Sean Doherty: New swell rising

Stu Nettle
Talking Heads

Sean Doherty needs no introduction to a surfing audience, but courtesy says I've gotta provide one anyway. This'll be short.

Sean currently works at Patagonia, but other feathers in his bow include longtime editor of Tracks, longtime contributor to Surfing World, Coastalwatch, and Surfer, biographer of MP, documenter of every CT contest, and a recent thorn in the side of coastal developers.

The latter role, where he steered the Fight for the Bight campaign to an improbable victory, has led to the position of Chairman at Surfrider Foundation.

Sean sat down with Swellnet to lay out his vision.

Swellnet: Over the last 24 hours, the news has come out that you're the new Chair of Surfrider Foundation.
Sean Doherty: It still seems weird.

You're surprised. I'm surprised. I'm sure a lot of people are. Surfrider Foundation Australia has been around for almost thirty years, but for the last two decades it's been humming along in the background. Meanwhile, you've been making a lot of noise with recent campaigns, namely the Fight for the Bight. Can you tell us how the union arose?
Well, it organically flowed on from the Bight campaign. My take on that campaign was that we managed to mobilise all these people around the country, they turned up because they supported this thing. To me, that was the win. And it ended up...well, we got the cherry on the cake anyway; they pulled out.

So I looked at that, and I reasoned to myself, the only possible loss was if all of that momentum and all of that passion, or whatever you want call it, just went away and never came back again.

Once we realised we were onto something, and that there really was something there, we started thinking towards the long game and how we could keep that momentum going.

Were you eyeing off Surfrider Foundation, or did you consider starting up another organisation?
To be honest, yeah, we did. Surfrider is an established entity; you've got all the history and it comes with a lot of gravity. But it also comes with internal politics - the things you can and can't do. You kind of got to march in step a little bit, which is fair enough, they've built that entity up over a lot of campaigns and a lot of years.

At one point, I kind of reasoned, especially dealing with that Bight thing, that we might need something more radical. The fulcrum in it was the political angle. Surfrider is billed as apolitical, so you kind of stick to the issues with it, but I think in saying that I feel really positive that Surfrider's the right framework for all this post-Bight momentum to go into. And it'll do a lot of good.

(Jarrah Lynch)

What changes will we expect to see within Surfrider then?
I think Surfrider's activities in the last couple of decades have been emblematic of where surfers themselves have been. We've just had a couple of good surfing decades. We've had easy travel, and if you look at the coast we've got here and especially if you travel and see what it's like everywhere else, mate, we're in the land of milk and honey. There've been flashpoints occasionally where these egregious things will pop up, but on the whole, there hasn't been a lot to push back against. And I think that's kind of reflected with Surfrider, particularly over the last decade, really focusing on community stuff. A lot of stuff around beach cleanups, plastics.

Meanwhile, the big stuff has ticked away silently in the background. And that's the nature of what that stuff is. The big stuff like these Bight developments and all these gas developments, it all happens silently and that's the nature of the system. They're just crafty and really good at doing it that way. But I think the Bight was the catalyst for people realising that it wasn't just the Bight. That there's all this other stuff happening in the background that we don't even know about.

That was the real tipping point for me. When people got involved in that campaign and they actually went into it and there were a couple of points in it where they were forced to become experts in deep water oil drilling, overnight. Like that submission point to NOPSEMA, where people had to actually read the EP and put a submission in on it. It was a 1500 page thing that is so dense and it's not designed to be understood by punters.

But we got 30,000 people to do it. They learnt a bit about the process of drilling, but they also learnt about the economics, then they learnt about the politics of it. And at every stage people were just going, "How the fuck is this happening? There's a huge risk to the coast and nothing in it for us?"

What other campaigns are you eyeing off?
Well, we're pretty ambitious. I won't lie there. All along we've been looking at this PEP 11 thing. I think there's a straight line between the Bight and PEP 11 - which is a potential gas field between Newcastle and Sydney. It's pretty much the whole coast between Newcastle and Sydney.

In terms of development, there's a prospector out there having a look and they've been seismic testing that for quite a while, and pre-COVID they were looking at going into development. They skipped over a 3D seismic test. They skipped over a seismic test and just wanted to jump straight into drilling. Just said, 'Well we're going to drill.'

The field they're looking at drilling is off Swansea Belmont. That to me is pretty emblematic of Australia, right there. That these guys are so brazen that they're willing to plant a gas rig off the most populated coast in the country, when you've got 20,000 k's of coast and gas fields everywhere else.

Can you oppose these sort of projects and remain apolitical?
Oh, I think you can. I think for a group like Surfrider, we just work on the issue. The politics will flow on from it. Obviously, something like this PEP 11 field, there's obviously a bunch of electorates that are directly affected by it. So creating some political leverage there probably won't be real hard. So all we've got to do as Surfrider is just raise the profile of the issue. Just let people know.

