Predictions for the year, predictions for the decade

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

Here at Swellnet we don't do listicles, just never been our bag. Yet with the old decade rolling over into the new one, it's given us pause to stop and think about surfing in 2020 and beyond. Not just in an abstract way, but specific developments or events, each of them listed.

So, have a listicle!

Keep in mind, the following are predictions about the future; mere guesses at what will happen. Yet with utmost certainty I can tell you two things about the future:

  • If something on this list comes true I'll be quoting myself.
  • If something on this list is proven wrong it will suddenly disappear.

Also, there's nothing in here about jet surfboards. That pic on the homepage is just clickbait.

Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments.

Softboards go high tech:

A few years back there was a stalemate between softboard manufacturers and council lifeguards. At issue was the use of softboards between the flags, and for a short time they were at risk of being outlawed across all NSW beaches, which could easily have spread to Queensland, to Victoria, and right around Australia.

However, coastal councils have since stepped back from a uniform response and the demand for softboards has boomed. Like deck grips and SUPs before them, anyone with knowledge of Alibaba - the Chinese manufacturing conglomerate website - can start a softboard company, and in the closing years of the decade over a dozen companies hit the market.

Yet for a culture as creative as surfing, bulbous planshapes and rotund rails were never gonna last in a market that’s plateaued. As far as I can tell Mick Fanning led the way with fully rounded rails on a softboard and now Haydenshapes has upped the ante with a soft Hypto Krypto using shaped rails and internal parabolic stringers.

In the future expect to read about softboards made of increasingly tech material, and which feature concave, late entry rocker, reactive flex, and all the terms that currently confound you about standard surfboards.

Man meets rock:

Does Mason Ho’s health insurance company know?

About his videos that is. The ones were he scoffs at danger, playing chicken with rock and reef as if it’s made out of nerf, or that he is. A quick glance over his catalogue shows Mason getting ever closer to disaster, driven by border fatigue or just plain boredom, and I can’t see it ending well.

It’s the one prediction on this list that I hope doesn’t come true.

The end of skate style:

Want to display your street cred to other surfers? Start correcting their terminology whenever a surfer does an air.

“ wasn’t a 360 judo, it was a 540 dish licker.”

“No way it was a picadilly, he held it for over a second so it was a rawhide.”

And yeah I get the history: skaters paid homage to Bertleman so we should extend the same courtesy to skaters, but go and look at the airs Italo and Fil and Gabs are doing now. They’re the biggest and bolshiest airs the surf world has ever seen and they’ve got zero to do with skating. They have no obscure grabs or spins, and they’re not described by degrees of rotation.

This year, Italo won the Red Bull Airborne by consistently greasing big, functional surfing airs, and like his Brazilian brethren he pays no heed to skate style in or out of the water, no pulled up Stance socks, Vans old school, and other fashion markers. 

The outlier is JJF, but as his latest knee injury was the result of a boned out air in Bali, he’ll also drop the tweaks and plant himself more evenly to avoid injury. It’s the beginning of the end of skate style in surf.

The boom and bust of wavepools:

In the first month of the new decade, Australia’s first commercial wavepool opened its doors to the public. URBNSURF at Tullamarine, Melbourne, uses Wavegarden technology and is a far cry from the lengthy perfection Kelly Slater revealed to the world in 2015.

Without a wealthy benefactor to prop it up, URBNSURF is immediately beholden to commercial constraints and is designed with those in mind. Think cheap(ish) land, lots of breaking waves, servicing lots of paying customers. The first and second point are vitally important, especially here in Australia where real estate is expensive, even more so on the coast, and populations are stuffed into a few concentrated hubs.

With construction price tags in the tens of millions, the operators will have to get the balance right, but complicating matters is the emergence of a number of players, each with their eyes across multiple parts of Australia, and there are simply not enough surfers to keep them all solvent. Nor will wavepools create hordes of new surfers: the costs of wavepool lessons are prohibitively high, and being contingent on land costs, labor, and energy, they’ll never come down.

Like drive-ins of the 60s and 70s, and theme parks of the 80s and 90s, expect to see wavepools boom and bust as the competition gets whittled down to those who nail the dismal science of economics. God help us all...

And now for a forecast about forecasts:

According to Ben Matson, surfers shouldn’t expect the accuracy of short-term computer generated surf forecasts to improve a great deal in the coming years.

“Surf forecasts are a fourth-generation product. They’re derived from an initial computer model prediction of the atmosphere’s mean sea level pressure, which produces a surface wind forecast, which is then ingested into a wave model. We use that wave model data to produce a surf forecast.”

“As such, the accuracy of an automated surf forecast is largely dependent on the accuracy of the initial atmospheric source data. Whilst these weather model forecasts are always improving, the annual improvement rate is gradually slowing.”

Though the accuracy of day to day forecasts is slowing down, Ben sees improvements elsewhere: “I do however see advancements in the development of longer term surf forecasts, such as seasonal outlooks, which will be handy for an ever more flexible workforce.”

From the foam dust appear green shoots:

Ten years ago the domestic surfboard industry was facing annihilation from the Asian onslaught. Remarkably, the local industry not only weathered that assault, but has since gone on to consolidate their place here.

Oh, there’s been a shakedown, a complete restructuring of the manufacturing process, but a mix of savvy marketing by key labels, and a continuing desire for customs - and the flexibility to machine-cut those customs - means many shapers are now certain of their future.

