Thanks for the memories, Trestles!
Thanks for the memories, Trestles!

Science: Trestles set to disappear!

But not before The Hurley Pro (fingers crossed)!

The United States of America has one stop on the magnificent World Surf League Championship Tour and it is Lower Trestles. Do you enjoy surfing there? Braving the mad pack of Brazilians? Staking your claim on California’s high performance wave? Making air reverses?

Well you better get your fill now because The Smithsonian says it is going away along with The Wedge, Topanga and Santa Cruz. Let’s read?

It may seem that stronger storms and swells would be a boon to surfers. But as with many aspects of living in a changing climate, the outlook is far more complicated.

As a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey predicts, by 2100 many of Southern California’s most popular surfing spots could be subsumed beneath rising seas. Others could simply wash away.

Beaches are not static places. The very action of the waves that formed them, pulverizing rocks into sand over eons, can unmake them, reports Ramin Skibba for Hakai Magazine. “In Southern California, winter storms and heavy surf pull sand away, and summer waves and sediment from rivers gradually bring it back,” Skibba writes.

Climate change could alter that balance, the new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggests. In the next eight decades, Southern California may have to deal with a sea level rise of between 3.3 and 6.5 feet that could erode 31 to 67 percent of the region’s beaches, the researchers say.

That would be a loss for surfers that seek out long, scenic rides at Topanga, the bizarre and brutal break called “The Wedge” at Newport or the classic and beloved “Lower Trestles” outside of San Clemente. (All make Surfer Today’s list of the best Southern California surf spots.) Surf spots where waves break at low tide may disappear when the sea level rises. Spots where waves break at high tide will only break at low tide. ​

Those measures might prevent some beach erosion, but they don’t have surfer’s needs in mind. For The Inertia, an online surfing community, surfer and scientist Shawn Kelly explains the serious effects climate chance will have on the sport. He brings his authority as a…

Wait just a damned second. The Inertia? How did those kooky bastards weasel into my morning? Well now I don’t know what to believe and, to be honest, am inclined to discount this entire “sea level rise” thing altogether.

The Inertia for Pete’s sake. I mean, seriously. The Inertia. First the pride of Venice-adjacent tries to take the fun out of weed and now this? Now this?

Sons of bitches. Sons of damned bitches.

Tom Carroll, Shark Shield's dazzling ambassador. | Photo: Shark Shield

Coming: Subsidised shark repellants!

Two hundred dollars of government cash towards your new Shark Shield.

You might’ve heard that sleepy ol Western Australia has a Great White problem. One attack, two attacks, fifteen deaths since 2000. All presumed to be hits by Great Whites, a species that’s been protected since, oh, 1999.

Quick question: How many surfers were killed by sharks in Western Australia prior to 2004?

Did you get it?

(The answer is zero.)

The latest was a seventeen-year-old kid surfing with her dad. Leg bitten off at the hip. Bled out on the beach in front of her family while an off-duty nurse pounded her heart. Further evidence, if any was necessary, that there abounds a healthy stock of Great White sharks in the Indian Ocean.

Maybe there always was.

As reported by the fabulous, bass-voiced Fred Pawle in The Australian today

The protection of great white sharks was introduced in Australia when nobody in the world knew the species’ global population, says one of the co-­authors of the federal government’s plan to replenish the species in 2002. 

One could argue that this is still the case. Despite decades of expen­sive research, precious little is known about shark abundance and behaviour, which is why every time there is an attack we have the same futile debate.

It gets worse. It turns out Australia was emphatically told the debate was ill-­informed in 2004, when a Japanese fishing ­official strongly objected to our successful application to increase worldwide protection of great whites. The ­official argued that the application was based on insufficient evidence and failed to consider the potential of increasing attacks on people.

At a meeting of the 22 Australian researchers contributing to the Great White Recovery Plan in 2002, the CSIRO’s chief shark ­researcher at the time, John Stevens, who has since retired, was asked whether he knew the size of the species’ global population.

“He was not in a position to ­answer it because the research had not been done,” says Geoff ­McPherson, who represented the Queensland Department of Primary Industries at the meeting.


