Murdered trees, stale news, obscene print bills, waste, waste, waste…
It's the winter of the shark! Another attack, this time at Black Beach Head, near Forster…
Just off the wire: a man in his sixties, David Quinleven, was belted by a shark an hour ago at Black Head Beach, Hallidays Point, near Forster on the NSW mid-North Coast. The man was knocked off his surf-ski close to shore and his leg “bitten to the bone”.
A helicopter flew him to John Hunter hospital in the nearby city of Newcastle (Hello Craig Ando! Hello Ryan Callinan!).
Two surfers have died and two’ve been severely injured in the region in the last year.
It struck me as ironic that the attack came on the same day the writer Fred Pawle had a piece in Australia’s only national newspaper calling for some kind of management of shark numbers. And by sharks, ol Mr White-y, mostly.
Considering the timing, and because nothing is quite as satisfying as an immediate I-told-you-so, I asked Fred to write a piece on why the protection of sharks is no more than a piece of moral grandstanding.
This is what he came back with:
The arguments in defence of sharks were always cliches: It’s their home. They’re majestic creatures. They’re apex preadators. And, paradoxically, more sharks are killed by people than vice versa.
I hope the parasites who study these things, pat them on the head, and set them free to continue their carnage on surfers are experiencing the opposite response.
Even as the titles are murdered one by one, I nurse their bleeding corpses…
Print is dead is the clarion call from…everywhere.
If you’re reading this now you are more than likely part of the problem. Hand in the air, I’m guilty, too.
Transworld Surf, gone. Waves, gone. Who’s next?
When I was a grommet, my pay was on a Thursday and in cash. I would bolt straight to the mall to buy some music but, more importantly, to check the shelves of the local newsagents hoping to see the latest issue of one of the half-dozen surf-mags I would regularly buy. Inhaling every word and flicking though the photos of my heroes and the waves they surfed over and over until another new magazine replaced the last.
But then I grew up and the magazines didn’t.
Twenty years on and now living in a small coastal town, I’m completely out of the loop of the printed world. The town has one bitter newsagent that hates surfers and only stocks couple of random titles (Well, hates us local surfers… We voted against a WQS coming to our fair shores thus denying him and the rest of the town-folk millions in surf-tourist dollars they thought would follow the event).
So I have decided to buck the current click-bait trend and subscribe to not one but two surf magazines. Two!
What kinda mindset drives a man to pay something that comes for free?
It goes like this: when websites disappear so does the content held within. In 20, I’m not going to pull out my old laptop from 2015 from the boxes in the rafters of my garage and browse though the hallowed historic online pages of BeachGrit like I do with my collection of old surf mags.
But if you’re going to pay for a magazine, which one(s) should you buy?
If I was a real journalist and not a lazy plumber, I’d spend spend days researching the current surf magazines titles available, the pro’s and cons of each respective mag’s editorial staff, cover-costs, the merits of monthly vs bi-monthly, the quality of each mag’s staff photographers.
Screw… that! How long is that going to take, a week?
So I’m passing it onto you our dear reader to help a brother out…
Whats out there? What would you choose?
Can you ride waves up to 6 ft big? Get ready for fame!
You are never going to be a World Surf League champion. You are never going to win a WQS event or even a Junior. You were not built with stellar DNA and that is ok. Neither was I. But guess what? We could BOTH of us possibly win the Salt Life Food Shack Florida Big Wave Challenge!
Surfing Magazine’s famed Jimmicane filled me in on this little gem being run out of Florida where the biggest wave ridden during a three month period, in state, gets you 5k and laid and that’s right. You and I standing shoulder to shoulder with Makua Rothman and Greg Long as balls-to-the-walls hellmen. You and I winking at Keala Kennelly and her death defying Teahupo’o drops.
“That Chopes was heavy, eh KK?” We could say.
“Yes.” She might respond.
“Well, I know how it feels, babe. I stroked in to a six foot bomb off New Smyrna a couple days ago. Sand bottom. Gnarly. My bro almost couldn’t duck dive it but it’s cool, he made it out the back. The thing was almost over my head…”
And how impressed would she be?
