Posts in Surf politics

Half Way there, half way to Go!

Posted on October 20th, 2009 in Environment, Good causes, News Stories, Surf culture, Surf politics, Top stories.
Pro surfer Dave Rastovich (foreground) and musician Will Conner (background) - two members of the group of surfer-activists making their way by sea from Byron Bay to Bondi Beach over 36 days. photo: Dawe/Transparentsea

Pro surfer Dave Rastovich (foreground) and musician Will Conner (background) - two members of the group of surfer-activists making their way by sea from Byron Bay to Bondi Beach over 36 days. photo: Dawe/Transparentsea

The Transparentsea team passes Point Plomer

www.transparentseavoyage.com

(Tuesday, October 20th, Crescent Head, NSW, Australia): After 19 days of surfing, paddling and sailing their way down the NSW coast, the environmental awareness group led by pro surfer Dave Rastovich has successfully passed the halfway point of their intended 700km, 36 day voyage from Byron Bay to Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

Titled “Transparentsea” the initiative, which began on October 1st, aims to draw attention to the plight of the migrating humpback whales as the team follows their path south and to highlight issues of environmental concern to do with Australia’s East Coast.

Speaking from Point Plomer near Crescent Head on Day 20, Rastovich acknowledged the numerous, unforgettable whale and dolphin encounters his team had experienced. However, the alarming amount of debris that has been located and collected at the various locations the team has visited is a concern.

“At times, adult humpback whales and their calves have chosen to surface two feet away from our kayaks, which has just been amazing,” explained Rastovich.

“We’ve also camped in some of the most beautiful beachside campgrounds and surfed those beaches, but picked up hundreds and hundreds pieces of plastic and rubbish in places that look ‘Good from far, but are far from good’,” he added.

Rastovich, who says his team is on track to reach Bondi by the planned date of November 5th, also urged everyone who shared the vision of the Transparentsea environmental awareness initiative to support the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founded by anti-whaling activist Paul Watson.

Rastovich noted that the Sea Shepherd is the only organisation planning to send a vessel to help defend the whales in the Southern Ocean sanctuary from Japanese whalers in December. While Watson has been a focus of the media after Australian Immigration denied his entry based on issues to do with his visa.

“It has been very disappointing to learn that the Australian Government recently obstructed Paul Watson’s entry to Australia, rather than welcoming him as a great defender of the whales,” said Rastovich.

“Instead of upholding their pre election promise to challenge Japanese whaling in international court and to protect the Southern Ocean sanctuary, the Australian Government appears to have turned their back on the whales that are once again under threat.”

It’s anticipated that dozens of surfers and well wishers will welcome the Transparentsea voyagers, which includes Rastovich, fellow surfer, artist and activist Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW), photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW), a support team and special guests, when they negotiate the last few hundred metres from the sea to the shore at Bondi Beach on November 5th.

For more info, please see the links below, or contact:
Media contact: [email protected]
Mobile: +61 (0) 421 384 431

About Transparentsea:
The primary intention of the Transparentsea journey is to draw attention to the plight of the migrating whales that ultimately are destined for the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean and the inevitable visits by Japanese whaling fleets.
In addition, the Transparentsea team will record and highlight other areas of environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; the state of rivers and estuaries; and where necessary they will also initiate beach clean-ups.

An additional kayak is available for media and special guests. Please contact [email protected]

Transparentsea is possible thanks the support of Surfrider Foundation, Surfers for Cetaceans, Billabong, Go Pro Water Proof Cameras and Fast Lane Sailing (CA, USA).