Such pessimism about the dangers of sharks, and the pragmatism to deal with them, were not on display at the Senate hearing in Perth yesterday. “We are both fearful and fascinated by our monsters,” professor Jessica Meeuwig, of the University of Western Australia, told the hearing.

She said the fear was based on the prospect of becoming prey, and the fascination was an attempt to avoid doing so. She attributed these survival instincts to our “lower brains”.

She then said lethal methods for managing sharks were “dumb … ineffective, counter-productive, woefully arrogant and socially shortsighted”. She cited “good data” from Queensland, NSW and Hawaii that “shows there has been no reduction in the incidents of ­attacks” when lethal methods, such as nets and drum lines, are used.

The data suggests this is not the case. In Queensland, there has been one fatality at a protected beach in 50 years; the same applies to NSW, where nets were first ­installed in 1936.

When the Federal Government told the new left-wing government of WA they should prioritise humans over sharks they were hit with the old “killing sharks won’t save lives” line.

Same story. Same results.

Anyway, it remains a helluva problem. Great Whites are killing kids, tourism and a lifestyle that defines a state where its inhabitants squat on the edge of the Simpson desert.

It didn’t help that Filipe Toledo and Kolohe Andino were dragged out of the water by jetskis at the government-sponsored Margaret River Pro when the water suddenly boiled in a feeding frenzy. Not that you would’ve known there was the potential for Jeffreys Bay redux.

“Surface action” is the new euphemism for “shark”. Cue Margaret River tourism ad.

But politics, especially of the left-leaning variety, means any kind of tough decision is going to be an impossible sell. If the government won’t allow nets and won’t allow sharks to be fished, what can they do?

How about subsidising shark repellants such as the Shark Shield? Six hundred bucks built into your Ocean Earth tailpad. 

Do they work? Depends who you talk to.

Shark Shield says yes.

Anecdotal evidence suggests a generous maybe.

But, what the hell, it’s the appearance of the government doing something eco-friendly and tech-forward that matters.

And do you wonder how they’ll police the subsidy? Do you need to have a WA address?

Shark Shield managing director Lyndsay Lyon, meanwhile, is doing brisk business even before the subsidy comes into effect. He’s sold six hundred in the last four months.

The nerve of this guy!

Just in: I’ve Found My Nemesis!

It's only a Bloodfeud(!) if he fights back!

Normally I’d not criticize another surf writer, at least not publicly.

I’m not a strong enough wordsmith to do such a thing, nor do I like hurting people’s feelings unnecessarily. Hell, I never even laid into Tellkamp for his petulant outburst. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Let me introduce you to my nemesis Morgan. No, it’s not Williamson. My antagonist hails from family Dunn and makes the Stab bloke look like Hemingway.

I hadn’t heard of Morgan before today when an Inertia piece, “I’m So Completely Sick of Airs”, came across my feed. It was accompanied by the following picture and subtext…

The thing I love most about surfing is the connection I feel with the wave. Not the air.

Morgan is not the hi-pro logger busting a double grab wheelie. If only he were so tolerable.

Let’s hear what Mr. Dunn has to say about aerials:

I’m only 33 years old, but one thing makes me feel like a grumpy old man: airs. Look, when John John Florence or Filipe Toledo does an out-of-this-world air, I can appreciate it and be impressed by it, but I still don’t really like it.

Ok, kinda weird but.. ok.

It’s starting to feel like some guys finish every other wave with an air reverse. How is it still impressive at that point?

How is it not more impressive than a floater or half-layback?

I see kids of all ages trying to pull off airs constantly, and I have yet to see a single one landed. They’d be better served working on their bottom turn, the unsung hero of surfing, but it’s simply not flashy enough. It’s not enough to surf like Ace Buchan anymore. Airs work better for Instagram.

You’ve.. never seen a kid land an air? Also bottom turns have been called an “unsung hero” for so long and by so many people that they’ve become just the hero. And yeah, Ace is 24th on the CT right now so.. good point.

I catch myself shaking my head when I see guys attempting airs when they have no business doing so. I have come to despise the hotdog mentality in a sense, and airs feel like the ultimate hotdog move these days. Throw some toes on the nose, though, and I’m out there hooting for you.

