Letters from the Editor 02/10/18
“Too weak, too predictable, and too long between waves”, these are just some of the many criticisms levelled at wavepools since Kelly proved they could work. Each time an event has been held the critics have gotten more forthright, more involved. Yet last week one of the downsides to tub surfing was devastatingly revealed, and it’s something that’s barely rated a mention.
Fabrizio Stabile of New Jersey died after testing positive for Naegleria fowleri, a “brain eating amoeba” that occurs in warm freshwater lakes. He’d recently surfed in the Waco wavepool. It’s not yet confirmed Stabile caught the bacteria at Waco, however the pool has been closed while officers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention test the turbid green waters.
The results will be released next week and no doubt all wavepool owners and investors are keenly awaiting the findings. Also anxiously awaiting the results will be the competitors in the Stab High contest held at Waco on September 22nd, the day after Stabile’s death, and won by Noa Deane. Fingers crossed everybody is well.
Did anyone here watch Stab High? At $16 to view and a dud time difference they were never gonna pick up many Oz viewers, yet those who tuned in saw a great webcast package and exciting format - save the acid drop shambles. A solid foundation for future events.
A few days afterwards, Chas Smith from BeachGrit posted an unconfirmed report that Stab High drew a viewership of 20,000. An impressive count though highly unlikely, and as the numbers are unconfirmed - not to mention the sponsor packages - it’s a moot point anyway, though as usual it didn’t stop a lengthy and at times informative comment trail.
While reading the comments my mind flashed to Swellnet’s surf mag collection - 10,000 strong and counting! - which contains an ancient copy of ASB mag wherein Messrs McIntosh and Rielly - then partners at Stab - declaim the folly of numbers. Asked about inconsistencies in magazine circulation, Rielly was brazen, “We make the numbers up.”
If Stab do PPV again we’ll know the gamble worked, if not then not.
From the prolix department comes news the 2018 Manzhou Jialeshuei Pingtung County International Surfing Contest will run this month in South Taiwan. The Manzhou Jialeshuei Pingtung County International Surfing Contest is backed by the Taiwan Ocean Recreational Sports Association and it makes an editor pine for the Coke Classic.
Riddle me this: who’s the eleven-time world surf champion, that makes their own surfing equipment, and is often referred to by just their initials?
If you answered Kelly Slater then get your head out of the sand and congratulate Rees ‘RD’ Duncan who won his eleventh world surf ski championship in Pantin, Spain, last week. The 46-year old eggbeater, who has a full head of hair, is the GOAT of his sport and should be included in any conversation about the greatest athlete of all time.
And yes, goat boat GOAT was there for the taking but just seemed too obvious.
After sitting down all comp, Rees Duncan declines being chaired up the beach (Jose Valencia)
Two weeks ago recreational fishermen in NSW lobbied the government to reverse a decision that locked them out of marine parks. Swellnet has no position on the issue, except to admire the fishoes for banding together and shirtfronting the government. Surfers outnumber fishoes yet as a group we can't get the simplest things achieved. Maybe one day we’ll vote as a bloc, but till then we’re just “babes in the woods” as Dr Neil Lazarow recently described us.
However! Word is, there'll shortly be a petition started by the North West Surfing Alliance to block the Wozzle comp at Jakes, Bluff, or Gnaraloo. When it comes, be like the fishoes.
I’ll assume you watched John John Florence’s Space. Probably watched it a few times too. With 470K views it’s currently the most viewed of all JJF’s heavily curated videos. However, it still has a way to go before toppling the most popular surf video of all time, Gabriel Medina’s backflip, which has 1.7M views.
Wanna top up the tally a bit…?
The latest news from the Wozzle is a new deal with Vero, an online photo-sharing platform that’s getting the kids excited as it's touted as a next-gen Instagram. The Vero/Wozzle relationship will kick off at the upcoming Quiksilver Pro France where, among other things, Vero will create a “social lounge for spectators to meet other fans”.
I’ve no idea why that lounge is different to a normal lounge, and I’m even less clear how the Wozzle, who this year hooked up a $30 million deal with Facebook, can now court one of FB's competitors - Instagram are, after all, owned by Facebook.
Lastly, Terry Richardson’s book is out and it’s as epic and understated as you’d expect. We’ll have a review from Phil Jarratt posted shortly. If you’d like to buy a copy then get along to Richo’s Road Trip. Check all the dates here.
// STU NETTLE