Can you imagine a world where shark repellants existed? It would mean no Jaws IV: The Revenge! Christmas re-runs would never be the same!

Surprise: Shark repellents do suck!

Did you really think that magnetic band was going to save you?

I’ve got a pretty healthy relationship with sharks, I think. I avoid where the more invasive and formidable of the species live (no Byron, Western Australia, South Africa, South Oz) and choose my holidays and home town accordingly.

If I see a whaler, even a tiger, I’ll usually, but not always, exit. It depends on their trajectory. That’s because they don’t nail me to the spot with horror the way a great white does. If a white is within a mile radius I’m out… for good. Who wants to be the bloody spittle in an abominable monster’s month, screaming in unspeakable agony as it tears you apart?

Nets? I couldn’t care either way. They obviously work but who’s got the energy to debate the merits with the hysterics who claim ’em to be pointless and pointlessly cruel.

One thing that does interest me is shark repellents. Do you remember the fever when news came out years ago that a company in South Africa had developed electronic devices that had been proven to keep whites away? It felt like we’d soon have little anti-shark chips built into our boards protecting us  with invisible forcefields.

Never really happened, did it?

A few weeks ago, the Australian consumer magazine Choice tested all the shark repellents on the market, from electronic devices that cost between $US350 and $US600 to those thirty-buck magnet wristbands. The results are illuminating.

 An earlier study by the South Australian Research and Development Institute also found the device was effective in deterring great whites, but noted it didn’t ‘deter or repel this species in all situations, nor did it repel all individuals’.

For electronic devices like the Shark Shield: “While Shark Shield can deter a shark from attacking, it won’t do so every time. The most recent study of the device by scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA) found it prevented great whites and tiger sharks from attacking most of the time, but it wasn’t always effective. An earlier study by the South Australian Research and Development Institute also found the device was effective in deterring great whites, but noted it didn’t ‘deter or repel this species in all situations, nor did it repel all individuals’.” So, yeah, uh, it works, but, uh, not all the time.

Magnet wristbands: “Sharkbanz told us its device has been shown to repel a range of sharks, including bull sharks and small tiger sharks, but they don’t recommend it for deterring great whites. Shark Shocker didn’t respond to our requests for information on its testing.

“While there have been no independent studies on the Sharkbanz or Shark Shocker devices, research into using magnets to repel sharks from commercial fishing lines has generally been inconclusive as to their effectiveness.

“Dr Carl Meyer, a shark expert at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, told us that while magnets could work in theory, he isn’t convinced a small magnetic band strapped to a leg would be effective enough.”

Acoustic repellents: “Killer whales like to eat sharks, so does pretending you’re an orca stop a shark from biting you? That’s the idea behind the SharkStopper personal shark repellent, the “world’s first and only acoustic shark repellent”, due for release early this year. The device is a small plastic band that’s worn on the leg and emits a “multi-patented acoustic sound” – a blend of orca calls and a special frequency its maker says will repel sharks.

“But UWA scientists recently found orca calls had limited ability at deterring sharks in the wild. And Dr Christine Erbe, a whale vocalisation expert at Curtin University, told us that orcas live in social groups – meaning a killer whale vocalisation that works in one place, may not necessarily work elsewhere.”

Coloured surfboards: “‘White, yellow and silvery things are more likely to be approached and bitten by some shark species than blue and green things,’ says Dr Nathan Hart, a neurobiologist from Macquarie University who has studied the visual systems of sharks.

“Hart says there’s one downfall though. When viewed from directly below, a surfboard will be seen as a dark silhouette, regardless of its colour. Still, he says a darker board might reduce the risk of a shark attack from the side, and could be worth a try.”

Read more here! 

Parker: Tattoo machines and me!

Aren't your twenties all about making bad decisions?

When I was in my early twenties a number of friends bought tattoo machines. Which was terrifying. I was drinking heavily, lots of lost days and nights, and I had a recurring nightmare in which I’d drunkenly get a shitting dog tattooed on my chest.

Woke me up pulse racing a hundred times. What I remember of my dreams is usually very surreal, so the realistic ones do a good job rattling me. They always feature me running from the cops for some unspecified offense, or it’s finals day and I’m in a panic because I forgot to study.

