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Rusty launches shark proof surfboards!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

You like stripes?

Here’s something for the poor bastards in WA and Byron Bay whose anxiety levels are off the charts. A surfboard that may, or may not, give pause to an attacking shark.

If you surf ’round those parts, you know there’s a chance, small, but not that small, you’ll be eaten alive by a great white. It’s hard to even drop into surf talk without the whispered stories, some true, some exaggerated, of near-misses, sightings, bumps etc.

But what are you going to do? It might be the greatest hypocrisy of modern man that while he binge eats the ocean clean, factory ships gobbling up entire eco-systems, sushi trains running 24 hours a day across the world, he simultaneously weeps at the death of a handful of select fish.

You don’t want man-eating sharks owning the beach? Throw in nets.

They’re brutal.

They work.

Ask anyone on the Gold Coast. Not a single fatal attack on a netted beach in fifty years.

It might be the greatest hypocrisy of modern man that while he binge eats the ocean clean, factory ships gobbling up entire eco-systems, sushi trains running 24 hours a day across the world, he simultaneously weeps at the death of a handful of select fish.

In Western Australia, shark nets were pulled after a thirteen-week trial ’cause the public couldn’t stand the photos of the animals being dragged aboard boats and shot.

Surfers? You’re officially on your own.

Which has opened the gate to a raft of supposed repellants, deterrents, whatever you want to call ’em. The most comical is a $250 legrope outfitted with magnets.

One industry insider told us the online surf store Swell had sold 600 in a day. 

This morning, it was announced that the Western Australian-based surf clothier and surfboard maker, Rusty, was cohabiting with Shark Mitigation Systems (another WA company who, incidentally, signed Taj Burrow as ambassador in June, the day after a surfer had his leg bitten off) to make patterned surfboards.

According to The Australian,

Shark Mitigation Systems surged yesterday after announcing a partnership with international surf retailer Rusty, which will incorporate the company’s shark-deterring patterns into its surfboards.

The news saw investors dive into the small cap stock, with trading volume 10 times above average and a closing gain of 10.7 per cent to 15.5c.

In conjunction with the University of Western Australia, Shark Mitigation Systems has developed patterns for wetsuits and surfboards designed to reduce the risk of a shark attack by confusing the predator’s vision.

Researchers say recent testing conducted in South Africa showed it took, on average, 400 per cent longer for sharks to engage with their patterned wetsuits than standard black versions and, while the surfboards are not ­directly referenced in that study, the company says the science is similar.

A sharp increase in shark interactions, and subsequent media coverage, in recent years has ­significantly boosted international interest in the technology, according to Shark Mitigation Systems co-founder and director Craig Anderson.

“We’ve been talking to a number of different water apparel and water equipment companies all over the world. There are already companies offering our graphic on the bottom of their board, as a retrofit or as a custom design,” Mr Anderson told The Australian.

Rusty will offer the patterns as an option on their custom surfboards in Australia and New Zealand before widening into the company’s international distribution.

You like ’em?

Or is it more snake oil to rub on your wounds?

 

Kelly Slater: The voice of the voiceless!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The world's most famous surfer stands up for animals everywhere!

You may chortle at Kelly Slater’s overt activism but I stand and applaud his every social edict. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Like a baroque poet. And in our cynical age that is as refreshing as a cool glass of spring water.

Did you happen to see his Instagram message from two days ago praising the closure of the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus? Oh… here it is!

Hopefully this isn’t #FakeNews and people are really waking up enough to see that the enslavement, torture, and abuse animals suffer for our pleasure is no longer an acceptable norm. In fact, I would argue that all zoos and animal attractions not dedicated specifically to conservation and rehabilitation of animals should be dismantled and shut down. And I’m sure I’ll cop plenty of flack for saying that. I mean, people just gotta have their #DancingBears and Tigers jumping thru fiery hoops and Elephants doing handstands, ya know. #RinglingBrothersCircus and #Seaworld, #ByeFelicia.

And I am totally still standing and applauding but my face is also a little scrunched up. Like “Hmmm?” Because… ummmm… doesn’t shuttering all zoos and animal attractions (not dedicated specifically to conservation and rehab of animals) seem baby bathwatery?

A touch too far?

I mean… aren’t animals also and sometimes funny? I went to the Siegfried and Roy white tiger zoo thing in Las Vegas recently and the white tigers were laying about and looked very comfortable. I enjoyed looking at them and almost poking one with a stick. They seemed to enjoy being looked at and almost scratched.

Wouldn’t this world be a touch grayer without the Sig and Roy white tiger zoo thing in Las Vegas?

Or bear wrestling in Russia?

Or dancing elephants in Thailand?

Or gator goofin’ in Florida?

In conclusion, Kelly Slater is right. We, as humans, have the obligation and the duty to play with animals in any way we see fit since we beat them at evolution. We can dress them in clothing if we want or make them jump through fiery hoops and the closure of the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus, a historic institution, is a failure of the will.