Friends of:
www.SurfersForCetaceans.com <http://www.SurfersForCetaceans.com> , www.seashepherd.org <http://www.seashepherd.org> , www.surfrider.org.au <http://www.surfrider.org.au> , www.oceancare.org.au <http://www.oceancare.org.au> .  www.RemoveSharkNets.com <http://www.RemoveSharkNets.com> , www.SaveJapanDolphins.org <http://www.SaveJapanDolphins.org> , www.TheCoveMovie.com <http://www.TheCoveMovie.com> ,

Dave Rastovich:
Dave Rastovich is a former World Junior surfing champion and world-renowned free-surfer. In 2006 “Rasta” co-founded the “Surfers for Cetaceans” movement. In July this year Rasta was granted one of just 200 invitations to attend former US Vice President Al Gore’s The Climate Project – Asia-Pacific Summit. http://www.billabong.com/au/team-rider/surf/17/rasta

Chris Del Moro:
Chris has “an excited butterfly-type feeling” about forthcoming test of endurance and surf trip of a lifetime! The Californian artist and free-surfer is also co-director of the Surfers for Cetaceans organisation and traveled with Rasta to Chile (2008) and Portugal (2009) to attend the IWC (International Whaling Convention). www.collecticlife.com <http://www.collecticlife.com>

Will Conner:
Will has just finished his 3rd album “You Make Me Sing” due to release early 2010 featuring guests JJ Grey from MOFRO and G. Love. Having accepting Rasta’s invitation, Will states: “I am offering help in the form of musical entertainment, and I am now the proud owner of a yellow Ukulele and plan on annoying everyone including the whales for 36 days straight!” www.willconner.com <http://www.willconner.com>

Hilton Dawe:
Hilton is regarded among the best water photographers in the world. His forte’ is professional surfing and his numerous trips around the globe have taken him to all the major professional events and to the farthest, most exotic locale’s. When the big sets of Hawaii’s Pipeline catch him out, he takes a big breath, swims to the bottom, and holds on to the reef to escape the ocean’s wrath.

www.transparentseavoyage.com <http://transparentseavoyage.com>


NORTHERN BEACHES JOIN THE LARGEST DAY OF CLIMATE ACTION IN HISTORY

Posted on October 19th, 2009 in Can you help?, Environment, For the Diary, Good causes, Local Colour, News Stories, Surf culture, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.
For example . . .

For example . . .

2000+ EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD

On Saturday 24 October 2009 Northern Beaches residents will join hundreds of thousands of people from around the world in taking a stand for a safe climate future as part of the largest global day of climate action ever witnessed.

The call to action by both Climate Action Pittwater and Manly Warringah Climate Action Group as well as local surf life saving clubs, and hosted by Pittwater, Warringah and Manly Councils, will spell out the numerals ‘350’ (i.e. 350 parts per million, signifying the safe upper level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere) via human signs on local beaches.

“People are turning out in great numbers in Australia and around the world on 24 October to call on global leaders to hear the public concern about climate change before the UN talks in Copenhagen in December,” said a spokesperson for the Climate Change Groups.

“Scientists are saying that our current greenhouse emissions at 385ppm are at a dangerous level.
“350 sends a clear message to our community and our leaders that we cannot afford to be skeptical anymore and that we need to set a clear and ambitious goal to work towards at the Copenhagen meeting.
“Individuals and families in every corner of the world will be taking similar action from Mount Everest and the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House.”
The Northern Beaches climate action groups have the support of local Mayors, Councils, politicians and community groups who will be gathering at three locations (Mona Vale beach, Dee Why beach, and North Steyne beach) at 3.00pm on Saturday 24 October.

The events are three of more than 2,000 rallies in more than 140 nations coordinated by the organization ‘350.org’ and urging world leaders to take fast and effective action on climate change.
“This is the first global campaign ever organised around a scientific data point,” said the climate change group spokesperson.
“It’s also significant that we organize the human signs on our local beaches as increasing sea levels will see our iconic beaches disappear in the future.
“Everyone has a responsibility in combating climate change. We can each make a difference to reducing our own carbon footprints.
“We are encouraging the residents of the Northern Beaches to register their interest and to join us on this day so that we can to get our world back to 350 and a safe climate future.”
To find out more about ‘350’ go to www.350.org/australia.

