The age of the hypercrowd

blindboy
Surfpolitik

If this isn't upon you yet, then it's coming to a break near you very soon. If you doubt this do a simple calculation of population growth on your spreadsheet. Assume that ten years ago there were 1,000 surfers in your area. If the rate of growth was around 5% there will now be around 1,500 - that is an extra 500 surfers. Consider then that if the growth rate is maintained over the next ten years there will be around 2,500. The situation varies from place to place but as a generalisation whatever crowd problems we face now, they will not only get worse, but get worse at an ever increasing rate.

byron-bay-the-pass.jpg

Recent events on the Gold Coast have highlighted the issues but that is only the tip of the problem. It may be more extreme in epic conditions but it is there on any decent day at any urban break and the better known rural ones. As many others have commented this is a perfect example of the tragedy of the commons in which a shared resource is stretched beyond its breaking point by population growth. 

We have known about this problem for years and done nothing because there has been no solution beyond the personal one of removing oneself, regularly or permanently, to less crowded locations. If this remains our approach then surfing, over much of its traditional territory, will very soon, to all our detriment, be thoroughly degraded. For the vast majority of us surfing is a recreation and we have benefited enormously from our participation. These benefits have arisen from particular features of the surfing experience that become less effective as the crowd increases.  

If we take exercise first it is a reasonable hypothesis that its benefits increase directly with the number of waves ridden. As the crowd increases average activity decreases. This is easily observed, watch a crowded line up and, unless there is a current running through it, most of the crowd will be static for long periods. A further discouragement to activity is that those surfers who do move through the crowd following the peaks are often accused of hassling.

One of the other benefits comes from being in a natural environment. When we surf ideally our attention should be on natural features; the waves, winds, rips, beaches, reefs and aquatic life. A significant body of research links time spent in natural environments to reduced stress and better mental health. In crowds, by necessity, a large part of our attention is diverted to paying attention to what others are doing.

The third benefit has, in the past, come from the sense of community that used to develop around particular breaks. Many of us have made life long friends with people we met in the water but beyond those few strong relationships, perhaps more importantly, we all know large numbers of people by sight who we will greet and happily share the available waves with. People who surfed then were at less risk of becoming socially isolated. That the degree of friendliness has an inverse relationship with crowd size goes without saying. When people paddle out in crowded conditions, look around and cannot see a single familiar face, then the very existence of anything like a local surfing community is brought into doubt.

If the future is like the past we can expect no meaningful response. Crowd behaviour will get worse. Fewer benefits will flow to those who choose surfing as a life long recreation and we will all have lost something that can never be replaced. There are other possibilities but returning to the past is not one of them; surfing can never be the wonderfully free and easy thing it once was.  

The inability of surfers to decide what sort of future they want in terms of equitable access to waves is, of course, a decision in itself and a decision that could see our destiny taken out of our hands by the wider community. Surf Life Saving Australia already sets the conditions for school surfing activities, and the surf clubs, through the nipper movement, are bringing forward large numbers of young surfers. It is not hard to imagine them expanding into junior competition. This fits in with the gentrification of beachside areas. The middle class are very keen of structuring  heir offspring's time! Would you be happy to wait for the under-10s, -12s, -14s, and -16s to finish their weekly event before you get to surf your favourite spot?

Another possibility, if public liability issues became serious enough, would be pay-to-surf plans to limit the numbers in the water. How many hours at the Superbank would you be happy to book before your Gold Coast holiday? Or would you prefer "Surf Inspectors" on jet skis controlling access to the take off area? Or maybe something similar to a martial arts belt system? Sorry but Black Belts only today!

Like most other aspects of our lives we long ago sacrificed control over surfing to commercial entities dedicated to nothing but profit. We could take that control back but it would require some widely accepted view of where we want to go and people with the passion to show the way. We should wish ourselves luck, we will definitely need it. //blindboy

Comments

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 10:50am

great piece BB and very timely....

just wondered if you could expand on this : "We have known about this problem for years and done nothing because there has been no solution beyond the personal one of removing oneself, regularly or permanently, to less crowded locations. If this remains our approach then surfing, over much of its traditional territory, will very soon, to all our detriment, be thoroughly degraded."

Why is that? Wouldn't it help spread the crowds and increase enjoyment, as it does now?

Also, you are assuming that the rate of population growth will be matched by the rate of new surfers. Maybe we'll see a situation whereby it will become so difficult to learn due to the crowds that the rate of new surfers will dip below that of population growth.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:38pm

My point was that personal travel is all we have done. No-one has attempted to think about how very large crowds might best be managed. The assumption that the surfing population will continue to grow is valid, I think. Population growth is focused on the coast and there is nothing in the demographics to suggest that is going to change. Determining what exact percentage It will grow year on year is much tougher and probably depends on where you are and who you count as a surfer.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:54pm

Thats not quite true....the Gold Coast surf management group of which Ben M is a member have thought of it deeply and are integrated with council.

surfer99's picture
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surfer99 commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:12pm

blindboy wrote: No-one has attempted to think about how very large crowds might best be managed.

This statement is not true. Last week a friend and I attempted to think about crowd management. Then we got distracted by Swellnet's great forecast and headed to the Torquay area to surf and buy some Ripcurl GPS watches.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:07am

I don't know what is going to happen in the future, but I imagine there may be a bit of trouble brewing in the future as the culture of surfing changes quickly in the populated areas and the changes that need to happen to keep some form of order in the line up, there is going to be one hell of a clash when those surfers venture 4 to 5 hrs up or down the coast. I know it is happening already but the gap between the two is getting bigger and the next generation are being bought up by parents in the populated areas who reckon it's okay burn people and a ski is a necessity, every year their numbers grow.
If you charge people to surf natural instinct will see them travel to the nearest free beach, so the problem will just start down the road. I can't see any answer to it, but I'm sure someone will make a stack of money out of it.:-D

cd's picture
cd's picture
cd commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 9:17pm

" the next generation are being bought up by parents in the populated areas who reckon it's okay burn people "
Such as taking there children out at crowded locations and pushing them into any wave that comes there way. Nothing shits me more than seeing experienced surfers doing this in crowded lineups. Having some sort of expectation that my child has a god given right to take any wave they feel fit and assist them by pushing them in. Not much credible surf culture credible surf been passed on there to the younger generation.
When I was learning you went down the beach away from everyone so you didn't get in anyones way.

KillJoy's picture
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KillJoy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:09am

Forgive me I couldn't get through the article without dry reaching, so I may have missed more bits of shit to further throw up on. How ironic that a website that has marketed surfing to the masses now cries foul to crowding. Anyone who has profited from surfing beyond personal involvement in the sport is to blame for its degradation. If you Clowns didn't go around bolstering your egos on the back of this fine sport and moreover if you didn't tell every punter where to get waves etc etc, we could still be enjoying ourselves in peace and quiet. The sport would have remained obscure and viewed with the kind of detestation that our past generations put up with. But no we had to watch why morons like you Turd Burglars main streamed it, why? I'll tell you why you morons ----EGO. With Ego came attention, with attention came money, and with all of this and all of that came CROWDS. One thing remains, most of you morons can't surf on your own, so I can still enjoy many places to myself, cause you idiots need to go out holding hands with ya man loves!

