Stab Magazine | Kalbarri Locals To WSL: "Good Luck Contest Organisers Wankers!"
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Kalbarri Locals To WSL: “Good Luck Contest Organisers Wankers!”

Ry Craike and friends weigh in. 

news // Jul 28, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

After publishing a piece titled “Is Next Year’s Margaret River Pro Headed To Gnaraloo?“, Stab was obliterated by a commentary truth-bomb from a northern WA local.

In reference to the two issues we posed (wave inconsistency and remoteness) with the new potential contest sites (Jake’s and Tombstones), Kalbarri surfer Jake Perkins added: “You forgot the biggest problem number 3. The local surfing communities will NEVER let this happen.”

To be completely honest, when writing the piece, I hadn’t even considered that now-obvious possibility. But after the last few days of internet sleuthing, I’m starting to believe Perkins’ words more and more. 

Since the news was released, we’ve seen responses similar to Perkins’ from other surfers in the area.

We found that the disgruntled fella below, Ross Monger AKA @doc_kalbarri, most entertainingly captures the local sentiment:

Screen Shot 2018 07 25 at 11.39.12 PM

“Yeah good luck contest organisers wankers,” says Monger. “Like to see you get a wave when we park 4cray boats in the lineup go back to triggs ya dickheads.”

Stab also reached out to Kalbarri’s golden child, the universally revered Ry Craike, to hear his topical opinion.

“Yeah all the surfers in town are definitely off it! It will be absolute chaos if it happens!” Ry said. “You should talk to Kit Rayner though… he’s the Kalbarri Boardriders rep and the one representing all of us local surfers.”

So we reached out to Kit, who from a work boat off of Vanarus Island, happily fielded Stab‘s call. 

Stab: Hey Kit, how are ya? We hear there’s a bit of it of chaos happening around your parts…
Kit Rayner: Yeah, you could say that. When the Surfing WA approached us about the WSL potentially moving their Margaret River event up to Kalbarri or Gnaraloo, we were immediately off it. Unfortunately it’s not just our decision, and as they’ve already gone to the local counsel, our opinion doesn’t hold much weight.

So why exactly do you want to stop the WSL from coming to Kalbarri? Is it just about the wave?
There’s no denying that the wave is a huge part of our reason for being against this event. As selfish as that may sound, it’s important for outsiders to consider that we have only one wave in our town – a wave that generations of people have built their lives around. If the WSL were to come here and expose our little zone to thousands and thousands of people, and a bunch of surf camps popped up, it would all be over for us. 

But the wave is not our only reason for wanting to protect Kalbarri – there’s also an environmental issue at hand.

Jake’s has a massive sand dune in front of it that keeps the southerly winds at bay and our beach intact. We’re about to do a big rehabilitation project there to protect those dunes, even building fences around them so they won’t be trampled or destroyed. If the WSL came up here and put on a whole event, with their massive scaffolding and hundreds of people lining the cliff, there’s no way that dune could survive.

KAS 06

See for yourself. Photo: Mike Riley

So what are you doing to stop the WSL?
As a Boardriders club, we don’t exactly hold much legislative power, but we plan to start a petition in order to gain support and educate the masses about what negative effects an event like this would have on Kalbarri and/or Gnaraloo. 

As part of the petition, we will be hiring an environmental scientist to study Kalbarri and determine what potential issues could arise should they run the event here. If we can get some concrete data to back up our claims, we’ll have a more legitimate case to make against the event.

What do the non-surfing residents of Kalbarri think about this whole situation? Surely they might see it differently, considering the positive economic impact this event could have on your sleepy ocean town.
Yeah that’s the thing, this whole situation has driven a wedge between members of our community. The surfers unanimously want to block the event, while the non-surfers, and especially all the shop owners and rental property owners, are keen for the bump in tourism. 

I own a rental property too, so it hasn’t escaped me that I could profit from a 14-day event in Kalbarri. But to me, and to all of the other surfers here, it’s not worth selling out. This place, and this wave, they’re quite sacred to us. Frankly, we don’t even allow our local Boardriders events to be held at the point.

Wait, really?
Yeah, the Kalbarri Boardriders Club was actually founded to protect Jake’s from competitive exploitation. About 20 years ago there was meant to be a boogie boarding event here, but the local crew got together and formed the Club to defend Jake’s. So our local events are surfed at a relatively shitty right nearby, and even that bothers many of the the older crew. So this is not a new struggle for us, by any means.

Thanks Kit, we appreciate your time and best of luck!

https://player.vimeo.com/video/281897109

Despite the fact that it’s 500 kms away, the Kalbarri Boardriders want to protect this little slice as well.

So, what do you take from all of this?

There are several thoughts percolating in my head – some clear, others still quite fuzzy – but there’s one thing of which I am certain: the WSL has found itself in yet another crazy political battle over a CT venue… and it’s only just begun.

Should I start melting the movie-theater-butter, or are you more of a low-fat popcorn kinda gal?

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