Bitcoin Hits 100k AUD — What Are Kael Walsh And Russell Bierke Doing With Theirs? - Stab Mag

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"Just insane footage. Really heavy technical big wave stuff, and I mean thick heavy big waves. The Shipsterns footage by Chris Bryan is just insane, and Russ is hopping steps on mega barrels. Then that ender doesn’t get much better. He put time in at that spot and got a few sessions in over the years that stacked up to be just incredible wave riding. It was beautifully captured." — Nathan Florence

Bitcoin Hits 100k AUD — What Are Kael Walsh And Russell Bierke Doing With Theirs?

To sell or to HODL — that is the question.

news // Mar 7, 2024
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Me and Russ are probably the two worst people to ask about Bitcoin,” laughs 2022 Stab Edit Of The Year winner Kael Walsh.

In late 2021, we bought two Bitcoins at around 40k USD/60k AUD in an attempt to incentivize the cultural reinvigoration of thoughtfully crafted surf edits. 

Over the next two years, we received 22 entries — eight in 2022 and 14 in 2023 — and polled the world’s most influential surfers + our Premium Audience for the respective annual winners.

In 2022, Kael Walsh opened his crypto portfolio with ‘Idiot Box’ — a visually stunning collection of A-grade aerial hammers, created by Tom Jennings. 

In 2023, Russell Bierke collected his coin in the final moments of the entry window with ‘Outer Edge of Leisure’ — a truly revolutionary display of thick-lipped tuberiding and shallow-water progression, crafted by Andrew Kaineder. 

When Kael received his Bitcoin in 2022, its value had plummeted to a mere 23k USD/35kAUD. When Russ collected his (which he split with Kaineder) it had risen to around 46k USD/70k AUD — but was still nowhere near its November 2021 peak of $65,000 USD.

“There’s no real competition in that for me,” said Noa Deane at the time of Idiot Box’s release. “That was the sickest edit I’ve seen in a couple years. That whole thing was all hammers.” 

Now however, in conjunction with some positive legislation and an impending halving event (which you can read about here) the ephemeral currency has spiked to an all time high.

At the time of writing this, the market value of Bitcoin sits at about $66,928 USD — or just over $100,000 AUD.

Remarkable — especially if we look back at Uber driver turned crypto millionaire Toby Trouble’s advice in November 2022.

“I’ve been telling people we’re near the bottom; the next bull market is gonna be huge. If I had a grand in my savings account, winking at me, I’d buy $500 worth of Bitcoin and $500 Ethereum. If you have the patience, you’re in safe hands. A year from now, it’s tough to say how much of a return you’d get on that investment. But over a few years, it’ll pay off. Big time.” 

So, do the boys still have their coin?

“I’m still hanging onto it,” Russ tells me, fresh off a New South Wales swell bender. “I never really looked into it, it always seemed like too much of a gamble to throw money at. But, since Andrew and I have both come into possession of half a coin, I’ve definitely been nerding out on it. We’ve both been hitting refresh everyday.

“It’s funny how many crew come out of the woodwork with Bitcoin advice. A few mates have been talking about that halving event, which happens every four years or so. Every time it’s been a huge spike and I think that’s coming up really soon, so everyone’s been telling me to hold off on selling. So far they’ve been right. I reckon I’ll keep holding out for a bit and see what happens.”

Just quietly, we’d been hearing rumors that O’Neill paid Russ an incentive bonus for winning SEOTY. Russ humbly confirms these.

“Yeah, I don’t really know the best way to say it, but I did have a little incentive. We got it written into the contract before we dropped the edit. It’s pretty hard to think of different incentives these days because there’s not many events for us, and socials are just too hard to keep track of really.”

A decent explanation for why — despite not selling any of his Bitcoin — Russ bought himself a new 100 Series Landcruiser at the end of last year.

“This thing’s actually got aircon,” he laughs. “My old one never had it, which you kinda get used to — but I’ve gotten more used to having aircon real quick. There’s a little few dirt tracks down here, but I mostly use it for dropping my jet ski on beaches and stuff. And then if we do a road trip chasing waves, it’s pretty handy.”

As I hang up with Russ, Kael rings me amid his return from an absurd Pacific strike mission. The West Australian bashfully confirms that he is also still in possession of his Coin.

“It’s sick that it’s gotten to 100K, it feels like winning a CT. I dunno, I definitely kind of forget about it,” he chuckles. “Everyone hits me up about it asking if I’ve seen the price it’s at — but I’m not sure what to do with it. It’s hard to make a decision with something like that. I probably should sell it now, it’s pretty high.”

Echoing Russ, he notes the halving event — but is ambivalent about his future plans. 

“I’m definitely not a Bitcoin guy, I just speak to my mates about it. I think it’d be cool to always have a little bit of it just because it’s fun — I probably wouldn’t sell all of it.”

What should they do?

Well, according to Toby Trouble (presumably) — buy more.

But we’re not in the business of giving financial advice.

As for this year’s prize, well… there will be a comparable reward — but we don’t exactly know what it is yet. We, erm, forgot to buy another one when it was 16k a pop and haven’t quite figured out our workaround to buying $100k worth of crypto.

Maybe Erik Bogan was right…

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