What about the complexities? In the early nineties, Surfrider focussed on sewage outfalls, which is a no brainer - surfers are clearly going to be opposed to them. Yet if you oppose oil fields, it raises questions about energy use. Or if you do something like oppose housing subdivisions, such as Manyana, it raises questions about population levels. You're moving into more complex areas. How are you going to navigate that?
Mate, I reckon people are ready to have that conversation. Look at the old characterisation of surfers, say in the seventies, which was the last time we demonstrated enmasse, like really activated around environmental issues, but surfers were easily dismissed as just dumb, and that they weren't involved.

But today? The demography of surfers has changed. There're people from different walks of life, some are scientists, or just people that understand the issues. The Bight thing really highlighted this. People understood the issue and took the time, and that's what really cracked that issue open. People taking the time to really understand what was at stake environmentally, politically, economically, and how none of it made sense. The only people it made sense for were the people making money out of it.

I think you've got a crew that are smart, and they're able to understand big, complex issues. They know there are options for all this stuff already out there. Personally, I really want to work on advocacy for those ideas. I don't want to be the guy that just says no to everything because I think we need to champion new ideas as well.

Let's talk about the structure within Surfrider. You're going to step on board. You're obviously very enthusiastic about it, but have you got a team of people below you?
Mate, we're doing it on the fly a little bit, to be honest, but when I took this role on I made it conditional that Damo came along.

That's Damien Cole?
Damien Cole, yep.

He's got some form on the board. Can you tell the readers about it?
Basically he was the heart and soul of the Bight campaign. He led the initial paddle out, the very first one here in Torquay at the start of last year, and kind of created a monster. And he's just this super charismatic guy, and obviously Maurice [Cole, Damien's dad] has spent forty years here doing all that campaign work to save Bells. That was Maurice's' thing. While Damo's brief is the whole lot. So once he got loose on this Bight campaign, there was no stopping him. He was just a force of nature. He's one of those guys, he's a Cole!

It's such a huge job getting started again on Surfrider. You need someone with a huge engine in the middle of it, and that's Damo.

He works through a political lens as well. He understands strategy: what works and what doesn't, and he's a leader. People love him and will follow him into battle.

You guys are a formidable duo, but it's still going to take paid up membership, is it not?
Pretty much. We need a base. We've talked about a lot of big issues, and we'd love to go big game hunting for a few of those, but the reality is that the bulk of the issues will be on a local level. They're going to be Manyanas. They're going to be the Margaret River development. They're going to be all this stuff that's really regional.

But what Surfrider nationally can do, is just bring a big base against that. And the more people we get in, the bigger the voice gets, the harder it gets to ignore, and the more help we can get to the local branches. Which is kind of one of my other goals, is to get new branches started around the country. There's a bunch of really active ones who've got a strong game. They've been doing it for a long time. But I think there's new areas on the coast that are opening up that could probably do with one.

That was the original model with a central office and the regional chapters around the country.
Yeah, I don't think that needs changing. I think the organisation really needs, essentially, to be a local organisation which has an umbrella national body that can come in and aggregate huge membership, big interest, and lend a big voice to help out these smaller regional issues. Because that's where it happens. It all happens locally, these developments.

We'll go after a couple of big ones that have more national ramifications, but at the end of the day, it's all going to happen in your Manyanas and Margaret Rivers, and we just need a framework that kind of helps on that front.

Surfrider's last great heyday was in the nineties. Are you looking to replicate that popularity, when surfers joined almost by default?
Yeah. It feels like it's an idea that's time has come around again. And it's probably cyclical. We've just had a couple of decades where self-interest has ruled - we've been off doing our own thing - and I think it's come to a point where it's flipped around.

During the early-to mid-nineties there was quite a lot of stuff to push back against, and I think people are realising it's happening again now. So yeah, it'll get a life of its own, which is what I'm hoping. We also want to capture a bit of that spirit of the Bight protests, that they're not just angry protests. I think the real power in Surfrider is a celebration of what the coast is.

At the Bight protests, half the people that turned up were young families. So we became really hard targets to hit because politicians can't dismiss people like that. The other aspect is that our national identity is so linked to the beach and beach culture, and when that gets turned back on the people in charge, it becomes really hard for them to write us off. After all, they've traded on it for so long.

Surfrider, potentially, has a really powerful bloc. If they get mobilised and get a united voice, it'll be really hard to ignore.

Social media. People blame it for so many of our ills, but it does open up conversations, and you can also reach a whole lot of people very quickly. Is that part of your strategy?
Yeah, I think so. That was another takeaway from the Bight too. It goes back to the fact that so much of this stuff happens in the dark. All these approvals, all these developments, it's all kept out of the public eye. It's designed that way. So you don't really need to put out this raging polemic about how bad is this. All you've got to do is shine a light on it and people immediately go, "Whoa, hang on. What's happening here?"