The latter is especially fucked. It’s been over a decade since I was trapped in academia, the ol’ mind-brain needs to give me a break. On the cops one too, I’m a white upwardly mobile guy with a spotless criminal record. I’d need to kill someone to get in real trouble. Very worst case scenario, I’d be looking at three days in Kauai County Jail. Place is hardly Oz.

Been free of the tattoo nightmare for years and years.

Until last night.

The missus was talking to her brother on the phone, and he mentioned his buddy just bought a machine.

Oh, no.

Sure enough, the little bozos are scribbling all over each other.

I mean, isn’t that what your twenties are about? Making bad decisions? We live a fairly long time, ideally, so long as you don’t have any kids there aren’t a lot of dumb mistakes you can’t come back from.

I met my wife fifteen years ago, when her youngest brother was seven. Watched him grow from a spoiled little monster into a pretty cool adult. The wife says I’ve been a huge influence on him, which probably isn’t great. Not that I accept any responsibility. He’s a grown man now, he can make his own decisions.

Even if those decisions are stupid. I mean, isn’t that what your twenties are about? Making bad decisions? We live a fairly long time, ideally, so long as you don’t have any kids there aren’t a lot of dumb mistakes you can’t come back from.

Even tattoos, I guess.

Removal technology has come a long way, plenty of guys I know are getting shit scrubbed from their faces. Which is great. Tattoos are cool, I’ve got a few of my own, but I’ve never seen one on someone’s face that didn’t seem indicative of some sort of mental disorder. Like that poor kid, Antwon DixonMan, did the skate industry eat him alive or what?

I asked my brother in law to send me a picture, needed to witness what his idiocy hath wrought. I was not disappointed.

“What’s that supposed to be?”

“It’s a chick holding ice cream cones under her tits.”

“With an upside down crucifix over her box?”

“No, that’ supposed to be her pubes, shaved into one.”

“Same thing. What’s with the flying pig?”

“It’s funny. I’ve got a mole smoking a joint on my other leg.”

“Those are terrible.”

“I know, but they’re on my thighs, no one can see them. Except for girls, sometimes.”

“If the tattoos are jokes, does that make your dick the punchline?”

justin tattoo

Witness: The Dawn of Mayhem!

Matt "Mayhem" Biolos is an artist at the height of his powers.

Matt “Mayhem” Biolos today is Lou Reed in 1967. He is Takeshi Murakami in 2000. He is Hedi Slimane in 2002 and Greg Louganis in 1988 and Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1864 and Paul Bocuse in 1975 and Sir Isaac Newton in 1666.

He is an artist at the height of his powers.

And if you have never owned a Matt Biolos board you you will kick yourself in 25 years for missing out just like our parents kick themselves today for not buying Apple stock in 1980 for $22 a share. Of course you could get a custom shaped thing but why wait? His boards, off the rack, are as delicious as any. He is that good and your surfing will shine when guided by the brushstrokes of his hand.

You think I am prone to over-exaggeration? You think that Pac-Sun bought …Lost and BeachGrit and Futures fins and is driving an ill-conceived, poorly executed piece of advertorial down your open throat? Shame on you! Shame indeed!

(Dear Pac-Sun…I can’t speak for my wonderful friends at …Lost or Futures but let me introduce BeachGrit! We are as fun as we are fresh, anti-depressive to the core, and would make a lovely counterpart to the rest of your online surf wear sales business…)

I am not exaggerating at all! Matt’s boards are a revelation and maybe it is because he makes them for you and me and himself. He makes them for the average and then scales them for his stars. And maybe it is good that you waited, if you have never owned, because today is a new day and he in unveiling a new technology. Carbon Wrap! What makes Carbon Wrap so good? Let’s ask the master!

Why should we care about carbon wraps? Real talk!

