great white

Sharks: “A Town in Anguish!”

How did a 70-click stretch of coast become ground zero for Great White shark attacks?

You hardly need me to remind you that the little stretch of coast from Evans Head to Byron has become ground zero for Great White attacks, an honour Cape Town and Margaret River were thrilled to relinquish. A potentially lucrative upshot if you’ve got a dive biz for thrill seekers or if you’re a surgeon specialising in combat wounds; not so great if you surf or if you’ve got little kids who like to catch a couple of reforms on their foamies.

In the past couple of years there’s been eleven attacks, two fatal, and innumerable near-misses on the seventy-click stretch. Nightmarish attacks. A swimmer killed in knee-deep water near the Pass by a Great White. A surfer killed by a Great White after it ripped off both his legs. 

Here’s a timeline of recent hits. 

Anyway, the government is about to drop nets and, good god, the you should see the weeping from the snowflakes who view it as the extermination of an entire species. You’d think kittens were being throttled in front of their mothers.

The reporter and surfer Fred Pawle has taken an active interest in the events and the public’s response. And, this week in The Australian, he presents a six-part series, with video, that provides the most comprehensive reporting yet on the saga.

In today’s episode, The Families, moms talk about spending every day shivering with fear that a husband or a kid’s going to end up in a box. And, as summed up by the shaper Phil Myers.

I’m just worried about my kids and my friends’ kids,” he says.”The mood in the water is a lot different. You don’t just paddle out and look for the waves and sit around and chat and everything. Everyone’s sort of looking this way, that way and up and down the beach, or you know, waiting for the helicopter to come over.”

Myers knew the region had changed when he went surfing at Shelly Beach one day in late 2014. “I was just out on my board, talking to some of my son’s mates, and I turned around and this thing came around behind me,” he says. “I was only 50 yards off the beach. And it laid beside me and I sort of sat on my board and looked at the tail, and then looked right along it. It was like a front of a jet, with these huge pectoral fins sticking out and this great big pointed nose.

“I just turned around the guys and said, ‘There’s a fucking white pointer down here, sitting right beside me’.”

A few months later, Tadashi Nakahara, a father and local surfer, was attacked and killed at the same beach. “It was like they arrived overnight,” Myers says. “It’s just not normal, mate. It’s not normal.”

Upcoming episodes include: The Conservationists, The Surfers, The Politics and Science, The Business Owners and Solutions. A new ep every day from today until Saturday.

Watch: A scandalous dance!

No! Not Gabriel Medina in his bathroom again! Something good!

There is something about cold not good waves that turns me on, visually. Maybe because I grew up in cold not good waves and know the struggle, intimately. Maybe because cold not good is often striking and picturesque. Maybe because… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a personal kink.

Whatever the case, I very much like this short film starring Zakary Grey by Howard Groves is just the thing. A little funny acting, a little fun voice over, a lot cold not good waves.

The best!

Mason Ho Padang
Watch the king of vaudeville take his Voodoo Child act through Indonesia.

Inspect: A Mason Ho Model Surfboard!

Ride a surfboard model approved by the king of shuck and jive!

Ain’t it weird that, until today, Mason Ho didn’t have a pro model board, a situation that would never happen in the personality-driven sports of skate and snowboarding.

I doubt there’s a surfer under thirty who isn’t transfixed by Mason Ho’s vaudeville shucks and jives, contortions, magic tricks and highly diverse turns. Who wouldn’t want to ride what he’s riding?

Today it was very loudly announced in the surf ghetto of San Clemente that…dada!… you can now buy a Mason Ho model. It’s called Voodoo Child (naturally), has an eighties beak-y nose (of course), a real flat rocker through the nose for that oowee-let’s-get-going speed but curved as all hell through the exhaust and a double concave in the deck to give it the foot-well feeling of a collapsing deck. Think: a hot-rod dressed up in retro chic.

Watch Mason on his fleet of Voodoo Childs here.

(And click here to inspect the finer details, dimensions etc)

WSL partner promotes animal cruelty!

Is the World Surf League suggesting that dreams lead to death?

I watched two minutes and fifteen seconds of Sunset Beach today and happened to catch the newest Samsung x World Surf League spot that featured a snail and a Bangladeshi boy. Have you seen? The boy wants to surf while his friends play cricket and his dad doesn’t believe in his surf dream and the snail wants to achieve greatness and Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina and greatness.

Very many metaphors are folded into the message which becomes increasingly convoluted but still possibly understandable. Follow your dreams into the unknown maybe. The Bangladeshi surfs and learns to claim. John John Florence. The snail reaches the sea.

There she/he (did you know snails are hermaphrodites?) is at the end on a rock watching a surfer paddle.

Except did you know the main enemy of snails? What leads to certain death?


The first splash of saline water to land on that poor snail would shrivel it up and kill.

A very cruel punishment don’t you think.

So what do you think Samsung x WSL is trying to say? Dream and die?

Finn McGill Sunset
This is the sixteen-year-old surfer Finn McGill in waves described as "up to twenty feet." | Photo: WSL

“Twenty-foot Waves” for Vans World Cup!

Waves soar to unimaginable heights at Sunset Beach!

Wave height is a helluva thing to call. One man’s four foot is another man’s six. Three in England is flat in Hawaii. And ten-foot Cloudbreak on Surfline is a world away from the four-foot the weary traveller finds when his boat drops anchor in the channel.

Remember the Eddie in February? Was it twenty-five or forty feet?

So you don’t want to to be too hard on a press release that calls six-to-eight Sunset Beach “20 feet” but ain’t it a little gassy to write:

The best heat of the Vans World Cup thus far took place today in Round Two and saw the finest 20-and-under surfers tame wave face heights of up to 20 feet at Sunset Beach.

Let’s agree that the waves were good, yeah, very good. Tahiti’s O’Neill Massin described it thus: “The conditions are very good. Couple barrels, offshore wind, some good size, perfect!” And tomoz is looking like another day of groomed eight-foot north-west lines. And round three is when the studs line up for a swing: Slater (a Triple Crown lunge), John John, Gabriel Medina.

But…twenty feet?

Watch the little clip below of the twenty-foot heat. How big you going to call?