Category: Surfing

Canadian swimming sensation Maggie Mac Neil secures her fourth gold medal at the Pan Am Games.

Canadian swimming sensation Maggie Mac Neil secures her fourth gold medal at the Pan Am Games.

Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil secured her fourth gold medal at the Pan Am Games, adding to Canada’s impressive pool of medals in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday.

Mac Neil, hailing from London, Ont., clinched the gold in the women’s 50-metre freestyle, sharing the victory with American Gabi Albiero, both clocking in at 24.84 seconds.

Expressing her joy, Mac Neil remarked, “I’m pleased with the tie for the win. Swimming freestyle internationally is still relatively new to me. Missing that extra wall really makes a difference. So I’m genuinely content with this.”

With this triumph, Mac Neil’s overall medal count from seven events rose to six, comprising four golds, one silver, and one bronze. Her four golds now match the record set by Jessica Deglau in 1999 for the most golds won by a Canadian swimmer at the Pan Am Games. Additionally, her six total medals tie the all-time single-Games record held by four other swimmers (Deglau in 1999, Marianne Limpert, Joanne Malar in 1995, and Ralph Hutton in 1967).

Elsewhere in the games, Ottawa’s Julie Brousseau claimed the gold in the women’s 400 individual relay, triumphing in four minutes 43.76 seconds. Brousseau, in her senior national team debut, secured the lead at the 150-metre mark, ultimately fending off American Lucerne Bell (4:44.27) in a closely contested race.

Amidst other achievements, Canada’s women’s eight rowing team and Dorien Llewellyn of Innisfail, Alta., dominated the men’s overall water-ski competition, contributing further to Canada’s growing medal tally. The day’s successes also

included two gold medals in artistic gymnastics, along with silver and bronze triumphs in various events, bringing Canada’s total swimming medal count to an impressive 20 (eight gold, five silver, seven bronze) as the competition heads into its final day on Wednesday.

In racquetball, Coby Iwaasa of Lethbridge, Alta., and Samuel Murray of Baie-Comeau, Que., advanced to the men’s doubles gold-medal match before losing to Mexico’s Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya.

In rowing, the Canadian squad of Kendra Hartley (Calgary), Olivia McMurray (Red Deer, Alta.), Ailzée Brien (Sainte-Agathe, Que.), Parker Illingworth (Seattle), Abby Spiers (Victoria), Shaye De Paiva (Calgary), Abigail Dent (Kenora, Ont.), Leia Till (Potomac, Md.) and coxswain Kristen Kit (St. Catharines, Ont.) led at all 500-metre checkpoints and finished the 2,000-metre race in 6:10.7.

The United States was second in 6:14.17 and host Chile was third in 6:17.78.

This marks Canada’s third rowing medal at the Games. Dent and McMurray secured silver in the women’s coxless pair, while Hartley, Illingworth, Brien, and De Paiva claimed bronze in women’s quadruple sculls on Monday.

Kit, who was the coxswain when Canada won women’s eight gold for the first time in 29 years at the Tokyo Games, will also cox Canada’s boat in the mixed eight A final on Wednesday.

In water-skiing, Dorien Llewellyn earned his third medal of the Games by scoring 2,970.59 points across the slalom, tricks, and jump to secure the overall title. Tobias Giorgis of Argentina (2,689.09) finished second, and Martin Labra Thiermann of Chile (2,671.83 points) came in third.

Notably, Alannah Yip of North Vancouver, B.C., created history for Canada by capturing the country’s inaugural Pan American Games medal in sport climbing, as she clinched the bronze in the boulder and lead competition.

Despite narrowly missing the bronze in the boulder and lead, Sean McColl of Vancouver placed fourth overall in the men’s competition on Monday.

In gymnastics, Félix Dolci claimed gold in the floor exercise with a score of 14.233, earning his second gold and third overall medal in Santiago. His victory in the men’s all-around event on Monday marked the first time in 60 years that a Canadian secured this title.

Brazil’s Arthur Mariano secured the silver medal with 13.933 points, while Colombia’s Juan Larrahondo claimed bronze with 13.366 points.

On the track cycling front, Team Canada’s track cyclists set a high standard with two medals on the first day of racing at Velódromo Parque Peñalolén. The men’s sprint team, consisting of Nick Wammes (Bothwell, Ont.), James Hedgcock (Ancaster, Ont.), and Tyler Rorke (Baden, Ont.), displayed their winning prowess, setting the qualifying pace with a time of 43.829s. Subsequently, they went on to face Colombia in the gold-medal final, securing the top position with a time of 43.396s, narrowly surpassing Colombia’s 43.421s.

Emulating this success, the women’s sprint team, including Jackie Boyle (Toronto), Sarah Orban (Calgary), and Emy Savard (Saguenay, Que.), clinched bronze, beating Colombia with a time of 48.498s compared to Colombia’s 48.836s. Mexico secured the gold medal with a time of 47.134s, while the United States claimed silver with 48.001s.

These results contributed significantly to Canada’s medal count, as it heads into the final day of the competition with a total of 20 swimming medals, comprising eight gold, five silver, and seven bronze.


Santa Cruz's surfing sensation, Nat Young, faces a disheartening outcome in Portugal.

Santa Cruz’s surfing sensation, Nat Young, faces a disheartening outcome in Portugal.

Santa Cruz’s Nat Young showcased his talent by delivering the second-highest scoring wave during his Round of 64 heat at the EDP Vissla Ericeira Pro, an event on the Challenger Series, hosted in Portugal this past Wednesday.

However, Young faced a significant challenge—he failed to secure a backup score. His impressive score of 6.77 was achieved on a single wave in the 30-minute heat, which featured waves ranging from 4 to 6 feet in height.

