The Ten Most Popular Articles of '22
Revisiting the stories most clicked and commented upon
The Ten Most Popular Articles of '22
Science, religion, surfing, and violence.
'Twas a big mix of topics in this year's most popular stories.
It was a year characterised by the unwinding of COVID restrictions, yet if anyone thought things would bounce back to normal they'd be sadly mistaken. 2022 brought a new kind of upheaval.
But now's not the time to wallow in the mire, as Jimbo Morrisson once sung, as many very good things happened too. Travel restrictions were wound back, la Nina brought great waves to boat-loads of surfers, and at the end of the year the bounty was shared with southern surfers, and that pattern looks set to continue.
These were the ten most popular stories (plus one) based on clicks and comments.
Cyclone Seth Splits Bribie Island
It'd previously overtopped once or twice during high tides, but only during the relentless onslaught of TC Seth in early January did the northern end of Bribie Island break through and create a new, permanent channel.
Being a surfing website with a scientific bent this real time reporting of coastal processes was exciting. No longer would the waters of Pumicestone Channel be forced through Caloundra Bar but instead it'd have another way of reaching the ocean. Much was speculated by way of sand movement, tidal flow, and of course surf amenity. Even the CSIRO promised to send Queensland's top scientist down to assess the situation.
As a sidenote: Despite all the mainstream press attention, Swellnet had hate mail from one surfer who accused us of exposing his new secret spot. A quick scroll of Instagram showed he wasn't shy of exposing it himself.
Almost a year later, the new bar is permanent, the sand has settled, and Caloundra Bar remains open, just, though there's no word on what the new island will be called.
Chris Davidson Dies After Alleged One-Punch Assault
It was the fight that no-one won. In fact, the whole goddamn thing was unseemly. A large percentage of the surfing audience remained taciturn upon the news of Davo's death, while some elevated him to legend status for the surfing he did. The latter may perhaps be reflecting on the former's silence when subsequent news about Davo's transgressions were made public.
Despite his misgivings, Davo was an archetype of the Aussie Surf Animal and, for better or worse, the species has become critically endangered.
An Open Letter to the Devout Brazilian Roman Catholic Surfers of the WCT
It was the first time God had contributed to Swellnet, and who knew His word could cause such hatred and division? Not us!
We had to close the comment thread down when it passed 500 - a Swellnet record - and if we hadn't the arguments and rancor would surely have continued for centuries more.
To clarify his intent, God approached Swellnet with a second submission, convinced this follow up script would silence the uproar.
"Thanks anyway," said Swellnet's Editor rebuffing the big fella, "but I've got this hilarious piece from Ding Alley and that takes precedence."
Politicians Single Out Kelly Slater For Vaccination Stance
Another article that makes me wince when re-reading it. Wil Anderson recently released 'Wilogical', his response to the COVID brouhaha. "We all said some stupid things, didn't we?" Said Wil and I imagine most would nod in agreement wherever you stood on the issue.
No doubt this article attracted views because it had the winning mix of 'celebrity name + vaccine', but it also had the eleven-time champ saying his own stupid thing. In this case: "I know more about being healthy than 99 percent of doctors."
Welcome to the club, Kelly.
Long Range Forecast: Quiksilver Pro G'Land
Bit surprised to see this one rate so well. Though in hindsight, maybe not. The move back to G'Land was both exciting and controversial. There were far fewer surfers on the planet when Quiksilver last visited G'Land, so shining a spotlight on a wave that's fallen off the radar (to mince analogies) was always going to upset crew.
Then again, it's G'Land. If Speed Reef was forecast to pump who woudn't tune in?
As it happened, the forecast was underwhelming, the contest was too, and Quik aren't going back next year.
Infragravity Waves Reach Full-Force
This was a textbook case of schooling. Two years earlier, Craig wrote an article about infragravity waves that, while interesting, largely sunk without trace. This year, however, during a run of large surf on the East Coast, reports and videos surfaced of infragravity waves engulging lagoons and beaches.
Craig effectively rehashed the original article, but this time with video and eyewitness accounts, and suddenly all that guff made sense.
Kelly and Shaun: Ten Minutes With Two Pipe Masters
The conversation was a few years old, held on the dunes of J'Bay in 2018, but Shaun recorded it and never released it. So here we had an unfiltered conversation between two pros from successive eras of surfing, the conversation including their approach to Pipeline, the uncertainty of retirement, Andy Irons, drugs, and the benefits - or otherwise - of pro surfing to the surfing community at large.
A timeless read.
A topic we often return to here at Swellnet is sand movement. We've been trying to do some big picture thinking, observing erosion up the east and west coasts of Australia, knowing it's largely due to short-sighted development but also aware there are other factors at play, and trying to understand what they all are so we can formulate some kind of overarching theory. Perhaps one day we'll write a definitive article, or series of articles, on the topic.