Honestly, I fell in love with these boards when I first laid eyes and, immediately thereafter,  feet on. The combination of EPS foam and epoxy resin has long been a lively pairing for greater-strength-to-weight ratio surfboards, featuring a lively pop in small to moderate surf. The benefits of carbon re-enforcements versus the old wooden stringer have already proven popular, and fairly easily felt under the foot of intermediate to expert, and even professional surfers. What Dan MacDonald (the inventor of CW) came up with that is so unique is the carbon bands create an engineered flex focused just in front of the fins. This is the magic of CarbonWrap. The tail, under the pressure of the surfers’ feet and G-forces in the wave, loads up and snaps back with astonishing bursts of speed. Combined with the light, and relatively high strength-to-weight ratio, construction of EPS foam and epoxy resin, and a composite of multiple direction layers and weaves of fiberglass and carbon fiber, these boards are electric underfoot. There was a solid five years of hard core RnD that went into Carbon Wrap before  we got involved. Dan’s stroke of genius, The Wrap, had been through many incarnations. We got involved about 18 months ago. We began to build dozens of boards for athletes (and for myself and my crew of Domesticated RnD guys) and refined all aspects of the construction. Sure, the WCT might not jump all over it. It’s not necessarily about them. The thing about CarbonWrap is that it most benefits the average surfer. In small-to-moderate surf, it feels like it  does the work for you. Almost like pedaling one of those electric assisted bicycles up a hill.

What’s the smackdown, price-wise?

The boards are between $750.00 and $800.00 in the US with the price being right about the same but adjusted to Australian dollars in Australia.

What’s the difference, in layman terms, tween Hayden’s FF and the carbon wraps?

Look, Hayden really pioneered bringing this genre of construction to the global surf market. Before him, these boards were more on the niche side of board building. He broke down the door and figured how to take them to the global market. I was there. He made multiple trips to southern California , stayed at my house and introduced me to his construction. We traveled to Japan and built hundreds of those things in Chiba together.

That said, the way Carbon Wrap is engineered, with the carbon bands beginning at the nose, slowly splaying outward towed the tail then strategically “wrapping ” the rails and becoming a perfectly positioned tail patch, it’s is easy to see that the flex is engineered in a more focused and specific way. We also added the fused carbon strip in the deck which gives a little extra push-back and projection forward under the front foot and encourages the deck to eventually cave in and resemble that of your foot’s arch, and a standard wooden-stringer board, rather than having the entire deck caving in, rail to rail.  

For you, me, real life surfers, not Kolohe etc, what diff is it going to make?

Listen. Although our WQS team is raving about CW, and using them in comps, as well as re-ordering more of them the time, I honestly feel that these boards will in fact make a bigger “diff” for guys like us, than the top surfers. Surfing a already easy for them! We are just supplying  a board to help make surfing more fun, and hopefully somewhat easier, for the the real life surfer.

Go and get one now. And get one with a Futures box. Their fins smash those poorly engineered, poorly advertised FCS things. 11 Championship Tour Wins wins in 11 Championship Tour tries (2015). Who wants to surf like they are part of the World Surf League? Not John John Florence and he is even part of the World Surf League!

THE DAWN OF MAYHEM from Lost Video Productions on Vimeo.

Have you heard? There might be a new Brazilian champ in town! No, not you Gabby...Italo! Italo Ferreira!
Have you heard? There might be a new Brazilian champ in town! No, not you Gabby...Italo! Italo Ferreira!

Rumor: Mick Fanning picks Italo!

Could last year's ROY be this year's champ? Mick Fanning allegedly says "Yes!"

Some rumors here are ironclad. “Rumor” in name only, as it were. Others are a bit flimsier. Whispers floating on warm winds. This is one of the later but too juicy to keep all to my lonesome!

Get a load of this! Apparently, a brand executive overheard your three time world champ Mick “White Lightening” Fanning mention, ahead of this year’s Snapper kickoff, who stood the best chance to win the 2016 World Surf League World Title. His answer included three Brazilians, which should come as no surprise, but what may shock is that the leader, potential winner, first time World Champ was none other than…

Your most recent Rookie-of-the-Year Italo Ferreira!

And maybe it shouldn’t shock. The young Brazilian came storming out of nowhere to end his inaugural season number seven in the world. He surfed all sorts of waves, from playful beachbreak to thundering reefy barrels, with aplomb. He had style. He showed class. Surfing’s great historian Matt Warshaw even calls him, “My main man” and also says, “I’m Italo’s biggest, oldest fan.”

