Flyer: A Piker's Lament

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)

I’ve long been fascinated by the capture of Cape Solander

I’ve long been repulsed by the story too.

First ridden in the mid-60s, the wave wasn’t taken seriously by the pioneers, more a who-dares novelty womp which was conquered and then fairly quickly forgotten about. However, those trailblazers gave the wave its first and best name, Piker’s Hole.

I only know about them in hindsight, having written a 2017 feature on one of their crew. Growing up in the area I often checked Cape Solander through the 90s but couldn’t visualise how to ride it; the wave broke too fast, was too backwashy, too close to the rocks.

Unbeknownst to me, a handful of Cronulla bodyboarders were able to visualise the lines, and they’d disappear on certain swells and achieve what I couldn’t even imagine, successfully navigating one of the world’s trickiest barrels. Despite being within sight of Australia’s largest city, they had it to themselves.

Their solitude was destroyed when, around the turn of the millennium, the Bra Boys found it, roped it off to the current inhabitants, and gave it the repugnant and domineering name, Ours.

That the break was only a few hundred metres from where Captain Cook did a similar thing, albeit it on a grander scale, was an irony lost on the colonisers. Though I’ve gotta be careful how critical I am. 

You see, in the subsequent years I surfed the Cape a lot, and while I didn’t approve of the Bra Boys’ crowd control methods, I certainly benefited from them. But did I object?

First they came for the lidders and I did not speak out...

Then again, I saw firsthand how ruthless they were. I was one of the few who witnessed Koby Abberton’s waterborne attack on Mitch Rawlins, and was also in the carpark when Koby later turned his attention to the photographer. Just one of many incidents from a caged animal who knew everyone with the tatt had his back.

So, stay silent and surf, or pipe up and get punched out? I put my principles on ice, and I still wonder about that choice.

A few years later I moved away from Cronulla and began working for Swellnet, yet I kept watching the Cape, seeing how the crowds changed, and wondering about the culture too.

This week, Dan Dobbin contributed an article that attempted to answer that question. Which is no easy feat as describing culture is difficult at the best of times, while the Solander lineup is now diverse in craft, age, and expectation.

Putting his own opinion on ice, Dan rounded up a variety of views and laid them out for the reader. You may or may not agree with his conclusion, but it’s both a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable read.

- Stu

Changes at the Cape

From novelty womp, to deep state secret spot, to modern media darling, what lessons can we learn from the evolution of Cape Solander? Lineup culture is created by a wave's most prominent players, so Dan Dobbin went in search of the Cape's.  Read More >

A Different High – Jack Dekort and Kayak Fishing

...and now for something completely different. Jack Dekort has been contributing surf photos to Swellnet for longer than I've been here. Over the last few years, however, Jack's been angling towards a new obsession. Jack's tale of learning to fish atop a thin strip of fibreglass makes for an entertaining read. The comments are good too. Read More >

Analysing autumn 2021

Craig loves the changing of the seasons, but not for any romantic notion about life ebbing away. Hell no! First day of each season is when the seasonal anomaly charts drop, and they're more meaningful than fallen leaves are to a poet. Old Boy Brokensha squares up the season that was with the swells that were, and there's always something to learn. Read More >

From the beating heart of a Black Nor'Easter

As good as autumn may have been in your neck of the woods, no swell held a candle to the Black Nor'Easter, that hit the East Coast on the 6/6/16 - tomorrow five years ago. So how's about a little reminder of that momentous swell?  Read More >

Watch: Uluwatu // The Price of Entry

I posted this video with a bit of a rant about how it was hard to feel sympathy for old mate who copped a flogging and inspired the title of the video, while us Australians can't even get over there. Instead of feeling indignant like me, most people simply enjoyed the video, which once I got over myself I did too. Read More >


Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 7:31am

I stumbled upon pokers hole back in 2002 when I would pick my ex gf up for some "quality time" in back of my escort panel Van
In the dozen or so times I went there it didn't break but one time it was 4-5ft and flawless, not a soul around, didn't see any other surfers or boogers even check it
Then I seen a photo in a tracks mag labelling"Sydney's newest wave"
I went to check it when on way to shark island and it was busy,back to the island for me
Fast Forward a year and while enjoying a south coast rock ledge with 4 other guys a bra boy paddled out and told us we could have one more wave then we gotta go guy told him to get fucked and and copped a slap with the others beeping for him,I scattered, devastated and bitter.
Fast forward to 2014 and I was on my annual indo trip with my mates, first day at a fickle reef the bra boys rock up.
My heart sinks knowing what they are capable of.The happy vibe of everyone just dropped, instantly Koby dropped in and that was it for me,I went in
Koby was/is a durry smoker and had run out of darts so he was asking my booger mates for ciggies, I went to bed
When I woke up bra boys were gone
Apparently they had bolted to DP after getting a fone call
Vibe restored and next 3 days were best 3 days of waves IV ever had

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 10:17am

Ahhhh the bra boys... quality humans

Lottolonglong's picture
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Lottolonglong Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 3:21pm

Walking past Bali bombsite memorial back in 2009(I think) 50,000 roops fell out of pocket of the guy walking infront of me, I picked it up n said hey dude U dropped cash, he tried to bash me, I legged it after seeing the biggest,boldest Brother's Keeper tattoo hanging off neck
Walking back past an hour later it was amusing to see same guy get bitch slapped by a Brazo for being innaproriate to a woman, he slapped him that hard he did a 360 before he hit ground
I have been invited back to smoke some hash with some other bra boys before at bingin so they probably all aren't bad
I passed on the hash cuz of indos drug laws

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 8:24am

Lotto love your first sentence...pokers hole......mmm

I stumbled upon pokers hole back in 2002 when I would pick my ex gf up for some "quality time" in back of my escort panel Van

Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong's picture
Lottolonglong Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 3:05pm

Damn autocorrect,but il claim it
Iv always boycotted buying any product of any sponsored pro or semi pro surfers that act like dicks in surf
Fuck em!!!!!

scrotina's picture
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scrotina Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 10:57am

koby and his band of thugs are just bullies with no conscience. lowlife scum

udo's picture
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udo Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 11:32am

So great words from Koby on his last insta post..

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 6:18pm

Agree, like reading about Richie Vaculik seeing the error of his ways in Dan Dobbin's article, similarly it's great to read Koby's words there.

I can't condone things he's done on the past, but if that's the future he's creating then I can't go on condemning him either. More power to people investing in their kids.

Cheers Udo for bringing attention to that.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 3:37pm


seaslug's picture
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seaslug Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 4:12pm

That was one of my favourite Chaser skits Guy haha

Roker's picture
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Roker Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 3:55pm

That was a gripping anecdote from Stu. And nice one Dan. I know you can't ever really eliminate bias, and I'm sure Dan has his own, but in general I think journalism needs more of this type of thing - more level headed analysis than spouting opinion.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 7:26pm

"First they came for the lidders and I didn't speak out..." haha . gold

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy Saturday, 5 Jun 2021 at 9:51pm

Fuck Koby abberton.

If you do wrong, redeem yourself. Need to do more than just not doing the wrong thing anymore.
Right your wrongs you fuck stick.

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley Sunday, 6 Jun 2021 at 9:34pm

Mucca Mad Boys rule


seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 7 Jun 2021 at 12:02am

Haha good one

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Monday, 7 Jun 2021 at 3:54pm

Yes, bravo to the approach Dan took with a bit of depth to it.

I'm not too fussed by a bit of old-school localism where the crew shut down the disrespectful and/or punters in over their head, but tales of thuggery really make you wonder. I find it disappointing that there is still considerable surf media and other assorted sycophants' attention paid to these types when they're a blight on surfing. And what a nice change to be backing a Brazilian in Bali....

