Wave pools, Opinions and Arseholes

A well known bot mot says that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has got one. However Tim Minchin counters this by saying, “There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.” 

Would you rather see John John at the Surf Ranch or in big, unpredictable peaks? Photo: WSL/Rowland

Tim advises that we must think critically and not just about the ideas of others. He advises to take your own ideas onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat. He is speaking metaphorically, of course, as beating opinions with a cricket bat is very difficult. I just tried for the last three hours, and failed to smite a single one. 

Is that barrel big enough for Jordy? Photo: WSL/Rowland

And the point, you ask, of all this arse-hole examining? Well, as all things in surfing right now, comes back to Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool. That is the plughole of which every idea, every act, every opinion in surfing, is currently draining. Everyone wants their angle. Every arsehole has something to say. Now I’m not about to add to the gaseous outflow, but having read most of the responses I’ve discovered they can be broadly broken down into the following. 

Is this a window to the WSL future? Trendy Turpel delivers the oration while Medina raises his tractor aloft. Photo: WSL/Sherman

It’s the best thing to happen to surfing, in fact, it’s better than surfing

This is the belief that a perfect wave has been created, and from this perfect wave, all of surfing’s ills will be solved. As 1000s are built crowds will disappear and surfing will take over from the 100 metre sprint as the Olympic blue riband event. Oh and once Trump and Kim Jong-un meet over a Chai Coconut Smoothie in Lemoore, world catastrophe will be averted. 

Would Filipe Toledo be unbeatable in the pool? Photo: WSL/Rowland

It’s the worse thing to ever happen to surfing, in fact, it is the death of surfing. 

Taking surfing out of the ocean will have the same effect of parachuting a blue whale from the Pacific and dropping it from 200 metres into the Arizona desert. After the initial high impact, it will rot, fester and decay with the corporate stench killing anyone who goes within an 80-mile radius. 

It looks fun but does it have the menacing intrigue of the real Off The Wall? Photo: WSL/Rowland

It’s the most exciting surfing you will ever witness 

Watching John John Florence and Felipe Toledo surf 300 metres of perfection, each scoring two 10-second barrels, performing multiple hacks and a huge rotation, is as good as surf spectating gets. The world’s best surfers, in the world’s best wave without lulls, priority issues and closeouts. All the good, nothing of the bad. A massive kink in the trajectory of performance surfing is now inevitable.

Steph Gilmore looks pretty excited, but is this going to get boring after a while? Photo: WSL/Rowland

It’s so perfect, it's boring

Perfection invites repetition and repetition begets boredom. Sure, watching one wave of Gabby Medina on fire is interesting, but try four waves, back-to-back of Courtney Conlogue doing the same forehand reo on a wave that never changes. Once the novelty wears off it will be like watching Sunny Garcia win the World Title in 2000 all over again. 

Kelly Slater was sent to the Earth to save surfing

Having already trademarked the Greatest Surfer Of All Time tag, and singlehandedly kept surfing afloat for 25 years by virtue of his sheer talent, Kelly has taken his Big Surfing Idea, shoved a nuclear thermo rocket up its arse and pointed it towards the moon. He’s put his money in his mouth, pushed the surfing reset button, while somehow managing to include all the legends who made the sport. 


Kelly Slater with 1977 world champion Shaun Tomson. My how far we've come. Photo: WSL/Sherman

Kelly Slater now owns surfing, and no one should own surfing

Okay, we’ll give Kelly his waves of a pencil case engineering props, but he has created a precious surfing commodity that will come with a hefty price. We will all now need to pay to surf and have to do it amongst a setting that is more Country Club than surf club. The money is in his mouth and he deserves to choke on it. 

Let's be honest. The lefts didn't look quite as good. Toledo watering the trees. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Eddie Vedder Is Amazing.  

Eddie Vedder Is amazing and Pearl Jam are the best band, ever. 


Who was in Kelly's cool club? Eddie Vedder on the left with Volcom's Richard Woolcott and 1976 world champion, Peter Townend. Photo: WSL/Sherman

Eddie Vedder Isn’t Amazing.  

Eddie Vedder Isn’t amazing and Pearl Jam suck. 

And the truth? Well, opinions don’t need the truth, that’s the whole point. But Kelly’s Wave exists. That’s a fact. Deal with it anyway you want to. Or don’t. 

Keep dreaming. Photo: WSL/Rowland