If I can interrupt, that's what I found fascinating through the bushfire summer. Some of the things that you exposed via Instagram had me wondering, "Why don't we know about this? Why aren't newspapers reporting on it?"
Yeah, totally. I would use the mainstream media generally, and the uselessness of it, and how it's opened up a huge vacuum for people just putting stuff out there. There's independent media, it's doing a really good job, and that's the news I tap into. You kind of really do shine a light and provide some accountability to the people in charge and the people who are trying to turn a buck at the expense of the coast.

So it's...yeah, it's illuminating on one hand, and it's shocking on the other. Thing is though, you don't need to drive that traditional adversarial model of it's us versus them. All we need to do is roll out the state of play. Put stuff out there that people don't know, and that alone is enough for people to really take an interest, because we're being kept in the dark on so much news.

Well, congratulations Sean, I look forward to seeing what you and Damo come up with in the coming months.
Thanks Stu.

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Comments

hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 2:03pm

Legend.

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 2:32pm

The bight protests were an eye opener for me. I thought the initial ones would disappear without a trace and the project would happen without resistance, as they always seem to do.

So I reckon Sean's spot on in reading the mood of the room and that people are grasping for a movement that means something. Cometh the hour and all that.

Waverider125's picture
Waverider125's picture
Waverider125 commented Thursday, 25 Jun 2020 at 7:24pm

Thank you for everyone who contributed to the Campaign. Bloody Champions.

Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 2:53pm

As a closer to 60 year old. It intrigues me the relationship between young strong left wing political views and the lack of home ownership.

Or to put it another way, do I really want Govt policy set by people who still pay a land lord rent each week. That would be like asking my local butcher for advice on needed orthopaedic surgery instead of my $500,000 a year surgeon.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 3:11pm

Wot?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 3:16pm

"Or to put it another way, do I really want Govt policy set by people who still pay a land lord rent each week."

?? Wonder why we've been priced out of the market? Gives our views and opinion even more weight..

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 4:07pm

So affluent boomer home owners have some kind of intellectual, moral and creative superiority as to what the average (not you) Aussie wants and needs to live in a fair, harmonious and happy modern day Australia?

You are living in a dreamland 'Logical'.

Willliam's picture
Willliam's picture
Willliam commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 4:29pm

All this comment does is continue to highlight how out of touch, some of the older generation have become. Hence the comments of ‘ok boomer’ and ‘sell one of your properties to let us in the market’ appear to ring true.

You appear of the same generation as my parents. Both my parents were teachers, yet my mum stayed home most years to run the household. So off less than two full teacher incomes our family lived a happy and content lifestyle in the un-fantastic suburbs of Sydney. My parents never paid for their education, super, private healthcare etc etc. And could afford a holiday house up the coast.

Me today: I work in the construction industry, white collar worker (I don’t get dirty anymore) on a good income. My partner, also a white collar on a solid income. Both have a Masters from University. Yet there is no way we can afford to buy in or around the suburb we grew up. Or in a location that is close to work. So we rent. Both well educated on books and well-travelled. Yet here we are renting.

The option of lifestyle over owning a house is become top priority. Being a home owner is a social requirement created by ‘boomers’. Much like marriage before children.

Expenses that you never had: HEX, superannuation, private health care, road tolls, child care (as we both need to work to pay the bills), parking to go to work. All of which are paid to companies which fund retirees retirement funds.

Boomers are always happy to put shit on the younger generation but never willing to sacrifice their own self worth to help. Things were always better in their day but at the same time kids today have never had it so easy. So make up your mind.

Coming out of from Covid, Boss’s from the older generation were the first to demand people back into the office, because that’s how they did it back in their day. If old people don’t trust others working from home; doesn’t they say more about their selection of staff and management skills, rather than the employees ability.

I am by no means a lefty (I try to be). Society has to progress. People still want iPhones / grey nomads need fuel. Unfortunately, it is impossible to stop mining. Yet what is wrong with trying to fix up the problems with the planet that the generation before has left us. What is wrong with trying to maintain or even improve our lifestyle by maintaining our independence of personal vehicles and homes, but using another fuel sources? What is wrong with taking a stand against what you feel is wrong.

You were too young for Vietnam, but would have protests or would you have gone?

Sorry. That’s the short version of the rant too. Now I sound old.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 6:04pm

You don't sound old mate, you sound logical. Good post.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 10:53am

+1 good post, William.

I can't help pointing out the irony, though, of your parents having a holiday home up the coast. The scourge of holiday home ownership is a significant part of the broader housing issue all along the coast, and has directly contributed to many people from the coastal towns not being able to afford to buy where they grew up and having to rent or move away. Where I live, there are stacks of houses locked up for the vast majority of the time in prime locations near the beach. The less affluent, young families etc have to live on the periphery of town and that demand contributes to urban sprawl swallowing up the open spaces around town and demand for parking etc all along the foreshore as the whole model is so car-dependent.