Even better, many board labels are expanding into surf wear. Over the last decade the old surf industry, led by Quiksilver, Billabong, Hurley et al, have decoupled from their base. Now owned by private equity firms and hedge funds, they’re surf companies in name only.

Expect a split to form between surf wear and surf fashion - where you buy it, what it looks like - with a cottage industry rising on the back of board shapers.

OK, maybe this one is more wilfull thinking than objective forecast, but it can happen if surfers make it.

The medium is the message:

Television didn’t kill radio, compact discs didn’t kill vinyl, and the internet wont kill print. New media supersedes the old but it doesn’t wipe it out.

The age of print media is fading, however the titles that remain are still there for a reason: they have a particular readership who like what they produce. Though the magazines will never again be widely read, never again influence surf culture, there’ll always be print readers, just as there were always vinyl enthusiasts. Knowing the niche, then giving readers what they want is important, but only one part of the puzzle.

Moving to a subscription model is the other. As the internet behemoths keep hoovering up ad dollars, a healthy database of subscribers is necessary to stay afloat, and on that score websites are in the same boat.

In the coming years expect the audience to fracture even further as more websites move to a subscription model - or a version of it - as ad dollars dry up and privacy/data mining issues abound.

Going organic:

To date, ‘organic’ has really only applied to food, but just as last decade introduced the concept of the ‘sustainable’ product, next decade will see the rise of ‘organic’ manufacturing as living matter makes its way into the manufacturing process.

Wetsuits made from rubber or vegetable gums, deck grip made from algae, resin made from plant matter, all these things currently exist and will be expanded upon in the coming decade to meet market demands and comply with government restrictions.

Yet just as sustainable never fully meant sustainable, organic won’t always offer what it promises, as organic materials are mixed with traditionally toxic compounds. Perhaps ‘less harmful’ is a better descriptor, though a far less catchy buzzword.

Plastic fantastic:

Now for a deep dive into the coming decade. Exactly a century ago German chemist Hermann Staudinger wrote a landmark paper titled ‘Uber Polymerisation’ that became the foundation of polymer science and the soon-to-boom field of plastics.

In the ensuing hundred years, plastics shifted from rarity to ubiquity, and the qualities that make them so ideal: cheap to manufacture, hard to destroy, means that the world is now drowning in plastic pollution, much of it generated by surfboards, legropes, and wetsuits.

From a small industrial estate at Somersby, in the NSW Central Coast hinterland, a project has been conducted that will drastically reduce plastic pollution over the coming decade.

The Cat-HTR platform was invented by Dr Len Humphreys and Professor Thomas Maschmeyer. It can recycle almost every plastic, reverting it to common constituent ingredients for subsequent use as petrol, or to be recycled again into other plastics.

Unlike now, where plastic recycling relies on separation into various streams, Cat-HTR can take mix stream waste and reduce it all to its original state. Following a successful proof of concept, Humphreys and Maschmeyer will soon begin building full scale Cat-HTR plants, the first in England where they say the government grants and policy environment are much more favourable than in Australia.

Regardless, Cat-HTR will revolutionise plastic use, and knowing surfboards can be recycled, as can the plastic waste currently clogging waterways and landfill, surfers will ride their polymer-derivative fun sticks with a touch less guilt.

Say g'day to Len. Doesn't surf, but you'll be hearing much more about him in the future.

Artificial reefs 2.0:

At the end of the century the last word in fake waves was artificial reefs. On the back of pioneering work by Kiwi company Artificial Surfing Reefs (ASR), reefs were built at Mount Maunganui, Bournemouth, Kerala, and Narrowneck. All were abject failures for surfing.

Two decades later, and following incidents of severe erosion on both our east and west coasts, artificial reefs are well and truly back on the discussion table.

The factors contributing to erosion are many: structures built on the dunes, changing coastal vegetation, and intermittent longshore drift due to climatic factors, and as coastal real estate skyrockets so to do damage costs.

It’s no secret that the recent Palm Beach Artificial Reef - AKA Mortensen’s Reef - got over the line via wealthy residents living on the lee side of it, however the desire to emulate it will be strong. In each future erosion event, the Palm Beach reef will be laid down as a possible solution, and by the end of the decade Australia will have a number of Multi Purpose Reefs around the country.

Also, as the number of surfers increase, councils will be pressured to provide for them in the same way they build skateparks and footy fields. Last month, the tender for Albany artificial reef was won by a company led by surfers Evan Watterson and James Lewis.

The Albany reef will play no role in erosion mitigation, it’s purely recreational. If it works as intended then it’ll become the blueprint for further reefs.

What’s a forecast without the Wozzle?

In the coming years, the WSL will maintain their consistent, high quality webcast productions. They’ll also maintain a revolving conga line of sponsors and strange branding partnerships, each sold on the surfing idyll before the reality of dwindling web traffic kicks in and they exercise their exit clause.

In 2023 the World Surf League will have been in private hands for a decade, and despite unprecedented webcast quality and Olympic inclusion, it’ll have made no significant inroads into the mainstream, limited, as always, by the same old barrier: non-surfers just don’t care. Hell, many surfers don’t either.

Regardless, Dirk Ziff will keep propping it up, Kelly will be going for one more lap, Charlie will be brooding on the shoreline, and we’ll keep questioning the judges. Not much of a stretch really.

Enter the non endemics:

That revolving conga line of sponsors I mentioned above? The Wozzle won’t be the only ones getting serviced. With surfing guaranteed for two appearances at the Olympics, the cool by association link has never been stronger, and with the surf industry writhing in a pit of private equity cost cutting, the time has never been better for a sharp manager to sign their talent to a non-endemic brand.

