Longtom: “Sharks made me love surfers (but now I hate them again)!”

Can a justified fear of White attack create a circle of love?

I always get a bit sad when I read here, and elsewhere, that the worst thing about surfing is our fellow surfers, how much we hate them: all a pack of c…u….n…ts……or words to that effect.

I have a different view somewhat, I wonder if it’s widespread or just a result of becoming prey in the surf zone and a curious mix of survival and fun.

It was about the most glorious day imaginable when Tadashi Nakahara got taken in Feb 2015. Late summer, warm, crystal-clear water, delightful little baby food peaks being shared by a small crowd.

He disappeared and came up without his legs.

People scattered in shock, one of my friends went back and got him. On the beach they tried to revive him.

Tadashi died in my friends arms. I won’t name him, he suffered terribly from PTSD.

A man got hit at Lennox Point. Horror show, apparently. Huge White came up out of the water as he kicked off a wave and whacked him. Matt Lee, a bodyboarder was mauled, surfing perfect peaks on a bluebird winters day. He was torniqued by pals. Died three times and lives to this day because a rescue chopper, for the first time, was carrying blood supplies with them.

July 19, Mick Fanning had his encounter at J-Bay on live broadcast. Twelve days later, Craig Ison, a fifty-one-year-old former boxer, fought his way clear of the jaws of a White shark and then vowed to quit surfing. The surf was tiny, the sun was shining.

These facts are all well known by now. It made the atmosphere around here febrile and fearful.

A lot of people just stopped surfing altogether. Dawn patrols went unattended.

Ten o’clock in the morning and pointbreak peelers went unsullied by fibreglass and human beings.

In response to being prey local surfers closed ranks. Fires were lit on the points and kept alight all day.

The smell of driftwood burning became a comfort.

Driving around looking for people to go surfing with! Safety in numbers. The guy or gal sitting next to you stopped being an impediment to your wave count and took on a different role. An unspoken question lingered between every surfer in shrunken lineups.

If you were the next one hit would they paddle away or come in and save your life?

Of course you can see how that changes the equation.

How could you hate the gal next to you whose eyes you will be staring into as you mumble through grey lips: “How bad is it, am I gunna make it?”

Low crowds remained the norm in 2016 and 2017. It seems almost unfathomable to be able to go back in time and surf pre-crowded premium pointbreaks on modern equipment, but that is what happened.

When the crowds came back, full force and larger than ever, as if the shark restraint had been a taut bow pulled back further and further and then finally released, it was hard to deal with.

Not just the size but the nature of the crowd changed. Not sure what the deal is in California but in Australia one of the biggest rackets going around is fee paying overseas students. Students pay big money to study bogus courses and get permanent residency visas etc.

If there are 500,000 overseas students in Aus as estimated then 499,000 of them are between Byron Bay and Burleigh Heads. To a man, woman and child they had been deterred from coming here because of the sharks.

In 2018, that prohibition was removed and the resulting invasion was swift and relentless. The modus operandi was simple: safety in numbers. The first car load at the Point Facebook live-streamed it and within the hour multiple van loads were on site.

Brotherhood, communalism by the fire degenerated into bloody tribalism.

None of this will come out in the upcoming court case between Carcass and Jodie Cooper but that is the context.

I’m a low wave-count guy. Normally content to pick the eyeballs out of it. That strategy became untenable sometime last winter.

On a mid-week four-foot day any semblance of order got thrown out the window. I had my little corner bar stool, waiting for a wide wedge. When it came a throng converged. Two people in front of me, trying to paddle in right in front of me. I mean, directly in front. I had to literally elbow my way through and as I got to my feet I could see out of the corner of my eye I had elbowed a gal, Spanish speaker, in the head, to catch a wave at my local break.

Some people might have been happy to laugh it off; I couldn’t find the funny in it.

Fuck it, I hate surfers.

Except a couple of months ago an Asian rock fisherman got swept off at a local Point and a fifteen-year-old kid I surf with dragged him up.

Dead weight, blood-flecked spittle foaming out of his mouth, had to keep diving down and dragging this guy up.

Got him to the rocks.

He died.

I get a little moistened up when I think of it. Fifteen and he put his life on the line dragging some stranger in.