To register go to:
Dee Why Beach http://www.350.org/node/7325;
Manly Beach http://www.350.org/node/7523
Mona Vale Beach http://www.350.org/node/7327
Spokespersons to contact include:
Iain McGregor (Manly): 0400 481 259.
Kirsten Evans (Dee Why): 0438 177 088.
Linda Haefeli (Pittwater) 0409 815 119.
To make the sign more effective it would be suitable to wear something black, green, blue or red on the day.
For media information contact Ron Krueger on 0418 617 680.
ENDORSEMENTS
“The gathering of world leaders in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference in December this year offers what may be the last, best chance for determining concerted action to prevent the worst effects of global warming.
Representing a coastal community likely to be profoundly affected by rising sea levels, Manly Council is committed to developing strategies that promote the conservation of the natural environment to benefit current and future generations; including long term considerations of climate change.
Therefore, as the Mayor of Manly, I fully support the objectives of the ‘350’ campaign and encourage all who love Manly to come along and take part on the day.” – Jean Hay, Mayor of Manly
I am proud to support this initiative and encourage Warringah residents to take a stand on the sand on the day.” – Michael Regan, Mayor of Warringah.
“I encourage Pittwater residents to get behind this great initiative and to send a clear message that we need to limit our emissions to avoid runaway climate change.” – Harvey Rose, Mayor of Pittwater.
“This event is a great opportunity for the Northern Beaches community to show their support for more action on climate change. The lack of public transport on the Peninsula means more cars are clogging up the roads and that has to change. Our beautiful local environment is why we love living on the Northern Beaches and it must be protected for future generations.” – Mike Baird, Member for Manly

“Our coastline and particularly beaches are hugely threatened by rising sea levels and the predicted more numerous and potent storms bought on by climate change and here is an unmissable chance to send your message.” -Brendan Donohue, Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches Chapter.
“Mona Vale SLSC is proud to be hosting Pittwater’s 350 event. Surf Life Saving Clubs, by their very nature, are particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and the probable implications of sea level rise. Becoming involved in this public display of climate change action raises the awareness of our 700+ members and their families. Surf Lifesavers and ‘Nippers’ all have a role to play in addressing climate change, and this event is another way MVSLSC is taking action”. – Jon Dibbs – President and Life Member of Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club.
ABOUT 350.ORG
Founded by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, 350.org is the first large-scale grassroots global campaign against climate change. Its supporters include leading scientists, the governments of 89 countries, and a huge variety of environmental, health, development and religious NGOs. All agree that current atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases—385 parts per million—are causing damage to the planet and to its most vulnerable people, and that government action at the Copenhagen climate conference is required to bring the earth’s carbon level swiftly down.


“TRANSPARENTSEA” – A MODERN JOURNEY WITH ANCIENT CREATURES

Posted on September 30th, 2009 in Can you help?, Environment, Good causes, Local Colour, News Stories, Surf culture, Surf history, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.
Professional Surfer and environmental campaigner Dave Rastovich and the sea kayak he will navigate to Sydney.

Professional Surfer and environmental campaigner Dave Rastovich and the sea kayak he will navigate to Sydney.

Professional surfer Dave Rastovich initiates a bold environmental awareness campaign tomorrow from Byron Bay.

Professional free-surfer and environmental campaigner David Rastovich will attempt an epic 700km ocean paddle from Byron Bay to Bondi Beach this October.

The journey aims to follow the annual migration south of humpback whales and their calves while raising awareness of the need to protect the majestic mammals and the world’s ocean environments.

Twenty nine year-old Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, AUS) is using the paddle to extend his personal environmental journey which in 2006 saw him co-found the “Surfers for Cetaceans” movement and in July this year saw him granted one of just 200 invitations to attend former US Vice President Al Gore’s The Climate Project – Asia-Pacific Summit.

On October 1st “Rasta”, accompanied by world-class water photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, AUS) and a videographer who will help chronicle the event, will step from the sands of Main Beach, Byron Bay and begin the journey in single-seat sea kayaks.

Joining them will be Chris Del Moro (Los Angeles, USA) a respected free surfer, activist, artist and co-director of Surfers for Cetaceans.

Assisted only by the wind and waves, Rasta and his cohorts will paddle the entire distance aiming to reach Bondi by November 5th. Each afternoon they will paddle to the nearest beach, rest overnight, engage with local communities and – conditions permitting – take advantage of the local surf.

The primary intention of the journey is to draw attention to the plight of the migrating whales that ultimately are destined for the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean and the inevitable visits by Japanese whaling fleets.