Over the next four years, that is, at least up till Paris 2024, expect to see stickers gracing the beak of pro boards you’ve never seen before. Supermarkets. Computer games. Banks. By the same token, expect to see surfers appear in ever more peculiar ad campaigns.

The Wozzle wont make the mainstream, but their surfers will.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 5:41pm

Just a small qualification on my forecast forecast: one of the other limiting factors in improving wave/surf forecast accuracy is a lack of observational data to correct the model guidance (the oceans are enormous, and there are very few wave buoys positioned near common swell sources).

There are however new, emerging networks of low cost wave buoys and these are helping to improve wave model forecasts, which could theoretically improve localised surf forecasts (though, I think it's too early for any indepth studies to have been done).

Unfortunately, almost all of these new buoys are located in ocean basins unrelated to Australian swell windows, so I doubt there will be any net improvement in surf forecasts for our region (hence why this wasn't mentioned above), But I'll be watching their progress elsewhere with great interest.

Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 9:15pm

Re Ben Matson's quote; does this mean that the models do not take into account actual wind, only forecast wind? I would have thought that they would and if not, why not? Also, same query about actual swell readings from buoys. Surely this would make the models much more accurate closer to the date.

P.S. Great article!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 4:56am

Dan87, models do ingest observational data, and as Ben commented that gets better as the observational network grows.

Please note, though, that most drifting buoys only record/report surface pressure. Wave buoys are a whole different kettle of fish.

Satellite data, however, gets better and better, and wave models will improve through those advances.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 8:07am

The models do take in wind observations from weather stations and satellites (plus some driffting buoys, and occasionally ships). However, there are a few issues problems:

1) Spatial coverage. Consider the swell windows for WA, SA, Vic etc - the Southern Ocean, and Indian Ocean. There are pretty much no surface wind observations in this region (because most weather stations are on land). The IMOS Southern Ocean Flux Station (a $1m met/ocean buoy) was deployed in 2011, 580km southwest of Tasmania (in water 4.6km deep) but I'm not sure if its live winds are ingested into the models, and it also isn't recording swell parameters either. In any case, it's one data point in an enormous ocean basin. Kinda like having one thermometer to measure air temperature across the whole of Australia. 

2) Location of physical buoys - they're very close to the coast, usually about 5-10km offshore. Consider an incoming easterly swell across the NSW coast, which will be travelling at anywhere between 25-50km/hr - once it reaches the buoy, it'll then arrive at the coast within minutes. Given there's sometimes a 2-3 hour lag between data capture and public display, this means you'll often see the swell trend at the coast (via the surfcams) before the buoy data is updated. As for verifying ocean swell conditions, this is all well and good for hindcasting purposes, but doesn't allow for real-time tweaks to existing forecasts (say, if a buoy were located south of New Caledonia, it would provide much more advance notice, and thus be useful for forecasters).

3) All of these kinds of gradual improvements in weather/wave models are great, but ultimately 'surf' conditions are very complex and dependent on a number of factors. I frequently see surf conditions/trends that don't correlate with wave buoy data, so improving the model guidance to fit the observations only addresses one piece of an enormous puzzle.

Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 6:09pm

Thanks for the response, that explains a lot! A couple of other queries while I gotcha:
Is the model continually adjusted based on the conditions that occur from unusual buoy data or would this just adversely affect the normal functioning of the model?
Does Swellnet own the model that produces the automated forecasts on Swellnet?

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 3:57am

I would have thought the increasing cost effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence would be a logical step in the massive improvement of weather, and by extension, surf forecasting.

Using observations vs forecast to fine-tune models, predictions and even update in real-time isn't overly difficult for AI. The economic drive to do so given a relatively small market is perhaps the overriding influence to restrict it's development and use.

I predict over the early part of this next decade a new business model for weather forecasting, which will be fuelled by ever increasing extreme weather events. Both government and private motives will align to bring about significant AI investment in weather forecasting. An astute entrepreneur will see the application to the niche markets of fishing and surfing. A global surf forecasting platform will eclipse anything we have known to date by the end of the decade.

It will even provide accurate forecasts for the new inland wave pools (see more below).

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 8:13am

This has been happening for a while, though with very limited success. 

As for "an astute entrepreneur will see the application to the niche markets of fishing and surfing" - these kinds of companies already exists (Swellnet being one). Not quite sure what the fishing forecast would be though (other than tweaking existing weather forecasts for fishing purposes), as you've gotta start with a useful data set.

However, they're both relatively small markets with a tiny percentage of users who are willing to pay for such services. Thus, the amount of money invested in these kinds of ventures will always be small (key players have already exited this space, having tried and failed).

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:01pm

Such as this lot, rated #1 in the world a bunch of times.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:07pm

Rated #1 by whom?

Roystein's picture
Roystein's picture
Roystein Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 6:05pm

Following a successful proof of concept, Humphreys and Maschmeyer will soon begin building full scale Cat-HTR plants, the first in England where they say the government grants and policy environment are much more favourable than in Australia.

I find this statement so frustrating. We need more foresight from our governments to invest in these spaces to ensure the quality of life we take for granted has a chance of being sustained

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:03pm

It happened with Solar. The bloke who owns the biggest PV panel manufacturer in the world cut his teeth (and developed his tech) in......Australia. But the Howard govt. was offering fuck all support so I believe he took it California where they're far more business savvy, and then he went back to China.

