Scottish surf (pictured) looks like Oregon!
Scottish surf (pictured) looks like Oregon!

Miracle: Man survives Scottish surf!

And then he survives a night floating on his board in the Irish Sea!

Once, many years ago, I paddled out to my hometown Bastendorff Beach near Coos Bay, Oregon for a lovely afternoon surf. The weather was a glorious freezing with a thick grey blanket covering the sky. The ocean was an even more wonderful freezing with giant storm fed chop heaving and lurching.

My board was a totally appropriate 6’1 Nev potato chip. I jogged to the shoreline, waded in, hoped on and began to paddle near a rock spit, dreading the upcoming ice cream headache from the upcoming 1001 duck dives. Soon, though, I was filled with an immense joy. I was halfway out to the “lineup” without having to duckdive once. What luck!

I smiled, broadly, until realizing that I hadn’t had to duckdive because I was in the world’s biggest rip. It was like a river, with rapids etc., sucking me out to sea. I paddled as hard as I could over to the rock spit and dug my fingers into its barnacles at the last possible point. My totally appropriate comp leash snapped and my 6’1 Nev bounced out to sea while I climbed the rock back to shore.

Some fish bandit Chinese is probably getting barreled on it right now.

And I only recount this story to say that rip currents are scary things! A Scottish surfer just got caught in one and ended up in Belfast, Ireland across the Irish Sea. Let’s read about him!

A SURFER has been found clinging to his board 13 miles off the west coast of Scotland more than a day after he vanished.

Matthew Bryce disappeared after setting off to go to West Port beach near Campbeltown for a day of surfing on Sunday morning.

The 22-year-old had last been seen yesterday morning about 9am in the St Catherines area of Argyll.

The alarm was raised after he failed to get in touch with family or friends since then.

Cops launched a search and urgent appeal for any sightings of the the keen surfer on Monday.

Cops confirmed he was found at around 7.30pm on Monday night and was taken to a hospital in Belfast to be checked over.

Chief inspector Paul Robertson said: “The response to our appeal to find Matthew has been outstanding.

“It has been a real team effort and I would like to thank everyone who offered their assistance.”

Belfast Coastguard coordinated the search and a large area of sea and shore was searched since lunch time on Monday.

Islay and Red Bay and Coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen as well as the Coastguard Rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.

Dawn Petrie, at Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre, said: “Hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well after such a long period in the water.

“But at 7.30pm tonight, the crew on the Coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board and 13 miles off the coast.

“He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea.

“He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast.”

I wonder what Matthew Bryce was thinking about as he floated? Do you think he was thinking, “If this is it my surf bros better do a paddle out for me.”

When you die do you want a paddle out?

Here come the Chinese to eat the sharks' fishes leaving the sharks to eat us!
Here come the Chinese to eat the sharks' fishes leaving the sharks to eat us!

Shark attack: Let’s blame the Chinese!

Surf Website Calls for Genocide!

The recent spate of shark attacks, from Reunion to Australia to Southern California have left surfers around the world scared and angry. Who’s next? You? Me? What’s worse is there is no unified approach on to how to solve the problem, not even amongst surfers. Who could forget when Kelly Slater called for a cull and POW right in his kisser!

There is no unified problem solution because no agreed upon culprit. Are too many people in the water? Sharks over-breeding? Evolving a taste for human flesh?

What about the Chinese?

Sunday’s The Failing New York Times ran the story China’s Appetite Pushes Fish Stocks to Brink on the cover. Let’s read a snippet!

Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.

Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

“Chinese fleets are all over the world now, and without these subsidies, the industry just wouldn’t be sustainable,” said Li Shuo, a global policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia. “For Senegal and other countries of West Africa, the impact has been devastating.”

When it comes to global fishing operations, China is the indisputable king of the sea. It is the world’s biggest seafood exporter, and its population accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide, a figure growing by 6 percent a year.

Etc. Etc.

Read the rest here and you’ll likely be inclined toward depression but this is BeachGrit! It’s anti-depressive so let’s cheer the fact that we have a culprit to blame for our shark attack problem and maybe a solution.

What if we cull the Chinese?

Just kidding!

But do you think, by asking, BeachGrit can get smashed in a tabloid just like Surf Europe did?

I can see the headline now! Surf Website Calls for Genocide.

It’ll be my proudest day ever.

How many people do you count? How many fucks, can you assume, have been given?

Just in: Trestles Locs Give No Fucks!

When it comes to surfing post shark attack, are you Derek-Hynd-brave?

I hate to say it but… the yesterday’s shark attack was a long time coming. Over the last couple years there have been countless sightings in the San Clemente area, most recently with a Great White breaching on the Lowers cam.

I surfed Lowers last week Already the lineup was filled with chatter about bait balls, fins and the like. The fear was palpable, but without a gory incident to justify their emotions, people surfed in numbers that screamed of a non-issue.

Then yesterday happened. Details of the woman’s injuries (and survival) remain unclear. According to one of her rescuers, Thomas Williams, the woman’s injuries were indeed life-threatening.