PooStix

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:56am

KillJoy wrote: Forgive me I couldn't get through the article without dry reaching

That's dry retching, Mr Killjoy. Dry retching.

"We have known about this problem for years and done nothing because there has been no solution beyond the personal one of removing oneself, regularly or permanently, to less crowded locations"

No solution except for the obvious one.

Nice piece blindboy, not having a go, but I came to this point many years ago. Fair enough, I live in Sydney at the best eastern suburbs beach, no, not Bondi, but it isn't that often I get out there for a surf, and certainly not through summer, where I take up the noble art of body surfing.

So, if surfing is about being able to get out at your local whenever and catch a wave, then it was a long time ago that passed me by. Rather than modify the world, I modified my behaviour, it was easier, and now it is mainly about weekends away and the once or twice a year surf trip. East coast oz, outside of school holidays and the main well known places still holds plenty of gems.

I found it hilarious that so many were planning to head up the coast for Winston. It was a nightmare, who would have guessed. So the first question I ask myself is, where is everyone else going to go? Second, where can I go that isn't that place?

But I get your drift, and yes, it is far beyond ridiculous these days.

As for whether surfers can make a decision, I find myself reluctantly quoting Maggie Thatcher, there is no surfing community, only individual surfers making individual decisions.

I'm hoping we will one day again see the day where surfers are considered oddballs and ratbags, but I'm not holding my breath. :-)

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staitey commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 3:23pm

batfink wrote:
Nice piece blindboy, not having a go, but I came to this point many years ago. Fair enough, I live in Sydney at the best eastern suburbs beach, no, not Bondi, but it isn't that often I get out there for a surf, and certainly not through summer, where I take up the noble art of body surfing.

So, if surfing is about being able to get out at your local whenever and catch a wave, then it was a long time ago that passed me by. Rather than modify the world, I modified my behaviour, it was easier, and now it is mainly about weekends away and the once or twice a year surf trip. East coast oz, outside of school holidays and the main well known places still holds plenty of gems.

Nice attitude. I really like your bodysurfing mention. For many the thrill is just being in the ocean, nature, getting fit, in the sun so does it matter if its 4-6' and perfect? Yeah it'd be great if it was but if you can have a ball body bashing a shorey or sliding a mal or twinnie around in sub optimal conditions then it might save your surfing life / sanity.

You're too right about the east coast. From Eden to Noosa the possibilities are endless. Just takes a bit of creativity (and opportunity). I love surfing on my own so this approach suits me. I'm not sure how guys surf in such fierce competition day in day out around cooly and the likes?? I don't know how it doesn't get unenjoyable?

mattmccoll's picture
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mattmccoll commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 8:51am

A bit too big on the blame game Killjoy, surfing became mainstream because it’s fun.
Anything that fun does not remain obscure and the notion that you could still be enjoying yourself in peace and quiet is a naïve fantasy.
Always a bit of a laugh though to read your comments, reminds me of GrandDad saying he used to walk to school barefoot in the snow carrying chopped wood.
Get used to the future people, over population requires handling, start throwing some productive ideas around, see what comes up. A solution is needed pronto, something like board permits for certain catastrophically over crowded areas is an inevitable necessity. Like KJ we all like to dream of endless summer type horizons but no more will we see them.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:09am

that is definitely a problem here: surfers from the Gold Coast coming down with a free for all attitude .

at the moment, there is some sort of order, with people willing to enforce it.
but that will change if the weight of numbers increases.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:21am

And they'll change the surfing culture in your area and it will radiate.

plasm's picture
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plasm commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:04am

How do you know where they are from? Are these guys known surfers?

tootr's picture
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tootr commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:13am

Who was the pro years ago that said surfing should have the status of golf and tennis?
He got his wish.

Probably made a fcukload of money out of it too.

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:29pm

Probably Peter Townsend ...... But could have been any of the Bronzed Aussies or Shaun the prawn. I was always just floored by that comment!

synchrodogcal's picture
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synchrodogcal commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:42am

need ks to get caught rooting a dog & a few other nrl style controversies to facilitate the pullback of surfing's mainstreamyness & eventual implosion of the world surf leauge, which should have already imploded on that shitty rebranding alone

+ a few more sharks, can never get enough sharks

paully's picture
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paully commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:43am

Population growth is designed to make the elite richer. When there is more people to sell to they make more money & get more power. If you put 2 dogs in a backyard they play all day, if you put 20 dogs in a backyard they fight and become territorial. The human race is like a bacteria, in small dose its harmless, but when it spreads it eats everything in its path. 2016 & beyond will erode the surfing spirit & soul. Wave pools will also give total kooks the chance to learn a craft quickly that it took us 20 years to master. Then when the wave pools admission price is unaffordable we will get hordes of hungry pool-surfers infecting lineups wanting a slice of the action. Those you think they can sneak away to hidden gems up & down the coast to escape the crowds will also become frustrated with social media exposing the last of the secrets. I hope i'm wrong, but doubt it.

cd's picture
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cd commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 9:26pm

and when the Chinese discover the joy of surfing then we are truly fucked.

doggy72's picture
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doggy72 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:45am

Just took my twin girls(6 years) down to Torquay back beach last weekend for some lessons (from me).
The hypercrowd was there no less than 100 beginner stage surfers in a space of about 150meters.
Stayed out till one of the girls got a soft board to the head.
Hope those 100 don't stay at it or it is all over for most.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 12:03pm

And for a counter-intuitive response, we may have already hit 'peak crowd'.

Think of this. How many well known surf spots are now filled with beginners? How many of those beginners will stay with the sport for more than a year or two?

How many will learn to surf at dog eat dog places where even established pros can only get a wave by dropping in?

How many are backpackers who will be gone before too long? How many will just not stay with it for glorious, and sometimes less than glorious, decades?

We have been the first generation whereby there was still a crew of old buggers as well as the middle aged, young adults and kids all in the water at the same time, fighting for the same waves. Sure, not true of your particular break, but true of the general state of affairs on the coast.

And just how many more ads can there be on tv that use surfing to denote that their phone plan, clothes, sanitary pads, or cars, are cool? We must have hit peak surfing abuse from marketing.

Or have we?

KillJoy's picture
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KillJoy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 12:15pm

Who says I wasn't reaching for something!

PooStix

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tonybarber commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 12:20pm

Fair article BB. But have you missed something ? As more and more kids took up skate boarding, we made skate parks. As more and more kids took up footy, we made footy fields. As the recent articles on coastlines by Chris, we are learning more and more about the possibility to make wave breaks. Then we have wave parks, Slaters dream.
I think we are approaching critical mass for communities to enhance, modify or build local wave breaks. The engineering is there but not yet the will.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 12:24pm

Definitely something in that TB.

Govt backing surfing through Surfing Aus, HPC etc etc. All they want is increasing numbers. At some point the'll need to look at increasing amenity.