Ahhh Australia, if ya can't grow it, rear it, or dig it out of the ground, our government doesn't want a bar of it.

gcart's picture
gcart's picture
gcart Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 6:31pm

The future might be the "Airwave" artificial reef which was meant to be in operation by December in Bunbury WA , a place infamous for its lack of quality surf. I stood along side other frothers watching the construction process on the Back Beach . It was like a flattish large rubber membrane part filled with air & sand and anchored to the bottom , but allowed to sit below the surface and make the swell turn in to an A frame ,at a beach that would otherwise have a very short shore dump.
Unfortunately the membrane tore open the next day and it's back to the drawing board for now. Possibly a question mark over the integrity of the design.
I wish them well with it , if it's a success it could be shifted around the place to other swell magnets , and perhaps depending upon the cost various shires would be prepared to invest for their surf starved citizens.

morg's picture
morg's picture
morg Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 6:38pm

Thanks for polishing your crystal ball. It will be interesting reading the your forecast review in ten years time.

I’m wondering if overfishing will be correlated with increasing shark attacks at some point, and those predators at the top of the food chain will stop being protected to help nature rebalance.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 8:07pm

In response to soft boards going high tech, a nostagia develops for the way they used to be. By 2025, some surfers will be shocking their peers by donning the traditional, white, keeled skeg foamie of the 1970s and 1980s. A separate subculture develops around the old style foamies. Soon after, they infest and take over the Pass.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 8:11pm

Surfing's longboarding subculture doesn't sit still either, and in fact has a decade of profound change. Initially, there is some amazement as shorter, fat tailed boards between 8 and 9 feet begin to complete multiple re-entries and cutbacks. Soon, an arms race of reduction in length begins and the boards explore more radical parts of the wave. Sometime shortly after 2028, one of these shorter boards sports 3 equal sized fins and performance goes through the roof.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 9:24pm

They are all pretty decent predictions, but still my prediction is not all these predictions will come true.

My surfing prediction though is im predicting Kelly will get to semis in G-land this year and not retire in 2020

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 5:12am

Interesting predictions in this listicle both in terms of topics and predictions.

I'll be so bold as to predict more listicles! Driven by a desire to garner wider audience reader attention (ie clickbait style) a regular "top 5" styled series will appear in the early part of the decade. These will prove highly entertaining and become a success despite the begrudged task of compilation.

This begrudged task will lead to the work experience aka intern program. A new surf journalism star will be found in the process.

Enough about matters close to home. In wider aspects:

- surfboard design goes full circle with simple concepts and construction becoming an underground cult.

- wider economic issues become the catalysts for the collapse of large surf brands in both surfboard production and clothing.

-the same economic issues interlinked with social impacts become catalyst for a new breed of surfer who makes their own boards.

- the nomadic surfing lifestyle attract outside influence and new vehicle concepts develop with full mobile homes with office space and shed space (see above DIY surfboard production).

- competitive surfing is taken from corporate ownership by grassroots surfing. A region, state, country style grassroots surfing lineage is developed where a world champion surf off happens based on having been selected via the grassroots mechanism.

- a new wave pool model is created based on inland lands which bring economic stimulus and regional development. These facilities survive and become the only solution for wave starved surfers in periods of extreme weather. Australia and USA are the initial key markets, with Australian using it for international tourism among other exports. A couple of ghost town farming communities become thriving tourism, educational and alternate urban developments.

- the hipster style, no legrope, douchebag ceases to exists after a child is left brain damaged after an incident at the pass. The offending surfboard owner is treated to vigilante justice. Immediately hipster style and surfing without a legrope ceases. A serious of self inflicted and incidental injuries due to now wearing legrope reduces the number of log / longboard riders at the pass. This is inter linked with an increase in hydrofoil surfing / SUP (including motorised / jet powered) and softboard use (as predicted in the listicle).

- fuelled by the economic requirement and the lifestyle, the nomadic, van living surfing population explodes. Beachside car parks, access tracks etc are over run which council become unable to control. Locals, unable to park or access their beach, take vigilante style matters into their own hands resulting in police intervention with 'move along" directives. Only van owners / occupants out surfing are permitted to stay parked after sunrise. This in turn leads to a paradigm shift in surf culture with the boards, wetsuits, clothing etc. aligned with the needs of the 'dawn patrol' surfer.

And, on that note, a final prediction. The truth about 'clmate science' is revealed mid decade after a significant event alerts the mass population to the true influence / cause. Until then, the climate change debate escalates distracting the mass population from environmental destruction caused by their own lifestyles.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020 at 9:48pm

Love the pass predictions.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 5:32am

"Until then, the climate change debate escalates distracting the mass population from environmental destruction caused by their own lifestyles."

The climate change debate is exactly about environmental destruction caused by our lifestyles - though not as individuals, but as a whole.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 7:59am

Prediction 1:
Seal populations in the USA and Australia continue to grow rapidly and start to spread to former haunts where people have for years swam and surfed without a seal presence. Black patches of seals basking on beaches will become a common sight on many white sandy beaches. In their wake will be increasing numbers of very large Great Whites. Chomped seals will be a common sight when strolling along beaches. Surfing and even swimming between the flags will become increasingly dangerous in formerly "safe" areas.

Prediction 2:
The combination of the struggle for good waves in a crowded world and shark factor will reduce the entry of young groms into the sport The hassle / fun ratio will have shifted unfavourably to the point that new entrants give up in far greater numbers than in the past. Population growth and demographics (older surfers sticking with it) and longer boards increasing wave counts per person will compensate to a degree so effective and actual crowds will remain high but become more and more focused on spots that feel safe and suit the older age groups. Isolated, spooky waves will increasingly go empty.

