Popular Surf Charter Skipper Drowns in Mentawais

Diving accident kills Paul "Benny" Benbow…

Freediving is one helleva game. No tanks, no noise. Just a gutful of air and a kick downwards. It appeals to the strongest and the fittest. Men and gals who can hit a hundred feet on a lungful of air, chasing fish, chasing thrills.

But it’s a game of cat and mouse.

A technique used before a free-dive is to hyperventilate, washing as much carbon dioxide out of your system as you can. The body is such a finely calibrated machine that your urge to breathe is triggered by a build of CO2 in the bloodstream. Hyperventilate and this reflex is reduced. You won’t get that panicked build-up, the screaming of your body to… breathe… now… but you risk a sudden unconsciousness. No warning. No flash. One second you’re kicking, the next you’re  not.

When it happens at a depth of five metres of less it’s called a shallow-water blackout. So close to the surface you feel like you can reach out and touch the hull of your boat.

South Australian surfer and skipper of Mentawai charter boat Huey, Paul “Benny” Benbow 36, died in a diving accident while spearfishing near Lances Right two days ago.

Was it a shallow-water blackout? Who knows.

But diving without air at 60 or 100 feet ain’t a joke.

In 2001, the Santa Cruz big-wave surfer and free-diver Jay Moriarity died of a shallow-water blackout in the Maldives (Click here)

… and hundreds before and after.

By all accounts, Benny was a fine surfer and a popular skipper.

Learn about the dangers of shallow-water blackouts here.


Julian Wilson: “The boys go mad on it!”

#tournotes is Fiji, of course. Come whet your whistle!

It is time for another gorgeous #tournotes. It is the World Surf League’s most enjoyable 3.50 minutes!

Do you wish you could be in Tavarua right now? Do you wish you could surf perfect waves in very warm water? Do you wish you were Brazilian and on the cusp of total world domination? Do you wish you could pitch with both your left hand and your right hand? The Oakland A’s just called up right hander/left hander Pat Venditte. He is the first pitcher in 20 years to throw both ways.

Venditte entered in the seventh inning, with Red Sox organist Josh Kantor playing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” He had thrown warmup pitches with his right hand, then switched to his left to face lefty Brock Holt.

After Holt grounded out to first, Venditte put his glove on his left hand and pitched to righty Hanley Ramirez, who singled on the second pitch. Then, still pitching with his right arm, he got righty Mike Napoli to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Venditte also pitched a perfect eighth, allowing only Ramirez’s hit and no runs with one strikeout in the A’s 4-2 loss.

(As reported by ESPN.com)

G-MAC: “Big Mama’s out there!”

Nazare and the gift that keeps on giving...

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News
It is always thrilling when national news organizations dip their toes into our li’l pond and, last night,  we had ABC’s Nightline covering Garrett McNamara’s quest for “Big Mama.”

Big Mama? That is the name G-Mac has given to his perfect wave. Of course, Big Mama lives off Nazare, Portugal and she is going to be not only big but perfect. 100 feet! “You’ll know her when you see her…” Garrett Says.

ABC’s roving reporter, Alex Marquardt, loves adjectives and mixing his metaphors (he should get a job with the WSL) but we are still very much thrilled by the visit. Garrett is Capt’n Ahab. Big Mama is the White Whale. Death, of course, looms and a handsome young fisherman explains that people die. When the reporter gets driven through the waves on the back of Garrett’s jetski to get a sense of “how big they are” it truly amazes. From his GoPro angle they seem 3-4+ feet.

And then things hit the fucking fan. Garrett and Alex are knocked off the ski! But it is ok because Alex gets a good selfie-stick angle walking up the beach totally nonplussed.

Does Garrett get his Big Mama? I will not spoil the ending.
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Just in: Hawaiians don’t like aloha

Neither do Asian-Americans.

There is a new Cameron Crowe film in theaters and many people are mad but mostly Asian-Americans/Hawaiians and anyone who has paid to see it in theaters. Crowe is famous for youth zeitgeist films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything and Singles. He is also famous for Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous.

But his new film is raising all sorts of hackles with Asian-Americans/Hawaiians. It is called Aloha and, as near as I can tell, is set in Oahu and stars Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray and Emma Stone as Allison Ng.

That is why Asian-Americans are mad. Ng is a Vietnamese last name. Emma Stone looks like this:


Guy Aoki, president of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, said: “It’s so typical for Asian or Pacific Islanders to be rendered invisible in stories that we’re supposed to be in, in places that we live . . . We’re 60 percent of the population (in Hawaii). We’d like them to reflect reality.”

Walter Ritte, Hawaiian activist, said, “They’re taking our sacred word and they are going to make a lot of money off it.”

The movie is, apparently, not good and has only made 14 million dollars of a 37 million dollar budget so “they” are actually taking a sacred word and losing a lot of money off it.


How does Tavarua actually work?

Let a real expert walk you through...

Many professional surfers could explain the reefs that surround this magical island and swell direction and etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

But why not Laird? Back when the WSL was called the ASP he did! Come sit at his weathered feet and be the smartest man in the room once the Fiji Pro gets underway.