And contrary to what Ben M said before I don't think they need to be all-time good spots sheltered from the wind. More, improving open beaches to provide some kind of surf spot. On the Gold Coast they could build 20-50 artificial reefs to spread the crowd.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:01pm

It was Rabbit I think made the statement that it should be like tennis or was it Mr Drop In Thompson (on BB's advice - drop in that is), it was certainly that era and probably just before Rabbit got thumped in Hawaii. No one here has mentioned artificial reefs. They obviously use no artificial energy apart from the construction and are heaps cheaper I would have thought than the Slater proposal. From memory one was constructed in Perth however they dumbed it down because they were scared of being sued. Not sure where that ended up. We could do with a few down here but then again takes out the local knowledge factor of what is working when and where.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:08pm

Artificial reefs are mentioned directly above your posts mate.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:12pm

Yep missed that one too quick on the trigger finger however if anybody out there knows the history of a successful one or not so would love to hear about it.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:15pm

as far as reefs go, it's pretty thin on the ground.

as far as man made waves go the history of training river mouths and building groynes almost always creates very good surf.

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 3:09pm

"Govt backing surfing through Surfing Aus, HPC etc etc. All they want is increasing numbers. At some point the'll need to look at increasing amenity."

and why is it all about numbers?

do they need to make some bullshit KPI to keep their tax payer funded positions?

or are they so competitively minded they think more surfers = more competitive surfers, so crowding out everyone's beaches is the best way to stop brazilians dominating wsl ? because if it's aussie pride crowding out our beaches we need a stop to that right away. australians really need to get over their obsessive hate of brazilian surfers,

but I suspect its the insular nature of the surf industry creating more surfers = more market so more mates can ride the industry gravy train, and the clowns at the top of the pyramid can enjoy an inflated self worth. whatever it is it's sad, and detrimental to the majority

"as far as man made waves go the history of training river mouths and building groynes almost always creates very good surf."

yep a trip almost anywhere on the east cosst confirms this. the wa reef might be a more conventional wave but breakwall waves are great at spreading a crowd due to the peaky nature, and this wasn't even the intetention. with a bit of thought breakwalls could be the answer.

got to agree regarding bens comment and wind protection, doesn't necessarily have to be in protected coves. with the right engineering you could create wind protection. d bah is a great example, wide open beach but the south wall keeps it clean is southerlies, even se is alright. imagine if boaties, fishos and surfers combine, you could make protected boat ramps/harbous with rock walls either side creating waves and wind protection. may not be that easy though, as the best manmade waves seem unintentional, and expensive intentional ones seem a failure. mother nature is an unruly temptress

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:32pm

The groyne approach works for the Pacific with its relatively gentle ocean it would never work on the exposed southern ocean shore. Where I surf it rarely gets as small as 2 foot and regularly gets 6 -8 (at least once a week even in summer) and often much bigger, so anything on the shore would be destroyed that is why I was interested in man made off shore reefs. Maybe we can sink some of the old Collins Class subs for that purpose and Chris Buykx and the other great minds associated with Swellnet can design it! Lets all call Malcom.

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stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:59pm

Sypkan, a large part of Surfing Australia's modus operandi derives from the public's ignorance about surfing. SA is almost exclusively focused on the cause of competitive surfers. Despite their own charter including rereational surfers and the environment, they rarely dip their fingers into anything that doesn't involve a coloured vest.

You'll notice they often spruik figures for Australia's overall surfing population, especially the generous Sweeney report findings. However, SA don't make the distinction between competitive surfers and recreational surfers. So when they say there are 2.5 million surfers in Australia, Joe Public thinks the huge whack of govt money funnelled through SA is justified as it's for the benefit of all 2.5 million Aussie surfers.

Wrong. The govt pumps money into SA to further competitive surfing - which is maybe 10% of the overall surfing population - and SA keeps pumping the overall numbers to justify more coin. In effect, SA leverage you, me, and the vast majority of recreational surfers to justify their competitive surfing project.

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:14pm

10% Stu? I would be guessing less than that. I also wonder if anyone has considered that most, if not all, of the major clubs are not open to new members. Governments think they are funding community groups when they are actually funding elite competitors. No-one has ever managed to organise a recreational surfers lobby group. Maybe now is the time.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:52pm

Just checked SA website love these motherhood statements:

The Growth
What followed was a far more strategic approach towards the development of the sport. The framework and structure created has allowed surfing to grow both as a sport and as a lifestyle pursuit into the new millennium.

Our Purpose
To create a healthier and happier Australia through experiencing the joy of surfing for life

Our Core Values
LEADERSHIP
Be proactive, be clear in direction and create a culture of lead by example

PIONEERING
Be courageous and inspirational in embracing change and breaking new waters

INTEGRITY
Earn the respect of others through listening and being both trustworthy & appreciative

Geez someone throw me a vest I am drowning in the BS here. Then to end it all they have the sport development pathway diagram. It seems these guys are ending up the wankers we used to call clubbies. I agree BB this is no community group it is a sports club.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:27pm

Oh gawd, MBA-speak bullshit. I think I just dry reached!

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velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 10:26pm

Guys, you are going about this wrong. Just form another club. The 'Me-an-meMates' surf club. Go through the regulatory hoops, make it members only, then fund it a bit, and use it to own a break on a good day, run a pseudo comp and enjoy the break with only 4 out.

It's the only reason I put on a vest every once in a while.

Then, pass on memberships to children, etc...

If SA is swamped by a huge amount of clubs of recreational surfers, it will be forced to more accurately represent surfers.

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:54pm

yeh it's pretty clear what's happening stunet, well for anyone not ignorant about lobby groups and government funding anyway. what beggars belief is how they've gotten away with this sham of a scam for so long while doing absolutely nothing at all for recreational surfers. even their recreational surfers number is a sham. but unfortunately like everyone else I'm too lazy/indifferent/disenfranchised/busy to do any thing about it.

definitely time blindboy, I find it interesting this little outrage is developing in direct correlation with the trump, sanders, corbyn had enough of the establishment sentiment, it's time, said gough

udo's picture
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udo commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 8:22pm

Goldy mayor Tate has hinted on building artificial reefs for the goldy : ABC news

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trogantom commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:45pm

memlasurf wrote: Yep missed that one too quick on the trigger finger however if anybody out there knows the history of a successful one or not so would love to hear about it.

Not sure on the full history of the artificial reef off fremantle but who ever the genius was that decided to build it there put it in the most heavily swell shadowed section of coast anywhere in the perth metro.

The section of coast south of city beach all the way to port beach and sandtracks requires at least 2m of open swell to have anything remotely ridable and the artificial reef is smack in the middle. 2m of swell is seriously rare in summer and as far as i know artificial reef hasnt had a wave since november.

As for the quality of the break it is easily the best right around at 2.5 - 3.5m with more than a couple hollow sections after take off and one of two opportunities for a gouge before it fattens out then into a pretty evil rocky shore break

a pro or a con depending on how you look at it is the distance from shore. A solid 300m paddle past reasonable beach break has deterred me more than a couple times but has definitely thinned the crowd on the days i do commit to the paddle.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:38am

Thanks for that and the long paddle is a great idea in my opinion as you need to be serious to surf it. That is part of the problem at the super bank, anybody can be out there. Love to see a photo or two next time it breaks as I think this is the way to go in Australia not the energy intensive Slater version.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 12:24pm

Fair enough Killjoy. What were you dry reaching for? :-)

Sorry, I try to keep the pedant in me under control, but you know, sometimes he just gets out.