Sheep go to heaven's picture
Sheep go to heaven's picture
Sheep go to heaven Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 8:02am

Kneeboarding to make a comeback !!
The Byron hipsters will discover kneeboarding as a viable underground subversive way of riding a wave and fully embrace it .
Up the kneelos !

garyg1412's picture
garyg1412's picture
garyg1412 Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 3:39pm

SGTH I've always wondered if you're a Kiwi or a huge Cake fan???

Sheep go to heaven's picture
Sheep go to heaven's picture
Sheep go to heaven Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 9:53pm

Ha ! Yes and No Gary , not a kiwi ,yes a sheep farmer , and who doesn't love a bit of Cake ....

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 8:27am

Kelly to be forcefully ejected from Kolohe’s Olympic heat after paddling out in it.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 8:40am

Kelly to find some way to stay in our faces for the next decade to keep his daily need for recognition and profile satisfied. Enter Survivor or Dancing with the stars? Hook up with Kim Kardashian? Push Pottz off the microphone and commentate WSL contests? Butt implants? Announce first wave pool on Mars (during Kolohe’s Olympic heat)? He won't go quietly into retirement..

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 9:07am

My money is the WSL will get him to do commentary for heats like Potz and Barton, he is well spoken and smart and more knowledgeable about pro surfing than anyone and yes likes the spot light.

This will give him a chance to still go on tour and hang with his friends and free surf with friends and best surfers in the world, plus can still do all the other things in life he likes to do.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020 at 9:51pm

Reminds of me of that pulled column by the outsider about Kelly’s internal monologue after he skipped j bay to surf epic cloud break.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 1:07pm
Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 11:26am

Here's one I hope will happen. SN keeps on going, not getting any bigger but staying on its current track of informative and inciteful content mixed with irreverent, at times too deep, but to the point posts and the occasional Gary G drop in.
Mason will hit the rocks.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 12:58pm

Beards become uncool again, and only serving and retired sea captains are allowed to wear them.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:01pm

Gary G is promoted to head of advanced performance for Surfing Australia, and a series of flamboyant Australian world titles result before the end of the decade.

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:59pm

Gary G to shave his nuts, plaster said shaved hair on face call it a beard making them cool again & while gyrating to Tina Turners Nut Bush does the opening of own reality show, gets his Sea Captain license & puts in takeover bid of SN.... & that's in a nutshell!!

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 1:10pm

agree the artificial reefs thing, if successful, will explode. certain places will realise that a large enough structure, of the right material and design, will also provide a substrate for colonisation of tropical marine species as they move south.

Less erosion + surfable waves + snorkelable reef.... $$$

Fisherman will want in on the action and then watch tempers fly as they clash with conservationists.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 8:35am

Exploding artificial reefs... sounds dangerous.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 5:56pm

Drool! Could listen to southerners airy fairy dreams all day. (Wake up sunshine!)

We Qldurrz aren't allowed to think ahead..our future is beaten into us as grommets.

2030 Dogs outnumber people!
Without asking WSL assumed Foreign Title Rights to Oz Coastline...(Who knew!)
AEC referendum legislates compulsory surfing & surf product +(extra sticky stickerz)
Oz Mint uber equal Pro Chix/Men/Dogs share $1 Gazillion on Jet Ski Ramp Tour.

Jellies v Bluebottles now compete for wild cards in the RSPCA pet basher wave pools.
Winnerz will surf off against basherz @ Will work 4 a pool wave Irukandji abattoir.
Pet pool basherz must also backpedal pool waves back into Roary's tupperware Jug.
These recycled waves are then used to top up WSL barking mad happy hour.

PM says WSL Reserves won't tolerate woodys parking near WSL beach resorts.
Convictrams allow soggy Weet-Bix carry-ons for compulsory uber ride-share comps.
WSLR- Closed for private dos during (Cyclone / ECL's) by order of Dame Sophie OBE.

Govt Tourism mobsters are still in talks with GWS about rebel 'Far from here Tour'!

tbb footnote
And still WSL boardriders refuse to barrel roll as it's not in the WSL 10 year contract.
Kelly & every Surf chick & her dog must keep surfin' until basherz stop backpedalling.
tbb gets worn out just thinkin' about it...much prefer the swellnet dreamer's future!

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 6:53pm

In 2022 a male surfer, identifying as a woman easily qualifies for the Women’s World Tour. Totally unquestioned in our new woke era he (or she?) easily wins the world title in the first year and equal prize money of course. Much praise and media fawning follows as does a Time magazine woman of the year award.
The following years see several other trans competitors following the lead and by 2025 the entire “womens” tour consists of only xy chromosone competitors.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 10:34pm

Gabriela Medina narrowly pipped by Julia Wilson in a controversially judged final at Honolua Bay.

roubydouby's picture
roubydouby's picture
roubydouby Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 10:21pm

A nice try Stu.
However, I have an alternate prediction:

Early in the 2020's the climate induced thawing of permafrost deep in the Siberian Taiga will expose the human remains of poor wretches the Soviets used for bio-weapon experiments. The remains were supposed to be incinerated, but the 2 Ivans tasked with the job instead dumped the bodies and sold the propane on the black market. Reanimated by the warming climate, those superbugs will proliferate in the meaty carcasses.