In addition, the team will record and highlight other areas of environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; the state of rivers and estuaries; and where necessary they will also initiate beach clean-ups.

It is a well-intentioned odyssey that, at worst, is certain to be an incredible test of endurance but will also, quite possibly, double as the surf-trip-of-a-lifetime.

“What excites me the most is being able to combine the high-risk elements of surfing and sailing and the notion of endurance and pushing your body,” said Rastovich.  “I’m eager to bring those elements together with environmental awareness initiatives.

“Our intentions are that, after 36 days and 700 kilometers, we’ll have helped educate a lot of people on the beauty and majesty of the whales, plus the impact we all have on what is such an amazing stretch of coastline and in what ways we might all implement positive change.”

An additional kayak will be made available to a small roster of like-minded invited guests – individuals who share the mission’s sense of purpose and who are able to help bolster public awareness.

Participants already scheduled to take part include eight-time Molokai-to-Oahu paddling champion Jamie Mitchell, former world #5, pro surfer Matt Hoy, and professional surf commentator, editor and musician Adam ‘Vaughan’ Blakey.

“Our intentions are to reach Bondi and celebrate the completion of our voyage with Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society,” said Rastovich.

“We expect to be crossing paths with the Sea Shepherd crew on the journey as they take their ship, the Steve Irwin, to Perth where they will launch their next campaign to save our whales in Antarctica. The same whales we will be paddling alongside.”

The official Transparentsea launch will take place on Thursday, October 1st at Main Beach, Byron Bay. Here, members of the Aboriginal Bundjalung tribe will don traditional dress and perform a farewell ceremony. Following the ceremony, the kayakers will paddle out to meet the whales and begin their long voyage south to Sydney.

Transparentsea participants (L to R): Surfer Dave Rastovich, musician Will Conner, Surfrider Foundation's Kristy Theissling and Californian surfer, artist and campaigner Chris Del Moro. Photographed today in Byron Bay.

Transparentsea participants (L to R): Surfer Dave Rastovich, musician Will Conner, Surfrider Foundation's Kristy Theissling and Californian surfer, artist and campaigner Chris Del Moro. Photographed today in Byron Bay.


Surf Days Ahead for Indigenous Kids

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 in Good causes, News Stories, Surf culture, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.

(Maroubra, NSW – Monday; 22 June 2009): A group of Indigenous children will be given the experience of a lifetime this Wednesday thanks to the No-Way Campaign Foundation and Surfing NSW.

Hailing from Brewarrina, a small town 800 kilometres north-west of Sydney, a group of approximately 20 children will be making the long trip down to Sydney to meet their heroes, whilst learning how to surf with some of Rugby League’s hottest talent’s.

Beginning with a session with the NRL’s One Community, entitled “Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well”, presented by Rugby League legend Mario Fenech, the kids will be afforded the opportunity to attend South Sydney First Grade Training Session – a dream for many of the disadvantaged youths.

“It will be such a special day for these children,”  said Darren Morton, CEO and founder of the No-Way Campaign Foundation.

One which they will never forget and a great way to reward the kids from the bush.”

Culminating with a surfing lesson with South Sydney superstar John Sutton, the day will be focussed upon  promoting healthy lifestyles and educating positive lifestyle choices amongst the children.

“The health of the kids is not great, as some have poor eating skills and diets high in salt and sugar,” Morton continued.

“Sending these kids healthy lifestyle messages is the main rhetoric of the day. ”

With a different theme for each day of the week during the National Drug Action Week, Wednesday is fittingly entitled “Indigenous People/ Rural Australia”, something which Surfing NSW CEO, Mark Windon is keen to promote.

“It’s going to be a really special afternoon,” Windon said.

“Surfing is a great recreational activity and one of the best workouts for your entire body; combining fun and exercise will be the aim of their session.”

Selected on their school attendance, good conduct around town and on some occasions a break from their sometimes troublesome life, most of the children participating in the day will never have seen the ocean, let alone stand on a board.

“To see their faces and reaction toward the ocean, waves and the surfing lifestyle will be priceless,” he said.