Do I hate, or love?

I don’t know what to think. It could go either way.

Breaking: Kelly Slater’s longtime business partner caught up in college admissions scandal!

The mad genius behind Purps, KS Wave Co., Outerknown etc. admits to paying $250,000 to USC for son.

A month and a half ago we all watched as the college admissions scandal rocking the rich and powerful crashed right into our surf world. Well, sort of into our surf world. One-time surf-esque entrepreneur Mossimo Giannulli, husband of Aunt Becky, was implicated and it was good enough for a BeachGrit headline. But in all seriousness, no one has considered Mossimo a surf-ish brand for two decades.

Today, though, Kelly Slater his very self is caught up in the snares via his longtime business partner Jeff Bizzack and let us head straight to Bloomberg without pausing.

The college admissions scandal that has rocked academia expanded as authorities charged yet another parent in the case.

Jeffrey Bizzack, 59, of Solana Beach, California, will admit to paying $50,000 to the University of Southern California and $200,000 to the scam’s mastermind, college counselor William “Rick” Singer, to get his son into USC, according to the Justice Department.

In July 2017, Singer asked Bizzack for biographical information about his son that prosecutors said was for a phony athletic profile. Later that month, Bizzack emailed Singer his son’s academic transcripts, which were forwarded to Laura Janke, the former USC assistant soccer coach, prosecutors said.

Janke then created a fabricated volleyball profile for the son and sent it to Singer, who forwarded it to “the senior associate athletic director at USC,” according to the government. She has pleaded guilty in the case.

Bizzack’s son received conditional admission to USC as a student athlete in November 2017. In December, at Singer’s direction, Bizzack made a $50,000 payment to USC’s Galen Center, a sports facility, according to the U.S. He also made a number payments totaling $200,000 to a purported charitable foundation Singer ran, the government said. In March 2018, prosecutors said, Bizzack’s son was formally accepted to the school, according to court documents.

Bizzack faces a prison term of 18 to 24 months, but prosecutors agreed to recommend a nine-month sentence and a fine of $75,000. Bizzack’s willingness to plead guilty may have led to the recommendation of less time.

Now, you may still be scratching your head with scrunched up, confused eyes saying, “Kelly Slater’s longtime business partner Jeff Bizzack?” All for good reason. Mr. Bizzack prefers remaining in the shadows, pulling the levers. In 2017 Kelly told Tracks magazine…

“Jeff Bizzack. He’s been my partner in everything I’ve done in the past few years… I’ve been the face of it but Jeff is just the bones and structure of everything that we’ve done.”

The mad genius behind Purps, KS Wave Co., Outerknown etc.

Anyhow, going to prison over all this feels very extreme. Which parent doesn’t want the world for their children or do you disagree? Are you a died-in-the-wool communist who cheers any rich and powerful tumble from grace? Are you the sort who calls for the guillotine at the very sight of wealthy grift?

Well that’s rude.

Mystery: World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. caught holding a paddle-less mini SUP!

What sort of extreme innovation is this?

You know our World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. Erik “ELo” Logan and how much he enjoys spending time in the water. From all outward appearances he enjoys spending time in the water more than you, me or any grumpy local. Every picture on his popular Instagram account features him smiling broadly, ear to ear, in a way that nobody here has ever smiled and especially while in the water.

We are too busy glaring and cursing under our breath.

Part of what may be providing our President’s bliss is the fact that he SUPs regularly and, as far as I can tell, exclusively. Now, I have only ridden a SUP once in the surf. It happened to be on Oahu’s famed North Shore just a click southwest from Waimea. I can’t recall what possessed me but one was sitting there in the yard of the house where I was staying. I saw some wave breaking out on a reef and decided to give it a go. There I paddled across the calm water to that wave, caught it, fell off and was drug across the reef as the hundred-plus pounds of SUP tugged me toward shore, clutching that damned paddle.

It was unpleasant.

Which is why the above photo is so intriguing. After my very bad experience I thought, “I’ll only try SUPing again if they can figure out how to miniaturize the obese boards and also lose the paddles.”

Has science figured it out?

What is our President holding?

