34 – Surfanomics

Recorded on Wednesday 10th August, 2016, with Harry Knight, Asher King, Will Forster and Sam Wakerley


No Ru this week, but we’ve lured Sam Wakerley over from the UAE to help present the show. We started by talking about the various injuries that the team are carrying at the moment. Will recommended watching Stranger Things on Netflix, and asked for any recommendations for his trip to Tokyo later this year.

Sam spoke about the various creatures he’s been spotting on his travels, including the Agouti he saw the morning before we recorded.

We then spoke about the Crocodile attack that took place in Tamarindo a few weeks ago.


First up in the news this week is the announcement that Surfing will be an Olympic sport for the 2020 games in Japan. We also mentioned the ISA World Games that are taking place just down the road in Jaco at the moment. There was news that Mick Fanning is hoping to coach the Australian team for the Olympics. Full details are still coming out about how the contest will run, but photos from the contest area this week looked promising.

Japan lineup

The guys discussed how surfing would work in the Olympics and if it will be the best exposier for the sport. In the talk Harry brought up the trend for Cupping with the Olympic athletes. He also mentioned a good article about what Cupping actually is.

Will brought up a recent piece by Ace Buchan about the lack of high school education in Pro Surfing ranks.   

Final topic in the news this episode was the recent social media kerfuffle over Hawaiian Airlines surfboard policy.

This topic just baffles me… @hawaiianairlines should rectify their policy. It's their #CashCow. They made over $80M last year in oversize/overweight baggage charges. #Repost @bobhurley with @repostapp ??? I get happy when I see this logo. I love @hawaiianairlines BUT, recently had a horrible experience. Normally airlines charge extra for surfboards. We all expect it. Had three small boards in a 23 pound bag. They only allow two…even itty bitty ones…Was told in Honolulu that it's not possible to put them on the plane. I offered to pay xtra. Not possible says the manager. "Two is da rule"I said "it's possible, I travel a ton and weight is the litmus test…she said this one time she would do me a favor…let me pay for two bags although it was one and she would look the other way….when I said…But…I felt like I may get arrested. Super bad vibes…Not another word… I know a lotta surfers that will no longer fly Hawaiian. I would be so happy to help with a practical and profitable policy…but they have not asked So sad for me. I don't like doing stuff like this but I reached out to Hawaiian and they ignored me. Such a bum out. Be careful cause you will get busted for being smart and honest…#dontflyhawaiianairlines @johnjohn_slater. Whaaaaaa poor me????????@WSL @surfingmagazine @sharpeyesurfboards

A photo posted by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

Harry mentioned a recent article that broke down the costs of running an airline, and Sam mentioned the statement issued by Hawaiian in response to the surfers.


We did a quick round up of the US Open that took place at Huntington Beach, California.

Filipe Toledo won the men’s and Tatiana Weston-Webb won the women’s. We all spent more time watching the Duct Tape Invitational longboard event that was won by Asher’s buddy, Justin Quintal.

Since the Women’s event was a WCT stop, there was an update to our Fantasy Surf Club. Frank’s Picks won the event, and Luis Panda took the lead overall in the Women’s Division.

The next WCT stops will be the Billabong Pro Tahiti for the men on Aug 19th and the Swatch Pro Trestles for the women on Sept 7th.


A Far more exciting contest was the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang in Bali which was a 1 day invitational event.

The event was won by Bali local Mega Semadhi, with some standout performances from Mason Ho, Clay Marzo and Damien Hobgood along the way. Someone left Mason Ho in charge of a video camera behind the scenes, and the resulting video is well worth a watch.

MAIN FEATURE: Surf Economics

Sam decided to use his expertise as a business and economics teacher to talk us through a recent paper by Thomas McGregor and Samuel Wills from Oxford University about the economic assets that a surf spot can provide to a developing economy.

Sam mentioned other studies such as this report by the Surfrider Foundation, before going on to talk about how a good surf spot can act as a multiplier to government investment.

The study used WannaSurf.com to identify surf spots around the world, and then used satalite imigary to identify economic groath in the local area.

Increase in night illumination at Anchor Point, Morocco

We then discussed the various pros and cons of surf tourism, as well as speaking about the Rip Curl Search events from a few years ago and the Surf Snowdonia wave pool project in the UK.


SUPERHERO OF SURF: Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly (1944-2016)

Bernard "Midget" Farrelly surfing in the 1964 world surfing championships, which he won, photographed by jack eden

Will spoke to us about “Midget” Farrelly who sadly passed away last week aged 71.

Midget was the unofficial world champion in 1962 and in 1964 won the very first World Championships, and a dominant force in Australian surfing through to the 70’s. He was one of the pioneers of the Shortboard Revolution, but largely overshadowed by the huge personalities of Nat Young and Bob McTavish.

You can read a full obituary for Midget on the Surf Simply Magazine.


Ellie Mills got in touch with us to tell us about the Google Beyond the Map project in the Favelas of Rio. She thought we’d be interested in Ricardo’s Story which you can watch below, but also wanted to offer Surf Simply Podcast listeners a chance to get hold of Free Google Cardboard viewers to experience the Favelas in a fully immersive way.

If you have a VR viewer of any type, you can check the full Beyond The Map feature.




Sam went first and nominated Comfortably Numb with Mick Fanning and Mason Ho in Alaska:

Harry then suggested ESPN’s E:60 feature on Mick Fanning:

Will mentioned part 2 of John-John’s series, Twelve:


Asher was a big fan of this short documentary about Deus’ 9 foot and single contest

That’s all for this episode folks, email us at podcast@surfsimply.com

Why not try listening to one of our other Podcasts?