Willliam's picture
Willliam's picture
Willliam commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 11:18am

On the surface yes, the holiday house component does sound hypocritical. But a $5k piece of land. A 2 bedroom fibro that my grandfather built. On a rural setting i.e. no schools etc. Doesn't make it as bad as some.

That is becoming more and more of a problem on the central coast where I lived for while. Huge McMansions sitting vacant for weeks on end.

"the whole model is so car-dependent". Yup.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 12:03pm

Yes, not as bad, agreed.

Imagine blocks for $5k....my old man tried to get his old man to buy a couple of blocks behind us in the early 70s and a three min walk to the beach. The old bugger thought they were a waste of money at $4800 each.....

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 12:15pm

Met a guy who once owned a house that abutted our block. Bought it in 1980, when aged in his his early-twenties, for $20K without saving a single dollar. Put the whole deposit down on Bankcard.

Willliam's picture
Willliam's picture
Willliam commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 1:14pm

I'm going to excuse myself while I sit in the corner and cry.

darcemac's picture
darcemac's picture
darcemac commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 2:33pm

Great response!

palpacino's picture
palpacino's picture
palpacino commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 9:09pm

Hopefully Illogical has time to read this response during his next appointment to his $500,000 a year orthopaedic surgeon.
I’m assuming he rides a negatively geared SUP too.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 4:42pm

You're like the ranga called Bluey, or the man-mountain called Tiny, only you're called 'Logical'.

 

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 4:42pm

User name doesn't check out. Advocating a return to feudal rule doesn't seem particularly logical.

In any case. you'll find a much stronger link between age and home ownership than political leaning and home ownership... I'd even propose that any link between being a lefty and not owning a home is actually dependant on the age link (since younger people tend on average to be more left-leaning than older people).

He who hesitates is lost

hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 6:05pm

here's hoping old mate is trolling... otherwise what the absolute franking credits are you on about pops?

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 3:01pm

What doesn't make sense?

He who hesitates is lost

Robo's picture
Robo's picture
Robo commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 7:39am

Probably as they have been priced out of the market in cities or coastal areas where they want to live/work, they are seeing the world though.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 11:06am

I am on the way to 61 and can't even understand how you joined those dots. I still have left wing views and always have as has my brother who is in his 70's. Both of us I think are incredibly well off and have had our life battles and getting down on young people is not going to make your world better, just bitter. Getting old and crusty Logical and watch that neck doesn't become sun burnt. No one is threatening your lifestyle or wants to nationalise the world, they are just expressing views and saving the bight was a great one.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 1:07pm

Yeah I am with Ben on this one.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 11:13am

How can young people afford to get ahead? They did not have the opportunities that you people had back in the day - it was easy. The legacy Boomers leave is one of self interest and greed. Look at what the coastal regions have become under 'your' watch. Idiot.

onetimeonly

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 6:21pm

Easy? I’ll tell you how fuckn’ easy it was. I’m 60 in a couple months, at 14 I was working Woolies Saturday morning, at 16 I started my own shop window cleaning business on Saturday morning, start at 6.30 finished at 12, about 3 hrs on Sunday,missed many pumping surf sessions, at 18 left school started a trade, kept cleaning business going, bought block of land at 22, built house at 25 on Gold Coast gave away cleaning business, bought investment house & started out on my own at 30, 2nd investment house at 35, 2 step kids & 2 of my own by then, worked 6 days a week , no inheritance, own everything, cutting back last few years to about 25 hrs. Easy? Get out there & have a fuckn’ go, stop ya whinging, you’re the fuckers who have got it easy, cause you don’t do enough to get ahead. My greed & self interest? Fuckn’ oath, but I worked for it fair & square!!...and you haven’t contributed to the coastal regions, what they’ve ‘become’ ? Get fucked!

Mr mick

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 7:02pm

That's unreal Mick, hard work is it's own reward, but the simple fact is that in 1980 (roughly when you bought) the average house was three times the average wage, and now it's eleven times the average wage.

So comparing apples to apples, buying a house was easier for you.

BTW Kid across the road works three jobs, nephew is at uni full time while interning at a consulting engineering practice and working in a cafe. Don't believe the smashed avo bullshit of the media. Young kids work every bit as hard as yesteryear.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Sunday, 21 Jun 2020 at 10:04am

"the average house was three times the average wage, and now it's eleven times the average wage."