It shall be missed.

Carnage: Foamies Vs. Shore Pound!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

When the wave breaks here...

If this don’t bring a smile to your crusty old grill, nothing will!

What’s more fun than seeing grown men hurled henceforth by the unkempt ferocity of four-foot shore pound? Certainly not doing it yourself, unless you enjoy the sensation of sand in every crevice and the off-chance of paralyzation.

After a personal accident at an undisclosed California shorebreak (just kidding it’s Seal Beach! A little north of Huntington! Hey Jake!), I’ve come to fear the condensed power of near-shore breaks and pretty much avoid them altogether. But that doesn’t mean I won’t watch them all day long!

You’ll notice that everyone in this video is riding a Beater. These boards may be corny but they also perfectly capture the anti-depressive nature of our sport. If you ever want to ensure a palatable surf session, take out something bright and buoyant. You won’t impress or progress but it’ll eliminate any chance of quitting surfing or worse, a cranky drive home.

When you ride a Beater or WaveStorm or something of the like, every sideways ripple becomes an opportunity for fun. You can switch stance, cheater-five, or if you’re anything like the lunatics in the video below, air-drop to imminent destruction. Best of all, snaking rules don’t apply. If someone gets mad, just throw ‘em a shaka and say something like, “Thanks for sharing the nectar vibes, my dude!”

You’re bulletproof!

Still not sand-proof, though. Remember that.

Koa Rothman Wins Backdoor Shootout!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

After riding maybe the best Pipe wave... ever!

First and foremost, let’s take a moment of silence for Koa Rothman’s Pipe bomb.

A video posted by Da Hui® (@dahui8o8) on

This ride disrupts every notion I had about tuberiding. When you pull into a wave that deep, the internal shockwave rips out the floor and brings every ounce of flesh and fiberglass along with it. That Koa somehow rode through or above that turbulence defies all laws of surfing.

The only conceivable explanation is that he got slightly airborne off the initial foamball bounce, allowing him to more or less levitate over the explosions (see 2:23 on the video below for a channel-view). I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense. No point trying to intellectualize a fluke.

Now to the event. The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout has no website, nor can I locate any concrete info on the format or scoring system across a host of surf sites. I did watch it for an hour on a random Youtube link, and here’s what I gathered:

Brands buy into the event and present a four-man team in order to compete. Those four guys surf empty Pipe together for an indeterminate number of rounds, trying to accumulate as many great rides as possible. Waves are judged on a 12-point(?) scale, and at the end of all the rounds the team scores are accumulated and a winner is decided.

This year Weedmaps captured the team win with a crew of Bruce Irons, Tyler Newton, Mason Ho and Nate Fletcher. Dirt Nasty had to miss the event for “personal reasons”.

Meanwhile, Koa Rothman nabbed the individual title and a forty-thousand dollar bank coupon. Im still unsure whether that’s based off a cumulative event score or the singular ride, but if the latter, then he’s gonna end up pocketing close to $75k for one over-sized wedge.

There’s the $40k winner’s check, the $25k Wave of the Winter prize that he’s bound to win, plus whatever sponsor kickbacks he’ll receive for editorial coverage. That would make it not only one of the best-ever Pipe rides, but maybe the most valuable single wave ever ridden.

…Warshaw?

Click below for final day highlights.  It was big and west, just how Pipe should be but rarely is.

Former co-owners argue about name!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

...in my dreams! But how will the bond 'tween Dane and Craig fare now that they are biz partners?

Still Japow. Snowing. Deep. Powder. Every morning I wake up and another foot plus buries the world. Today two feet plus I think. Mick Fanning blew it by leaving. He is going to be doubly mad next time we meet.

Very jealous. Very internally upset.

Anyhow, my surf writing has been on a big hiatus due the snow but my surf dreams have been firing! Every night I have very detailed visions of non-important surf detritus. Last night, for example, I dreamed that Dane and Craig got into it over their wonderful new brand’s name. Dane had empowered Craig to set up the Instagram account. Craig chose @luxury29.99. Dane didn’t know until people came up to him with congratulatory back pats saying, “Sick new brand. Luxury29.99 is going to smoke it!”

Dane went to Craig and said, “First rule, bro, is we need to have one name. One identity. The consumer gets confused with multiple brandings.” (this was in fact a lesson taught to Derek by Matt Biolos early on in BeachGrit‘s life when we were rolling out the Bitchy Crab as our mascot.)

Craig apologized but it was too late to change the Instagram account and then I woke up.

In real life, from my perch, the way they chose the name was collaborative and beautiful. Everyone throwing ideas at the wall until one stuck.

Moving forward, I wonder, how the friendship will fare?

Running a biz and being pals is an almost impossible task. I’ve seen the strongest bonds crushed by commerce. I hope that the two break the mold though. Surf needs a fresh perspective like almost never before. It needs Dane and Craig to shine.

Go get it boys! Go get that pow! I mean money!