Reclaiming The Middle Ground
It’s an unfortunately all too familiar story. Young surfer grows up in a house their parents bought for peanuts. Lives the life of Laird, surfing in their beautiful little coastal town, without a care in the world bar what the wind is doing. As the surfer gets older, they notice that a lot of properties are being bought by non-surfers, many of them being used only as holiday houses. As this continues the surfer notices that his friends are being forced to move away, their parents unable to keep up with the rate of property price growth. Eventually the surfer is old enough to buy their own property, but finds that they can’t afford it. They move inland and hardly surf again.
This is a tale that has been repeated the length and breadth of Australia’s surfable coastline. What happens is, surfers move in and make an area cool, then rich people say, Hey, I want a part of that cool, and come and buy it all up, and the surfers move on. It’s not something that we want to complain about, it’s just how it is. Surfing Life 322 is all about this phenomenon, which is most evident in what we’ve termed Australian surfing’s “middle grounds”.
Nick Carroll’s expose on the rising property prices in Sydney – and their effect on the local surfing communities ¬– goes a long way towards explaining why Sydney, once a breeding ground for champions, currently boasts one World Championship Tour surfer in Laura Enever.
We chat to Cahill Bell-Warren about surfcity-Torquay and how the creep of Melbourne is influencing the attitudes on the points. NB the “creep of Melbourne” isn’t a single person, although we’re sure that there are more than a few down there who would fit the bill.
There’s no greater hipster heaven than Byron Bay, but all those alaia riding, floppy hat wearers are having an effect on the rising property price – not to mention the ultra-cashed up baby boomers and city folk who, in trying to chase the rural, coastal dream, have actually started destroying it.
And Margaret River, which by all accounts is still largely untainted by the forces we’ve mentioned above, and remains still a nice, core surf town. We’re not all doom and gloom around here, and we’ll give a joint props where it deserves it.
That’s Surfing Life 322, a look into the issues that face Australian surfing’s middle grounds. It’s a celebration of the spirit of the core surf towns, an expose into what’s threatening and an introduction to how we can win them back. These issues are important to all Australian surfers, so make sure you use some of your future mortgage payments to buy a copy!