That's by far the main problem confronting this generation now as far as the perceived notion of 'getting ahead' goes. As soon as we hit the year 2000 is when it all started going to shit as far as house prices go.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Sunday, 21 Jun 2020 at 9:39am

You are the problem we have been discussing. Just read over your reply. Look at your stance, the way you express yourself. You are an bringing shame onto yourself by your ignorance. University students work at Woolworths now. Try starting up a window cleaning business, or any business now. How much tax did you pay back then? Were you declaring all your income? How much government red tape was there? Right boomer...

onetimeonly

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Sunday, 21 Jun 2020 at 5:03pm

Plenty businesses starting now, stories out there of young people starting their own, might be lawn mowing, delivery etc. Do you blame boomers for uni students at Woolies? I’ve paid plenty tax through 40 yrs work, maybe qualify for small part pension, be good if I don’t. My ‘ stance’ in my reply was putting it out there to go extra mile, we had 20 yrs of interest rates between 10- 18%, it’s been 4-6% for 10 or so yrs now. 3 out of 4 of my kids have bought in last 10 yrs on average incomes. We never had first home buyers scheme. I had one income for many years, we put up with cheap, 2nds furniture, didn’t have the brand new expensive car to keep up appearances. I’ll agree it takes more % wise now in income than back in my day, but it can still be done, some numbnuts want the best of everything now when they can’t really afford it.

Mr mick

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Sunday, 21 Jun 2020 at 7:14pm

10-18% of fuck all is still fuck all.
It’s tough now for young people to get into the housing market.
How did your kids even save the deposit on average wages?

superfish's picture
superfish's picture
superfish commented Monday, 22 Jun 2020 at 11:34am

im born in 96 and i just bought my first block, but i work a full time job and eat out of bins and live in the back of my car. however the block is around the corner from some truly epic waves so i am FARKING STOKED

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Monday, 22 Jun 2020 at 6:44pm

It's why they're called Gen Y , why me , why not me and they always need someone or something to blame. I came back to oz mid 2000's broke, worked hard did all the OT I could and saved, bought a shitty unit miles from the beach and grew from there and now live next the beach. If you have a goal you have to work for it.

Willliam's picture
Willliam's picture
Willliam commented Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 3:10pm

Jeez there is some angry old buggers out there. Everything was so good int here day, and we are all so lazy.

Mr Mick you actually sound like a old northern beaches bloke I know through rugby. Your finger pointing angry demeaner fits him perfectly. Also an avid climate change denier. Even the Arctic is on fire.

Quite the timing that the government just decided to increase Uni fees (policy makers tend to be of the older persuasion).
My Uni classes ran from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday (science degree). Rugby Saturday for cash & landscaping on Sunday for cash. Not sure where I was meant to go cleaning windows in that time.
While doing FIFO, I started and ran a business while on RnR. However it was not the type where cashies were possible, the ATO is a killer.
Mates are doing the same. Both parents working a few jobs, so as you put it 'to get ahead'. With all that working, the kids go in day care and get raised by a stranger. Or do they relinquish your dream lifestyle, accept the cash loss and raise their kids themselves.
Next door neighbor sent his kid to Uni in Singapore because it was cheaper over the 4 years.
A mate is a third year sparkie apprentice. Drives the 1.5hr commute each way to site. Still lives at home. And he hate eating smashed av, cause he normally eats at mine.

Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green's picture
Eugene Green commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 3:39pm

Working in surf media and working on coastal conservation.
They cancel each other out.

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 7:35pm

Amen to that! Keep the bastards honest.

GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD's picture
GODS QUAD commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 3:52pm

Just listened to the Water People podcast today, featuring Sean. Def worth a listen if you have a spare half hour on your hands. Really switched on guy with a great attitude towards tackling environmental issues. Onya moite!

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 4:28pm

All good but all the self back slapping about the Bight and not one mention of Heath. Just checking has Sean & Damo ever been to the Bight? Don't get me wrong appreciate all the work they did.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 6:26pm

Any determined, rational and articulate voice on the side of environmental and cultural reason is a massive credit for the Australian people. We should be stoked that Mr Doherty has found his place amongst our first lines of defence.

Go hard, mate. Power to you.

roondog's picture
roondog's picture
roondog commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 6:16pm

"model" pop out throw away 4oz glass jobs, rail tape and glamorous logo placement - lets start here with all things warm, fuzzy and sustainability eco focused hey?

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 7:34pm

Logical is a troll.

On a another note. People are fucking deluded if they think that the protests are defining factor that ‘saved the bight.’

The surfing community/industry has so much to answer for in addressing its own environmental conscience and impacts.

Full credit to people getting out there and supporting a cause that hopefully contributes more good than harm. But follow it up with some really courageous action like forgoing or limiting air travel.

With full respect to Sean Doherty he is far from an ‘expert’ or caliber of candidate we need to give the surf community a more persuasive voice.

It’s a classic symptom of the surfing community to elect an expert or leader just because we are to blinkered to know any better.

How many ‘pro-surfers’ leverage their prolonged careers off a cause? Not a bad strategy to remain relevant.