Ed Sloane's picture
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Ed Sloane commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:23pm

I kissed goodbye to my local when this was approved. 65,000 people moving in 10mins away :(

https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/armstrongcreek/armstrong/article/ite...

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stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:41pm

22,000 homes? Pffft, that's nothing....try 35,000 homes being built west of where I live.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-houses-are-coming-for-the-horses-to-sydneys-south-in-the-sprawl-that-isnt-sprawl-20151113-gkydpt.html

Fortunately it's 45 minutes drive and not 10.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:45pm

Ed Sloane wrote: I kissed goodbye to my local when this was approved. 65,000 people moving in 10mins away :(

https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/armstrongcreek/armstrong/article/ite...

Now I'm dry reaching, a slutty photographer complaining about having his local crowded out my brain just exploded> :-D
No offense mate but......................

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Vic Local commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:09pm

Could be worse. We have one tosser down our way who shaped half the boards in the lineup carrying on like a pork chop about the crowds. The dickhead barely surfs and thinks he owns winkipop.

"angry online, smiley in the brine"

Coopshuadi72's picture
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Coopshuadi72 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:23pm

Good article, at some stage though the crowds will surely make the appeal of surfing to beginners less enticing, therefore reducing the % growth.
To all the whingers commenting here, here's a tip move away from the Gold Coast or Sydney. You choose to live there !!. Personally I couldn't think of anything worse than crowded surf and heavy traffic. That's not living.

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sharkman commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:36pm

we are in the self regulating period of surfing , the crowds increase , and the older surfers still keep surfing , surfing is quickly becoming an older mans sport , not dominated by the Gen Y's , but still gen X and the baby boomers.

according to the census , there are more surfers now over 55 than from 13 - 23 yrs old.

It is increasingly becoming obvious that its harder and harder for young surfers to compete for waves , so unless supa gifted , a lot of kids now see surfing as just too hard.

So the future is more about the older surfers now having more time to surf , longer wider boards , catch more waves , so there is a a natural self regulating culture within surfing , that no new amount of artificial surf breaks can fix , just be happy with what you have now as us older blokes are now here for another couple of decades!

x

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 1:48pm

sharkman wrote:

according to the census , there are more surfers now over 55 than from 13 - 23 yrs old.


Yes but the little bastards seem to be able to be in 2 or 3 places at once.
lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 2:33pm

Yet the baby boomers reckon Gen Y is a spoilt generation.

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AndyM commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:28pm

I'm a selfish bastard, every time I see (yet) another fat little porker of a kid I think, there's another one who won't be cluttering the surf.
Terrible I know..

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:57pm

haha, thanks andym

I won't look at those pasty little tellychubbies with such disdain anymore, it wasn't healthy, thanks

tubulargreen's picture
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tubulargreen commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:19pm

hahaha terribly honest

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:41pm

I'm a bit over it, if parents care so little about their kids that they're happy for them to sit in front of a screen (oh the irony!) and get fat, I feel that any sympathy on my part would be misplaced.
Another example, my sister (who was an Australian level athlete) has a 12 year old son who can literally barely run and expects $1000 iPhones for Christmas as a matter of course.
Yeah it gets crowded now but maybe in a generation or two things will thin? Fat kids and gamers give me hope.

owgoodaquads's picture
owgoodaquads's picture
owgoodaquads commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 2:19pm

Always interesting when these conversations come up and all the different responses. It is obviously always relative to your own situation and the impending doom and there are always some little pearls of wisdom to take on board.
Personally, my local 'good' break, which has become less and less likely to break and 'be good' maxed out at about a peak of 50 during the Winston swell and was horrible. Drop ins and sharing became de rigeur. The next day, slightly smaller but still with a fair wallop in it, we resorted to onshore, sand dredging sets on the beachies, but with the occasional good one. Hard work, lots of floggings but a whole beach to ourselves. Similar to Batfink, you've got to change your behaviour for sanity's sake.

islandman's picture
islandman's picture
islandman commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 2:22pm

have to agree with one comment above there is no doubt the internet has played a huge part in increasing crowd numbers, i miss the days so badly when the only media surfing got was that beautiful shiny tracks mag or surfing life mag that sat in your local newsagent, now we have hundreds of thousands of insta accounts and facey accounts which every surfer puts up a picture of them doing a snap or getting barrelled! throw in the development of the go pro and everyone is now a semi pro surfer it would seem! i guess it is a double edged sword having people like ben who do such great swell forecasts that anyone can read and plan there surf on. I personally have made an art form of finding uncrowded waves, sure i sacrifice the peak of the swell but it blows my mind when say for instance ben calls a peak in swell on the monday or tuesday those days are packed house(because people are sheep) i cant count the number of times i have scored uncrowded waves the few days before or after those swell events, alot of surfers especially the new breed seem to be extremely ego driven and image driven so they have to be seen hence why the famous well documented spots are allways packed to the roof! i swear just walk down the beach a bit take a drive and you can still allways score waves without the kooks.

lostdoggy's picture
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lostdoggy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 2:30pm

Was even better when Tracks wasn't shiny ;)

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 2:50pm

Good point Sharkman. In my area we are witnessing a decline in surfers, probably for a number of reasons. First, it's pretty damn hard to start from scratch and with kids these days and faced with so many other distractions, I think their limited attention spans don't correspond with the fact that learning to surf and becoming competent at it takes a long long time.

Second, we don't have the year round mild water so in winter to even last a while you need serious kit and that doesn't come cheap.

Third, there is a definite and defined pecking order and usually regardless of ability, older surfers command and demand respect here and they get it. Younger surfers up here in the country get monstered by the older blokes.

There's probably a few other reasons though but I've noticed a distinct decline in the numbers of surfers, especially in winter.

As an aside, the thought of regulating surfing is anathema to me. I couldn't imagine having a set time or place to go for a surf. Getting out for a paddle when you can is the beauty of it for me.

1173

sypkan's picture
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sypkan commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 3:17pm

"As an aside, the thought of regulating surfing is anathema to me. I couldn't imagine having a set time or place to go for a surf. Getting out for a paddle when you can is the beauty of it for me."

it's already happening as surfers at keramas resort buy a night surfing timeslot for exclusive rights when the lights are on, 4 at a time apparently. don't know how they police it, but having the local mafia involved in your resort no doubt helps.

not to mention exclusive resorts popping up everywhere now.

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 3:11pm

yeah Zen , I have heard there are hardly any young surfers in Japan now , as the old guys rule , and the culture there means if an elder tells you to go in you have no choice.
I think for the rest of the world , its starting to look the same , maybe that's why so many younger guys now embrace the Hipster movement , ride really long boards and beaver tails , but can out paddle the old mongrels who still surf and catch heaps of waves!

x

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 3:40pm

Well just decided where I'm going for my next holiday:-)

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:26pm

Hipster Land!