Let’s ask Matt right now if he thinks an Italo victory is possible!

(You can read a Zach Weisberg paragraph while we wait for Matt to respond!)

If you don’t feel your perspective is represented, or you disagree with something you read, don’t get mad. You can participate! Lo and behold, this is the only placethat will embrace you with open arms. That was largely the reason this thing started. If you think we disagree, you might be right. But we might run it anyway. Just email us. Our editorial team will have a look, provide feedback, and if your submission seems like a good fit, a million plus people might read it.

A million plus people might read The Inertia? Wow! But let’s head back over to Italo. Do you think he has a shot? Would you love to see him raise the cup after Pipeline? Is it possible not to love Italo?

(You can read another Zach Weisberg paragraph while thinking up your response!)

And that’s an ongoing challenge for media: indulging the ability to criticize influencers while maintaining a positive working relationship. But that’s something for me to worry about. Not you. I’ll walk that line, take the beatings on both sides, and do my best to figure out a way to make our most valuable stakeholders happy. But, as they say, you can’t please everyone. That doesn’t end well.

Zach takes the beatings on both sides? Wow!

5 Dumb Questions to Ask Pro Surfers!

Can I have your board? Can I tell you about my experiences with concave?

I won’t even begin to pretend that, at various points in my career, I haven’t felt overwhelmed, subjugated, under spell, by high-end pro surfers.

It’s a fame thing. I get it. I see it.

The way a pro surfer will swing in to my little town and his acolytes will follow, always arranged in a subconscious hierarchy in a line as they march to a bar, to a restaurant, the number one pal half-a-step behind the pro star, number five at the back of the pack. The way their heads are turned away when the dinner bill comes and the high-end pro surfer, depending upon his generosity rating, either discreetly slips his card into the leather billfold or uselessly searches for…someone… to make a token gesture at payment.

Can you imagine being surrounded by yes-men and dumb, beautiful girls who’ll fall into a deep squat just because of your fame, even if you’re paunchy and charmless. No one but the famous can appreciate the power of true harlotry.

But, as life ain’t all cake, fame isn’t always singing with seduction and worship.

Can you imagine the dumb, intrusive questions y’have to live with?

Small price, sure, and yes if only, but tell me you would be worn thin if, every day, every contest you were asked:

Can I have your board? 

I travel as what is loosely termed a “journalist” on surf trips. Sometimes I have to write something, sometimes shoot a film, sometimes I just surf and observe. And, every single day, a pro will have someone engage ‘em in conversation, be all pally, and, before you know it… can I have your board? Who asks such a thing? Would you walk up to Leo Decap and say, nice 100-foot boat, can I have? Yeah, I get that pros get free boards, and most ‘em do leave most of ‘em around the world, for kids, for the families they stay with, but why would they wanna give away a sled to someone who was non-existent in their lives five minutes previous? Say what you want about pros, but I’m always amazed by their patience, by their kindness in refusal.

Is that a single-double concave into a slight vee through the tail? 

It ain’t a secret that light concaves and vee through the tail are invisible to everyone except shapers in fluorescent-lit shaping bays. But, when you’re a pro surfer, everyone wants to talk design. They’ll grab your board, spin it on its side, run a cupped hand along the rail, say things like: Blockier than I thought. Or, I’m guessing this is 32 litres. How much do you weigh? And, most painfully, the fan will engage in deep philosophical discussion about the merits of single and double concave and vee in the tail, and how it has impacted upon their own surfing.

Can I have a tail-pad? 

I know one pro surfer, helluva of a guy, helluva surfer, and he says how difficult it is to stop his pals from raiding every tail-pad delivery. Think about it. A high-end pro mows through a hundred or so boards a year. That’s a real big box of pads. Now imagine all the times he gets asked for one of his tail-pads. My pal says he always ends up buying at least half-a-dozen at 60 bucks a shot. I know, don’t feel sorry for the millionaire sonofabitch. But, fuck.

Who are you sponsored by? 

There he stands, our dazzling hero, in head to thong Billabong, with VonZipper glasses, wearing a Nixon watch and holding a surfboard that confirms his employers.

Do you have a wife-girlfriend? 

The dumbest question! No!