15-foot White Stops Junior Surf Contest!

Healthy ocean, yes?

Yesterday, the Western Australian junior surf titles fled a hundred k’s north after a fifteen-foot White announced itself by breaching during a second round heat.

The White breached “multiple times” about fifty feet from twenty teenagers at Avalon beach in Mandurah, an hour’s drive south of Perth.

Understandably, Surfing WA packed up its contest tents and the event was relocated to Trigg Beach, one of the few reliably rideable waves in Perth.

From the press release:

Surfing Western Australia’s first and foremost priority is to provide our members and competitors with the safest and fairest conditions possible. We’re not confident in light of today’s events is that Mandurah is that place.

Earlier today, BeachGrit reader, Matthew Wilson, sent me an email with a little background.

“All authorities were contacted and no authorities bothered attending. The shark then stayed in the area for a few hours at which point parents became frustrated that the beach had not be closed or a helicopter or drone sent out or fisheries sent to inspect.

“The beach was eventually closed around four pm after many phone calls to authorities from multiple parents. One of the guys involved in resuscitating Ben Gerring (the surfer who was killed two years ago by a Great White nearby) was informing people as they turned upon after work to go for a surf. The shark was still being sighted in the area at five pm.

“The new government shark mitigation strategies are a shambles, No technology will stop a five-metre GW except a hook.”

Now you can look at all the Great White action in two ways.
That its protection  since 1999 has proved a tremendous success and we should all be grateful for the foresight of our leaders who passed the necessary legislation.
Or, two, we might admit the shark thing is out of fucking control and ice a couple to restore the delicate balance we all claim to seek.
In which camp do you reside?

RIP: The iconic Jack O’Neill!

The coolest looking surf industry titan ever!

Jack O’Neill, founder of O’Neill wetsuits, died today in Santa Cruz, California. He was 94 years old. And has any founder of a surf company looked cooler? Looked more like a pirate? I think not. Matt Warshaw writes in his Encyclopedia of Surfing:

O’Neill lost sight in his left eye in 1971 after his leash-tethered surfboard snapped back and hit his face; the surf leash, ironically, had been invented the year before by Pat O’Neill, Jack’s son. (A stylized piratelike image of O’Neill with a full beard and eye patch would later be used as the company logo.)

O’Neill was by that time the consummate behind-the-scenes operator of what was turning into a small international empire, hiring talented managers so that he could continue to surf and sail around Santa Cruz. He never brought attention to himself, and on the rare event when he spoke to the surf press he modestly attributed his success to little more than good timing. Industry insiders, however, regard O’Neill as perhaps the coolest and shrewdest surf businessman alive—the “rubber baron,” as surf journalist Ben Marcus later called him.

(read the rest here and subscribe you cheap bastard!)

Cause of death unannounced at this time but I sure do wish there was another surf industry founder who sported an eyepatch.

O’Neill will be missed.

Smells like teen spirit!
Smells like teen spirit!

Panic: So Cal sharks here to stay!

They were on their way to Mexico but then Trump!

Oh of course you are aware of all the shark sightings and attacks in what used to be bucolic southern California. People in the lower 1/3 of the state used to sigh thankful sighs of relief when considering the countryside north of San Francisco, Australia’s western and eastern halves, South Africa, etc.

“Thank heavens its not us…” they would whisper to surfing friends bobbing in Orange County’s warm waters who would respond, “Oh goodness me…” while placing a gentle hand over a suddenly troubled heart.

And then the troubles came. Oh how they came! Nipping and biting and breaching and bringing hell with them. There has been a general consensus, though, that they were merely passing through. Migrating to the warmer waters of Baja.

Except let’s read from shark expert Chris Lowe of Long Beach State in today’s Los Angeles Times.

Lowe, however, has a different theory. Usually, those juveniles would have migrated south to Mexico for warmer waters. But they didn’t, and they might not leave at all.

“The best evidence I have is that the last two winters none of those animals have migrated south to Baja but one — a 2-year-old, 8-foot shark,” Lowe told patch.com. “That, we attribute to El Nino because the water [temperature] never got below 60 degrees.

“The sharks are now getting bigger. They may be able to tolerate slightly cooler conditions. The bigger they get, the less likely they are to migrate. It all depends on feeding here.”

And the feeding is looking pretty sweet this coming fall when the Hurley Pro rolls into town. Am I right or am I right?

Say hello to the Pisauridae mickfanningi!

Breaking: Spider Named After Fanning!

If this ain't the difference between America and Australia, I don't know what is!

In America, mainstream society bothers itself mainly with football, beer, and reality TV. In Australia, it’s footy, beer, and… surfing! What a people, those British-rejects!

And the Aussie devotion to surf often leads to unimaginable outcomes. Most recently, in fact just yesterday, Mick Fanning was honored with the namesake of a newly discovered species of arachnid. I kid you not.

Let’s read from ABC:

A competition was held to name the new species of water spider at the recent World Science Festival in Brisbane.

Entrants were asked to pick a name that not only captured the essence of the spider but drew inspiration from World Science Festival Brisbane, World Water Day or a Queensland connection.

Brazil’s Hector Manuel Osório Gonzalez Filho submitted the winning name, mickfanningi, in honour of the Gold Coast surfer.

And how do you think Mick Fanning feels about this Brazilian-born expansion of his legacy? Is he ecstatic or slightly disturbed? Let’s see!

And this acknowledgement, something I’ll label as gracious indifference, is the only professional response to the fact that a hairy, eight-legged menace was named after you. He continued:

“It’s pretty awesome to know that the spider is quite local to the Gold Coast and only a short drive from Snapper,” Fanning said.

You hear that? An almost-Snapper-local! Which makes me think the mickfanningi would have been better suited as a snake… or maybe a shark?

Better luck next time, science.

Sex: Gabriel Medina blows your doors!

Here kitty, kitty, kitty.

Are you a red-blooded human being? Virile? Then it is impossible NOT to feel the heart pound at the sight of Brazilian champion Gabriel Medina on the cover of GQ Brasil.

His skin is, literally, flawless. Suit so tight that it leaves basically nothing to the imagination. A look in his eyes that says nothing if it don’t say, “Come hither.”

And tell me your heart is not pounding just a little bit.

Want to know what those bold words off his right shoulder read?

“How to get a reservation in the most popular restaurants in New York.”

Do you say, “Hello maître d. Table for two please. Me and this foxy vixen here. The world calls him First Ever Brazilian Champ but you can call him Gabriel.”

Is that how to get a reservation in the most popular restaurants in New York?