Young seized his opportunity midway through the heat, briefly elevating him to second place. In a last-ditch effort within the final 30 seconds of the heat, Young attempted to secure another ride, but Jabe Swierkocki, the heat winner with a score of 13.50 from Ventura, utilized his priority to take precedence over Young.

Unfortunately, Swierkocki’s final wave contribution, which scored a mere 1.93, did not significantly impact the outcome. Reflecting on the conditions, Swierkocki shared his insights during a post-heat interview with the WSL, stating, “Watching all the heats this morning, it has been pretty slow. Whoever has kinda had a quick start but made sure they got a good wave seemed to be making the heat, so that was the plan. I got a quick start and kinda waited and made sure if another good wave came, I was on it.”

Both Young and McGillivray were subsequently eliminated from the competition. Young finished tied for 33rd place, accumulating 700 points, while McGillivray tied for 49th place, earning 600 points.

This season has proven to be a disappointment for Young, who commenced the year on the Championship Tour but could not maintain his position past the midseason cut. He entered the Portugal event ranked at No. 31 on the Challenger Series with 6,200 points.

The top 10 surfers in the Challenger Series at the conclusion of the six-event season will secure advancement to the Championship Tour. Notably, American Cole Houshmand, with 24,020 points, and Australian Jacob Willcox, with 20,610 points, have already secured their spots on the Championship Tour for the upcoming 2024 season.


Linda Sharp: A trailblazing female surfer amidst a sea of men

Linda Sharp: A trailblazing female surfer amidst a sea of men

Linda Sharp: A Surfing Pioneer Who Rode the Waves of Change

Byline: Rowenna Hoskin

Source: BBC News

In 1967, Linda Sharp embarked on a lifelong adventure when she caught the surfing bug at the tender age of 15. Back then, she was a trailblazer, the first and only woman who dared to conquer the waves year-round in Wales.

Linda’s surfing journey began on the shores of Aberavon in Neath Port Talbot, where she honed her skills and competed vigorously for over two decades, securing European, British, and Welsh titles along the way.

At the outset, Linda faced the harsh reality of limited equipment. She had no wetsuit, so she improvised, donning a rugby shirt, cut-off jeans, plimsolls, and rubber gloves to brave the elements. In competitions, she often found herself pitted against men, emerging victorious in the women’s Welsh championship almost by default.

“I grew up as one of the boys,” Linda reminisced, “then quickly learned that I could paddle faster than most of them. I could surf as well as any of them in the water.”

Linda’s surfing odyssey commenced when she borrowed a surfboard from one of her lifeguard colleagues. “I gave it a try, caught my first wave, and stood up,” she recalled. “I brought it back to the beach, paddled back out, and caught another wave until they insisted, ‘Give me my board back.'”

Determined to have a board of her own, Linda made a significant sacrifice. She sold her beloved bicycle to finance her passion, setting the stage for a remarkable journey that would forever change the landscape of women’s surfing.

Her inaugural surfboard came at a cost of roughly £18, the sum she managed to fetch by selling her bicycle. The board measured more than 9 feet (2.7 meters), and she undertook a half-hour trek to the beach, balancing it atop her head until her resourceful father devised makeshift wheels for easier transport.

It wasn’t until the Christmas of 1968 that Linda ventured into the water with a wetsuit. However, the wetsuits available at the time differed significantly from those found in stores today. The only options on the market were scuba diving wetsuits, notorious for their distinctive “beaver tail” flap. Linda, who now celebrates her 70th birthday, vividly remembers these early wetsuits, equipped with a front zipper, tails, and two small protruding knobs on the front that had a tendency to dig in. They were worn over leggings resembling tights, and “everyone would leave that tail thing open, and if you had a bad wipeout, your trousers would just fly off.”

Beyond the challenge of enduring frigid waters, surfers of that era grappled with another peril: the sea was polluted with raw sewage and industrial waste. Linda’s home beach was situated at the confluence of the rivers Tawe, Afan, and Neath.

“The pollution levels were terrible, and I grew up in it,” she recounted. While “many of the boys fell ill,” she was fortunate to escape with nothing more than the occasional sore throat.

“Some people contracted severe skin conditions and the like,” she remarked. “The stagnant water could spell trouble, especially if you had an open wound. Just one surfing session could lead to infection.”

Linda disclosed that a significant portion of competitors in the 1980s British Masters surfing competition, held at Aberavon, suffered from serious health issues due to the polluted waters.

Linda embarked on a global surfing adventure, venturing to destinations such as Sri Lanka in 1988. However, her journey was not without its challenges, as she confronted both pollution and cold water during her exploits.

Remarkably, Linda did not engage in competitive surfing until 1975, a development that occurred almost serendipitously. It was a stroke of fate that brought her back home one summer when the Welsh national surfing championships were being held at her local beach. Up until that point, she had been pursuing her studies at Nonington College of Physical Education in Kent, consistently missing out on competitions.

“There was no way I wasn’t going to participate,” Linda asserted. “I was the sole female entrant, so my victory was somewhat by default. Nevertheless, I insisted on competing against the male surfers, stating, ‘I’m not earning a title without hitting the waves.'”

“I managed to reach the semi-finals,” she recounted, “but they disqualified me, asserting, ‘You can’t compete in the semi-finals; we’re selecting the team for the European championships.'”

Amusingly, Linda recalled the subsequent turn of events, saying, “They substituted the disqualified men, all the guys I had bested, into the competition. However, it didn’t bother me because they were all my friends.

In 1980, Linda made her debut on the world stage, competing in the global championship in France while sporting her personally embroidered Second Skin gear. This pivotal championship marked the commencement of a thriving surfing career, as Linda proceeded to claim numerous Welsh, British, and European titles.

Reflecting on her many Welsh titles, Linda acknowledged that most of them were secured by default, as she often found herself as the sole female participant in these competitions. Undeterred, she consistently opted to surf against male competitors, emphasizing that it wasn’t about the gender divide.