For now, the larger answers are beyond us, yet still the sand flows north and the ocean erodes the coast. Not uniformly but in fits and starts. This year was a particularly bad one for erosion on the East Coast with predominantly east swells slowing the conveyor belt of sand while allowing more energy into otherwise sheltered corners.
This article from July immediately followed one of the more destructive storms of the year, and cast an eye on how the coastline is faring, plus what the authorities are doing to counter erosion.
It also generated a charitable phone call from an expert in the field. We're suckers for a compliment that counts.
It was March, a month when La Niña events classically break down, however in this instance the 'double dip' La Niña was powering on. In fine form, Craig, connected readings from across the world's largest ocean basin and catalysed them into a coherent theory that us plebs could understand.
Interestingly, Craig made no mention of the forthcoming 'triple dip La Niña', though it was mentioned in the comments when an infamous two-humped desert dweller linked famous Gold Coast swells with a triple dip.
Can You Get Better At Surfing?
Another article that racked up a huge comment count. Testament that the author, in this case Steve, had tapped into a topic we all felt strongly about. Despite the strength of feeling, nothing was resolved, so Steve is gonna pick up the rope in 2023; find out if he can get better at surfing.
Gallery: Up Close and Personal
Saturday 2nd April saw the biggest and best Deadmans in quite some time. It's a wave that usually breaks under wild southerly conditions but this day saw light westerly wind groom the triple-overhead waves.
Craig paddled out on his minimal, waterhousing in hand, and parked himself at the end of the wave - there's no channel - as an incredible session went down. They were arguably the best photos ever taken of the place.
pphheeewww- stoked I managed to slip one into the Top 10.
If it was purely on comments, half the field would be yours.
Congrats Ben, Stu, Craig, Steve et al on (another) great year.
Reflecting on the some these great articles, am I able to say I miss Blowin/DSDS?
Like him or not he's an intelligent free-thinking fella, refreshingly unafraid to swim against the current. I think the commentary is poorer for his absence.
What happened to Blowin. Also is Gary G still around. I rarely check the comments section these days. WhT about TBB
Anyway Happy Christmas to you all.
Gary G is alive and well. In fact he just sent me a photo, top off (not sure whether he was wearing pants) having a NeGary. A negroni drank sans top.
He’s off to WA soon. He’s got word that schoolies on Rotto is the spot to be.
I like him and I miss him - a great deal too! Merry Christmas, big fella.
And thank you to Ben, Craig, Stu and Steve for great articles, and to the rest of you for your fine company. May your stockings be stuffed with waves, life, and good times.
I agree, I didn’t agree with everything blowin wrote and thought sometimes he was just bored and looking for a reaction , he overstepped the mark a few times but overall I did enjoy reading his perspective on things and believed he brought something different to the table. Sometimes it seemed he was really angry and when challenged about it he seemed surprised. He was often a funny bastard and I for one would welcome him back . He seemed to be his own worst enemy at times with pushing boundaries , sometimes it’s just better to live & let live .
Resuscitate the Alan Jones of Swellnet? A bitter hysterical closet/basket case, deeply in love with their own farts, overdosed on sweaty hate pills, incessantly shrieking about 'them' trespassing all over 'their' sacred dinky-di lawn??
Yeah, why not?
And get Scomo back too in the real world!
Fuck the 'ugly quiet Australian', ya trippers.
Get in the sea.
I love the smell of ad hominem in the morning. Smells like... cowardice.
I’m with the lickspittler. Blowin’s incessant carping and hair-trigger anger virtually sent me packing from the forums. That’s how I deal with boneheads, I just walk away. Engaging with it is pointless.
Nothing is quite as boring as an angry old man.
His writing sucked quite a bit, too. The “God” article was just awful writing.
Really couldn't agree less. I thoroughly appreciated his writing, both the formal and informal contributions, whether I shared his view or not. It was typically excellent reading, informed, witty and well crafted.
I come to this site for many reasons, but one of them isn't to find folk who agree with me on every point. I like to think, be challenged, have a good laugh, even be inspired. Blowin did that more than most. I expect he would be one of the more interesting fellas on here to have a beer with.
It was by no means a conscious decision, but just reflecting, I probably pop onto the site and into the forums less these days.
I appreciate clever people of conviction prepared to argue their position, as many on here do. When we disagree well (and granted it is not always done well), it is possible to generate more light than heat.
I heard that Jeffrey Archer used to shift a lot of product.
And Bryce Courtney.
And Kevin Bloody Wilson.
Hang on, they still do.
Three cheers for quality cheese burgers.
Well done and thank you Craig, Steve, Stu and Ben.
A great year of articles and all round legendaryness.
Great stuff SN. Killer content as always and really enjoyed the addition of FR to the team this year.
Freeride, Stu and Craig’s articles will keep me coming back, I imagine.
Live blogging the contests as they are going down was such fun. Special mentions to zenagain. Had me pissing myself laughing.
Merry Xmas zen, if you’re reading.
And all the other fine folk.
Always a great read, thanks! Hope you all have Merry merry Christmas and a great 2023!!!