With ASP World Tour competitor Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW) on board as the No-Way Campaign Foundation ambassador, Windon can see the potential for a long and fruitful relationship between the two organisations.

“Hopefully its the beginning of a long association between Surfing NSW and the No-Way Campaign Foundation,” he said.

“It’s such a great initiative and one we’re proud to be involved with.”

An initiative coordinated by the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), and supported by the Department of Health and Ageing, Drug Action Week aims to raise awareness about the full range of issues.

The National Drug Action Week runs from 21-27 June 2009.


Wave Pools: Good or Bad for the Sport of Surfing?

Posted on June 3rd, 2009 in Contests, News Stories, Surf history, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.

A very interesting article from 5ones.com. In a recent ESPN article, Kelly Slater listed somethings he would like to see changed as to the way the ASP runs and operates, including the introduction of wave pools. The author of this article agrees. Interesting to hear RealSurfers’ thought on the matter.

Wаvе pools аrеn’t new. Wаtеr раrkѕ like the fіvе Schlitterbahn resorts in Tеxаѕ аnd Kansas, and Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool аt Walt Dіѕnеу Wоrld іn Flоrіdа hаvе bееn аrоund for years. But nоw venues gеаrеd ѕресіfісаllу tо ѕurfеrѕ are рорріng uр around the world, people are fixing their pools and pumps using a repair pool pump service to later be able to convert them in wave pools for personal and commercial use. These include Wаvеgаrdеn рооlѕ іn Sраіn, Australia аnd Englаnd, BSR Surf Rеѕоrt in Waco, Tеxаѕ, аnd Slаtеr’ѕ Surf Rаnсh. Thеѕе аnd оthеr рlасеѕ lеt surfers рrасtісе mаnеuvеrѕ and hone thеіr ѕkіllѕ on nеаrlу еvеrу ѕоrt of wаvе іmаgіnаblе, with just thе push оf a buttоn. The World Surf Lеаguе іѕ аlrеаdу planning to build pools lіkе the оnе іn Lеmооrе іn Flоrіdа, Jараn, Brаzіl and Australia.

 

Click to read: Wave Pools: Good or Bad for the Sport of Surfing?

Shari


Stand Up Paddle Surfing to be included in Surfing Australia’s Australian National Titles

Posted on June 2nd, 2009 in Contests, News Stories, Surf history, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.

 

 

One of Australia’s best, Queensland’s James Weston (Burleigh Heads),  a likely contender at the first ever Stand Up Paddle Australian Surfmasters.

One of Australia’s best, Queensland’s James Weston (Burleigh Heads), a likely contender at the first ever Stand Up Paddle Australian Surfmasters.

 

 

Surfing Australia Head Office Casuarina Precinct NSW —  For Immediate Release: Australian Titles will this year be decided for the first time in the rapidly growing and now well established discipline of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Surfing.

 

Surfing Australia announced the inclusion of the Open SUP division into the Country Energy Australian Surfmasters to be run at Port Macquarie during August.

 

Globally, Stand Up Paddle Surfing has grown in popularity incredibly over the past three years with an abundance of surfers, longboard and shortboard surfers, including a stand up paddleboard in their essential quivers and many dedicating themselves 100% to this discipline.

 

“The quality of Stand Up Paddle surfers emerging throughout Australia and the world is exciting and there’s many past and present champions of the sport of surfing now very competent and devoted Stand Up Paddle surfers” said Surfing Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Stark.

 

“Take the two finalists at the recent Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Joel Parkinson and Adam Robertson, both often seen in the line up riding waves on Stand Up Paddleboards, and then look at past champions like Luke Egan, Tom Carroll and Simon Anderson, all keen riders” added Stark.

 

“Stand Up Paddle Surfing has established itself in our sport and we are delighted to incorporate it into our Australian Surfmasters this year – the inaugural champion will take a special place in surfing’s history!”

 

Judging criteria for the Stand Up Paddle surfers have been formulated by the International Surfing Association with an emphasis on use of paddle in performance surfing and radical manoeuvres. The criteria will shortly be available via www.surfingaustralia.com

 

Twelve surfers will make up the division this year, three from host state NSW, two from Qld, Vic, SA and WA and one from Tasmania.