“I would have been thrilled to see more female surfers,” she noted, “and I did my utmost to promote the sport among women, but regrettably, most women just weren’t interested. It wasn’t considered a trendy pursuit at the time.”

The scarcity of female competitors also translated into a lack of wetsuits tailored for women, a disparity that persisted until the 1980s, despite men having access to more modern wetsuit designs for years. In the absence of suitable options, women like Linda either crafted their own wetsuits or settled for purchasing men’s wetsuits, illustrating the resilience and determination that characterized the early era of female surfers.

Now at the age of 70, Linda’s surfing days have come to an end due to her two hip replacements. Nevertheless, her affinity for the sea remains undiminished.

Following her triumph in securing her first European title, Linda received an invitation to participate in the Women’s International Surfing Association (WISA) championship held in Malibu, California, in 1976. This event had been established the year prior with the goal of addressing gender disparities in surfing, featuring participants from Australia, Japan, and the United States.

Linda cherished the camaraderie she experienced while bonding with fellow female surfers and relished the time spent riding waves with them. However, when it came to the actual competition, she found it to be a bit overwhelming and did not derive much enjoyment from it.

Nonetheless, a strong sense of solidarity persisted among the women involved in the event. After the competition concluded, Linda received an invitation from WISA to become a part of the international women’s surfing community. Regrettably, due to financial constraints, she was unable to accept the offer at the time.

Linda made her mark on the global stage by competing in the 1980 World Championships in France. Reflecting on that time, she remarked, “I didn’t have the financial means to fully pursue it. It was often the case that it was predominantly wealthy Americans involved in the sport, a trend that unfortunately continues.”

Linda, who worked as a physical education (PE) teacher, managed to find time for surfing whenever her schedule allowed until 1996 when she welcomed her daughter, Angharad, into the world. Subsequently, the family relocated from Port Talbot to Porthcawl in the same year, where Linda and her husband operated a surf shop.

Regrettably, Linda’s battle with arthritis and her hip replacements have prevented her from returning to the sport that once consumed her. Nevertheless, the waves have undeniably taken her on an unforgettable journey.

Related Topics: Women, Surfing

Australia's surfers outshine rivals with cutting-edge rock-infused board technology.

Australia’s surfers outshine rivals with cutting-edge rock-infused board technology.

Australia’s surfboard industry is revolutionizing the sport with an innovative technology that transforms rocks into top-notch surfboards. Here are the key highlights:

  • Eco-Friendly Basalt Cloth Surfboards: These environmentally conscious surfboards, made from basalt cloth, are showcasing impressive performance benefits.
  • Strength and Durability: This cutting-edge technology boasts superior strength compared to fiberglass and is less prone to snapping than carbon boards.
  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Basalt production minimizes volatile organic compounds and pollution, making it a greener alternative to traditional fiberglass.

Steve Hann, a Sunshine Coast surfboard shaper, commended the industry’s shift towards more eco-friendly options that also excel in performance. Basalt’s durability means longer-lasting surfboards, reducing the environmental footprint.

Hann shared his positive experience using basalt boards during challenging surf conditions, highlighting their resilience. He emphasized the importance of leaving a cleaner planet for future generations.

The surf community is divided between those prioritizing sustainability and those sticking to conventional boards. Hann expressed gratitude for the innovation brought forth by John Dowse and Colan, which keeps backyard shapers on the forefront of technological advancements.

John Dowse, representing Sanded Australia, the company behind basalt fiber cloth, extolled the environmental benefits of basalt production. He explained that the process involves melting the rock, extruding it into fine strands, and weaving it into fabric, all done locally in Australia.

Dowse revealed extensive testing results, demonstrating the superior durability of basalt over regular fiberglass. Sanded Australia has developed a hybrid fabric, combining basalt with recycled water bottle material, which enhances impact resistance.

To achieve wider acceptance of basalt cloth surfboards, Dowse believes that more elite surfers need to embrace this innovation. He noted that the adoption of basalt options by major manufacturer Firewire indicates a promising future for eco-friendly surfboards in the industry. As pro surfers get on board with the trend, it is expected to gain even more momentum.


Linda Sharp: Surfing Pioneer Amongst Men - BBC Documentary

Linda Sharp: Surfing Pioneer Amongst Men – BBC Documentary

In 1967, Linda Sharp embarked on her surfing journey in Wales, becoming the first and only woman at the time to surf year-round. Starting at the age of 15 in Aberavon, Neath Port Talbot, she went on to compete for over two decades, clinching European, British, and Welsh titles.

Linda’s early days in surfing were marked by resourcefulness as she lacked a wetsuit. She relied on a makeshift outfit comprising a rugby shirt, cut-off jeans, plimsolls, and rubber gloves. Competing against men was common in those days, and she even won the women’s Welsh championship by default.

Her surfing odyssey began when she borrowed a lifeguard colleague’s surfboard, catching her first wave and promptly falling in love with the sport. Eager to own her board, she sold her bike to finance it. The board, measuring over 9 feet, was a cumbersome companion for the half-hour walk to the beach until her father devised a wheeled solution.

Linda endured the chilly waters without a wetsuit until Christmas 1968. When she finally acquired one, it was unlike today’s designs. The only available wetsuits were scuba diving suits with their distinctive “beaver tail” flap. These suits had a front zipper, tails, and front knobs that could be uncomfortable. They were worn over “leggings like tights,” and many surfers left the tail flap open, risking losing their trousers in a wipeout.

Besides the cold, surfers of that era contended with polluted waters laden with raw sewage and industrial waste. Linda’s home beach sat at the confluence of the Tawe, Afan, and Neath rivers. The pollution was a constant concern, but she managed to avoid serious illness, unlike some others who suffered from ailments including flesh-eating diseases.

