SOUTH EAST QLD surf, music, style, enviro & Politik

Kirra Burns, Dogs, Dingos And What The Other Guy Said


The wave that ignited a drop-in debate of gargantuan proportions // LiQUiFY speaks with the other guy about Dean Morrison’s crazy Kirra barrel

It’s the stuff of every surfer’s dreams, it’s projected inside our minds from a young age and never leaves us, and it’s the experience every surfer chases – a big Kirra barrel.

A Dingo Stole My Wave!

As last week’s epic cyclone swell faded, a lingering stench remained in the air around Cooly, and it centered around the drop-in issue, perhaps specifically represented by the video of Dean Morrison consciously dropping in on some guy, who looked like he was set for the barrel of his life. Even if he was to make it or not, there’s no questioning the burn-factor on the tape. If you’ve been out in a cave somewhere and don’t know what we mean, take a look below.

Thanks to the wonders of video and the world wide net, Dean’s wave has been seen by thousands and has become the subject of heated debate across the interwebs // footage Jason Muir

An online revolt erupted, with thousands both condemning and supporting the professional surfer and long-time local for his actions, forever stamped in the video history of the internet. Threats of violence, angry vitriol and a few chuckles thrown in for good measure – it sparked a massive debate surrounding localism, freedom, rights, ethics and responsibilities.

No doubt it’s easy for some local pros to score barrel after barrel in the face of the rest of the common surfers out there. With jetski assists, whip-ins, step-offs and what some would view as an inflated perception of the right to burn whomever they deem not local enough, it means some surfers get dozens of Kirra tubes whilst the rest of the surfing public are left to squabble for the scraps. Of course there’s two sides, well in fact, many sides to every story.

Dean posted on his Instagram the next day, and cemented his ‘FUCK YOU’ attitude towards people he views as having no right, or perhaps less right, to get waves out there. It attracted a lot of heat to say the least.


In further detail he expanded on his mindset and Instagram post when he told Stab Magazine, “I was just like, fuck all these guys!”

Morrison added, “it’s just one of those things where people don’t know who the older guys are, like Rabs (Bartholomew) and Wayne Deane and all those guys. I think they should be getting respect and people should know who they are … I think for anyone that grows up in that area, then they should be able to have their spot in the lineup and get their waves, and especially when it’s pumping. They’ve been there forever so it just got to me a bit.

Kirra icon and Coolangatta surfing luminary Wayne Deane takes off at Kirra during the ex-cyclone Marcia Swell. If ever someone was allowed to take a wave out here and not be questioned it would be Wayne. People need to and should respect engrained locals and the surfing forefathers (and mothers) at every surf spot around the world. Wayne’s work behind the scenes over the years to protect and fight for the preservation of the surfing amenity is immeasurable – he’s earned it and then some // Photo Luke Sorensen

“People just rock up and think it’s alright to not obey the rules … guys who’ve surfed there as long as Rabs and Wayne, they should get their pick of the waves. I definitely saw Rabs and Wayne and those kinda guys getting frustrated out there. They come in and go ‘man, I just had some guy paddle around me and then call me off a wave, this is out of control, people just think it’s a free-for-all.’ And that frustrates me, too.”

What About The Other Guy?

LiQUiFY tracked down the bloke from the video to find out his side of the story. Despite the assumptions and first impressions (and there’s been a lot of that in this debate) Delman Ferreira didn’t just arrive last week and start screaming ‘minha onda!’ at people in the water – he has been here for quite some time. He is an accomplished surfer and tube rider, Australian citizen and all round nice guy. We spoke with him after the video went viral.

Delman Ferreira // Source Facebook

Hi mate, tell us about yourself real quick “I am an Australian citizen, I’ve been living in Australia for nearly 15 years now. I live right at the top of the hill at Kirra, but don’t consider myself a local, and I don’t even paddle for a wave if there’s someone in it. I love surfing from the bottom of my soul, and do anything to get a big barrel. I work in construction to pay my bills, and surf whenever I get the chance.”