Kelly Slater to Axel Irons: “Hit me as hard as you can in the stomach!”

More highlights from NYC photograph Justin Jay's remarkable decade-in-the-making North Shore tome…

Losing ain’t easy, although I’m more practised than most. Family, money, reputation, home, a luxury water transport biz, oh, I’ve gambled it all and lost.

But I’ve had some laughs and woken to shrivelled balls and empty boxes of Ding-Dongs more than a man of my below-average construction should’ve. And that’s all that matters, yeah?

The world champion surfer Kelly Slater, conversely, rarely loses, in life or in competition. And, therefore, it made his defeat in the semi-finals of last year’s Pipeline Masters, a contest he seemed preordained to win, more painful than usual.

The New York photographer Justin Jay, who is crowdfunding his book Ten Years/1000 Moments on the North Shore, and which you should bounce over to, here, to throw a few shekels at, was there to capture this photo of Kelly and his former nemesis Andy Irons’ eight-year-old son Axel.

“His lingering foot injury was still an issue, he had stitches in his hand from a free surf the previous day at V-Land and his knee was freshly bandaged from an encounter with the reef in his previous heat,” says Jay. “Perhaps to assuage some frustration, Kelly lingered around the competitors’ area signing autographs and talking to fans. He was in an affable mood, but he was clearly agitated by the circumstances. He walked over to Axel Irons and gave him a playful ruffle of his hair which was followed by a proposition that sounded more like a dare.”

Hit me as hard as you can in the stomach.

It didn’t happen

“Despite goading from (RVCA founder and Lyndie Irons’ new bebe) Pat Tenore, Axel ultimately decided not to accept Kelly’s offer to punch him.”


Can you imagine if Andy was still around?




Shocking: New York building a wave tank using non-Surf Ranch technology!

"The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost."

If Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch doesn’t hurry up and get in the game there ain’t gonna be one city left without its own functioning, revenue generating tank. It was announced just yesterday that the city of Shirley there on Long Island is building a wave tank using Wavegarden technology and employing new subscription model for pricing. We’ll read all about it soon, but first let’s discuss Shirley. It is halfway between Manhattan and Montauk making it an absolute dream for specialist in mergers and acquisitions looking to blow off some steam after a rough night hacking folk up. Or Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and gang wanting a girls’ bonding day after Steve cheats on Miranda again. Can you believe that Steve? What a selfish jerk.

Anyhow, the tank. I’ll take you to the good parts of the announcement here.

The planned Long Island Surf Park, to be located in the Brookhaven Technology Center industrial park off Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway, will have an outdoor pool between 45,000-50,000 square feet in size, a lounge area that spans the back of the pool, the restaurant/cafe, a surf shop and locker rooms.

“This is a childhood dream for me,” said co-founder and vice president Brett Portera, who is partnering with his father, Chris. “If you’re someone who loves surfing, you’re always looking for the perfect wave. The biggest desire for me is to have a great pool and something for everybody to use.”

The company will offer one-hour session rates for access to the pool, which will produce “ocean-like traveling waves” that break from one end to the other, for half of its operating hours. Portera said those rates will be comparable to what’s charged at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida, and Adventure Parc Snowdonia in England, but that official rates haven’t been set.

The other half of the operating hours will be available to customers who purchase yearly individual members ranging from $3,500-$8,000 per year, with various different perks.

“The idea behind the membership is to allow people who are [interested] in surfing more often a discount on the normal hourly rates while also providing some incentives for frequency,” Portera said.

The pool will be able to operate year-round with the aid of an energy system that will recapture heat given off from the pool. “There will be so much heat given off that the water will be 60 degrees in the dead of the winter,” he said.

The system will also recapture energy for air conditioning, heating the clubhouse and cooling the equipment room.

Using the heat from the wave generating machine keeping the pool 60 degrees even in the dead of New York winter seems like a nice touch but, really, when Kelly Slater unveiled his Surf Ranch all those years ago, smashing Adriano de Souza’s one moment in the sun, didn’t you think, “Well, everybody’s gonna bulldoze their Wavegardens and toss in Surf Ranches…”?

I did but, like investing all my money in Quiksilver seven years ago, was apparently wrong.