In a strange twist, the vector for these bio-weapons will be Dylan Graves. Pushed to find increasingly rare waves for his Weird Waves series, he and his crew will stumble upon the fly-blown carcasses while seeking a rumoured river wave, created by unprecedented levels of melt-water. The corpse fed flies will briefly land on the mouths and nostrils of the travelling surfers (as flies are want to do), and after fiendishly rubbing their little fly hands together, will have passed on a death sentence for most of humanity.

The wave itself will be a 6ft standing pit, and Graves will paradoxically comment that this newly birthed wave is 'All-time'. The word 'gnarly' will also feature heavily in the episode. Unfortunately the episode will go unreleased due to the world coming down with a slight case of armageddon.

Thanks to the 2 week incubation period, Dylan and Co will travel the world spreading not only stoke, but also 'Gravey' (as it was termed by an epidemiologist who discovered patient zero). From there, Gravey will burn its way around the Earth for a few years. Humanity will come close to halting its spread in 2023, but the opportunity will be spurned by right wing politicians who undermine and sink any bipartisan support for short term financial gain.

By the year 2025 the world will have fully reverted back anarchy. Man will hunt man. The strong will dominate the week. And the coast lines of Australia will for some reason be roamed by bands of absurdly homo-erotic, leather wearing surf bandits.

Many things happened as the world ended, but the listicle version is this:

- The great WW3 showdown between the US and China was avoided thanks to 'Gravey', but an estimated 99.999% of people died horrible, gurgling deaths. You win some, you lose some.

- Rumours swirl that a safe zone exists in Sweden, but no surfers are willing to go to that 'siren filled mill pond'.

- Kelly Slater will die, not of 'Gravey', but by following an alternative diet of mung beans and water fasts that he read about on a health and well-being website's message board.

-Despite the precipitous drop in world population, the Wozzle continues to broadcast ever more obscure QS events. Their viewership numbers don't really change.

- Russell Bierke disappears early in the armageddon, but murmured sightings of a lonely NightKing-like character surfing mythically large mysto waves abound.

- Nathan Florence continues to record irritatingly long vlogs of his life, even though there is nowhere for him to upload them to. He remains super stoked.

- An ever dwindling Brazillian CT contingent continues to show up at events from '21 through '24, believing that their lord and saviour Jesus Christ will protect them. He does not. Medina and his step dad Charlie are the only survivors. Satanstill has work for them.

- Surf journalist and swellnet commentator Freeride76 will watch over reeling empty Lennox and make cynical comments to no one about how it used to be better.

- Martin Potter, now known only as Silverback, will become head of a notoriously violent tribe of post apocalyptic, leather-clad surf bandits. Joe Turpel will be his gimp, and Rosie Hodge his first lady.

- Mick Fanning will somehow come out of it all as an even greater success.

Obviously there is more, but you get the drift.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 11 Jan 2020 at 10:37pm

That was pretty epic.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 10:54am

That was an Orwellian masterpiece.

The solution is simple then- Dylan Graves must be dispatched thus averting a catastrophe.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 6:10pm

+1 superb!

roubydouby's picture
roubydouby's picture
roubydouby Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 11:26pm

Stu, it's a dubious honour, but I think I may have won closest to the pin on this one.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 1:03am

And true! Pilot episode for roubydouby's series "Gravy surfing in 50 states."

The Final Episode...(Runneth over the edge of the World)
2030 Swellnetonian surfs all Oz States / Territories in a Gravy Boat.
Think, maybe tbb stepped on that same butterfly...again Doh! & again...Double Doh!

MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger's picture
MidWestMonger Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 1:05pm

While avoiding the rocket powered surfboard discussion, I think the race for an easier path will intensify. Olympic exposure, technology means non surfers who want the experience but don’t want to do the hard yards will be offered an easier way. I expect more of these kooks in future line ups unfortunately

johnruciak's picture
johnruciak's picture
johnruciak Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 11:13am

Electric surfboards? Maybe a short burst only version for takeoff.

Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed's picture
Nigeisblessed Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 3:14pm

something like this maybe;

not sure if the link works, there's all sorts of security stuff on my computer at work stops me testing it.

johnruciak's picture
johnruciak's picture
johnruciak Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 12:50pm
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 12:02pm

I predict that there’ll be less surfers in places that are cold. The youth of today don’t want a bar of it. Farken’ pussies.
On the other hand warm places like Byron are in for apocalyptic levels of crowd. It’s gonna be a fuckin’ shit fight up there, you mark my words.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 12:11pm

In the present its wonderful that we have Swellnet. So my gratitude to Ben the entrepeneur - someone always takes the risk for others. And to Ben and ? (mental blank on other fella's name) the wave forecasters, I love the grapple with science and the anticipation that comes with waiting 2 days for Peahi to fire and it does! And to Stu for your inspiring, provocative and funny writing. Over the last decade of following Swellnet (has it been that long?) I've loved our pursuit being covered in depth from the sport, competition, art & science perspectives.

My "hope" for the future of surfing is as a sub-species of homo sapiens we become one of the great exemplars of a sustainable lifestyle; one that gives back not takes from the ocean. And as that mindset becomes more common, more waves are shared, more smiles and more encouragement is selflessly offered without expectation of return. Those that constantly hanker after the "good old days" those who's constant refrain is "I've earned my place in the lineup" give a way those thoughts and realise they can and need to do more for the kids who will inhabit the line-ups of the future. In short we need to demonstrate the long history of aloha.