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

KillJoy's picture
KillJoy's picture
KillJoy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:47pm

You know they keep us all just happy enough not to act and bring the whole system down, its called a negative correlation, the more people leads to a decrease in living conditions, cause old mate round the corner will do your work for $10 an hour less. I like all this comment ... can't someone shut this website down and we can go back to calling it based on the old weather map. Think about it, if Swellnet and Coastal watch and all those other Murdoch like inspired pleb websites were shut down, your crowd problem would disappear. No one would think of going outside to read the weather, let alone read a weather map. Come on Swellnet do the right thing, I'm sure we could all pitch in a send you some trinket to compensate, like some pubic hair invested second hand wax from the bottom of my man bag.

PooStix

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:19pm

killjoy, websites like Swellnet may increase crowds from time to time by predicting swells days out but the whole internet could crash tomorrow and it really would make very little if any difference, most places, most of the time.

tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:52pm

KillJ, Im no Murdoch man but geez, I don't think you got that right. Your logic is flawed. Me telling you what to do or you telling me what to do or where to surf - think about it. I don't reckon that would work, heh ?

adam12's picture
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adam12 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 4:57pm

A couple of unfortunate deaths due to crowded surf and some public outrage and the good christians in the NSW and Qld. govts. will have no alternative other than to introduce surfing lockout laws.

freerider.'s picture
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freerider. commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:56pm

Umm--crowds--don't think surfing would have spread like this without the millions and millions spent trying to sell and glorify "The Dream" to anyone who could fit into a pair of board shorts. Kind of ironic, that the place the crowds seem the absolute worst in the world--is in OZ.--the birth place of Quicksilver--Rip Curl--Billabong--three companies who have tried to pimp out surfing to the masses for the last 30 years. I guess they did a good job. As you sow--so shall you reap....

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 5:59pm

reap....! or Rape;)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 10:31am

ah , R&R takes on a whole new meaning!

x

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:12pm

So true MC;)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:02pm

Who'd wanna live on the goldy now? Pffft..... And it's not like there's heaps of employment....
If you don't want crowds, move!!!!!! It's that fuckn simple....
There are still some pretty decent coastlines around Oz with empty waves.... Might need a bit of rubber and some balls....

Perhaps many folk actually like hiding in a crowd.... Paddle out at an easy to get out spot when it's 5 foot, flounder around watching the pros, not catch one wave, come in, walk up to the girlfriend and say "wow stoked!! Did you see my barrel??" lol... Met a few of those in my time.....

Sheepdog

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blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:08pm

If surfing was my absolute priority I would have moved out of Sydney years ago but I have family, friends, a satisfying job and good music contacts to play with here so on that level I can't really complain too seriously...but reserve my right to observe!

Sheepdog's picture
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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:12pm

I was more on about the goldy BB.... Sydney is a different thing... It's a bloody big city, a real city.... Whereas the goldy is a plastic facade.....

Sheepdog

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:16pm

Likewise BB;)

Good piece by the way and that's not ya pistol in ya pants.

Same ol Same ol Same ol, will find some better lyrics in the future with some funky orchestral kind of synthy background......

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

KillJoy's picture
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KillJoy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:17pm

TonyB ... I wouldn't tell anyone what to do, but if they wanted to surf they would have to work it out for themselves, you don't need a phone or internet for that, all you need is a newspaper matie and a pair of furry balls.

And Blindboy ... whilst I note I am in a blaming mood, I don't agree with your comment, if it wasn't for websites like this and I concede other forms of media and marketing surfing would have remained obscure, its protagonists unpopular and this article would never have been written!

PooStix

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tonybarber commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 6:45pm

KillJ, yeah I may not have clear on what I was trying to say. But blaming the internet or anything or anyone associated with it just does not make sense. Extrapolating your thoughts, no tv, no papers, no mags, no radio (they still do surf reports on radio), no phone, no movies, no Endless Summers ….
The demand is clearly there. Its now time to build these playgrounds, as we do in other sports.

tubulargreen's picture
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tubulargreen commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:01pm

Seek and you shall find.
Many memories of uncrowded, at times solo sessions. Articles like this remind me how fortunate I am to have grown up in the large non glossy paper pages of Tracks era.
I have a "should have been here yesterday" grin.

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:34pm

Your goin over the top abit i reckon..sure the superbank was all time but it needed a perfect 6ft cyclone swell..in peak pro period..plus pro hoes in the peak month for every traveller to wanna surf the goldie..like goin to torquay on easter..what else can you expect..oh and you turned 3 or 4 waves into one giant one..sounds like everyone's havin a meltdown on here...which is a shame..cause winston shouldve been a time for joy..ah well

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batfink commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:39pm

Not sure I agree with your previous comment BB. If the internet shut down there would be a whole lot of people scratching their heads, or balls, with no idea what to do next. I used to get my weather maps from the newspapers, could always go back to that, but they only cover a few days out.

Fark it would be funny if the internet went down. How many clueless people would be revealed.

Answer, all of them.

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 8:22pm

X2 before BF;)

But yeah I have mentioned that before on here, too true.
2 day synoptic, straight down to the dairy in the morning, even grabbing one real early when they were dropped off at night, before the dairy would open, already packed up for my 2-3 day adventure on the way to the coast.
I always left a little something something tho......

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 9:06pm

Can't remember the number, think it was 1182 or something like that but dialling that from the home phone to get the boating weather, wind and buoy data and making the call based on that with the synoptic chart from the paper and the 10 second grab from the 6 o'clock news. Too easy these days.

1173

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 8:39pm

You were lucky back then Zen;)

We never had a number, even back then, those ECL'S form Oz, used to blow the telephone wire dead flat on the ground!

That's why the paper was a great source, even if it was wet.
Lucky I never fell asleep on the thing as I would've had a weather map on my forehead......to this day....?

I'm actually thinking about my first tattoo!

A big ECL tattooed on the end of my cock;) with a .............
To be continued.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

upnorth's picture
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upnorth commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 8:50pm

It's unfortunate for the silent minority of surfers in Oz who have gone about their business over the years purely for the love of it, with mates in the same mindset within a community that doesn't bat an eyelid. It seems the majority think differently, from the outside Australia IS surfing an idea that in my experience is perpetuated by people in all walks of life, surfers and non surfers alike. Certainly the marketeers have been onto it for years, that's no secret, you'd be hard pushed to find a travel brochure that doesn't spruik the board short lifestyle, surf mags take it to a different level. And it's something most Aussies are proud of, repeating the mantra 'nother day in paradise mate' as if saying it makes it a reality. It certainly brings in the punters, whether interstate or international. The fact that surf travel for the masses is a thing these days with it's own slice of the web is a fairly recent phenomenon. Look at Indo, there are strong arguments for the benefits surfing has brought to the economy but it has also fucked it in so many ways and quite unapologetically. That's not to say there aren't pockets of 'nother day in paradise mate' around Oz and when you find them they are so good. But more and more are falling into the marketeers wet dream category, I was browsing a travel mag (non surfing) in a UK newsagent a few months ago and there was a feature on 'outback Australia' which detailed the popular camping and surfing spot of red bluff, there was even a quote from trip advisor. Written by a proud Aussie wanting to tell the world how awesome their country is, nothing new there but at some point the pigeons come home to roost. As long as surfing in Australia is sold in mags, on t shirts and hoodies on the web and it's elite exponents back slapped on the evening news regardless of behaviour people will want to be a part of it. It's well past the point of no return the only hope for the surfer who just loves going for a paddle and isn't in a position to relocate to fuck knows where is that surfing will peak and become passé, like a sun bleached mullet.

scoopmaster's picture
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scoopmaster commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 9:14pm

Actually if you start with 1000 surfers and add 5% for 10 years you have 1629 surfers due to the magic of compounding.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 9:36pm

Agree scoop master but rounded off due to dodgy nature of growth rate. The basic idea is not changed. The actual number of surfers added in the next ten years will be almost double the number added in the last ten years.......all roughly rounded off.

talkingturkey's picture
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talkingturkey commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 10:10pm

I think Coolangatta should have it's Bến Tre in Vietnam moment.