In the 1980s, the British Masters surfing competition held at Aberavon saw numerous competitors fall seriously ill due to the polluted waters.

Linda didn’t enter surfing competitions until 1975, a chance occurrence when the Welsh nationals took place at her beach while she was home for the summer. Previously, she had been away studying at Nonington College of Physical Education in Kent during competition seasons. She became the sole female entrant in the event, winning by default but insisting on competing against the men.

Her participation in that championship marked the beginning of her successful surfing career, leading to numerous Welsh, British, and European titles. Despite often winning by default due to a lack of female competitors, Linda always chose to surf alongside the men, hoping to encourage more women to take up the sport.

The scarcity of female participants also meant that women’s wetsuits were not available until the 1980s, while men had access to more modern designs.

In 1976, after winning her first European title, Linda received an invitation to the Women’s International Surfing Association (WISA) championship in Malibu, California. WISA aimed to address gender disparities in surfing and attracted participants from Australia, Japan, and the United States. Although she appreciated the camaraderie, Linda found the competition overwhelming and chose not to pursue international surfing with WISA due to financial constraints.

Linda continued to teach physical education and surf until 1996 when she had her daughter Angharad. She and her husband moved from Port Talbot to Porthcawl, where they operated a surf shop. Health issues, including arthritis and hip replacements, have prevented her from returning to surfing, but her love for the sport remains undiminished.


Plettenberg Bay unites to save stranded seahorses, showcasing community strength and compassion.

Plettenberg Bay unites to save stranded seahorses, showcasing community strength and compassion.

In the wake of an unprecedented storm drenching Western Cape, a multitude of endangered seahorses, along with abalones and other shellfish, were swept onto Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay. Cape Nature officials and the local community swiftly responded.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, as per Bloomberg News, classifies these Knysna seahorses as one of the world’s most critically endangered species.

Torrential rains caused floods in Keurboomsriver and Bitou River, washing out the seahorses while fish and lobsters found their way offshore. Petro van Rhyn from Cape Nature explained the circumstances.

Volunteers, under Cape Nature’s guidance, rallied to rescue these delicate creatures, with 1,004 seahorses collected, 706 safely returned to the ocean, and 94 preserved for research. Cape Nature emphasized the importance of preserving the Knysna seahorse, thanking the community for their remarkable response.


Jack Robinson Claims Fourth Title and World No.1 Crown as Tyler Wright Falls Just Short in Hawaii

Rising Australian surf sensation Jack Robinson is making waves in the world of professional surfing as he declared his intention to push for a world title after securing his fourth career victory at the prestigious Billabong Pro Pipeline in Hawaii. Robinson, who is only in his third season on the World Surf League Championship Tour, emerged victorious in challenging conditions at the iconic Banzai Pipeline, earning him the coveted world No.1 ranking.

The 25-year-old West Australian’s triumph came after a fierce battle with Italian surfer Leonardo Fioravanti in the final. Robinson’s victory was a testament to his skill and determination, proving that he is a formidable force to be reckoned with on the international surfing stage.

Credit by (foxsports)

Robinson’s path to victory was far from easy, as both surfers grappled with tricky conditions, constantly vying for priority in intense paddle battles. In the final moments of the 40-minute showdown, Robinson took the lead inside the last 10 minutes, securing a memorable win that sets the stage for his world title aspirations.

Reflecting on his victory, Robinson expressed his excitement about the journey ahead, acknowledging that the road to a world title would be challenging but one he is fully prepared to embark on. “It’s going to be a long road, but I am just getting the legs ready to run that road,” he said. “It’s special, I dreamed of this for a long time.”

Robinson’s journey to victory was not without its hurdles. He faced hometown favorite John John Florence along the way and even had to overcome a board change in his semi-final after the fin box was damaged on the reef. His ability to adapt and persevere showcased his determination to claim the top spot.

While Robinson celebrated his triumph, fellow Australian Tyler Wright experienced a heart-pounding final showdown with five-time world champion Carissa Moore. In a thrilling encounter, Moore managed to secure a last-minute victory, denying Wright a season-opening win.

Wright had conceded the lead to Moore late in the final but attempted to catch her last wave with just 35 seconds left. Unfortunately, she didn’t manage to get to her feet, allowing Moore to celebrate her well-deserved victory.

Despite narrowly missing out on the win, Wright expressed pride in her performance and emphasized her dedication to her mental and competitive approach to the season. “I’ve really put a lot into my mentality and how I want to approach the year and what’s important for me. I couldn’t be prouder of this. I’m really happy,” she said.

Wright’s resilience and determination are evident, and her competitive spirit will undoubtedly continue to drive her in future events.

Jack Robinson and Tyler Wright will soon return to action at the Hurley Pro at Sunset Beach, also in Oahu. Surfing enthusiasts worldwide are eagerly anticipating more thrilling performances from these talented athletes as they chase their dreams and vie for world titles in what promises to be an exhilarating season of professional surfing.

Credit by (foxsports)

In the dynamic world of surfing, where the waves are unpredictable and the competition fierce, Robinson’s ascent to the world No.1 ranking and Wright’s unwavering commitment have set the stage for an unforgettable season filled with excitement and remarkable feats. Surfing fans can’t wait to witness the incredible talent and extraordinary performances that lie ahead in the World Surf League Championship Tour.


Molly Picklum Claims First World Surf League Title at Sunset Beach

Australian surfing sensation, Molly Picklum, has captured her inaugural World Surf League (WSL) title in an electrifying performance at Sunset Beach in Hawaii. This victory propels her to share the coveted world No.1 ranking with the legendary Carissa Moore, solidifying Australia’s dominance in both the men’s and women’s rankings after the first two events of the season.