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob Monday, 7 Jun 2021 at 4:02pm

Thanks for the kind words Stu and crew.

ndjen's picture
ndjen's picture
ndjen Wednesday, 9 Jun 2021 at 10:31am

I posted this about a week ago but had no response. It fits into the Bra boys phenomenon and general thuggery that some people apply to waves that no-one actually owns.

But in general it is just a tendency in humans to extort whatever gains are possible.
The old saying: "The powerful extract what they can, the weak submit what they must".

Even down to a jobless highschool dropout with mostly THC holding his 2 neurons together, throwing punches, slashing tires, waxing windscreens of visitors in the carpark because he happens to defecate in a cockroach flat within walking distance of the waves.



This has probably been raised b4 but I truly struggle with such a stupid statement.
I just have absolutely no idea what I should do beyond normal civil decency that I apply everywhere and to everyone.

As an example, I once lived in a very expensive beach suburb with no surf. But plenty of families would rock up daily to enjoy the
beach, parks, BBQ spots and facilities. As a ratepayer I suspect that some of my hard earned cash paid for the roads and other facilities enjoyed
by people from outside that suburb. Never did I ever have any sense that I was somehow privileged, owned more or was owed any
kind of special attention, respect or consideration.

If anything, I thought it was fantastic to see so many families have a huge amount of fun. Many families really struggle, so it's a delight to see them
having a great time.

What respect was I owed? Gee I dunno. The usual stuff like don't park on my footpath. Don't do burnouts in my street. Keep the music down
and leave the drugs at home. The usual anti-social stuff we all frown on everywhere and from everyone.

Now fast forward to a surf suburb. How do I recognise a "local". Are they tattooed with an identifier? T-shirts? Board colours?
When I do find one how do I respect them? Give them money? Kiss their butt?

In the water do they get every second wave? Can they drop in at will? Can they tell me to get out of the water?

If my council rates didn't entitle me to a BBQ bench of my own whenever I wanted it, how does a "local" claim more ownership of waves god
created to push to the beach- (for free).

I am really confused. My "respect" for locals has been to ask groups of surfers about the conditions, dangers like rips and rocks. Sometimes this
has been well received but other times you get a response that is trying to say "piss off" but their mouth breathing gets in the way. Nevertheless
it has never turned too nasty since as a white haired old bloke there aren't too many ego points in taking down someone 2 steps from fertilizer.

Anyway, I have no clue what kind of respect I should be showing and I especially dispute that someone who has the privilege of surfing many free
waves actually has any more entitlement to them than me. If they somehow created or cared for those waves, I would agree. But they don't.

But I am happy to be educated on this point.

groundswell's picture
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groundswell Wednesday, 9 Jun 2021 at 12:12pm

ndjen i posted a similar thread a few months ago stating something like---"shouldnt localism be more about how well you know and surf a wave, not living nearby if you're a kook".

I might try and find it but i see your point your making there but i think regulars (who might not live nearby but know the wave well) and locals who surf the wave well also should get dibs on the best waves.
Its usually naturally working out that way in most places ive surfed with a few overcrowded exceptions like padang padang.
The way i see it is if you're not fit enough to be getting the bombs or not surfing them well enough and blowing waves well you should stick to the inside corner section or somewhere else, unless only a few people are out.Thats what stage im at, im surfing at the worst level of my life and cant paddle out at my local spots if its crowded as i see i wont get waves as im just not fit enough for them. even though ive lived here for five or six years.
kissing ass isnt needed its just keeping the regular rippers and locals up to the best waves which imo they deserve. if someone is blowing a few takeoffs (maybe not so much if its 6 foot plus and slabbing) they go to the end of the line regardless of where they live or surf regularly.blowing takeoffs in slabbing waves is expected as it can take a few waves or five to find your feet.

This is just my oppinion when travelling to waves a few hours away from home dont kiss ass as locals will know you're social climbing be humble, if called a kook for sitting wide cop in on the chin and try and prove them wrong if you can.