Anyhow, hopefully Sean is able to raise the profile of Surfrider Foundation and reinvigorate its presence.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 7:47pm

I’m just glad that someone is stepping up.

I’ve superficially pondered engaging in a role of this type before and ran a mile after the most cursory examination of the commitment , hard work and public exposure required. Life at the forefront of people’s political representation ain’t all beer and skittles I don’t imagine. So unless you’re wedded to the job by your pursuit of power or corruption, it comes down to an honest dedication to get out of bed everyday , prepared to put in hard graft for a collective who are just as likely to pillory you for your efforts as reward them with gratitude.

The fact that it’s a surfer with an ability to articulate clearly what it is that surfers want is essential. The idea that Sean Doherty appears to have a decent grasp on the underlying sentiments behind surfer thinking doesn’t hurt either. We don’t want a radical or a freak show , nor do we want a corporate stooge. Maybe he’s the man for the job ? If no one else is putting up their hand then I reckon we should give the bloke his head and all the support we can.

icandig's picture
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icandig commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 9:18pm

Hear hear. I'll be buying a membership as soon as the next dole check comes in. *jokes* I'm one of the entitled boomers you millennials love to hate. But seriously - I'm happy to support both Sean and Damien for the reasons above. Might even buy a T-Shirt to show off my support to the cool kids down at the beach.

sandgroper's picture
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sandgroper commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 10:51am

I've been following Seano over the last few months and its not once has it struck me that he professes to be an expert in realising political change.

I think you underestimate peoples intelligence if you assume they think there is a straight line connection between protests and government action. The Bight campaign, I'm sure has taught Sean a lot about how mobilising constituents in uncertain electorates can make a real difference. As mentioned in this thread - have a listen to the Waterpeople Podcast (S2 with Sean, and S1 with Peter Wish-Wilson).

Sean seems to be an ordinary bloke who understands the bind ordinary people are in - economic security v environmental change. He is the perfect voice for the surfing community - reasonably articulate, connected, passionate, informed and relatable. His not running for MP mate, just Surfrider.

Agree with you TE, I certainly hope Sean can harness is passion into a movement more of us can access and see some more consistent and big wins in the environmental space!

mikehunt207's picture
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mikehunt207 commented Thursday, 18 Jun 2020 at 8:22pm

Maybe Surfrider can get on board with the fight to reduce / remove the size and scope of the imminent development for the headland in Gnarabup overlooking some of the best big waves in West Australia. The State Premier was ambushed when he promoted what he thought was just one (of actually3)lots of pristine coastal bush to be developed into 5 star resort for rich tourists. If people want massive hotels at the beach go to the gold coast, leave the bush bush. C,mon Sean youve been here and seen the place, the local community would be stoked to have some support.

GreenCT's picture
GreenCT's picture
GreenCT commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 2:56am

Mikehunt207 I think or assumed that is what he was talking about when saying Margaret River.

On that monstrocity when the "artists" impression is that ugly i can only imagine how foul the reality will be if allowed to happen.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 2:50pm

Just checked it, fuck that is bad. Did they get the local draftee to knock that one up? That is bad even for the 1970's let alone today are the local council that unsophisticated that they would even allow that turd to get past the counter? I reckon they wouldn't even countenance that in Bali...only perhaps Tommy.

savanova's picture
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savanova commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 9:08am

On the subject of Manyana and Margarets yes surf rider can help push for and get change. As for the oil rig in the bite that's drawing a pretty long bow, I'd say it was more to do with lowest oil prices in decades and the downward pressure on these prices driven by the supply war between Putin and the Saudis. Governments have been overthrown and thousands have died to secure oil and gas lands. Can't see how a letter from bunch overpaid retired surf stars did Jack Shit.

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 2:52pm

Where did that saying come from and was Jack's shit so non eventful?

gdh's picture
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gdh commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 10:01am

Fair call savanova! Also, did anyone else find it a little hypocritical to see 1000s of people driving their huge diesel guzzling 4WDs to a protest about oil rigs? A better protest would have been to stop driving anywhere for 24hours, better for the environment anyways.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 11:21am

Well done, Sean and Damo.

Organisations like Surfrider are only as good as the people who drive them and the membership and supporters who contribute.

Having someone like Sean in the box seat is, in my opinion, an excellent opportunity because he is well-connected and respected in the broader surfing community, and I believe it is precisely that lack of engagement by the broader surfing community which has held Surfrider back. Sure, there's been improvement over the years and there's been a lot of activity and support when a threat presents itself in a form people understand (eg a flash new hotel on a headland, oil rigs in the Bight, etc). But few people want to commit to less tangible activity on the issues which actually drive these threats which can be addressed through a well-resourced NGO.