It's war, people!

Build a big fuck-off super marina come cruise ship terminal right at the Superbank.

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Charlie don't surf?

adam12's picture
adam12's picture
adam12 commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 10:27pm

Dumbest post yet, WTF were you thinking posting that? What is your point? How old are you?

talkingturkey's picture
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talkingturkey commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:52am

I was only 19.

talkingturkey's picture
talkingturkey's picture
talkingturkey commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:59am

I remember the TV show Adam 12 too. A.C.A.B, hey?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:35pm

Maybe read about the photo if you don't understand the point.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 10:41pm

I think Batfink mentioned above 'peak surfer' and I'd be inclined to agree. I think you've neglected to touch on attrition, is there any hard data pointing towards more people taking up surfing than in the past? Maybe SA would have something along those lines but quite clearly going by their mission statement, they have an agenda and that's to secure and maintain funding.

How does surfing compare with other sports or pastimes? Currently we are witness to perhaps 3 generations of surfers in the water at once but as much we'd like to think, we can't surf forever. I reckon I've got another 20-30 years or so left in me and that will pretty much be it. Having said that, what about the people who naturally just drop out of surfing due to family, work, health whatever? Out of the 10 or so crew I used to surf with when I was in my late teens early 20's, including myself, I can only think of 3 that regularly surf. I can't say for sure but by that rationale, 70% of surfers who begin don't carry it through with the rest of their surfing life.

Also, as I mentioned above, not all the offspring of surfers go on to be surfers themselves. I have a mate ,absolute ripper who's eldest son follows in dads footsteps but the younger son not interested, just wants to skate and play Aussie rules. I'd be very interested to know just how many people take up surfing and stick with it long enough to make it a lifelong pursuit?

1173

Serge from france's picture
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Serge from france commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 11:54pm

Makes me giggle articles such as this one, on a website such as this one. Takes the edge off a frustrating surf spent slugging it out with a crowd of 25-40 yearold beginners.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:25am

Well said BB, any ideas how we can stop it? Surfed fun consistent margs today untill the crowd hit 50! faark all time record. from memory. If you havent surfed margs its called a point but its not a point break thats long like lennox or the like , its a peak when its under 6ft, and fairly short rides both ways, 50 guys is a shitload of people in a small area, clambering over one another and getting in each others way with bigger sets. Is 50 going to be the norm? The other day windy average 6ft boaties had 30 (10 yrs ago that day would have been lucky to have 5) . Ellenbrook carpark yesterday was the fullest ever. WA has been sold and sold again. Bukit # 2

silver-surfer's picture
silver-surfer's picture
silver-surfer commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 5:41am

Just coming off me shift and got a call from a mate who was talking to a bloke who knows the head planner on the mid north coast. The council has just received a development application for an over 55 retirement village with a surfing theme.
Apparently its about 30 hectares of land with 750meters of beach frontage, the housing will all be low cost bungalows with heaps of palm trees and bike tracks, a village Tuck Shop that has every issue of Tracks and Surfing World prior to 1980, selling finger buns, cream buns, frozen sunnyboys and instant coffee and there is a covenant that it will only play music recorded prior to 1990.
Best is gonna be the surf, they want to build a point, better than Superbank and run a nightly dredge on the shoreline to move the sand around, the cost will be in the strata levys. To keep blows-in out, a drawbridge on the way in, which gets raised every time the Swellnet forecast calls a 5/10 or better. I think it is going to be called White Flight or something similar. Anybody know where or how I can get a place there?

surfers for a warmer planet

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 6:52am

Where do I sign!! Cream bun and instant sold me:-)

Talking Turkey is not Morris as some have commented earlier, thought it was amusing that it was adding to the confusion of who's who, but photos like the one posted earlier don't really belong here.

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 8:47pm

Good call Dog Shit here here...

I honestly hope there is raspberry jam in those cream bums of yours :-)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 7:50am

Add a skate park and I'm there.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 8:01am

Good article BB. As Zen said above, retention rates are a question mark. Of 7 keen late teen surfers, there are 3 left who pursue it regularly. Also, not all children will follow parents into regular surfing.

This morning, it's fairly pumping after a long time of the wrong winds. Checking the cam, already quite crowded. Think I'll tempt the wind change and surf after my morning's work finishes midday. There's always a place and a time...

mattmccoll's picture
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mattmccoll commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:03am

A bit too big on the blame game Killjoy, surfing became mainstream because it’s fun.
Anything that fun does not remain obscure and the notion that you could still be enjoying yourself in peace and quiet is a naïve fantasy.
Always a bit of a laugh though to read your comments, reminds me of GrandDad saying he used to walk to school barefoot in the snow carrying chopped wood.
Get used to the future people, over population requires handling, start throwing some productive ideas around, see what comes up. A solution is needed pronto, something like board permits for certain catastrophically over crowded areas is an inevitable necessity. Like KJ we all like to dream of endless summer type horizons but no more will we see them.

silver-surfer's picture
silver-surfer's picture
silver-surfer commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:31am

just got an update from me mate about the over 55's surfers retirement village planned for the mid north coast. Apparently some commercial tenants have signed on, including;
1) a marriage introduction service for submissive south east Asian women (the nearest Westfields is 2 hours away, so no traditional aussie wife is moving there)
2) a lawyer skilled in criminal matters and writing pre-nuptals for old blokes with hot young wifes
3) an Indian Doctor doing 10 years regional service to get his Aus Visa, willing to write Marijwanna smoking certificates to all and any, and skilled in dealing with skitzafrenia.
4) a surf shop, carrying all 3 big name labels, heaps of fat board and in need of all of the above.
I am there!

surfers for a warmer planet

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 11:40am

I do so like a crisp, dry sense of humour - makes me think of the sauvignon blanc they might serve when I sell my house in Sydney and move to the mid north coast.

tootr's picture
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tootr commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 12:50pm

.

batfink's picture
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batfink commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 10:29pm

silver-surfer wrote: just got an update from me mate about the over 55's surfers retirement village planned for the mid north coast. Apparently some commercial tenants have signed on, including;
1) a marriage introduction service for submissive south east Asian women (the nearest Westfields is 2 hours away, so no traditional aussie wife is moving there)
2) a lawyer skilled in criminal matters and writing pre-nuptals for old blokes with hot young wifes
3) an Indian Doctor doing 10 years regional service to get his Aus Visa, willing to write Marijwanna smoking certificates to all and any, and skilled in dealing with skitzafrenia.
4) a surf shop, carrying all 3 big name labels, heaps of fat board and in need of all of the above.
I am there!

