Opinion: Shark researchers suck!

But what a career!

Playing puppetmaster to the most feared creature in the world… what’s not to love about being a shark researcher?

You get to go out on boats, marvel in the majesty of nature, lure giant beasts into your trap, sew sophisticated little beepers into their guts and then, in a gesture of environmental magnanimity unprecedented in human history, let them go.

Later, back at the lab, you can sit there with your feet on the desk, watching as your pets swim from one surf beach to the next, reassuring yourself that human casualties from your little lovelies are statistically insignificant, especially to the majority of people who don’t even go in the ocean.

And it’s those masses of people, you know, who are lathering your fresh sourdough in Echire. As long as you maintain the rage against “human intervention” in the environment, and never miss an opportunity to emphasise the urgency for more research, your career is guaranteed.

And what a career!

You can condescendingly dismiss people who, in their ignorance, are stupid enough to fear being eaten alive! You will be revered by misanthropes who believe every species on Earth is better, more virtuous and wonderful than humans! Politicians will throw money at your proposals, secure in the knowledge that green money is well spent!

Never mind that your tagging operations are in fact a form of “human intervention” that has dubious results. Environmentalists are never bothered by facts, as long as they dig the vibe of what you’re doing.

And try not to dwell too long on those tags that disappear as soon as they are attached to a shark. Like refugees drowning on their way to Australia, these are the unseen, and therefore acceptable, costs of being seen to care.

Those wonderful, majestic, powerful, awesome sharks that swam away, never to be heard from again. Did they die?

Were they deprived of food because their prey were forewarned of their presence by the very tag you attached?

Did the tag cause them irritation and infection, and possibly kill them?

Best not to think too much about that. But even if those outcomes are correct, that you did contribute to the death of your beloved apex predators, then surely they died knowing that your research was helping them survive.

For more on Australia’s extensive, expensive and mostly futile shark tagging programs, click here…

Sana'a, Yemen and random Saudi death from above.
Sana'a, Yemen and random Saudi death from above.

Travel: “Saudi Arabia is a total shit-bag!”

I'm back from the Middle East with a head screwed on all wrong!

Reality veers sharply to the left, in Islamic lands and I forgot how much I love that. It has been two weeks since I’ve flipped open a computer or typed a word. Two weeks since checking the surf or surf gossip or responding to emails. Two glorious weeks.

I set off, if you recall, to free a boat from civil war torn Yemen and sail her up the Red Sea with two of my best friends. Thirteen years earlier, the three of us explored the coast of Yemen, from one end to the other. I had been back multiple times since, motorcycling one end to the other, driving a gorgeously beat Land Rover one end to the other, driving a clunky Land Cruiser one end to the other. These days, though, one cannot even fly one end to the other. Planes veer sharply to the left, following the new reality, upon leaving Oman and circle as far as they can off the coast before jerking back to their proper heading over Africa. Al-Qaeda, who have taken over the eastern half of the country, have ground-to-air missiles apparently and have them aimed at passengers in the skies.

The plane I was on, anyhow, landed first in Ethiopia and then Djibouti, at the mouth of the Red Sea and the adventure began. I had only a vague notion of Yemen’s civil war in full swing just 90 miles across the Bab al Mandab. I knew a tribe in the north had taken the country’s inland capital, Sana’a, which invoked a wild response from Saudi Arabia. They invaded and bombed with feckless abandon. Like commercial aircraft, Saudi pilots fear the missile so loose payloads very high in the sky. Much too high to accurately target, thus thousands of women and children have been killed. In the south, it is open revolt and Al-Qaeda owns the east.

And the water? It belongs to the Saudis too. They have used their navy to stop arms, food, etc. from reaching the tribes, Al-Qaeda, whomever. Did you know that the Saudi’s spend the third most on their military in the entire world? The United States, first, China, second, Saudi Arabia, third. 87 billion dollars a year. Almost twice the per capita spending of the US, by far more and away the most in the world. Completely and utterly crazy.

