The Flyer: Opposing The Hometown Hero

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)

It’s a rock and roll maxim that, despite all the arenas in the world, the biggest show of all is the hometown show. 

“The people who called you a weirdo in high school get to see what a successful freak you’ve become.”

After a world tour that took in Australia, South Korea, Switzerland, England, Wales, and Brazil, Wavegarden founder Josema Odriozola was planning to build a wavepool in his hometown of San Sebastian. What a homecoming that would be! What a gift to the surfing community of his childhood!

Alas, many of the surfers of San Sebastian don’t want a wavepool built there. They’ve banded together to oppose any such project.

It may appear counter-intuitive - after all, surfers are the intended beneficiaries of the pool - however it’s not a lone decision. Last year, the surfers of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, just thirty kms up the Basque coast from San Seb, also opposed a Wavegarden, and they won.

The San Seb case is still up in the air, however the fact there’s so much resistance from Odriozola’s hometown puts a sting in the story’s tail. Also, the two cases represent blowback against wavepools and their claim of spreading surf crowds. Amongst other things, the Basque surfers claim the very opposite: That wavepools increase the surfing population and thereby decrease surfing amenity.

Speaking of increasing the surfing population, the Olympics starts this weekend with a potential viewing audience of four billion people. The International Surfing Association and all the national peak bodies would dearly love to grow their bases, but that’s contingent upon the visuals coming out of Shidashita.

Will it be 4-6ft typhoon lines with an airbrushed offshore, and a Wavestorm stampede to follow, or will it be a knee-high gurgle and a quick channel change to the breakdancing? Craig’s done a number of forecasts that you can read within.

- Stu

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