The 20-year-old rising star, hailing from Shelly Beach on the New South Wales Central Coast, showcased her prowess by triumphing over two-time world champion Tyler Wright in the semifinals. However, her real breakthrough came in the final showdown against American powerhouse Caroline Marks during a thrilling 35-minute battle.

In the final, Picklum seized control from the very beginning in the challenging surf conditions at Oahu. Although she briefly lost the lead when Marks scored a 7.50 on her first wave, Picklum’s unwavering determination allowed her to regain the ascendancy. She strategically secured her win with a series of smaller scoring waves and expertly managed the final minutes with a minimal number of waves caught by both surfers.

Molly Picklum’s remarkable achievement marks only her second season on the championship tour, making her ascent to the world No.1 ranking all the more impressive. She credited her familiarity with the larger waves at Sunset Beach, which felt akin to her home break, as a key factor in her success.

“I’m fortunate at home we get waves like this. I’m from Shelly Beach, and we have big, open ocean water, and it kind of feels like home out there,” Picklum remarked. “I feel like the rawness and challenging part of Sunset I enjoy, and while others are struggling, I can give it a good crack.”

This victory not only cements Molly Picklum’s status as a formidable force in women’s professional surfing but also serves as a testament to the incredible talent emerging from Australia’s shores. With the season just getting underway, surfing enthusiasts around the world are eagerly anticipating what’s in store as Picklum and other top athletes continue to chase their dreams and ride the waves of success.


Gold Coast New Surf Etiquette Sign Program

Surfing, often dubbed Australia’s unofficial national sport, continues to capture the hearts of millions, with the sun-soaked shores of the Gold Coast standing as one of its most cherished playgrounds. However, the surge in popularity of this iconic pastime has brought with it challenges, primarily overcrowding at renowned surf breaks. To address these concerns and prioritize surf etiquette and safety, the City of Gold Coast, in collaboration with the World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Local Stewardship Committee, has initiated the “Good Surfer” program.

Surfing’s Soaring Popularity

Surfing’s appeal Down Under has witnessed unprecedented growth, with an estimated 1.7 million surfers in the country, as reported by Surfing Australia, the sport’s governing body in the nation. This surge in participants mirrors the sport’s inherent connection to Australia’s healthy lifestyle and coastal culture.

Yet, success comes with its own set of challenges, and overcrowding has become increasingly prevalent at some of the Gold Coast’s most iconic surf breaks. For surfers and beachgoers alike, this has led to concerns about safety and surf etiquette, sparking action from local authorities.

“Good Surfer” Program: Promoting Surf Etiquette and Safety

The “Good Surfer” program, a joint effort by the City of Gold Coast and the World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Local Stewardship Committee, aims to address these concerns head-on. Its primary objectives include raising awareness of surf etiquette rules and enhancing safety measures in local surf lineups.

Credit by (surfertoday)

To achieve these goals, the initiative has introduced a series of informative surf safety signs at strategic locations. These signs are currently in place at Burleigh Point, Currumbin Alley, and Snapper Rocks, with plans to erect another at Kirra Point (Big Groyne) next to the WSR monument. These signs feature essential surf safety tips and guidelines to alleviate congestion in the surf and mitigate the risk of surf-related conflicts and incidents.

The informal “golden rules” of surfing, as depicted on these signs, include:

  1. Don’t drop in: Respect the surfer already riding a wave; wait your turn.
  2. Don’t paddle in front of an incoming surfer taking off: Avoid cutting off another surfer’s path.
  3. Don’t snake another surfer who has been waiting patiently: Show consideration and respect in the lineup.
  4. Don’t abandon your board: Prevent loose boards from becoming hazards.
  5. Wear a leg rope: Ensure your board is securely attached to you to prevent it from drifting.
  6. Be aware of other craft, such as boat traffic: Exercise vigilance to avoid potential accidents.

Importantly, the “Good Surfer” program is focused on educating surfers and beachgoers about these principles rather than seeking enforcement or fines. The goal is to foster a community that embraces surf safety and adheres to the acknowledged best practices of surf etiquette.

A Crucial Component of the Surf Management Plan

The “Good Surfer” program is an integral part of the City of Gold Coast’s Surf Management Plan (SMP). Notably, this plan is the only one of its kind worldwide to be adopted by the World Surfing Reserves, underlining the Gold Coast’s commitment to safeguarding and enhancing its surf amenity.

The SMP is designed to protect the world-renowned surf spots along the 16-kilometer stretch of coastline from Burleigh Beach to Snapper Rocks. Whether one is riding a shortboard, a Malibu, or a stand-up paddleboard, adhering to surf etiquette and safety guidelines is pivotal in contributing to the responsible management of these iconic surf spots.

In March 2023, the City of Gold Coast renewed the Surf Management Plan for another five years, demonstrating a continued dedication to the preservation and sustainable enjoyment of these valuable coastal resources.

Gold Coast: A Surfing Paradise

The Gold Coast’s transformation over the past century has been nothing short of remarkable. What was once a collection of coastal hamlets has evolved into one of the world’s premier vacation destinations, thanks in no small part to its status as a top surfing location.

By the late 1910s, the southern coast of Queensland had earned a reputation as a “surfer’s paradise.” This led to the renaming of the town of Elston to the now-famous Surfers Paradise in 1933.

The 1950s and 1960s witnessed a surge in surfing’s popularity, perfectly aligning with the Gold Coast’s growth. Accommodations sprang up along the coastline, from Southport to Coolangatta, to cater to the increasing number of visitors drawn to the area’s beautiful beaches.

The 1970s marked the emergence of a robust surfing culture on the Gold Coast, culminating in the inaugural Stubbies Surf Classic at Burleigh Heads in 1977. This event marked the beginning of the contemporary global surfing circuit and was won by local surfing legend Michael Peterson, who is now honored with a statue at Kirra Beach.