What did you first think when you saw someone dropping in over the ledge on your wave? “Well bro, I was in perfect position for that one. When I saw the guy dropping in, firstly I was really disappointed and angry. I also had a heavy wipeout, and had to wear the rest of the set on my head.”

“I don’t even paddle for a wave if there’s someone in it. I love surfing from the bottom of my soul” – Delman Ferreira

Were you out there for long and was that probably going to be your best wave for the day? Or did you get another one like that and get it to yourself anyway? “I live right in front of the wave but don’t consider myself a local. I know when is going to get good, so I had waited for the right tide, prepared myself physically and mentally. When I got out I got a couple of quick close outs and decided to wait for a good one. I paddled for about one hour on the same spot, watching everyone surfing – mainly the locals. Then that wave came.

“I was on the perfect spot with no one behind me to my left. I was so stoked, I finally got it! I took the drop and that’s when I saw this guy falling straight into the barrel in front of me. I still managed to pull in, but had no chance. I was pretty devo’d.

“The leash wrapped around my left ankle and and I was underwater for much longer than I expected. I didn’t catch anything afterwards. I was exausted by all the hard work. I still got good waves up at Greenmount, but didn’t bother going back to Kirra anymore after that.”

When you saw the video of Dingo’s barrel that he took from you, were you upset or angry that the barrel wasn’t yours or did you not really care? What are your thoughts on the video? “I have mixed feelings about the video. When I first saw it I was happy that someone filmed it, but at the same time that was the wave I’ve been waiting for days, maybe months – since the last swell in August 2014. After reading some of the comments though, I’m happy that most people don’t support his (Dean’s) attitude.”

Delman Ferreira tucked away neatly inside a solid Nias barrel // Source Facebook

Do you think he had priority (as a born and bred local) or do you think it was the wrong thing for Dean to do? “From a locals point of view, they always have priority, and I didn’t fade on him. I’m a soul surfer, a traveller and I love big barrels. I live for that shit just like Dean, but don’t get paid for it. As a surfer and traveller I do my best to respect all surfers wherever I go – that’s my choice. If he chooses to do that, it’s his choice, and he will perhaps suffer the consequences. Mother nature is watching everything and I believe that we get what we deserve.”

Finally, what’s your thoughts on the apparent explosion of blatant dropping-in we are seeing on the southern Gold Coast – some say it’s out of control and something has to change? “In regards to the situation on the Goldy, I think that there are too many surfers around here, especially at this time of the year – and I surf at Snapper a lot. You see a drop-in every now and then, but I also see a lot of respect among the surfers. I don’t think is out of control – as of yet that is.”

There’s a thousand shards of glass hidden in every locals-versus-the-rest debate. How long until you are a local? Is the ocean, or rather the surf break, free and open to all? We can tell you this – there’s no easy solution for the time being. It’s a dog-eat-dog situation that is lacking in civility and respect from many parts on all sides.

Often the locals are well within their right, other situations it is far less clear and blurs between arrogance and greed. Some people are full of respect and have paid their dues time and time again, and they absolutely deserve all of our reciprocal respect. Some people just burn others.

In this case it was a dingo-eat-dog situation that caused the uproar and in this encounter the dingo won with one of the best tube rides seen for a long time on the point.

Jay Phillips’ response to all the haters who criticised Dean online after the video went up // Source Instagram

 Trigger Unhappy – Reflecting From A Local’s Point Of View // Words from Ado Comiskey

It’s the sad shadow side of our love of surfing. We’ve all felt the pain of it, and we’ve all been – more or less – guilty of it at some point. It’s an immutable reality of surfing on the Goldy. You know what (and who) I’m talking about. We’ve all cringed as some unknown soul gets smoked on the set of the day. The dastardly, bastardly drop in! It is, ahead of its cousin the snake, the dirtiest of dog acts in the surfing world – yet there are those paddling out among us who feel absolutely entitled to it, and even celebrate its practice. Clearly this most simple, central tenet of surf etiquette – thou shalt not drop in – has become a crowded and complex issue in our city of surf. Somewhere in between the issues of professionalism, localism, equality and respect lay universal truths that the hierarchy of GC and WSL surfing might find difficult to ignore, and even harder to deal with. Cyclone Marcia’s epic run of swell, and its footage of certain pros perhaps ‘overindulging’, has brought the issue to boiling point both in the lineup and online. Has our spirit of aloha been crowded out while we put up with people doggedly dropping in?

