Stab Magazine | Good Waves in Bad Water with Chippa Wilson, Dane Gudauskas and more

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Good Waves in Bad Water with Chippa Wilson, Dane Gudauskas and more

Words by Morgan Williamson  Our big blue takes a big beating. From companies like BP settling on roughly $19 bill. to ‘make up’ for their historic oil spill five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating in the middle of the ocean and everything in-between; our seas become polluted. We […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Words by Morgan Williamson 

Our big blue takes a big beating. From companies like BP settling on roughly $19 bill. to ‘make up’ for their historic oil spill five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating in the middle of the ocean and everything in-between; our seas become polluted. We are naturally wasteful. Go walk a Southern California beach at sunset as a hot Saturday cools down in July; the sheer amount of garbage left on the sand is shocking. And that’s with a trash can every 20 yards. That garbage gets washed into the sea by the tide, and if it’s lucky, finds its way to the Garbage Patch. Which is essentially the ‘Island of Misfit Toys’ of waste. And that’s a problem. Surfers spend an estimated 10 times more time in the water than the average swimmer. Because of all the bacteria, we immerse ourselves in on at least a weekly basis a project in the UK titled “beach bums” are taking a fixed group of surfers and taking swabs, where the name implies. The goal is to see if surfers are more susceptible to anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Which would be bad. But I like to look for a silver lining.  Here’s my theory: the more bad bacteria we subtly ingest, the higher our immune systems will become. Either that, or we will become super humans, and use our powers for mostly good. With that said, here are some surf spots, that fire, but you might want to consider the Hep A-Z fermenting in the lineup before you paddle out… It is unfortunate, heavy rain tends to groom those sandbars. Oh, the crux of our love: in order to properly score, sometimes you must ignore the obvious hazards in front of you.


Asher Pacey sets up shop in Keramas’ green. Photo: Shane Dawson

Keramas, Bali, Indonesia

The water quality in Bali is particularly off-putting. Keramas may not be the most polluted spot there, but it’s pretty damn close.  “It’s shocking,” Chippa Wilson tells Stab. “On the high tide you might get clear-ish water, but you’re always bumping into trash. When the tide goes low it gets pretty horrible. All the trash gets thrown in with the tide. Then it gets stuck on shore. It’s not just like plastic bottles and shit. It’s everything from dead dogs to diapers, to sewage and lolly wrappers.” But with righthand tunnels like these, water quality is hardly an issue.



Kolohe Andino fades right on a clear day in Baja. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Baja Malibu, Northern Baja, Mexico

Baja Malibu is pretty much the first spot you’ll check in North Baja. The beaches in Tijuana have waves, but it’s wise not to surf there, or leave your car there. “It smells disgusting,” Dane Gudauskas tells us. “It smells like bleach or something. That wave is so good and it’s just such a shame. Something about it smells so strange. I don’t know what it is. You’ve just got to put your ear plugs in, take a shot of tequila and forget about it. If you’re looking to get barreled you can’t think on it too much. It’s heavy though, you hear all these horror stories. It’s scary when you really start thinking about. So don’t. Ignorance is bliss. If you start getting sick, or like loosing a toenail or your arm turns green, then it’s probably time to think about it.”



John John Florence sipping bottomless brown mimosas in Newport. Photo: Blake Kueny

River Jetties, Newport Beach, California

River Jetties sits right on the border of Newport and Huntington Beach. It’s the most consistent spot in the area. The Santa Ana River mouth flows into the break. After rain, brown water ensues, delicately laced with an unmistakable stench. The water’s always a few degrees warmer than the surrounding area. Which is nice, until you realize where the warmth is coming from, which’ll kill that vibe. The river-flow creates a pretty killer sandbar. River Jetties is a swell magnet and takes whatever comes its way. The best time to surf is summer heading into fall. If the Santa Ana’s are blowing it can be epic. Just check yourself for cuts prior to entering. Oh, and keep your mouth shut.



Well this isn’t good for anybody. Taken a few days prior to the Rio Pro. Photo: Mario Moscatelli

Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At this year’s World Tour event at Barra da Tijuca, many of the competitors had reported falling ill by means of the water quality during the competition. The WSL’s backup location of Sao Conrado had to be cancelled due to heavy quantities of raw sewage run-off. “I’ll never go back there in my life,” said Joel Parkinson after the competition. “It was raw sewage there for the event.” With actual human excrement in the water, the running of the event was questionable at best. “On low tides, all that putrid water from Tijuca Lagoon gets washed out to the ocean and depending on the currents, can end up in Barra or São Conrado,” said biologist Mario Moscatelli on the state of the water quality prior to the contest. “Based on our observations and government analysis, the water is clearly below safety standards.”



Good ole Malibu Sex-A-Peel! Photo: Zamora/A-Frame

Malibu, Los Angeles, California

The classic California pointbreak’s got some serious water quality issues. There are over 12,000 residents living in the Malibu Creek area whose septic tanks leak out into the lagoon. Because of this, Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon, and the surrounding ocean are critically polluted. “The bacteria issue in Malibu is really bad,” local boy Dillon Perillo tells Stab. “E-Coli warnings have been common. That can kill you, which is pretty gnarly. The creek’s a double-edged sword. When it breaks, the water gets pretty disgusting. But it makes a sandbar and the waves get pretty unbelievable.”



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