If Sean can tap into the level of support you'd expect the broader surfing community to have for Surfrider they could fly high. After all, Surfrider are simply trying to protect the assets which supports surfing: the oceans and the coast. Given the billions of dollars in play with surfing and the promotion of the coast through tourism initiatives, you'd think they'd be propped up nicely. Alas. Surfing, in all its forms, needs to step right up.

It's important to note that while Sean might be articulate and considered, he works with the current Surfrider board, the staff and the network of branches around the country. He's got some support, but he's also accountable to the board and the broader membership of the branches and individuals. I'm sure he'd welcome the chance to be accountable to as many of them as possible.

As for Damo, he's got some serious runs on the board.

I say good luck to them all. Go hard.

T.Edds's picture
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T.Edds commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 11:25am

Spot on Savanova!

Any suggestion that the Fight for the Bight Campaign was the causative factor in the drilling project not proceeding is a completely dishonest message.

Obviously, people getting out and raising the profile of an issue is a positive action. It is difficult for me to see the Fight for the Bight campaign as much more than an example of effective marketing.

The Lock the Gate Alliance has been running effective campaigns for many years without all the public backslapping that has been the central feature of the Fight for the Bight. Although, the website and branding is not quite as trendy, LTG offers a far greater source of information, meaningful ways to get involved and a cohesive platform from which every Australian make a values based stand.

I am curious to understand why the Fight for the Bight campaign was run independently to an already established organisation?

Does anybody recall KONY2012?

abc-od's picture
abc-od's picture
abc-od commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 11:57am

Because it didn't involve coal or coal seam gas?
Because it was an offshore field? (Lock the Port?)
Because they wanted a surf-focussed response?

Save the faux diplomacy. That's two posts now we're you've got stuck into them under false pretences.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 12:12pm

Or so they say.....Yes they SAID that the protest did not influence the pull out and yes everything about oil prices is correct but that is what THEY said. Who knows how it influenced the final decision. I have worked for a multinational mining mob and they are the definition of medieval multi national arseholes. They say very little, are super secretive, and pay no attention to anyone but themselves - and all the decisions are made in another country. Never again after mutual dislike we parted ways.

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Shaun Hanson commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 4:43pm

As a commercial fisherman in the great barrier reef region for over 30 yrs dealing with GBRMPA and incoming politicians using the fishing industry to win votes by taking areas away removing licences without compensation etc while letting recreational and charter industries increase effort along with population growth huge coastel developlment and port developments minning run massive increase in shipping movements threw the reef all the big ticket items that cause changes in water quality and coastel nursery areas still growing and unchecked and sold to australians as great for the economy and most australians beleive it is ...Wake up australia its wreckin the joint ...i recently retired from the fishing industry and ended up on tugs in WA what an eye opener the amount of degradation and enviromental damage being done and the shear volume of raw materials being shipped of to foreign lands. I lasted a couple of yrs and just couldnt morrally deal with being part of it ..every bodys happy while there handin out the bucks ...but some how one lonely commercial fishing boat working in the distance sustainably fishing supplying healthy seafood to australians with best practice quota controls vessel monitoring compulsory on board fishing vessels faaark the hypocrissy from polaticians and managment bodys loaded with hidden agendas is just shithouse .......Good onyas Sean and Damo and best of luck hope you start australians to think with a longtimeterm veiw on how we make a buck i hope the hypocrissy doesnt send you guys insane ..

Pastmypeak

todipolo's picture
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todipolo commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 4:58pm

cool man! my kid is crazy about him lol

davetherave's picture
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davetherave commented Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 5:12pm

I would love to see a percentage of the membership fee go into an account for the local area of that member. This would enable each Chapter to have money to use if they needed too, especially at short notice. This money could also be used to help other Chapters if an issue pops up that needs obvious attention and each Chapter could allow their funds to be used. Of course this means total financial transparency and may add to operational costs.
Although I believe in 2020 the demographic of Surfers could handle this as surely some accountant types surf plus have an environmental awareness with a young family etc etc. As well, technology being so more efficient, head office now only needs a couple of good computers and unlimited data internet connection and things could get done quite easily.
But will the articles onf Incorporation or Surfrider'sown rules allow such things? I hope so, because it is a great initiative and I have known a lot of great people that dedicated themselves to The Surfrider Foundation and it would be a shame to see it's way lost in the mirky rules and regs on the instituition model that currently plagues our evolution.

davetherave

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jacksprat commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 11:15am

Typical surf industry Remora. Jumps from dead business model to non profit. Well played.

onetimeonly

PKsswellnet's picture
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PKsswellnet commented Saturday, 20 Jun 2020 at 11:53am

Yeah I joined up the other day. Not in love with the people or processes but understand the power of getting an effective representative body that drive an agenda and can lean on pollies and corporates. Look at the access and attention that surf clubs get if you want a local and national example. Yeah I know they are about saving lives maybe we could compare how many saved by surfers over the years.

pksswellnet

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kerri.watson commented Sunday, 21 Jun 2020 at 4:34pm

I’m with Sean & Damo - local is the go!! Takes me back to POO (People against Ocean Outfalls) March in mid-80s Sydney. Tommy Carroll led the march with Tracks editors & writers heavily involved in the campaigning. This is what good people do when their “backyards” are threatened......we worked with local ocean scientists who
could translate what was happening into plainspeak. I’m needing a job right now Sean if you’re needing an erudite surfer girl living in Noosa to help with your SFA Board diversity & chutzpah. Oh, & did I mention my Sustainability training & all round left wing credentials? Also still renting just for the record.......

