Rip Curl and the new gold standard

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

It’s been fourteen days and we’re none the wiser.

Surely no-one thought it was gonna take this long?

When Rip Curl dropped the clip of Mick Fanning surfing ‘the Snake’ it didn’t exactly break the internet but it did set off the largest global search since Pokemon Go. That afternoon ‘Mick Fanning’ trended on Twitter, it spiked on Google Trends, and judging by the geographical clues and allusions strewn across comment sections, Google Earth got a similar pounding.

In 2017 the surfing subculture is fractured in myriad ways, we come from various cultures, demographics, and social strata, but events like this show it’s still possible to unite the tribe. In that sense it was a marketing masterstroke.

Mick and the wave: distinguished by being indistinguishable

The recriminations were predictably fast and pointed, with most assuming the tone that Rip Curl were exposing yet another secret spot, which, it’s fair to say, is a valid concern if form on the board counts for anything.

Though whether it’s a valid criticism is another thing.

Perfect waves will always garner our attention, and surf companies don’t have the mortgage on this concept. It’s a formula that’s worked for everyone from Bruce Brown on down to lowly Instagram photographers. Yet as frustrating as exposure is, asking companies to opt out is a tad naive.

The recent event shows the cut-through a good clip can achieve, so of course surf companies are gonna act in their own self-interest. The economic world turns upon companies acting on this impulse. And it’s pointless to think Rip Curl shouldn’t do it, because experience dictates that another company will simply fill the need by acting on their self-interest.

Head meet wall.

Yet all isn't lost for those who like some space and adventure. You see, even self-interest has some nuance. Recently ‘enlightened self-interest’ has become a philosophy for companies wishing to be good corporate citizens - i.e not piss off their customers - and I’m gonna throw it out there that Rip Curl’s handling of this video is an example of this.

How?

In the hours and days following the release of the video it was assumed disclosure of the location was imminent. It was merely a matter of time. Yet two weeks down we’re no closer to finding out where it was shot. And here’s the clincher: even if someone thinks they know where it is there’s no way to prove it from the video. By sharp editing and removing all distinguishing features a positive ID is impossible.

The only way for that to happen is if Rip Curl themselves divulge the location. But for the sake of their reputation - and that of one surf journalist - I’d heartily advise them not to.

Angle of the sun? Colour of the sand? Formation of the clouds?

For years I’ve watched companies underestimate the sleuthing skill of surfers. They’ll drop clips of unnamed waves yet unwittingly include clues a’plenty. Number plates, headlands, boat rego numbers, local languages spoken, shopfronts, the list goes on and each one is a pin drop to a supposedly secret wave. This kind of carry on is sport for many people. In fact, Swellnet forecaster Craig Brokensha has found every single wave he’s put his mind too….except for one.

All we know is that Mick’s clip was filmed last July or August following the J’Bay comp. The one slip up they made was leaving the bandage on Mick's foot. The rest of the clues were not simply vague but vacant. Crops were tight except when the background was sand or ocean, no nearby features were included in the name of aesthetics, nor local people to give it flavour. It was just Mick and the wave.

Even the spoken info was sparse, and considering the lengths they were going to could it even be trusted? There was simply no toe hold into this mystery. After more than a million views and a frenzied online search still no-one knows where the fuck it is.

And that makes Rip Curl’s effort the gold standard in modern surf filming. As secret spots dwindle theirs is the bar that every self-interested filmmaker should now aspire to.

Comments

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 3:25pm

I'll put a decent six pack of beer on the line, Stu. Will PayPal you the funds if I'm wrong. Get in touch.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 3:28pm

Email sent. Bet made.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 3:33pm

Yeehaw!

Beagle's picture
Beagle's picture
Beagle commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:39pm

*munches popcorn*

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:52pm

Couldn't care less where the wave is, I'm not going there any time soon. I'd like the outcome of the bet tho....

stoner's picture
stoner's picture
stoner commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 5:31pm

I'll take that bet too, I've a rdo coming up looking for a couple of uncrowded waves haha

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 3:34pm

Karrisa knows.

ROmPer StOMper 2 // oh fuck Aust dont need this.

BennyA's picture
BennyA's picture
BennyA commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:16pm
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 5:01pm

Fuck Me!

Lads i think you can stop your search now, Benny's nailed it!

gunther's picture
gunther's picture
gunther commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 5:38pm

Yep, this was my bet. But why is there a local dude taking a dump on an uninhabited sand island?

BennyA's picture
BennyA's picture
BennyA commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 9:00pm

True. Saying that, there is a city not too far away and I imagine the local fishermen need to shit occasionally while out from shore. If you know where it is then you can recognise the grassy little island that I think you can see in the footage. It makes sense being here given all the clues. However, I deliberately removed (almost) all clues as to where this is.

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 1:22am

Sorry Benny it's not that spot . Guys have surfed that irregularly for a long time .
Stu , I'll take that Island Bay beer off your hands when I'm proven right .