Another great yr by the Swellnet team.
Thrills and spills, laughs and debate, interesting and enjoyable articles and news, and lots of surfing!
I particularly commend the team on the path navigated through the storm of the last 3 years, particularly in the comments and forums.
blowin - love or hate him, I think he is one of the most original, insightful and independent minded people around, who added a huge amount of value. I also thought Vic Local was sharp, witty and funny.
Merry x-mas to all.
Cecil Graham: What is a cynic?
Lord Darlington: A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
Cecil Graham: And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing.
Thanks for the kind comments crew! Appreciate it.
Thank you for another great year, the site remains a gem. I've enjoyed FR being part of the team, and marvelled at the amount of pro surfing viewing he's put himself through :)
Thank you also for having these open, long-form forums: they give us all a voice which is bigger than we realise, and they give us enough rope to secure, or hang ourselves! The visual, fast digested, fast forgotten form of social media these days stands in contrast to Swellnet's forums - which act as some form of crowdsourced 'brains trust' on many of the issues, like the coastal erosion. Powerful stuff.
For mine? I think Craig's pics of the young crew taking on Deadmans were the highlight.
This was your Annus Chillus, Stu.
My ring of fire?
Swellnet for me is like that urban myth of the bloke who “reads Playboy for the articles”. Except it’s bloody true.
Yep, I officially come here for the surf forecast… and pay for it too… but since I don’t actually surf nearly as much as I’d like to (work, kids, currently living on an overcrowded stretch of coast unsuited to my raw nature bent)… I stay for the articles.
And they keep me clicking back in on a regular basis.
Good writing folks, and well done.
As above. Thanks Ben for steering the ship stoically through a difficult couple of years, Stu for the special weekly flyer, Craig for the excellent sharing, and Steve for the considered commentary. And how's that new App eh? I like it a lot. Thanks Mitch :) Cheers all.
This pic is doing the rounds on FB and I believe it was from a Newcastle all stars expression session from quite a few years ago...PT and DH were the only ones I couldn't name at first look :)
Well done to the lads at swellnet I love everything you do and it must be a lot of work, so everyone get wet and love your brothers
Cheers swellnet team .. absolutely amazing year again!!! hope you all have great Xmas and even better new year .. enjoy the articles and the comments each day /week keeps us sane hahaha ..
You should be proud swellnet of the content you publish.
Dan Dobbin 'About a Boy' was that this year? Was a phenomenal article and thread to match, honest stuff
Big thank you to all the team for great articles, accurate forecasts and special shout-out to Craig for his photos. Also like to thank you for putting up with me ….. cheers and hope you all get barrels for xmas and into the next year . Also like to thank all the punters that contribute , we don’t always agree or get along but we are definitely not boring .
Yes, a huge shout out to the team who put this together,, contribute and who share in the forums. It has been a fun year, in spite of the regularly appalling VIC forecasts…
Best wishes to all. Stay well and get shacked.
Cheers for the content, commentary and critique in one of the best sites on the internet
Swellnet's exuberant pulse of surf stories, culture & forecasts can be like a refreshing dip after a hot days work. Thanks guys!
T'is the season to be jolly; solid waves coming to holiday on the East Coast : )
If you thought your local break can be a crowded hassle .....
check out these guys weaving $1M yachts for the best position yesterday 26/12
Organised chaos starts about 7m to 13min
Thank you, Swellnet team and crew, for much great stuff this last year. And thanks for not banning me for recent live dumbass comments during Vans. Tis a real shame for me that reading great writing doesn't translate to writing great reading.
Here's wishing everyone happy dawny pits and stories for 2023.
“You should be proud swellnet of the content you publish.
Dan Dobbin 'About a Boy' was that this year? Was a phenomenal article and thread to match, honest stuff“
X 2 from our mate Stan up above. Dowey, if you read this mate, I hope wherever you are you're doing ok.
Big thanks to SN, there has been some great writing this year and the accompanying images also. Big shout out to FR too for some outstanding surf journalism.
Some might beg to differ but some of the best reading was in the forums I reckon. I reckon there's some good people out there. I miss Blowy/Dude too but I quite miss Facto and Vic as well.
One highlight for me was a very pleasant exchange with Peppa Bluey after the J-Bay contest. All the best for 2023 Peppa and to the salty Rogues gallery that lurk around these pages too.
Ps- I made up a Christmas joke.
I much prefer traditional Christmas cakes.
I‘m a member of the Stollen generation.
No offense to our first nations brothers.
Merry Xmas zen , hows the hypto going ?
You too Supa. Good. Enjoying as a quad.
Salute #1 Surf Journo Stu...gets more insightful & tricky each year!
Salute #1 Form Guide Freeride 76...Massive year! Congratulations!
Salute #1 swellnet Guru Ben...Thanx for bringing the Stoke!
Salute Haggis > tbb is Stoked to make the Top Ten WhT.
Joining well wishers here to send a happy New Year to all overboard swellnet crew.