 

The Country Energy Australian Surfing Festival, which incorporates the Australian Longboard Titles along with the Australian Surfmasters will run from August  16 through to August 29 as a mobile event through the surf rich region surrounding Port Macquarie.


Oxford Falls Valley – Impact to Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment

Posted on February 9th, 2009 in Environment, Good causes, News Stories, Surf politics, Top stories.

Even as Wall Street consults the entrails of the goat on the steps of the New York stock exchange, the Wizards of Oz are planning to sell off the Warringah Farm.

The BATTLE FOR OXFORD FALLS VALLEY continues. The resident’s army needs YOU! NOW is the time to step up and fight!

We are at the pointy end of a five-year battle!

PUBLIC MEETING:

WARRINGAH COUNCIL CHAMBERS. MON FEB 16. 6PM.

 

THE PLANNED DEVELOPMENT:

Almost 400 units. Four storeys high! Motel, bowling greens, restaurants, shops, swimming pool, gymnasium – a mini-city  aged care “resort” in the middle of the semi-rural haven of Oxford Falls Valley!

This development by Sid Londish ( Tiffany Developments Pty Ltd.), will be the end of the Oxford Falls Valley – the semi-rural valley you enjoy on your ( already congested) drive down the Wakehurst Parkway.

·      MORE TRAFFIC

·      HIGH RISE BUILDINGS

·      ENDANGERED NATIVE SPECIES THREATENED

·      NARRABEEN LAGOON CATCHMENT IMPACTED

PLEASE, PLEASE,PLEASE:

Take a moment to make your protest heard. Write a letter, an email, make a phone call, come to a meeting, tell your friends!

Objections must be made by February 27!!

No matter how short or lengthy your objection might be- this is a numbers game. Thousands of objections will make the NSW Minister for Planning, Kristina Keneally take note!

This cannot be another Catherine Hill Bay or Currawong!

It is important that we gather hundreds of submissions and that each is different. Please use our suggestions as a guide and make your protest personal.

Write immediately and tell the State Planning Minister, Kristina  Keneally MP how you feel.

 

·      I object to this development that includes almost 400 apartments because…

 

·      I object to this development that includes 656 car park parking spaces because…

 

·      I object to this development that includes 38 separate buildings including 8 x four-storey buildings and 18 x three-storey buildings because…

 

·      I object to this development that includes a motel, golf course, shops, restaurants, supermarket, gym and bowling alley because…

 

I am worried about :

The effect on the Narrabeen Lakes Catchment area.

The lack of public transport and increased traffic.

The effect on the native flora and fauna.

The change in character for this semi-rural haven.

The lack of compliance with Warringah Planning Policy (LEP 2000) or State Planning Policy ( Seniors Living Policy and Metropolitan Strategy).

This plan is only at concept stage – how big could it become?

 

Write a submission, pen a letter, send an email – no matter how long or short. Make your views heard!!

On lineOfag.info/reject ( this will take you automatically to the Dept of Planning)

By mail: The Director,Urban Assessments,Department of Planning. GPO Box 39. Sydney.NSW 2001

Contact direct[email protected] Ph: 9228 62 63 Fax: 9228 6540

For further information go to: www.ofag.info or join our mailing list at:  info.ofag.info

Thanks for your support from the Oxford Falls Action Group – fighting for your family’s future!


Localism: managing the Commons?

Posted on February 1st, 2009 in Environment, News Stories, Surf politics.

David Bollier is an editor at onthecommons.org and he’s interested in the way people manage common resources – including surf breaks. He opens his essay entitled “A Surfing Commons in Hawaii: The Wolfpak of Oahu manages access to the biggest waves in the world.” thusly:

You can find a commons in the most unlikely places. Case in point: the clan of surfers at the Banzai Pipeline beach on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. A motley tribe of musclemen maintain order and respect among the crowds of surfers vying to catch the big waves there. This social community based around a shared resource even has a name, “The Wolfpak,” and has been the subject of a documentary film, Bustin’ Down the Door, recently released on DVD.