Today, it’s not uncommon to share the waves with world-class surfing champions, as the Gold Coast serves as a frequent venue for major domestic and international surf competitions.

In conclusion, as surfing’s popularity continues to soar on the Gold Coast, the “Good Surfer” program stands as a testament to the community’s commitment to responsible surf practices. By promoting surf etiquette and safety, the program ensures that both seasoned surfers and newcomers can enjoy the waves while preserving the region’s unique surf culture and stunning natural beauty.


Dry Drowning: Understanding the Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Drowning incidents have long been a concern, especially during the summer months when people flock to pools, beaches, and lakes. While the term “drowning” typically conjures images of a person submerged in water, there is a lesser-known but equally perilous condition known as “dry drowning.” In this article, we’ll delve into what dry drowning is, its symptoms, treatment options, and essential prevention measures.

What is Dry Drowning?

Dry drowning is a term often used colloquially to describe a specific type of drowning that doesn’t involve the lungs filling up with water, as is typical in most drowning cases. Instead, it refers to a scenario where a small amount of water is inhaled and causes a spasm of the vocal cords, medically known as laryngospasm. This spasm can lead to the vocal cords closing, blocking the airway, and making breathing difficult.

To understand this better, imagine taking a sip of your drink, but instead of swallowing it down, you accidentally inhale a tiny bit. The sudden choking feeling and coughing spell that follow are because the liquid has gone down the “wrong pipe,” so to speak. Typically, this coughing helps clear the airway. However, in rare cases, especially if the water is inhaled suddenly or with force, it can trigger a laryngospasm.

Dry drowning is a potentially life-threatening condition caused not by the volume of water but by the body’s reaction to water entering the airway. It’s important to note that while the term is commonly used in media and layperson’s discussions, it’s not widely used or recognized in professional medical communities, which often prefer more descriptive terms like “laryngospasm.”

Credit by (surfertoday)

Is Dry Drowning Real?

Yes, dry drowning is real, but it’s not as prevalent as it may sometimes appear in sensationalized media reports. While the term can be a bit misleading, as it does not involve traditional submersion in water, it is indeed a concerning condition that can have severe consequences if left untreated.

Comparing Types of Drowning: Wet vs. Secondary vs. Dry

To better understand dry drowning, it’s essential to differentiate between various types of drowning:

  1. Wet Drowning: This is the most commonly recognized form of drowning, where water enters the lungs, inhibiting breathing.
  2. Secondary Drowning: This occurs hours after water has entered the lungs, causing inflammation and swelling, which makes breathing difficult.
  3. Dry Drowning: In dry drowning, the victim inhales a small amount of water, leading to the vocal cords’ spasm and closure, resulting in breathing difficulties.

While all three types of drowning are concerning, dry and secondary drownings are not immediate and can develop hours after water exposure.

When Can Dry Drowning Occur?

Dry drowning can happen after exposure to various bodies of water, including the ocean, pools, lakes, or even bathtubs. It can be triggered by inhaling a small amount of water from any source, whether saltwater or freshwater.

It’s important to remember that even experienced swimmers and surfers can be susceptible to dry drowning if they inhale water suddenly or with force due to unexpected waves or currents.

Symptoms and Visible Signs

Recognizing the symptoms of dry drowning is crucial, as early identification can be a matter of life and death. Symptoms may manifest up to 24 hours after water exposure and can include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Behavioral changes, such as mood swings or forgetfulness
  • Pale skin

If someone exhibits these signs after being in the water, especially if it’s a child, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention.

How Much Water Can Cause Dry Drowning?

Surprisingly, only a small amount of water is needed to trigger dry drowning. The exact quantity can vary from person to person, but even a few droplets in the wrong place can cause the vocal cords to spasm and close up.

How Common is Dry Drowning?

While the exact prevalence of dry drowning is challenging to determine because it’s not always clearly differentiated from other types of drowning in statistical analyses, it remains relatively rare. Most water-related incidents do not result in dry drowning.

Are Children More Susceptible?

Children, particularly those under the age of five, are at a higher risk of dry drowning. Their smaller bodies can be more affected by even tiny amounts of water, and they might not be able to articulate or recognize what they’re feeling. Therefore, vigilant supervision of children in the water, regardless of their swimming abilities, is essential.

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Emergency Responses: Recognizing a Victim

If someone, especially a child, experiences breathing problems or exhibits the symptoms mentioned above after being in the water, immediate action is crucial:

  1. Call emergency services immediately.
  2. Monitor the person’s breathing and, if necessary, administer CPR.
  3. Ensure they are kept in a position where they can breathe as comfortably as possible.

Prevention Measures

Preventing dry drowning primarily involves knowledge and vigilance:

  • Always supervise children in the water, regardless of their swimming abilities.
  • Teach children to blow the water out and to avoid swallowing it.
  • Understand the symptoms of dry drowning and be alert to any changes in someone after they’ve been in water.

Treatment Options

Early recognition of dry drowning symptoms is essential. If dry drowning is suspected, the primary goal is to ensure the affected person can breathe. Hospital treatment might involve oxygen therapy or medications to reduce inflammation in the airway.

In conclusion, while dry drowning is relatively rare, it’s a condition that should not be underestimated. Understanding its signs, symptoms, and prevention measures is vital, especially for those with children who enjoy water activities. Early recognition and prompt medical attention can save lives when it comes to this lesser-known but potentially deadly form of drowning.


Yulex vs. Neoprene: A Comparative Analysis of Wetsuit Materials

Surfers have long relied on neoprene wetsuits to brave the cold waters of oceans around the world. Neoprene, derived from petroleum, has been the industry’s standard for decades. However, a remarkable shift is underway in the surfing world, with a new player making waves: Yulex. This revolutionary material is changing the game in the wetsuit industry, offering an eco-friendly alternative that not only matches the performance of neoprene but also sets a new standard for sustainability.

