Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

The Gold Coast shows that spending money is child's play

by Mark Rothfield on 6 Oct 2012
Spongebob characters put on a tinnie exhibition at Sea World Mark Rothfield
Greetings from Surfers Paradise! As Jimmy Buffett would sing, the weather is here, I wish you were beautiful …

Problem is, the place is pregnant with children because those learned bureaucrats in Queensland and NSW decided to combine the Spring school holidays. Everywhere you look there are queues and grumpy dads.

We grabbed the last apartment in some godforsaken three-pronged skyscraper, resplendent with a view of a 'lagoon' pool surrounded by weeping palms, not the sweeping sea views I’d requested.

I’ve forked out $330 for a family pass to Dreamworld/Whitewater World and $250 for a day at Sea World, just to have the pleasure of waiting 60 minutes for a 60-second ride. I can report, though, that the Tower of Terror is aptly named.

Today it’s Whitewater World, where kids get to ride tubes into pools and catch artificial waves. If we’re really patient there’s the promise of a rapids ride in a fibreglass log.

I can’t help wondering if the real thing – body surfing one of nature’s own waves, skimming behind a skiboat on a tube, lying on genuine sand beside a proper lagoon – isn’t considerably better.

Friends are 'doing' the Whitsunday bareboat holiday at the same time, and I keep getting text messages from Whitehaven and Blue Pearl Bay: 'Best holiday ever! Weather has been awesome'.

Their kids are loving it. But not, I suspect, as much as mine.

My son is beside himself as we count down the minutes till Whitewater (make that Wait Water) World opens, for he’s an adrenalin junkie at 10. My 14-year-old daughter’s eyes sparkle like the chlorinated waters of the 'lagoon' pool while drinking in the foyer shops, night markets and bright lights.

A beer and barramundi at the Southport Yacht Club had a similar effect on me, I suppose. And begrudgingly I’d have to admit that Sea World was actually pretty good.

I appreciate the fact that a bloke dressed in a Spongebob Squarepants suit can still drive a tinnie. I have newfound respect for the aeronautical skills of dolphins. I have learnt, while watching a scuba diver vacuum the shark pool, that my day job isn’t as bad as I thought.

Above all, I have marvelled at the stand-up jetski riders who could go fully submerged then flick into three consecutive backflips. Sublime and ridiculous rolled into one.

There is, I have realised, something for everyone here. There’s a crazy, build-it-and-they-will-come spirit that’s not as apparent anywhere else, accompanied by a tangible energy.

The world – and the Worlds for that matter – are not depressed, we are. If boating is in the doldrums, perhaps it’s because we’re not trying hard enough to win over the toughest customers – kids.
RS Sailing 660x82Protector - 660 x 82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr