Swellnet Whomp Off Australia 2018 Interview
Since the early 2000s, Swellnet has been providing Australian surfers with regular surf reports, forecasts and access to live surfcams. Over the years it has built into a thriving online community of surfers, spanning social media, forums and online information boards featuring daily content focused on everything to do with surf photography, industry news, surfing trends, environmental issues and various surf related journals. In 2018, Swellnet decided to support the bodysurfing community and become major sponsors of the Whomp Off Australia to be held in Cronulla on the 15th of September. In lead up to the event, we sat down over a coffee with Swellnet writer, Stu Nettle, to talk all things bodysurfing.
Q. We were stoked to hear that you’re this years media partner for Whomp Off Australia 2018, What attracted you to the event?
A. Watching grown adults running with flippers on soft sand. That's what attracted me.
Q. Bodysurfing in Australia is making a real comeback of late, what do you think is the cause of this?
A. Surfing, that being stand up surfing, is so damn serious. That might be one of the reasons bodysurfing is doing well. You know, the heavy clouds of oppression are making converts of those who just wanna catch a wave and have fun.
When I go surfing....again, stand up surfing, I often grumble when other surfers paddle out into the lineup - it's terrible, I know - yet when I bodysurf it's unreal to hook up with other crew. The more the merrier...up to an extent. The nature of the gig means bodysurfing has retained that tribal element and that would also explain why people want to be part of it.
Q. What do you think the future holds for bodysurfing in Australia?
A. Slabs! Our coastline is a geographic anomaly; nowhere else has those short, abrupt shelves like Australia, and they're utterly perfect for bodysurfing. If you're a bodysurfer and keen on slabs, then the fields are ripe for the harvest.
Q. How's the response on the bodysurfing content you publish on Swellnet? Do you think you guys will be showcasing more bodysurfing content in the years to come?
A. Great response. Huge! It really did generate a rush of goodwill. There's something inherently enjoyable about watching a bunch of fellas lob themselves over triple-sucking ledges armed with nought but fins and plane. Me? I didn't even care if they made the barrels or not, but some Swellnet readers were more discerning about that. Fortunately a number of cracking foam ball rides saw channel deposits and those waves garnered serious respect.
We'd love to show more content like that.
Q. How do you feel about the team aspect of Whomp Off Australia? Do you think an increase in team-based surfing competitions in general is needed for the progression of the sport?
A. Are team-based events needed for progression? Hmmm...not sure, in the absence of professional opportunities the recognition from peers may well be a driver of progress. Team-based support would also help the cause.
So, upon giving the question 60 seconds of thought I'm gonna say yes, team comps are unequivocally needed for progress!
Q. There are some big names at this years event, who do you think are the ones to watch?
A. Oh, you're talking about Justin Spittle! Yeah I'll definitely watch him. Might also catch that Hawaiian bloke...Whatshisname Cunningham.
Q. Who do you think is the top bodysurfer in the world right now?
A. I'm tempted to say Mike Stewart but I'm gonna give you something less obvious and altogether more cryptic. Dave the Rave is the best bodysurfer in the world right now.
Q. If Swellnet wanted to be known for one thing in the bodysurfing circles, what would it be?
A. The Oracle of Womp has a nice ring to it - nice to be known as that. But conceptually we'll stick with reliable forecasts and a free exchange of ideas.
Q. Are we going to get waves on the day, what do the tea leaves say?
A. East coasts of any continent are dynamic, swells appear and disappear just as quick, there are no long range numbers around here. All of which is to say that it's looking light on but from ten days out anything can happen.
We'll keep you posted as the days count down.
Q. Which team do you think will win?
A. Whoever Whatshisname Cunningham is womping for.
Stay tuned on Swellnet for updates on the competition, available via mobile app too.