On a personal note; I'd love to ride the same perfect board for the rest of my life. A really light, durable board that works in all conditions, that has incredible flex that makes me feel like I'm still surfing with grace, precision and power. Got to dream!

Thanks again Swellnet - on all levels.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 3:11pm

Tsunami for WA or NT

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 3:20pm

Jeez ....that’s scary.

Some nights in the NW I just lay there listening to the ocean which is metres away , thinking.....what if ? Particularly since I had a vivid dream years ago of being out the point at the Bluff and watching the ocean recede , knowing what was about to happen and then furiously running back to camp to let everyone know . Very vivid and very shit dream.

Remember there was a small one on the Norwest Cape in the nineties and fish were found on the road down the West coast the next day ?

Apparently that’s why there’s no blackfellas out on the cape...Big wave .

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 6:12pm

The very first day my youngest stood on a board by himself was at Gero back beach, and 12 hours later the boxing day Tsunami hit. Fishermen on the jetty at the marina were washed off by a 1.2m surge iirc

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 8:38am

The first time my daughter and I went out for a reef paddle, Huzzas, same day as young lady attacked in Esperance.

Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 5:43pm

id be stoked to just score some waves

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 12:53am

World wide calamity as satellite orbit disintegration begins and hits another satellite causing space junk to tear through every remaining satellite, leaving mankind once again earthbound. Swellnet and all forecasting sites die off for lack of weather data. Surfers have to read local weather conditions and imagine when the next swell is going to hit.

Worldwide pandemic kills 60% of earths population, which has the upside of drastically reducing carbon emissions and avoiding worst case scenario.

50 years of hellish weather continues anyway before carbon dioxide levels start to recede.

Surfing considered not particularly important to survivors who now work in food collectives.

Neoliberals furious as they work out that food collectives are practising, eek, socialism, or even worse, anarcho-syndicalism. Egads!

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 8:34am

Stephanie Gilmore another 2x titles.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 11:46am

WSL commentary booth is crushed by a giant chocolate eclair.

Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 2:29pm

Late to the show here, but great piece, Stu.

Not sure recent performances by surfers like Chippa Wilson allow me to agree with the death of skate style. His edits are dominating polls across the board.

Personally I prefer it straight up, but there’s still a place for trickery, particularly for making unexciting conditions/shoots exciting. Instagram loves novelty, so I believe the funky shuvs, weird grabs and spins are here to stay.

In saying that, core rail-exclusive approaches have gained appreciation the last five or so. There’ll be more of that, me thinks, and hopes.

regtheleg's picture
regtheleg's picture
regtheleg Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020 at 5:56pm

backyard blowup wave pools with built in bbq and chiller
surfboards the size of skate boards with turbo engines and bluetooth
selfies in the barrel with mum who knows but we all know that there will be waves

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean Saturday, 18 Jan 2020 at 12:32pm

The earth keeps turning, rain keeps falling , down, down, down.......

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 20 Jan 2020 at 4:10pm

Just thought it best to remind the crew there ain't no 2nd prize here.
Yer up against the best...the best tbb is tell'n ya.

Who could forget that day when swellnet wave guru Craig blew up the internet...
and who never wished for that...if crew could send internet into meltdown, we're free.

swellnetonians google their idol Craig & rejoice in swellnet's magic 15mins of fame.
Just in case you forgot or live under a rock lobster...
Dec 2015 the world was at a loss at where the next big thing could be found.

This was a job for the right stuff...& PM hotlined swellnet for 'Next Big Thing' forecast.
Ben says no worries will get Craig onto it after his session! "Craig?"... Sir Craig to you!

Craig slayed the Next Big Thing & blew up the Internet to save mankind...Our Hero!
Craig has magic powers or some shit as News story still has workable swellnet link.

2030 Fox TV "swellnet Ultimate Surf Guru"
(Logan sizzles into Hot Tub Time Machine to SUP back to host 2020 Oz Logies)
Logie Awards is an Oz Plastic Pissup honouring Wax Model WSL CEO Logan.
Legend has it that Logan SUPP'd a Corona Coast mid strength wave pool...Hoorah!

2020 Logies proceeds go towards "Pray for Pool Waves Telethon".

Logan: "Welcome to the gripping finale of swellnet's Ultimate Surf Guru."

Logan: "That Craig guy sure grifted you good; crew!"
'Well, there's no shame in being beaten by the best'
Logan: "But he didn't seem all that..."
'We. Were. Beaten. By. The. Best; Logan!'

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo Saturday, 25 Jan 2020 at 8:28pm
chook's picture
chook's picture
chook Sunday, 26 Jan 2020 at 10:44am

any predictions for when we will see the return of the moke? the electric moke, that is.
i'm hoping it'll be before the never-ending drought brings about the end of society.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 10:08pm

[Breaking News]

*Downunder swellnet freak going by the name of "batfink" breaks the internet!

Tuesday 14th Jan 2020...swellnet guru batfink warned his flock of the Pandemic.

"Worldwide Pandemic kills 60% of Earth's Population (Flap! Flap!)...which has the upside of drastically reducing Carbon Emissions (Scratch!) and avoiding worst case scenario."

Punters swear batfink's cousin set the virus in rig the swellnet prize booty.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 23 Mar 2020 at 11:51pm

Post Apocalyptic Corona Dregz

Wide World Nations are more at rest as distance buys safety & trust.
Politicians can no longer play the race card as biggest threat.