The rules are simple. Ride and photo/video your Florida bomb between July 15 and Nov 1. Get laid.
The WSL's #1 commentator cuts through the bull!
It all happened so fast! In just one dazzling year, the carrot-haired former sparring partner of Shane Dorian, one of the leaders of the so-called Momentum Generation, has become the number one voice in surfing.
It isn’t hard to see why. Those liquorice lips hurling blaxploitation and early hip-hop smilies, actual recent-ish tour experience and a candour that, to use a slightly spicy American idiom, “cuts through the bull.”
Ross Williams is the WSL’s own Marv Albert, but without the same ability to pair heels and dress.
Today I asked Ross for a post-Tahiti rub down. It’s an email interview, as these things tend to be these days, so I couldn’t say things like, “You’re full of shit! Pour another drink!” to create some kinda rapport.
Two important points emerged: one, Julian will most likely win the world title and, two, Gabriel’s ass is fried…
BeachGrit: What was the most significant, moment, for you, in Tahiti?
Ross: Jeremy’s win was really cool. It was nice to see his hard work pay off. From a year ago with his incident at J-Bay evoking punishment in the form of watching Tahiti unfold right in front of him – that event being one of, if not the, best events of all time at his personal favorite location. That situation lit a serious fire inside to not only appreciate his “job”, but to embrace the opportunity to compete at his personal best. Now he’s come full circle with his steady comeback trail in competing and rebounded from his life-changing injury just prior to this year’s South Africa event. Considering all of that, it has to be one of the most impressive wins in surfing history.
BeachGrit: Adriano leads the ratings. What chance do you think he has of winning the world title?
Ross: Obviously Adriano has a good chance. Leading now and heading into three events where he can win let alone get solid results. That being said, momentum is a funny thing and it’s currently not on his side. He’s one of the hardest working guys in the game and his approach is so comprehensive.
BeachGrit: Trestles, France, Portugal, Hawaii. All I can think of is Gabriel, Gabriel, Gabriel, Gabriel. Give me your thoughts on a beautiful last-minute title defence for the reigning champ?
Ross: Gabriel has found his 2014 self. It went missing for a minute, but he’s back to his normal status of not just winning heats, but smashing them. I think he’s dug himself too big of a hole to win the title, but he will be in the Top 5 no problem which is a commendable follow-up year.
BeachGrit: How’s Kelly looking right now? What’s working, what’s not?
Ross: Kelly is ripping. He’s a bit preoccupied with his business adventures, but he’s still definitely surfing at a level that’s good enough to win events. If he can clean up the mini-blunders and keep his wave-catching rhythm throughout an entire event, he can still win. If he manages to get in the hunt by year’s end, he will be without a doubt the favorite at Pipe.
BeachGrit: Filipe, like Gabriel, is going to go crazy in these last few events. What kinda shot has he got? What might stand in his way?
Ross: I’m curious how he’ll bounce back at Lowers. Now that he’s had a couple slices of humble pie, I hope he continues his swagger-like approach. He’s so confident on those kinds of waves that he achieves two things at once: his opponent is baffled and he believes in himself enough to not fall on huge moves where most tighten up. Mentally, this is power that he needs to maintain to do well.
BeachGrit: Name, for me, the final eight surfers at Trestles…
Ross: Filipe, Julian, mick, Kelly, Owen, Adriano, John John and Gabriel. Not sure if it’s possible with seeding and the draw but you get the drift.
BeachGrit: It’s early, early, this I know, but give me three names coming to Pipe as the world title contenders.
Ross: Mick, Julian and Owen
BeachGrit: And who will win?
Ross: I’ll go out on a limb and say Julian. He’s looking razor sharp this year. Arguably the toughest year in a long time to determine who will win though. It’s a total toss up. Kelly, ADS, Owen and Filipe still have a shot.
(Now let’s watch Ross at his heady peak!)