The writing on (and off) the wall: Surf Coachella and catch a wave of environmental outrage

Tom Hoffarth /

If every desert had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like down La Quinta Way
You’d see the hippie-weed baggies
Hibachi hashish, too
A bushy blushy blonde pale ale
Surfin’ Coa-chell-a

If you’re planning out a route to a) keep the Colorado River flowing, b) the residents of Riverside County easy going, and c) divert the Hang Ten-induced traffic from Interstate 10 so it’s never slowing, help drown out an array of proposed surf resorts that are about to redefine how the world might view a Southern California endless summer.

A place already awash with about 150 days now of temps that exceed 100 degrees has something new to get a little hot under the collar-less shirt.

An artists rendition for DSRT / Surf near the Desert Willow golf courses.

Just look at what’s planned at the base of the Coral Mountain in Palm Desert – no, not another luxury golf course or minor-league ice hockey rink, but try 16 football fields of land filled with 22 million gallons of precious potable water — until it evaporates into the dry heat.

As John Oliver said on his “Last Week Tonight” show, the idea of four new surf parks in this region is “just monumentally stupid.”

And it’s stupendously stupid enough to work.

What better place to revive the 1960s lifestyle craze of beach blanket bingo than among the dust devils, scorpions and Indian casino slot machines. It’s all baked right into the idea that the Coachella Valley Surf Club can thrive with a mission to promote, educate and enjoy “all the surfing possibilities that wave pools bring to the inland.”

They’re behind a vision by 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater and his wave company to manipulate an otherwise unusable 400-acre swatch of land that hasn’t be compromised into a solar farm and giving guests access to the “largest, rideable open-barrel, human-made waves in the world.”

Roll out the barrels, stay for Octoberfest. As long as there is a pickle ball complex nearby.

At a time when celebrity residents of Benedict Canyon are pushing back on developers who want to build them a luxury hotel, and all sorts of homeowners/renters/squatters in Venice and Santa Monica gripe about more affordable shelters to address the current homeless, there’s gotta be a way for the Coachella Valley-ites to stop getting their NIMBY board shorts in a bunch and pool their creative resources.

Make this the ultimate retirement village for burnouts avoiding income taxes and all sorts of bikini waxes.

Cowabunga Coachella got on the radar two years ago. It’s not just an idea to replace Raging Waters with something more in line with Adult Swim fans.

Those at Architectural Digest (see the glam photo above) are behind it as a “venture that seems to be poised for success.”

You’ve already yielded to one of the most well-known music and arts festivals (it’ll run April 14-23 in 2023, if you need to get on the wait lists). Having a wave pool adjacent will only whet the Gen ZZZZZ appetites to guzzle more grape juice, fire down more 4 a.m. fast food and activate the dreary ER at the local Eisenhower Medical Center with treatment of badge-of-honor third-degree burns for flip-flopless feet.

Dude, the ground didn’t look that hot. It had water on it.

There are avenues for NyQuil and Chick-fil-A to join forces to the Tic-Tockers as they reinvent this spring break destination.

To those who already migrate here for decadent bachelor party golf excursions, it’s an excuse for an extra day or two taking high-end surf lessons while working remote with a floaties. Golfers spend without even thinking twice. Exploit that with more easy-tap Visa kiosks to ramp up internet speed on all devices.

The Palm Springs Film Festival would surely create a surf flick revival. Cult classics and a regular mid-week showing of “Big Wednesday” might even make Gary Busey great again.

If the numbers are up for the 310, 562, 805 and 714, then the 760 and 442 overlay is primed for this experimentation in environmental mismanagement. It may even inspire the dirtbags at Patagonia to set up an outlet shop and get behind in its new windpowered “earth is truly its only shareholder now” campaign.

Also, just remember that whatever technology causes an environment issue, more technology can also fix it. If you’re concerned all the water in the region will go away, atmospheric water generators might be the answer — until it creates another catastrophic issue, and we get things like this blowing through town that drops us to our knees:

These wave parks must be finished quickly. Before we run out of natural resources and anything else that can be used as a flotation device. It will be a place our ancestors visit years from now, point to their 1.2 children, and admit, yes, my grandfather believed water would exist forever, and one could ride upon it like the un-recyclable plastic bottles that still wash ashore. If only they thought of this first in the Mojave Desert before climate-change flash floods wiped everything out.

For all the flailing owners of the dry docks around the Salton Sea — seize upon this for your salty water pond, as close to a inland Pacific Ocean, middle-of-nowhere experience as one may have. The escapees from Brawley, Lake Havasu, Mexicali and El Centro need a reason to live another day.

In the end, this will also serve as a reminder of the Wild West days when the Colorado River actually had enough agua caliente to mark a clear border between Arizona and California and support a federal Alcatraz-like inescapable prison before it became a glorified drainage ditch for Port-A-Potty partygoers.

We will now proceed with the copyright filings to legally claim: Turf’s up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s