Ozzie is no fan of conflict.
“You Just Came Without An Invite? Why Would You Do That?”
Tensions flare in Yeppoon.
We roped Ozzie Wright into coming along.
It was a last-second decision, but one we thoroughly believed in. Ozzie is one of Stab’s perennial favorites, for reasons relating to his creativity, candor, and of course his surfing.
The perfect talent to front our assault.
At first, Ozzie wasn’t sold.
“Shit, man. I dunno…” was his response to finding out that we weren’t exactly invited to surf the pool.
“When I heard we were going to surf Occy’s pool I was super chuffed, but I feel pretty weird they don’t know we’re coming...”
After some coaxing and cajoling, we were able to convince Ozzie that Barton, Occ and crew would be happily surprised to find him on their doorstep. He reluctantly agreed and, one day later, met Stab’s filmers Dylan Roberts, Dan Scott and myself at the Brisbane Airport.
When we found Oz, he looked like he’d just watched a dove die.
“I saw Occy boarding the flight before ours,” Oz told us. “I don’t know if he saw me, though. I don’t think he did. I hope he didn’t. Fuck!”
We convinced Oz it was fine—Occy probably hadn’t seen him and, even if he had, he would be stoked to learn his old mate Ozzie Wrong was crashing the pool party, right?
The anxiety lasted five minutes. Then we realized Barton Lynch was on our flight.
BL spotted on the tarmac!
It was inevitable: we were going to be discovered. So Ozzie respectfully approached Barton.
“Ozzie! It’s great to see ya mate. But… what are you doing here?”
Ozzie don't lie.
“I’m uh… here to see the pool. With... Stab.”
After a moment of confused contemplation, Barton looked over to us and growled, “You just showed up without talking to anybody? That’s gnarly.”
An awkward silence ensued.
“This is fucked,” Ozzie said, once Barton had walked away. “This is so fucked. You don’t mess with Barton and Occy – they’re legends. I want to get on a flight home right now.”
An understandable response.
Crashing the party wasn’t Ozzie’s idea, and frankly he wanted nothing to do with it. We'd convinced him to come because, in our experience, pool owners find these antics amusing and are eventually happy to let us in.
We assumed that would also be the case here, but as it were Barton was very upset with us and, perhaps by association, Ozzie.
Oz, off us.
We rang up former Tracks Editor, Wayne Dart, Surf Lakes’ media manager, to appease the situation. Darty was exceptionally reasonable given the circumstances and listened to our pleas, which centered around the facts that:
1. Ozzie was with Stab but not in any way responsible for our misdeeds, so he should still totally get to surf the pool.
2. We’d heard surfers and Australian media might be coming, and we simply wanted a slice of that juicy pool pie.
3. I had personally flown across the world to be here, which has gotta count for something.
Darty got it. From his time at the helm at Tracks, he understood the magnetism of a breaking story—and opening day at Australia’s first world class wavepool was certainly that.
But while Darty was busy bargaining with/for us, some Surf Lakes investors were allegedly up in arms.
“Don’t let Stab anywhere near it!” was their apparent stance.
As one witness would later divulge, certain investors were so paranoid that they literally shut down the pool as soon as they heard we were in the area, refusing to run any more waves out of fear that Stab would snap an image and post.
According to our source, the crew even launched several “attack drones” to knock ours out of the sky, had we the gumption to fly one over their site.
Pretty hilarious, but given the context it makes sense.
“The context”: Not only was Surf Lakes withholding the pool’s media release until the following Monday (plans to which Stab was a direct threat), but they also had a (very) little secret to hide:
The pool was hardly breaking!
It was not dissimilar to this
Despite the fact they had invited friends and family to attend “opening day”, the pool was not actually prepared to run at its full capacity.
According to its engineers, the machine needed to be “warmed up” before they could really get it pumping, meaning they could only release fractionally-powered waves on that initial afternoon.
One-twenty-fifth force, they said, maxing at 1/10th.
You can understand, then, why the investors would have feared Stab’s presence. A publication with nearly one million followers posting an image of an 12-inch wave under the assumed headline: “Occy’s Wavepool Laughably Small, Like A Baby’s Penis!” is certainly not the type of PR they’re looking for.
But tearing Surf Lakes down for the sake of a click is just not our M.O.
At Stab we prefer to look at the bigger picture, which, in this case, involves myriad versions of wavepool stationed all around the world – Surf Lakes' tech, of course, included.
Darty appreciated our position. He said he’d talk to his team about getting us in the pool later this week; we said thank you and headed to the pub.
The Strand has been our gastro-pub of choice in Yeppoon.
A few hours later, but still in the same pub, we were approached by a man whose aura is eclipsed only by his brick-like jaw.
Mimicking Barton’s earlier reaction, the ‘99 Champ looked our way and quipped, “Ozzie! What are you doing here?”
Still a bit sheepish, Ozzie replied, “Aw, you know, we’ve just come up to check out your pool…”
“Oh sweet, that’s great!” Occy replied. “I just didn’t realize you were coming...”
“Well, we weren’t exactly on the list…”
“So you just came without an invite?" Occy replied, staring through our souls with dark, searing eyes. "That’s weird. Why would you do that?”
Ozzie sank into his chair as myself, Dan, and Dyl attempted to smooth the situation over. After watching us rhetorically backpedal about 27K’s, Occy finally caved and let us in on the joke.
“Ahhh boys, I’m sorry, I just had to put you on like that. Darty saw you guys here and told me to come over and give you a hard time. It’s all good. though—we’re stoked you’re here!”
Darty then appeared at our table, followed closely by Barton Lynch, and just like that it became a chummy piss-up in Yeppoon. The boys were even kind enough to show us some digital views of the day’s bounty, which revealed 1-2 foot runners along a shallow concrete bank—not quite what we had come here for, but certainly a start.
“Tomorrow we’re gonna pump it all the way up,” Darty said. “Oh, and Ozzie, you’re invited to come surf it. But these boys with all the cameras and gear—they can stay in the car until Friday.”
Fair enough. Fair enough.