A version of garbage Islam that tells them because they are male they are superior and because they are Saudi they are superior and because they are rich they are loved by Allah. Little powdered sugar pieces of shit. And these are the fools running the country today.

Saudi is a total shit bag, in case you were wondering. A human slough. When I used to spend my time in the region I remember seeing Saudis and their goddamn boys and the boys were almost always eating powdered sugar donuts. Powdered sugar dusted their fat cheeks and their fat white man dresses and their black wedge sandals and it would have been impossible to draw up a more reprehensible human being. Those fat powdered sugar boys had entitled sissy ass shit bred directly into their genes. A version of garbage Islam that tells them because they are male they are superior and because they are Saudi they are superior and because they are rich they are loved by Allah. Little powdered sugar pieces of shit. And these are the fools running the country today. These are the powdered sugar dusted leaders spending 87 billion dollars a year on dangerous toys. The Saudis don’t usually/never fight in wars and so trillions of dollars worth of military plane, boat, gun and bomb is being dropped on their poor, oil-less southern neighbor.

The drop in global oil price, though, is straining the kingdom’s financial flexibility and the ill-advised Yemen war against no true enemy is burning resources. It is becoming what Vietnam became to the U.S. What Afghanistan became to the U.S.S.R.

The country is also burdened by crippling unemployment because the powdered sugar boys don’t want to work. They want to sit home and get paid oil revenue simply for being Saudi.

But the leaders have a plan, one they released while I was sweating in Djibouti’s unforgiving clime (Djibouti is the hottest country on earth). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s way forward, called Vision 2030, is, in part, to build gun factories that will employ its children. Brilliant.

Anyhow look at me, veering sharply to the left with this story, into the economics and social realities of Saudi Arabia. A country with no surf. I’ve become what a very small, dark Djiboutienne man called, “a true Arab.” What he meant by that, I think, is a person who blathers on and on and on both endlessly and pointlessly. Tomorrow I’ll come correct and we shall talk pirates and running naval blockades but today, thank you for having me back. I missed you all.

surfer house
Two-and-a-half acres of beautifully wooded Australian bushland, near a ton of waves of very good quality? And a fifty-foot pool? Five bedrooms? Retreats hither and yon? You could get lost forever!

Gimme: Quik CEO’s $4 Mill House!

It's divine! Near Bells, if that's your thing, but better waves even closer!

There hasn’t been a surf brand loved more than the iconic Quiksilver. It came from nothing in 1969, grew to a couple of billion dollars a year, and then last year, fell into the arms of private equity firm Oaktree after chapter 11 bankruptcy.

You’d be a humourless nag to list the decisions that put the company in such a bind, but let’s just say, throwing half-a-billion dollars at a brand and selling it a few years later for less than fifty doesn’t help the bottom line.

Anyway, it’s not all tears. And, maybe it doesn’t surprise, but some people (though not always creditors) did very well out of the brand.

Craig Stevenson aka Pinhead, a surfer from a Victoria with a penchant for shooting rhinos on the south coast, was CEO of Quiksilver, Global prez, all sorts of dazzling titles, until his sudden departure with a seven hundred thousand dollar payout three years ago.

Now, his Jan Juc home, near Bells, but closer to better waves, is for sale, four mill-plus, if you’re wondering, an amount that makes it the most expensive house in the area.

Want to do a walk around? Click here. 

According to the literature accompanying the sale, the house is,

“Set on 2.5 acres (app) and positioned in Jan Jucs most tightly held and exclusive street address, this beautiful retreat will suit those who value their privacy while enjoying the highest standards of coastal living.