“It was definitely to the point her hamstring was gone,” Williams told the OC Register. “If she didn’t receive immediate care, it was life-threatening. All of the back of her leg was kind of missing.”

Now, what is the proper immediate reaction to such an incident? I’m not talking about culling or conducting a series of studies. Specifically, what does a city do the day after a shark attack?

Let’s hear more from the OCR: On Sunday morning, a sign at the kiosk entering San Onofre surf beach warned of the ocean closure, and a ranger said the area from south of trails to T-street was closed for the day, though many surfers were still out in the water at nearby Lower Trestles, one of the area’s best surf spots, just north of where the attack occurred.

A brief glance at Surfline’s Lowers cam confirms this statement. At time of publication, 30+ people cold be seen frolicking in the chest-high walls — a typical crowd for an April afternoon.

Meanwhile at San’O, a longboard spot roughly equidistant from Church (in relation to Lowers), there are only a few surfers bobbing out at sea.

This raises a few questions:

  1. Are shortboarders braver than longboarders? Obviously yes in terms of surfing but in regards to sharks as well?
  2. What does closing five miles of beach even do, besides making it seem like you’re addressing the issue? Sharks go where they want when they want. Yesterday’s assailant is likely snacking on seals in Mexico as we speak. His best friends may still be in town, though.
  3. How many more attacks, if any, will it take for the International Conglomeration of Cullers to set their sights on SoCal?

While San Onofre has a major issue on its hands, today has proven one thing for sure — a singular shark attack won’t do much to deter Lowers locals.

But two attacks? That might a different story.

One incident can be written off as fluke; two is a pattern. And humans, above all but religion and astrology, use patterns to guide their lives. Let’s hope we don’t see another incident soon, or maybe yes if you prefer empty lineups to human survival.

Until then, see you at Lowers!

Attack: Woman bitten by shark at Church!

Shark attack near Lower Trestles is second of the year.

As reported by Surfline, The Orange County Register etc. a woman was attacked by a shark last evening while bodyboarding at Church right south of Lower Trestles. It was the second attack of the year, the other happening just north in Corona del Mar.

The woman was wearing swim fins and chomped on her thigh. Two surfers helped pull her out of the water and fashioned a tourniquet out of a leash to stop the bleeding.

She was airlifted to Scripps hospital in La Jolla.

There is not much more information known as of yet, whether or not the woman has survived, what sort of shark, etc. Video of a shark breaching near Lowers has been shot this year.

The beach will be closed for 72 hours.

Shark attacks in Southern California are not common. I have a question, though, no matter where in this world you surf. Do you even consider the possibility of being nipped before paddling out? Does it even cross your mind?

Will it now?

Also, these Southern California attacks seem like isolated incidents but if there was suddenly a spate of bites do you think the state and local governments would start culling?

At what point do human concerns outweigh a fish that is neither endangered nor threatened?

Just in: Shark Attack Death on Reunion!

Ninth fatal shark attack on Reunion Island in six years. Crazy, no?

Like terrorist attacks in Paris and London and so forth, it ain’t easy to keep a handle on shark attack fatalities in Australia and on Reunion. You have to re-read the latest news to make sure you’re not scrolling through an old story.

But, it’s always new, there’s always more.

Yesterday, a bodyboarder who was “devoted to warning people about the animals was mauled to death” near Saint Leu. In six years, there have been twenty one attacks, nine fatal.

From The Daily Mirror,

Adrien Dubosc, 30, died off the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean just two months after one of his best friends died in almost identical circumstances.

Mr Dubosc was a member of Shark Watch Patrol, an organisation dedicated to cutting down on shark deaths on Reunion, which is plagued by man-eating bull and tiger sharks.

Despite this, he loved the fish, and regularly posted Facebook pictures of ones he had seen, together with biological details about them.

Just after 11am on Saturday morning Mr Dubosc entered the sea at Pointe au Sal in Saint-Leu with his bodyboard, off a beach where watersports are officially banned.

A police spokesman said: ‘The young man was in the water with two friends, when a shark attacked him, biting his right thigh, and his groin area.

‘The victim was pulled out of the water, and emergency workers arrived very quickly. Despite cardiac massage, he died within half an hour of the attack.’

The beach was packed at the time, and members of Mr Dubosc’s family were among those who watched the horror unfold.

Frederic Carre, a local sub-prefect, said members of a medical-psychological emergency unit attended the scene, and were treating many of the witnesses.

On February 21st Mr Dubosc’s close friend Alexandre Naussac, 26 and another trained shark spotter, died on a nearby beach that had also been officially closed to watersports.

The attack happened in Saint-Andre, and saw Mr Naussac being bitten in the femoral artery.

The thigh wound caused blood to pour out of Mr Naussance, as those he had been bodyboarding with also desperately tried to save him.

This morning, Thiery Canestri, whose thirteen-year-old son Eli was killed two years ago, posted a collage of recent deaths with the line, “Combien encore?

How many more? It’s a good question.