Why would a commons form around legendary surfing waves? Because top surfers from around the world make pilgrimages to the Pipeline to test themselves against the waves. The Pipeline has been likened to the Mount Everest of surfing – a place where the best go to prove their mettle and talent. Not surprisingly, there is enormous competition in the water over who is entitled to ride which waves…. and resentment against outsiders who don’t respect the social protocols that the local surfing crowd has developed over time.

Bollier’s piece seems to be at least partly inspired by an interesting feature about the Wolfpak (why no “c”? And what’s Hawaiian about wolfpa(c)ks anyway?) which appeared in the New York Times sports section on 23 January 2009. Entitled Rough Waves, Tougher Beaches , it profiles the group of blokes who’ve somehow become the (current), er, managers of Pipeline and thereabouts.

According to writer Matt Higgins, these chaps (no mention of any chapettes) mostly come from Kauai, which kind of suggests that geographic origin and localness is a reasonably elastic relationship. Anyway, we learn something of one Kala Alexander who is quoted thusly: ““The code is to respect other people,” Alexander, 39, said. “People come over here and don’t respect other people. You’re going to run into problems if you do that.””

The subtext isn’t (or maybe wasn’t) too sub with Mr A. Apparently there are videos of him on YouTube in which he may be viewed dispensing “problems” to those who failed to meet his exacting standards with regard to respect.

Happily it appears that Mr. A and his compatriots have mellowed in recent years. Possibly taking a leaf out of the bikies PR book, the article notes that the Wolfpak has taken to participating in annual beach clean ups and even visits sick kids in hospital. As well, a spokeswoman from Honolulu PD is quoted as saying that “surf-related assaults are very rare” these days. That’s a fine thing, although just why is open to some conjecture. Lawsuits are raised as one possible factor. The commons getting enclosed by the law perhaps?

Feel free to use the comments option to add your thoughts!


GOVERNMENT EXTENDS RIP CURL PRO SUPPORT UNTIL 2011

Posted on November 26th, 2008 in Contests, News Stories, Surf News, Surf politics, Top stories.

The Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival has been granted funding for a further three years by the Victorian Government leading up to the 50thanniversary in 2011 the Premier John Brumby announced yesterday at Bells Beach.

Mr Brumby and the Sports and Recreation Minister, James Merlino met with two-time World Champion and Rip Curl Pro Contest Director Damien Hardman at Bells Beach today to make the announcement.

“The Rip Curl Pro is a major draw card on a dynamic calendar of major events including the Melbourne Grand Prix, Australian Open and the AFL Grand Final,” Mr Brumby said.

“That’s why I am delighted to announce that the Victorian Government will support the Rip Curl Pro for a further three years, delivering on our commitment to building on Victoria’s world-class major events.”

Mr Merlino congratulated event organisers for supporting both men’s and women’s surfing at the annual Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival. 

“It creates an exciting platform to celebrate excellence in sport and attracts strong tourism to the region,” Merlino said.

Rip Curl Group Advertising and Marketing Chairman Neil Ridgway said Rip Curl was excited to extend its relationship with Victoria for a further three years and to have the world’s most prestigious surfing contest sit in the Victorian ‘Hallmark Events’ program sanctioned the Rip Curl Pro as elite. 

“This partnership helps to cement both men’s and women’s professional surfing for the next three years and that is very important for both ASP world tours. Rip Curl sees surfers as equal no matter what their gender and that attitude is epitomized in the Rip Curl Pro.”

Surfing Victoria Rip Curl Pro Event Director Max Wells welcomed the announcement. 

“The Rip Curl Pro is an amazing event that is held in very high regard by our surfers worldwide, so on behalf of Surfing Victoria, I wish to express our appreciation of the long term and continuing support of our iconic event by the Victorian Government,” Mr Wells said.


Surfrider polls the Pols in Warringah

Posted on September 11th, 2008 in News Stories, Surf politics, Top stories.

Over the last week, Surfrider Foundation has asked the candidates a series of 9 questions about issues of direct concern to surfers on the Northern Beaches. If you’re a voter, you really should spend a few minutes reading what these folks have to say about dumping sewage into the sea, allowing more development in the catchments and seawalls.

check it out here