“The substantial 5 bedroom residence takes full advantage of its elevated position with a stunning coastline view towards Port Philip Heads. This rare and beautiful north easterly outlook was carefully planned for to take full advantage of the morning sun while providing the majority of the large holding with shelter from the colder prevailing southerly winds. Taking full advantage of this sheltered aspect, the residence has enormous north facing decking, significant lawn areas and a beautiful 18m pool and spa that all get regularly utilised. The property has been held in the same family for over 30 years with the residence extensively renovated under the guidance of architect Zarinan Gurrie in 2002. Practically, the property has fulfilled its role of housing a large family over an extended period very well. With 6 living spaces and 4 bathrooms plus accommodation in 5 bedrooms, the residence allows everyone to find their space. There are 2 separate studios on site to also assist this plus substantial storage in place to house even the largest surfboard collection.”

Offers close May 23.

Hayden Cox
The noted Australian shaper Hayden Cox, performs live on FB! | Photo: @haydenshapes

Watch: Hayden Cox Shape Live!

Watch a board designed, shaped and glassed in response to Facebook fan comments…

Earlier today, the noted shaper Hayden Cox designed a board entirely from viewer feedback via his and the WSL’s Facebook pages.

Crowdsourced, yes, one of those vulgar crowdfunded things that either don’t happen or they don’t work? No.

I got a little confused on the dates, couldn’t find it on the WSL site (Facebook live event only) and so I missed part one whereupon thousands of WSL fans (averaging 4000 viewers during the event) threw their opinion at Hayden.

I called him just after he’d wrapped (“I was real nervous a couple of hours ago) and he says it wasn’t high-performance shorties the gang was chasing nor fishes. The consensus was for something in between.

Given the outright contractions of surfboard design and the insane number of variables, the board ended up being a five-foot-eight-inch twin-fin with a winged swallow tail, thirty litres in volume, neither high nor low fidelity, not overly wide or thick in the nose, but, then, straighter in the rocker for a fast, stable platform.

Through the nose is a displacement hull or what Hayden calls an “aggressive double concave. It penetrates the water surface and feeds the water through the board. It softens that slapping feeling you get on a flat bottom. Makes it forgiving and smooth. Allows a little more volume up forward, too.”

Hayden is thrilled the world is watching him graft ideas onto foam. “I’m passionate about shaping, I love design, and I love technology. And the really cool thing about surfing is that there are no formal boundaries. In most other sports there are boundaries on equipment: baseball bats, golf clubs, Formula One cars. In surfing, you can ride what you want and it’s up to you to interpret that and surf a wave with excitement.”

Let’s examine!

Tomorrow the board is spat out of the shaping machine and Hayden steps in to clean up the rough spots. The day after we get the laminating process. Is the little twin going to get his patented Futureflex-epoxy combo or something a little more traditional?

Depends on you. Light up the comments.

Tune in here at eight am in Australia, three pm on the West Coast US, real late in England.

And, in case y’asking, a Craig Anderson refined twin-fin is going to become part of the Hayden Shapes lineup later in the year.

monk seal attack

Hero: Man Attacks Pregnant Monk Seal!

What's not to love?

Does the well publicized beaching of a whale corpse at Trestles this past week foreshadow a coming apocalypse?

Are aquatic mammals re-evolving?

Will they learn to once again live on the land, usher in a new era of terror?

Can we expect a dark future rife with oppression at the hands of our cetacean overlords, their every whim enforced by an army of jack booted pinnipeds?

At least one Kauai man believes so. Nineteen-year-old Shiloh Akuna was arrested Thursday after footage of his heroic effort to return a monk seal interloper to her watery realm surfaced on social media.

The seal in question, a seventeen-year-old pregnant female, is infamous in local waters. Given to lounging about all day on the beach and slutting it up with all comers, her very presence is indicative of Hawaii’s welfare queen mentality.

An all encompassing sense of entitlement that pervades our entire endemic seal population, sure to lead to all out interspecies warfare once the humpbacks return next year.

Currently facing up to five years in prison for his efforts on our behalf, Akuna’s imprisonment is a miscarriage of justice on the order of Eugene V Debs.

A true hero, a man willing to suffer for the greater good despite whatever harsh treatment he may face.