Progression is bad, and wiggling your toes over the edge of a plank is NOT hotdogging. Got it.

Now someone might read this and scream jealousy, but that is simply not the case. The one thing I love most about surfing is the connection I feel with the wave. Why would I ever want to leave it to take to the air? I don’t want to leave that wave until it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t think I’d ever leave it if that were an option.

This is precious, if strangely sexual. But one question, Morgan: have you ever, in your life, come anywhere close to completing an air? Let’s read his Inertia bio for more info on the matter:

Morgan grew up in New York and moved to Southern California in his mid-20s, swearing off the frigid winters of his childhood. Low on funds, he drove west for the promise of warmer pastures and has called the region home ever since. During that first summer Morgan discovered a love for surfing on a beat-up, borrowed longboard despite the Pacific’s seemingly endless attempts to drown him. He now surfs as much as he can, and writes about it.

So you started surfing in your mid-20s and are now 33? Yeah, you’ve definitely never done an air.

Which makes your article the equivalent of me telling tall guys not to dunk anymore. They do it every time, how is that even impressive! I prefer a high, arching hook-shot from the key because of its historical significance and also that’s all I can do.

If you want to read more from Morgan, catch him on Twitter at @soularching. No really, that’s his handle! To be fair my email starts with wishingforwaves and ends with AOL but I made that account when I was 12 and his Twitter was born in 2016.

Ok, I feel better now!

Damn it: Tell me where to hide!

My enemies are mounting a furious attack. Help!

Things are getting serious. I’ve got Rip Curl trying to dislodge me from my current hiding place (Cardiff-by-the-Sea) and Stab magazine’s Sam McIntosh coming after me too very angry at the continual fun-making. Livid, in fact, with a frowny face and a bag full of Morgan Williamson adjectives that he’s flinging like adjectives grow on trees. Adjectives like “clotheshorse” “WeedMaps” and “group hug.”

“Stop!” I yell as a whole sentence “The weekend was a kick-back filled with beautiful people, in an enchanting location overlooking a lake and mountainside.” whizzes past my ear.

But I know Sam McIntosh won’t. He is livid with a frowny face and Rip Curl right in front of him with beige boardshorts so I need to hide and I need you. Karl Von Fanningstadt smartly suggested that I hide in Martin Potter’s tooth gap but the bags of cocaine I’m carrying won’t fit there.

Which leaves me with the following options:

n) Where Graham Stapelberg hid before Eddie Rothman slapped him in the Billabong North Shore A-Team house

o) Ex-WSL CEO Paul Speaker’s career

p) Scientology’s Celebrity Centre off Yucca and Franklin in Los Angeles

q) Luke Davis’s natural hair color

r) FCS II’s screw hole

s) SurfStitch’s stock numbers

t) Wherever SurfStitch’s Justin Cameron has gone

u) Fox’s sexual harassment hotline

v) Ocean Pacific

w) The truth about Owen Wright

x) Page 335 of Matt Warshaw’s History of Surfing (buy here!)

y) Samsung Galaxy phones (the ones that explode)

z) Between two cases of Michelob Ultra


Watch: Nervous Laughter!

Albee Layer and pals show you Jaws!

When plus sized swells are forecasted at your local break does your heart leap or does it sink? Do you love paddling through mountains of whitewash or do you prefer to reach the lineup with hair still dry? Are you a big wave gal or a 3-4 footer?

Me? I prefer head high plus a smidge but not double. I’ll paddle if I have to, if there are men on the beach looking at me or if I’m with friends but I am not thrilled about the situation.

And there is something about my own lack of thrill once the water starts towering that makes me love Albee Layer and friends’ latest film Nervous Laughter. It chronicles the lives of those who surf Jaws, why they do it, how they do it, etc. It seems like madness to me. Like sheer madness. Like the out of control madness in Laird Hamilton’s eyes but that’s what makes it a wonderful film. It is a world I’ll only know through them and, frankly, a world I only want to know through them.

The whole film is very much worth buying (on iTunes). Watch it with your friends before heading out to Suck Outs and packing mini closeout barrels! Who will win the day? Whoever has the intestinal fortitude.

No guts, no glory as they say.


I see you!
I see you!