In the new world your neighbour is seen as the greatest threat
World & interstate Travel crowds are strictly on needs basis...Oil stocks drop.
Travel Companies struggle to on-sell group tour packages + Cars are less desired.
During the Crisis biggest Car & Fashion Houses have been trading Masks / Medicine
International Sports & Stadiums are put to the test as punters aren't as comfortable.
Cinemas & Food Courts close as seating is too restrictive & downright risky.

This is very much imprinted into minds for years to come...we may not go back.

10 million/wk Offices / Unis / Senior Schools now learn online & continue this way.
Many offloading obsolete bricks & mortar with 25% now online...(No going back!)
Gyms,Yoga & Sports of many kind operate from one's own home > On line Comps.
All transactions, Shopping & Meals are online.

Future Companies...
Big Pharm...Chinese Corona Hot Spot makes 80% of all Worldwide [+] everything!
Own near 100% key ingredients for Cancers,antibiotics,blood thinners. (It's Insane!)
Even China said that's not clever. Result being Nations will reinvest in own Pharmacy.

Patriotism is transferred from Defence to front line heroes (We see that now).
This new world is dependent upon supply lines & brave warriors that go the yards.
Nurses, Teachers, Carers, Checkout chix, Janitors, Trolley Boys (All now cheered!)

Online Corps run the planet & employ drones on OK money but casual / sackable.
eg: (Corona Winners)
Amazon /\ 100,000 jobs
Walmart (Online) /\ 150,000 jobs
Delivery of these Online-Goods- Massive 100% + increases

Gaming (Online) long leaped over Films/Cinema/Music/Xerts (All in germ seats)
Films/Cinema/Music/Xerts are trialling Online Webcasts (eg: swellnet comp/chat)
Video Conferencing is 200m up 50% (see: Global Waves Conference)
Note the schools are yet to tap into this....gonna be a shitty intro but Massive sales.
That's the repeated online hook...they'll never go back!
Oz schools usually get torched after 2 weeks holiday.(6 months = Oz wide inferno!)

( Jobz /\ ) All the kids need is cheap shitty Gamer food
7/11 /\ 20,000 (Corona Slurpees)
Dominoes /\ 10,000
Supermarkets (General) /\ 10,000 (PM Smoko is stoking Woolies 10,000 Visa drones.
Pepsi /\ 6,000

All can see a world of fat lazy loner Gamer drones is the Model.
Just blip-vert their heads until they explode.

tbb reckons the crew knew all was a waste of time! Yes! It's real, Sorry!

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Tuesday, 24 Mar 2020 at 7:46am

Truebluebasher, the saviour of forgotten topics on Swellnet. Keep up the good work ol’ buddy.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 9:45am

Breaking News...swellnet Spuddups predicts WSL Climate Change Event

12 Jan' Spuddups wins a spot in the final for the Jeep Draw....
...pending priority interference

During 2020
"Bells got the Cold Shoulder & Urbnsurf took a Cold Shower"

"Northern NSW gives a warm welcome to WSL & Sunny Qld fires up. "

A shitfight getting there as the whole border area is sealed in a Giant Bubble.

Crew salutes their Hot'n'Cold Guru Spuddups.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Monday, 12 Oct 2020 at 2:56am

Breaking News ...swellnet velocityjohnno reboots WSL booth.

14 Jan ~ velocityjohnno saves the future of Surfing & Surfer's Ears.
crew congratulates their Mysterious Seamentor ....
Well done... into the Final for the Jeep Draw

tbb just predicted that the 2020 WSL Jeep gets defaulted to the swellnet crew.

Giant Aussie Cream Puffs crash WSL Booth exposing Goldie's Sweet Spot.

Aussie crew now gotta taste for Victory & are licking lips for WSL's next Big Thing!

2020 WSL Cup'a'Soup has Aussie figureheads on the silver spoon handles...Winners!

Seamentor: (tbb made it he thought!) > Bonus ( Melbourne Review )
Surfers Paradise is now the Capital of Melbourne...(How did we not predict that one?)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 7:39pm

Prediction number two coming closer to reality with this video:

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 9:39pm

Wow, Mason Ho always looks like the guy having the most fun...and no doubt he makes a very capable, ahem, board tester.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Tuesday, 22 Dec 2020 at 9:06pm

What a year that was. Anyone hazard any predictions for 2021? Nobody outright picked the surfing equipment boom and longboard bonanza under corona, but a couple of you alluded to it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 7:31am

"Anyone hazard any predictions for 2021?"

Ha ha...after the chicanery of 2020?

You go first, VJ.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 8:40am

The grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the solstice of December 21, 2020 marks the beginning of the Age of Aquarius and we enter our next installment of the great precessional wheel. Masses of people spiritually ascend, and realise that it's an age of water so the best way they can interact with it is to buy a sea kayak. Not those big jobbies, but the little 6ft Olympic white water rafting style ones. Additionally, a new strain of the Coronavirus emerges and causes mass fleeing of anywhere not near the ocean. These two trends converge, and surfing lineups are suddenly overwhelmed by small, maneuverable, kayaks. SUP riders complain about all the kayaks, asking where the f*ck they have come from.
The world economy melts up and Australian coastal real estate goes up in price strongly. Celebrity Insta kayak influencers are the only ones who can afford the new prices.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 8:50am

Future real estate mogul showboating at Dorrigo last week:

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 8:57am

Haha, if the Solo add was a huge hit, this has to be 3x as gnarly!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 9:03am

Wow that's nuts.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Wednesday, 23 Dec 2020 at 9:37am

Brings a whole new meaning to the term "Over the falls".