The Rise of Yulex: A Sustainable Marvel

At its core, Yulex is a game-changer because it’s 100 percent plant-based, renewable, and biodegradable. Unlike neoprene, which relies on petroleum, Yulex is a product of nature. Extracted from certified deforestation-free rubber trees, this remarkable material represents a significant leap forward in wetsuit technology. Moreover, Yulex is entirely free of petroleum, limestone, and acetylene, making it a cleaner and greener choice.

The applications of Yulex extend far beyond wetsuits. This versatile material can be found in footwear, automotive items, bags, accessories, braces, yoga gear, biking equipment, and even triathlon suits. The possibilities are endless.

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Trusted by Surfing Legends and Top Brands

The eco-friendly revolution led by Yulex has already gained significant momentum, with several prominent surf brands adopting this sustainable material. Companies such as Patagonia, Billabong, Slater Designs, VF Corporation, SRFACE, Finisterre, needessentials, Seea, MDNS, and Firewire have embraced Yulex in their manufacturing processes.

The partnership between Yulex and these surf brands goes beyond business; it’s a shared commitment to a greener planet and a better future. To ensure the highest ethical standards, partner factories working with Yulex undergo yearly internal audits.

The Vision Behind Yulex

Behind the rise of Yulex is a visionary leader in the natural rubber polymer industry, Jeff Martin. He is the CEO and co-founder of the Yulex Corporation. The journey began in 2000, on the company’s Guayule natural rubber farm in Arizona. Yulex pioneered the production of natural rubber latex in the United States, setting the stage for its remarkable journey.

A crucial aspect of Yulex’s vision is to increase the use of certified natural rubber worldwide. Currently, only about 3 percent of the global natural rubber production is certified. However, Yulex, through its dedication and partnerships, aims to significantly raise this figure.

As demand for sustainable materials grew, particularly from environmentally-conscious brands like Patagonia, Yulex shifted its focus to produce foam from the hevea brasiliensis rubber tree. These trees are cultivated in Guatemala, where they are tapped at seven years of age. Properly treated, they can provide rubber latex for up to 30 years. After their productive life, hevea trees are repurposed into dense hardwood, used in furniture and household goods, extending their utility even further.

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Yulex vs. Neoprene: The Ultimate Showdown

The big question that surfers and environmentalists alike are asking: Is Yulex as warm, flexible, and durable as neoprene? The answer is a resounding yes, and in some cases, Yulex might even surpass neoprene in performance.

Independent analyses have shown that Yulex wetsuits offer a level of performance, flexibility, and durability that equals, if not exceeds, that of neoprene, also known as polychloroprene. This sustainable alternative has another remarkable advantage—it reduces CO2 emissions by an astonishing 80 percent compared to the neoprene production process.

Hub Hubbard, Patagonia’s product developer, attests that it’s nearly impossible to distinguish a Yulex wetsuit from its neoprene counterpart, except when you consider the monumental environmental difference. Yulex not only matches neoprene’s performance but also surpasses it when it comes to sustainability.

Yulex: A Boon for Latex Allergy Sufferers

Beyond its eco-friendly attributes, Yulex offers a lifeline for individuals with Type 1 latex allergies. Thanks to a proprietary purification process that eliminates up to 99 percent of known impurities, Yulex is a beacon of hope for those who have long been excluded from the world of wetsuits.

Neoprene, derived from petroleum in a process known to have carcinogenic implications, has been the industry’s staple. However, with Yulex offering equal or superior performance without the environmental costs, it’s clear that the scales are tilting towards this sustainable alternative.

Patagonia: Pioneering the Yulex Wetsuit Movement

Patagonia, a name synonymous with outdoor adventure and environmental stewardship, was the first surf brand to embrace Yulex as a game-changing alternative to neoprene wetsuits back in 2008. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder and an avid surfer, felt disheartened by the environmental impact of traditional neoprene wetsuits. This led him on a quest to find a more sustainable alternative.

In 2008, the Yulex team presented a foam that not only offered superior warmth and performance but was also environmentally friendly. Initially, the company focused on the guayule plant as a source of natural rubber. However, as the journey progressed, they transitioned to natural rubber from hevea trees, aligning more closely with their vision of sustainability.

Today, while factories continue to produce neoprene, majestic hevea trees yield natural rubber, actively sequestering carbon throughout their existence. The partnership between Patagonia and Yulex is not just about business growth; it’s about a shared vision for a greener planet.

Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond its own products. The company believes that this technology was meant to be shared. It actively encourages the entire surf industry to benefit from Yulex’s sustainable solution. Even if it inspires other alternatives to neoprene, Patagonia considers the project worthwhile.

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The Future of Wetsuits: Yulex Takes Center Stage

As Yulex gains momentum in the surfing world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that neoprene-based wetsuits may have their days numbered. Surfers are not just looking for high-performance gear; they are demanding eco-friendly options that align with their values and respect the planet.

Yulex represents a beacon of hope for surfers and environmentalists alike. It’s not just a game-changer; it’s a movement that challenges the status quo and sets a new standard for sustainability in the surfing industry.

In a world where environmental conservation and high-performance gear can coexist, Yulex has taken center stage. As surfers ride the waves in their Yulex wetsuits, they are not only embracing cutting-edge technology but also participating in a global movement towards a greener and more sustainable future.


The story of Willis Brothers’ 100-foot wave at Devil’s Garden

In the realm of extreme sports, there are moments that transcend the boundaries of human achievement. These moments become legends, etched into the annals of history, and inspire generations to come. One such legend was born on January 27, 1998, when the Willis brothers, Milton and Michael, rode a colossal 100-foot wave at a surf break known as “Devil’s Garden.” This is their incredible story of courage, determination, and a battle against the forces of nature.