I have no idea where you came from Silver surfer, and what you have posted before, but I like the cut of your jib!

:-)

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:41am

The surf media doesn't help by hyping any blob that appears on the forecasters chart as the "the best this", "biggest that", "swell of the decade" for absolutely normal swell events.

The more hype = the more views = more revenue = encourages hype = crowded ocean

grumpy's picture
grumpy's picture
grumpy commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 8:24pm

Well said KillJoy Ego Greed Money $$$$$$$ . Bloody sad , Exposure for 5 minutes of fame it's all a Pile a bullshit . Loose lips sink ships but nobody even understands what that means any more. .

Vic Local's picture
Vic Local's picture
Vic Local commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 9:16pm

The worst thing about the hyper crowd is that the behaviour gets exported. You can spot a SE queensland surfer in an Indo lineup a mile away. They have no problems about repeatedly paddling to the number 1 slot in the lineup even when it's uncrowded. Learn to count you idiots. Thank God it's freezing down my way and the banana benders are soft as.

"angry online, smiley in the brine"

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 10:17pm

Yes, some of those crowded spots at the Gold Coast look pretty horrible. It reminds me of the last 4 lines of The Last Resort by The Eagles.
But other city beaches have been crowded since the 70s, and now that the GC is a city the crowds aren't surprising. As someone else mentioned earlier, some places are no more crowded than the 70s.
And I'd say that the suggested attrition rate of 70% for surfers as they age is generous. My guess is it's 70% by age 30, 90% by age 40, and then it creeps up slowly; if you're still there by 40, you're most likely in it for the long run. Then you have late starters in their 30s and 40s and a few like me who make a comeback after a long break (for how long who knows) but they wouldn't account for much in the overall total.
The best solutions have been mentioned: travel away from the populated areas - you don't necessarily have to go too far - or artificial reefs. I think there will be opposition to anything other than breakwaters. Dumping tyres and fill to make a reef will fire up the environmentalists real fast, not to mention the non-surfing residents who don't want more cars, loitering undesirables (yes, feel free to take offence), overnight car campers etc.
It's not all bad. These are the good old days from a reference point in 2026 and beyond.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 2:05am

The irony of this type of discussion, in this forum, well, as others have noted....

Fact is the internet is here to stay and with that, so too forecasting sites, publishing sites and discussion forums. That said, it doesn't mean said sites, publications and us the inhabitants of them should sit back and do nothing.

What can we do? Well ...

1. Name and shame when people drop in and snake.
2. Don't publish video's or photo's of those surfers until they publicly apologise.
3. Be vocal in the lineup and call out the dickheads who drop in and snake.
4. Act with respect and lead by example at your local, do the basic things like take your turn, don't drop in, don't snake, etc.
5. Support others in the lineup who are vocal and who pull up the dickheads.
6. Support the publishers and sites like this only if they take a stand.

The inevitable path otherwise is the increase of dog eat dog attitude and what will eventuate is the escalation of violence. Self imposed justice by way of smack to the head to those who show a lack of respect, hassle, drop in, snake, etc. ... Surfing history is filled with it, and it's on the rise again.

I can't fight or run very fast ... so I'm off to take martial arts lessons. My mouth gets me into plenty of trouble, time I had something to back it up!

Oh, and yeah, I'm the vocal cunt in the lineup attempting to pull up the dickheads. Don't get me started on the way people paddle back out toward the open face / shoulder of the wave instead of through the whitewater. Fuck, now I'm started ... that one thing, if policed by the majority of us, would see the numbers in the surf drop. The fuckers wouldn't get back out. Let's push this ... the safety message, paddle toward the whitewater, not the open face, duck dive and you'll be safe. Half or more of the fuckers out there wouldn't last more than two sets waves. Simple crowd control!

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

dastasha's picture
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dastasha commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:07am

wingnut2443 wrote: Don't get me started on the way people paddle back out toward the open face / shoulder of the wave instead of through the whitewater. Fuck, now I'm started ... that one thing, if policed by the majority of us, would see the numbers in the surf drop. The fuckers wouldn't get back out. Let's push this ... the safety message, paddle toward the whitewater, not the open face, duck dive and you'll be safe.

This^
wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 2:13am

Fuck, I'm on a roll now ...

Surfshops, boardstores, even the online ones should also ALL take on a role in all this too. They have everyone who buys a new board, and they don't sell the board to the surfer unless the surfer signs a "pledge" ... a statement that states the surfer will not:

a. drop in
b. snake
c. paddle to the shoulder / open face and interfere with the riders line on the wave but instead will cope the whitewater on the head, and duck dive the wave
d. will call out others who do not do the above
e. will act with respect to others, take their turn in the lineup, etc.
f. etc.

This would help to bring the issue to front of mind for all the clowns who think it's ok to act like a dickhead in the surf.

Can't see it ever happening though ...

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 6:51am

Just looked at a facebook thingy of fannings apology from what I read of the comments 9 out of 10 reckon it's okay for him to do it for variouse reasons and 1 out of 9 reckon they would be honoured to be burnt or snaked by fanning.

Like climate change it's inevitable and its another thing that I just don't care about, let the next generation deal with it.

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dastasha commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:28am

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu wrote: 9 out of 10 reckon it's okay for him to do it for variouse reasons and 1 out of 9 reckon they would be honoured to be burnt or snaked by fanning.

Its only cool if he apologises as he does it and refers to you by your first name. Still doesn't make it right
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:51am

I don't think it's right, Just pointing out the majority of people that were surfing out there thought he had every right to do it, so I'm just thankful I am not a part of it.

wingnut2443's picture
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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:46am

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu wrote: Just looked at a facebook thingy of fannings apology ...

Got a link to it?

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu wrote: ... from what I read of the comments 9 out of 10 reckon it's okay for him to do it for variouse reasons and 1 out of 9 reckon they would be honoured to be burnt or snaked by fanning.

Just goes to prove the kook factor is higher than anyone could have imagined.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:59am
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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 8:41pm

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu wrote: https://www.facebook.com/mySURF.tv/

Cheers.

Just watched it ... fucking apology my arse! Disgusting insincere snigger, with half arse mumbled words.

Let's see the biffo start and pro surfers gettin' dropped in on and injured. Then they all be fucking whingin' ... they need to URGENTLY show leadership and stop this shit before it gets worse.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

udo's picture
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udo commented Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 at 9:13pm

Quiky Pro -round 1 heat 5 ..Fannings up.......How many water security guards are needed to clear the 50 surfers that have just entered the water at Froggies and are on route to block and drop in on Fanning during his heat .....no violence just a good speaker amongst the pack to get the point across ...media will love it.