ChakraKerri

superfish's picture
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superfish commented Monday, 22 Jun 2020 at 11:30am

yeah seano and damo hope you gather some momentum ! would be good for surfers to dispossess a bit of ego and selfishness and do some good for sweet mother earth. we are at the point now where if we dont make some serious changes immediately the next few generations are completely fucked. and unfortunately i look at straya and see a whole bunch of people who are too keen to drive their fourbies and sink tinnies than live life a bit simpler and vote for the greens who will invest in renewables. im gonna keep fighing but i think we're fucked

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radiationrules commented Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 11:01am

A few adds:

1. Heath Joske (spelling?) - seemed to me to be the face of that Safe The Bight Campaign. Didn't he fly to (on his own account) to the AGM in Scandanavia and present. Anyway, should have got a wrap IMO? Included in future campaigns?

2. Surfrider foundation - I was involved in the '90's - not wanting to libel anyone but their governance then was at best dubious and highly politicised with a raving left agenda. I think Sean's on the right track with keeping the organisation issues based. I was at an AGM once when someone accused another member of being directly linked to the extinction of bears in Europe because he had an English accent "so you wouldn't understand what it means to be Australian" (so wrong in so many ways)

3. Transparancy and measurement are fundmentals to the modern world. I'd love to hear, for example, what the logical reason was for the STB campaign working. Sean saying "its the cherry on the top that it worked" doesn't explain what worked and what we can learn from it.

4. Leverage all resources. The team behind the Save Ningaloo Campaign are very impressive. Already 2 years +/- of work has been done and big fight hasn't started yet. These seasoned campaigners with coastal knowledge should be tapped, so that 1+1=10.

Excited for change and surfers emerging as powerful custodians of the coast, not just hedonistic takers from the coast.

To my point, I was standing at an elevated vantage spot checking the line-ups on Friday and look down at my feet to see a range of snack wrappers, red-waxed end bannana skins - who buys this shit and just chucks it in the bush "to disappear". Frothing young surfers, fueling up before they do amateur CT battle's? Or stupid old baby-boomers, who should know better?

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joesydney commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 12:58am

Wondering how everyone rationalises paddling out to protest on a PU Board, in nylon boardies, with a PU leash? You know what is used to make all that stuff right?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 8:09am

Did you read any of the articles we posted at the time of the protests?

Everything was addressed there, multiple times, but in short, opposition was based upon the fact it's simply not needed. British Petroleum have said there's enough known oil fields to last beyond 2050.

Curently, the vast majority of oil goes towards powering cars yet every major commentator/thinktank believes that by mid-century this will no longer be the case with a shift in the energy matrix.

It was an undue risk for a (soon to be) outdated technology.

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joesydney commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 11:29am

My opinion for what it matters, Equinor pulled out because commercially the project did not pass the test. Technically it was a challenging project and comparative with the rest of the world Australia is an expensive place to do business. Based on current market conditions this was the right call (the project would definitely be on ice now), It had little to do with Surfrider protests.

Seems obvious to me but the main issue Surfrider needs to tackle is driving our sport to result in "zero harm" to the environment. If we are not even having that conversation then the whole thing looks like a big virtue signalling party.
I mean Surfrider has "Say No to Plastic" plastered on their website next to guys wearing and riding plastic.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 11:40am

Yeah but your accusation in the first comment has nothing to do with your opinion in the last one.

joesydney's picture
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joesydney commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 11:58am

Doesn't it? I was wondering what the thought process was for people who on one hand are happy to protest a project to protect the environment but on the other hand seemingly ignore the fact the equipment they ride and wear does harm the environment and is a product of the types of project they are protesting against.
The cynic in me tends to think much of the attraction to a protest is more about publicity and virtue signalling than meaningful change. Imagine if all those protestors demanded a change in the surfboard manufacturing industry? I would suggest that would actually be influential and have a meaningful impact.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 12:04pm

No it doesn't, read them again.

Anyway, I've answered what the rationale of the protest was, which you seem to have (again) misunderstood. It wasn't "no more oil at all", but "we don't need oil here". Like I said, the world has more than enough reserves, it doesn't need dangerous deep sea drilling, and especially not when alternatives are appearing from over the horizon.