PS you may want to double check your Mick ankle story . A mate sent me photo of Mick with Ankle still strapped or he's re injured it recently .
I did note, he jumped a fence and didn't look right walking afterwards on camera from that Ireland vid . So maybe re injured . Which takes out August as a certainty .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

buttplug's picture
buttplug's picture
buttplug commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:26pm

I'm going to bribe Mick, as he is single????
He can sleep with my exceptionally ugly sister if he lets me in on the secret.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:21pm

Everyone knows Its Nth Kirra to Bilinga on a good ESE swell with mid to dropping tide.

pblewis's picture
pblewis's picture
pblewis commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:21pm

stab just posted a photo on there instagram story, with a photo from today at the spot

misa003's picture
misa003's picture
misa003 commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:21pm

I just said to myself it was North Stradbroke and haven't given it any more thought. Self delusional, but at least it allows me to sleep.

buttplug's picture
buttplug's picture
buttplug commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 4:35pm

Its the east coast of flinders island!

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017 at 5:18pm

The funny thing is there is countless people under every article that are certain they know where it is because they found a set up on google earth that looks like it.

Until you go there and surf it or see the wave you suspect it is, you don't really know, they are just complete guesses, google earth is a great tool but can also be misleading what often looks epic in reality is average, what looks average can be world class and if its fickle many great waves just look like lakes.

And then there is the people who say they have been there and surfed it, or its the wave in Jordys clip or in Kepa Acero.

If i knew where it was i sure wouldn't be telling anyone, id be steering people into completely different countries.

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 1:08am

Yeah ID, can't help but agree. I've surfed and chased waves where most people think it is, but a big part of me thinks that isn't it. Mainly because there isn't any goats on the beach. But who knows, so many waves in the world when the conditions are right.

Dean Mc's picture
Dean Mc's picture
Dean Mc commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 6:05am

On the Rip Curl web site they have an image of the 4WD's rear bumper. The sticker on the back has red diagonal lines with a green dot in the centre. Most people have probably seen and looked for that, but I did notice that the boards had been laid down low across the R/H front door opening. L/H drive? If you were trying to throw people off the scent, you would place that sticker on there and take a photo of the boards hidden away down there. I also thought about Berneray, West Beach Hebrides Islands, but Mick would have been shivering and the sand is white. If the place had only been surfed by a few, it could be Raas Cabaad (yellow sand) and the Scottish or Irish looking sticker placed on the bumper. The seriously stashed away boards may have been where they slipped up.

Snuffy Smith's picture
Snuffy Smith's picture
Snuffy Smith commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 7:59am

It's in Indo.

Balls of fire

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 8:35am

Nth west Luzon.

ROmPer StOMper 2 // oh fuck Aust dont need this.

action_1974's picture
action_1974's picture
action_1974 commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 11:38am

I thought is was the island off St Louis Senegal, still could be. Then on the cap skirring coast Senegal, boy theres some nice right points. Looks like lots of big houses with pools. But there is a contender north Guinea-bissau. Its a rock takeoff on the point and very sheltered, 2 km long. That's my guess.... Varela National Park

trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 11:37am

I got offered a work contract back in 2010 in an area pretty close to where I think this wave is ... did some research on waves before decided to take the job ... spoke to crew already working there, they told me of a wave that I imagined looked like this one. Ulitmately I turned down the contract cause the place is an arsehole of the earth and no amount of money was gonna make it worthwhile.
Mick is getting paid a truckload more than I to put himself in such places so I guess for him it's worth diving into such an arsehole location.

I'd rather be poor and produce nothing than be an arsehole and conquer the world - Alby Falzon

What time do you like the best? The time on the kitchen wall, or the time it takes to smoke a cigarette? - Sidewinder

funpeeler's picture
funpeeler's picture
funpeeler commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 8:15pm

I dunno but when I put a search in Youtube to see the video - this came up as a related match.

Mauritania

Looks very similar except Mick scored it epic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcNyrt0T4aI

gunther's picture
gunther's picture
gunther commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 8:54pm

Well if anything these Snake hunting threads have showed me just how many insane setups there are around the world. Its seemingly endless...

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 9:02pm

Ain't that the truth, Gunther? In the last two weeks I've had some concerted stints on Google Earth and it's made me realise how woefully limited my conception of the world is. There's potential perfection in so many places. I've had my little shortlist of places, yet I've been exchanging emails with a few other crew who share their shortlists, and all of a sudden that short list is pretty fucken long.

Not gonna get to all of them, maybe not even any of them, but it's fun to wonder.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 10:29pm

I caught a flight recently over an area I would NEVER consider as a potential coastline for surfable waves and spent most of the trip glued to the window as a Semi long period swell of considerable size hit kilometre after kilometre of unsurfed ( little surfed ! ) points , reefs , rivermouths and beachies.

Great for opening the eyes and the mind as to what was possible.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 at 10:56pm

Haha so true. I just found the Hobart Points of the tropics.

spencie's picture
spencie's picture
spencie commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 6:30pm

Can't believe no one has wised up to it. So close to home too.

easterly