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The Unbelievable Forecast

The day was January 27, 1998, when an unusual and ominous forecast began to circulate among the surfing community. The surf was already massive, but what lay ahead was beyond comprehension. The storm and buoy data painted a picture so incredible that many initially dismissed it as an error. The forecast predicted wave faces exceeding a mind-boggling 85 feet. It was a prediction that would leave an indelible mark on the world of surfing.

Australian spiritual leader Robbie Page, known as Robert Roley, and his friend Donovan Frankenreiter, a popular professional musician, were among the first to witness the brewing spectacle. From Robbie’s beachfront house in front of Log Cabins surf break, they watched as the waves steadily grew throughout the day, accompanied by the mesmerizing sound of the crashing surf.

Joining them were the Willis brothers, Milton and Michael, and Australian surfing champion Cheyne Horan. They had come to enjoy Robbie’s beachfront view, but little did they know that they were about to witness and become part of a historic moment in the world of big wave surfing.

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Outer Log Cabins and the Decision

As the day unfolded, the surf at Outer Log Cabins, located on the North Shore of Oahu, offered well-shaped, peeling waves, consistently reaching 30 feet and higher. Cheyne Horan, with a keen eye for the surf’s potential, pointed to a massive wave peeling perfectly across the Outer Log Cabins Reef and said, “If the surf gets as big as they say it will, I reckon you’ll have a go out there.”

With no other surf breaks on the North Shore offering rideable conditions due to the rapidly rising swell, Outer Log Cabins became the best and perhaps the only option for tackling the impending monstrous waves.

From the Eddie Aikau to Outer Log Cabins to Devil’s Garden

The day following their observation at Log Cabins was January 28, 1998, and it would go down in history as “Devil’s Garden.” The magnitude of the surf that day defied description. It was unlike anything ever witnessed before or since.

For context, the Eddie Aikau big wave surfing contest, held annually at Waimea Bay, invites the world’s best big wave surfers to test their mettle in the most challenging waves on the planet. The minimum wave size required for the contest was typically 20 to 25 feet, equivalent to 40 to 50 feet by today’s standards. Without waves of this size, the contest could not proceed.

On “Devil’s Garden” day, the surf forecast was not calling for big waves; it was predicting waves of truly massive proportions. The waves weren’t just big; they were gargantuan, and they arrived with the fury of an unstoppable force.

Enter the Willis Brothers

The Willis brothers, Milton and Michael, were no strangers to the waves of Waimea Bay. They knew the break intimately and had surfed its biggest waves before. They had even played a crucial role in shaping big wave boards for some of the sport’s legends. However, to their surprise and dismay, they had not received an official invitation to the Eddie Aikau contest, not even as alternates.

This glaring omission was attributed to corporate politics and the influence of sponsors. Despite their impeccable big wave credentials, the Willis brothers were effectively sidelined from an event they were born to participate in.

With the swell forecast indicating waves of biblical proportions, the police officially closed all North Shore beaches due to the extreme danger. However, no one who had received an official invitation to the Eddie Aikau contest was willing to paddle out. Their reasoning? The waves were too big, a stark departure from the spirit of “Eddie would go” famously associated with Eddie Aikau.

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Milton and Michael Take Charge

The Willis brothers, undeterred by the official closures and with the belief that they were meant to be in the water that day, sought out contest coordinator Randy Rarick. They argued their case and secured an invitation to the contest, just as they should have from the outset.

While they navigated the bureaucratic hurdles, a local surfer named Jason Magers took matters into his own hands. Jason, not invited to the contest, paddled out alone into the colossal surf. He embodied the spirit of bravery associated with Eddie Aikau. Although Jason’s ride ended with a harrowing experience, he displayed unparalleled courage in the face of the ocean’s might.

The Unofficial Winner: Jason Magers

Jason’s daring feat earned him the unofficial title of the winner of the 1998 Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Contest. His courage and determination to surf when the invited professionals hesitated spoke volumes about the true essence of big wave riding.

The Unofficial Runner-Up: Greg Russ

Another surfer, Greg Russ, known for his fearlessness and big wave prowess, emerged as the unofficial runner-up. Greg, also uninvited to the contest, was eager to ride the monstrous waves. However, he was stopped by law enforcement from entering the water, despite his qualifications and readiness to face the challenge head-on.

Destination: Outer Log Cabins

With the Eddie Aikau contest officially canceled due to the unprecedented wave heights, the Willis brothers set their sights on Outer Log Cabins, a break that had already proven itself to be a formidable and potentially rideable option. With their trusty Sea-Doo jet ski fueled and tow boards at the ready, they embarked on a mission that would become the stuff of legend.

The Ultimate Challenge: Devil’s Garden

As the Willis brothers approached Outer Log Cabins, they encountered a sight beyond imagination. Towering walls of water, over 100 feet in height, loomed before them. The waves were colossal, their sheer size making Waimea Bay, a renowned big wave spot, look like a shore break.

Michael, at the helm of their Sea-Doo jet ski, guided Milton into the waves. As Milton descended the face of an 85-foot wave, a helicopter filming the scene got dangerously close. The combination of helicopter blades, offshore winds, and Milton’s incredible speed led to a dramatic wipeout that shattered his surfboard. In a perilous moment, Michael executed a heroic rescue just as a massive wall of white water closed in.

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The Descent into Devil’s Garden

Undeterred by their close call, the Willis brothers decided to venture further, heading toward a surf break known as Outer Sunset Beach, or Devil’s Garden. What they encountered there defied belief. Waves reaching 100 feet or more stretched out before them. The waves appeared slow-motion, their size almost surreal.

With unwavering faith and guided by a higher calling, Michael took the plunge into this liquid behemoth. Riding a wave of such colossal proportions required not just skill but sheer survival instinct. Michael’s descent down the face of the wave felt like a skier navigating a mountain at breakneck speeds.