The dreaded burning. Not to be forgotten, it’s far from just pros with jetskis that are enforcing the odd blatant drop in – the bulk of the offenders are blow-ins, newcomers, foreigners, out-of-towners and the just-plain-desperate. They are all trying to get just one taste of the Kirra gravy train and the line up is strained to beyond capacity // Photo Luke Sorensen

You could have waited all day for one decent wave, while invariably the same guys scored wave after perfect wave – only to take their first chance to take another off you. It could have been the best wave of your life, but instead you got chandeliered and smashed. It hurts! And in the chaos of faces and froth, the average surfer – who, ostensibly, pays the pro’s wages with his purchases – gets shafted more than he gets shacked. As a star-struck grommet in the early 90’s, I swear every surfer on tour dropped in on me at Kirra. While I always give the pros the benefit of the doubt on sections, I am usually thanked with a burn at the first chance they get.

Jay Phillips pulls rank and slots in to a gem during the ex-cyclone Marcia swell // Photo Luke Sorensen

Last Monday, a certain Zaffer gained a lot of flak online for fading folk, and if I’d had my GoPro mouthy in too there would have been a second look-back-at-my-victim-in-the-tube photo doing the rounds. Our elite tend to rely on their celebrity and assume that Mr Passive Recreationalist will be so overcome with gratitude that they’ve just been smoked by the world’s best that they will just paddle away dumbstruck. Mr O’Neill was apologetic when I unexpectedly asked him about it, but the flagrant nature of the fade merely showed this up as insincerity, cowardice and a devout belief in his professional entitlement to any good wave based on his status (as is typically seen of sponsored surfers). Now, if I went and burned him in the barrel at his local, do you think it would wash? Why is it only acceptable here on the GC?

The engines on the plane were still warm after touching down when Jordy Smith hooked in to Kirra – this was the view he presented to some of the crew already out there // Photo @blessed_collector

The GC local card is especially problematic in the debate; as the Goldy incessantly grows and draws in ever more surfers, ‘true’ locals are largely indefinable by nature (with the exception of Burleigh’s Indigenous Kombumerri and Snapper’s Bundjalung peoples). Being born and bred here, I never set my face as a fixture by religiously surfing any one point or beach. This is because I want the freedom to surf in different places, but the price I’ve paid has often been treatment as a blow-in…if a grom a third your age blatantly drops in and then tells you that, despite having surfed in Cooly for 30 years, I don’t deserve a wave because I live in Palmy, surely the contradictory cultural traits of this type of insular, inbred localism must be questioned. For example, when the sand evaporated from Coolangatta a few years ago and the only bank was inside Currumbin Alley, all of Snapper descended on it and expected their share. How can it ever work with our heads in our local sandbank?

The futility of telling people to stay away and surf only where they live rules out the right to ever surf anywhere else, and besides, there’s shiploads of salty surfdogs that keep sailing to our shores! Until such time as those in power recognise the need to plan and build for increased surfing amenity, our crowds will only continue to grow. In the meantime, our only option to sanely and safely get along and get our share is to keep our stoke. The surfers next to you have an equal right to enjoy surfing. In truth, our local rights only extend to the point that patience, skill and experience naturally gets the best waves. And along with our local rights there must be local responsibilities: their presence should maintain a safe and enjoyable surfing brother/sisterhood, and ensure that the lineup works to allow people to earn their waves respectfully, according to their ability, and as part of a fair share for all of us, whether pro or punter. So before you next get overfrothed and drop in, take a deep breath and relax. Smile. Enjoy being in the ocean and remember that you’re one the luckiest humans on earth. It’s why we all love to surf. Aloha!

Whilst the jargon, rhetoric and salesmanship flows strong from City Hall, our leaders have a proven track record of underestimating, misjudging and betraying the surfing community and the need for serious solutions to surf amenity problems over the years // Pic Gold Coast Bulletin


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