based on the current state of some technical issues with our wave machine, we will be cancelling the remainder of sessions scheduled for January; effective tonight, 1/10/24.

“In recent days, we have been experiencing technical challenges. We have been working through them but our goal here at The Palm Springs Surf Club is to consistently deliver epic waves. In order to maintain the quality we have worked so hard to achieve within our wave settings, we need to take the whole system down to make it strong again. As a team that has been dedicated to the stoke, it saddens us to make this call but we can confidently say we will be back again with the product you all have seen and hoped to experience.”

Later, the creator of the pool’s tech, Tom Lochtefeld, wrote to BeachGrit, giving a little more detail into what happened.

Chas and Derek – 

I’ll take the hit for the Palm Springs Surf Club (PSSC)  let down; although legitimately I can blame a ‘lightning strike’ (there was definitely was an aberrant power condition) and 3rd parties, i.e., the “technical challenges” which affected our advanced setting wave performance and PSSC’s ability to offer a premium surf experience.

Notwithstanding, due to the fault tolerance of our wave generating system, we can still make good intermediate waves; however, our ‘core’ market want premium slabs, barrels, and sections. Since Surf Loch is not satisfied with just ‘good’ and rather than compromise the offer, we have mutually decided with PSSC to cancel all remaining January / February surf sessions and the pool will remain closed until warmer weather. 

We understand the optics of this situation are not ideal, but we intend to use this down time to upgrade our advanced settings, improve our unfinished beach run-up, and expand our intermediate and beginner wave riding options.

You guys have treated Surf Loch fairly, and your confidence and support are of utmost importance to us, and we appreciate your understanding during this opening period.

We are excited to bring PSSC back online with an even better wave and overall surf experience.

Lightning!

Delivered by God or a bolt from Team Slater?