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wingnut2443 commented Friday, 11 Mar 2016 at 3:47am

Great idea! Surely there would be more than 50 of us prepared to highlight this issue?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
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Hako o hakonde ... commented Friday, 11 Mar 2016 at 5:53am

Meanwhile Kelly Slater whilst downing a smoothie in between training sessions at his private wave pool, points out to his accountant and a potential investor the chatter on the internet about snapper and the crowds in general. He grabs his board for another paddle out and can't wipe the grin off his face, high fives all round.

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 11 Mar 2016 at 9:18pm

You're onto something Wingnut.
An observation is that many people are now taught to surf, but not taught the rules of surfing, for the breaks they will graduate into. Back in WA in the old days Rosco did up these beautiful plaques of the rules of surfing and they were put in front of certain breaks.
There was a harder edge in the water, like asking "how do you line up that section?" was invariably met with "just give up, paddle in, go home," lol

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mick63 commented Saturday, 12 Mar 2016 at 8:52am

Just make your own surf spot, seems to be a couple of good line ups on this island and now they're taking flights out there. No crowds. "China to begin civilian flights to disputed South China Sea island" headline from the Gaurdian today.

Tom Tate, good from with mention of new man made surf breaks on the goldy, must be an election coming up hey? or has he been talking to the Chinese? Go Tom, the surfers friend

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mcsc commented Saturday, 12 Mar 2016 at 11:43am

Think I'm living the dream where I live and surf right now. Most of the year uncrowded, just matter of finding the best banks. But having said that I've got two massive property developments not far from me in full swing, or just getting started. When the grommets from those McMansions discover surfing I think I'm fucked lol

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Rollopost commented Friday, 7 Jul 2017 at 10:17pm

Surfing - it's not worth it. I've persisted for years, some memorable waves here and there but more often it's just not that rewarding with the crowds. If you like a bit of speed, flow and fun there's downhill mtn biking, longboarding, snowboarding etc. And then there's a world of other sports. Do what works for you and what's convenient!

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groundswell commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 6:48pm

It seems my age and fittess is getting on the wrong side of 39 right at the stage where this is happening. Ive had plenty of barrels not addicted any more. But cold weather sure brings the crowd down, no one out tosmorning at a very well known point near here, wrong wind but still ok. Surfing just isnt as fun as it was 20 years ago to me. Indo ruined the drive for me, tropical water, long tubes on cammand if you knew where to go. Come home and compete for a two second barrel into a closeout. pfft. Fishing seems fun and i hate the smell of bait on me fingers.

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Blowin commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 7:09pm

You on the East coast , Groundswell ?

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groundswell commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 7:11pm

west coast, mid to north west

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Blowin commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 7:22pm

I thought you were at Kalbarri ?

Back in Gero ?

That'd explain the lack of love.

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groundswell commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 7:43pm

Still in kalbarri but winds have been north more often than not., you're welcome to drop by any time you want too, just let me know. i have a spare room.

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Blowin commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 8:42pm

Thanks for the offer Groundswell. Never know when I might turn up .

I've been hearing about the Northely plague winds . Maybe 2nd half of the year will pay off.

Shit waves test you as you get older. I've got mates that have virtually stopped surfing due to shit conditions. Got to mix it up or move.

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tubeshooter commented Saturday, 8 Jul 2017 at 9:50pm

At present it seems the largest crowds are mainly brought on by the holiday periods , aside from some major metropolitan areas. Ive never understood why people plan trips to places that are going to be packed in the first place.

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Mort commented Sunday, 9 Jul 2017 at 10:08pm

Sounds like the Malthusian idea. Soon we will have spaceships, with racks. Sorry, I have just started playing Elite Dangerous, due to my new kickarse tower. That should spread the pack a little bit. It really is calming if you have had an argument with your missus though. A couple of parsecs in hyperdrive is calming.

It is probably a good thing I am not in the future anyway, I can't even get some bloody tobacco on Elite Dangerous, can't work out the map.

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joshua.mills commented Friday, 26 Feb 2021 at 4:01am

Yeah, and that's even with the wrong formula for compunded growth. The real answer is a lot larger 1000*(1.05)^10 = 1630

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mickseq commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 12:05pm

That what I thought too good spotting

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garry.thomas commented Friday, 26 Feb 2021 at 9:36am

Remove all surf forecasts and you will reduce some of the crowds!

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billythekid commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 8:12am

I don't know about qld, but on surf coast I don't see the crowds as an issue because 1. you can just move to another less crowded spot, 2. most people surf early and a lot of times the waves may be better later, 3. most people aren't that good - they're tourists or beginners so they're mainly sitting around. If these surfers are getting your waves then the solution is simple - lose some weight ya fat bastard!

Jokes aside, when I visit family at Tamarama in Sydney, I'm amazed by how uncrowded that is. I mean, there are people, but again, most of them don't do that much. There are hardly any local kids anymore, that's a real difference.

I'd rather a crowd of 50 mostly beginner/inters and old guys than a handful of local 14-16 year old hotshots anyday.

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bigredcouch commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 8:50am

Well, cheers Covid. We really are in the age of the hypercrowd in Australia now.

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mickseq commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 12:01pm

I surf the northern GC during the week, Mon - Fri and generally there are very few if no one in many spots, Feb/March through to Aug, many good waves, probably like many other parts of the east coast.

I also made business and making money a prerogative and have stayed committed and persistent in the investment process over the years, now rewarding by allowing for plenty of time off and a healthy budget to fly and escape the crowds to many parts of the world.

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mickseq commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 12:03pm

I also agree that the skill level in the water has dropped significantly and also people are noticeably more obese

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D-Rex commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 12:45pm

Cheers for making us all feel more satisfied with our lives, mick!

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sheep shagger commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 12:55pm

billythekid is spot on... the crowds on the Surf Coast are largely just bobbing in the water... and the good locals tend to surf early. 10am- 12 there's very few bods in the water, even on the points.
The vibe is good here too... plenty of smiles... Vic surfers get the Gentleman's Award from me!

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bigredcouch commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 1:19pm

"now rewarding by allowing for plenty of time off and a healthy budget to fly and escape the crowds to many parts of the world."

You're kidding yaself Mickseq, what epic surf locations have you flown to around the world in the last 12 months?

Also, I've never been, but I reckon there's a reason you're surfing what you call uncrowded waves on the GC, it's cause they're pretty average I bet

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joesydney commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 2:32pm

So who’s working on night vision goggles for surfing? Light winds at night and would double the available surfing time...

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ringmaster commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 6:01pm

Ha!

I've fantasised about night surfing contact lenses for years. It's the last frontier in the surfing world.

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AndyM commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 5:55pm

Stop the press, everything's sorted.
Fewer crowds and more waves for all.

"Falling sperm counts and changes to sexual development are “threatening human survival”".

Apparently the blame lies with “everywhere chemicals” which affect endocrines.
These chemicals are found in plastics, cosmetics and pesticides and include phthalates and bisphenol-A.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,”

Humans could become an endangered species - good news for hardcore greenies and misanthropes.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/26/falling-sperm-counts-hum...

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Remigogo commented Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 at 10:43pm

My first time crossing paths with this article.

FFS...

...I just cannot read past that photo above....