The Australian surfer and noted big-wave charger Sean Mckinnon with his Canadian fiancee, Bianca Buckley.

Man arrested, charged, in Raglan carpark murder of Australian surfer!

"You're always going to get pieces of shit wherever you are…"

A twenty-three-year-old New Zealand man has been arrested in the carpark shooting of an Australian surfer a dozen or so clicks out of Raglan, the country’s most celebrated wave.

The surfer, Sean McKinnon, who was thirty-three and from Port Campbell in Victoria, home to one of Australia’s best big waves, was in a camper-van with his girl, Bianca Buckley, early on Friday morning when a man demanded the keys to the van.

Sean got shot.

Bianca escaped.

Gunman drove off with the mortally wounded Mckinnon still in the back.

From Australia’s national broadcaster, 

His partner, described as being “very shocked and distressed”, managed to escape the gunman and alerted the police.

“At approximately 3:20am, police were notified that an offender had approached a van and shots were fired,” Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said.

At approximately 8:00am this morning, police located the van with the man’s body inside.”

Police said they found the van with the body inside some 80 kilometres away.

“Inquiries indicate that this was a random attack,” Detective Inspector Pitkethley said.

The suspected gunman was arrested after police raided a property at Tauhei on the outskirts of Hamilton late on Friday night.

He appeared in Hamilton District Court this morning charged with murder, aggravated robbery, threatening to kill and driving disqualified.

His identity was suppressed and he was remanded in custody to face another hearing in the country’s High Court on August 27.

I did a little ring-around pals in Raglan, population five thousand or so, and as, one said, “The police said it’s a local guy to the region so it’ll be interesting to see who it is. You wouldn’t imagine this happening here but then, you’re always going to get pieces of shit wherever you are. And there’s shitloads of people in campers around here. Pretty spooky for ’em.”

On Facebook, the Victorian surfer Glen Casey, another man noted for his love of big cold-water waves, wrote, “Seany you showed us how to live life to the fullest and charge as hard as anyone on the big days.! You touched us all with your kind heart and beautiful mind. See you on the other side dear friend.”

Listen: “Professional surfing is the world’s greatest pyramid scheme!”

The wizard of lies!

It only took me near 20 years as a surf journalist to stumble onto professional surfing’s greatest secret, truth, dirty, dirty, deep-cut mission.

The whole thing is a racket.

Pyramid scheme. Ponzi scheme. Bernie Madoff rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul racket and I have been vaguely suspicious for a while but now I know for a fact.

Not fact fact, obviously. We live in a post-truth world. But a fact.

Have you ever wondered why the World Surf League insists on keeping thirty-odd surfers in the main draw, with non-elimination rounds, even though it necessitates that a contest run well beyond a forecasted swell? Have you ever wondered why there are hundreds, if not thousands, of World Surf League Qualifying Tour events each and every day, even if they go un-broadcasted?

Even when they go un-boradcasted?

Oh my Pulitzer is coming, damn you Finnegan, because I’m going to dig right in, not to mention Kazakhstan has a surf team.

Kazakhstan has a surf team and something is foul in River City, or whatever Shakespeare said.

More as I crack the caper.

Until then, listen here. I know that David Lee and I have not done a podcast in too long and that we lost all respectability in the meantime but also… did I ever have respectability?


A great, if not greatest, loophole in financial history!

Surfboard "manufacturers" argue about volume.
Surfboard "manufacturers" argue about volume.

Trade war: U.S. surfboard manufacturers “shaping” in China “not stoked” about tariffs!

But what does it all mean for us?

And are you a student of macro-economics? Micro-economics? Trickle down, Keynesian, Austrian? Me? Oh. I read Flash Boys and watched The Big Short so not only am I a student, I think I’m probably an expert but our current trade war confuses me greatly. Is it not just a tax on the American consumer? Am I missing something important and fundamental? Tell me what I’m missing but in the meantime let’s discuss the “plight” of U.S. based “surfboard” manufacturers that have product “shaped” in China.


Frustrated and let’s turn to Reuters for the painful tale of non-surfing surf executive Sue Bowers for we will then all understand.

President Donald Trump’s decision to slap 10% tariffs on imported surfboards convinced surf executive Sue Bowers to move factory jobs out of China – but not back to the United States, which was one goal of Trump’s tariffs.

Strict environmental rules and steep labor costs have sent scores of Southern California surfboard manufacturers to China. Now, the tariffs have Bowers and other executives searching for factories in places such as Thailand and Vietnam.

“This was Surf City,” said Bowers, general manager of Southern California Sports Industries in Orange County.

“I would like to have our production back here,” said Bowers, whose office/warehouse is decorated with surf legend Mike Doyle’s artwork and filled with surfboards bearing his name.

Instead, Bowers – not a surfer herself but who learned the ins-and-outs of surfboard construction from Doyle – is joining the growing list of U.S. manufacturers and retailers reconfiguring supply chains in the wake of the Trump’s bitter trade war with China.

She was among a half dozen U.S. surf company executives who told Reuters they support using trade policy to shelter their homegrown industry from a daunting wave of international competition.


Ok, and I’m sorry, but also completely confused. When Sue Bowers says, “This was Surf City…” is she talking about China? It is completely unclear but, in context, I can only read “Surf City” as China and now “New Surf City” is either going to be Thailand or Vietnam.

Also, what were the “ins-and-outs” of surfboard construction that she learned?




All of it?

Where are you Pete Schroff! Help me understand!

Question: Are shark-drones creating an existential fear where none should exist?

Do you really wanna know what lurks under the bed?

In what could be argued to be an existential fallacy, an Australian drone operator has fitted an alarm to his aircraft to warn surfers when he spots nearby sharks.

“I had to take some kind of initiative because of the amount of shark sightings,” Adam Fitzroy told the Port Macquarie News. “It’s not my responsibility to patrol beaches but if I do see some kind of imminent danger I want to be able to alert people.”

Check it out here.

Now, drones bug the shit out of me.

They drag their butts through the sky like giant Mesozoic mosquitoes, stalking lineups uninvited and sucking the ambience out of any peaceful surf scene.

And they can make problems where there weren’t any, like Mr Fitzroy has done here.

Were the surfers in his video actually at risk?

Or was he just capturing what would be an otherwise unnoticed, every day occurrence?

I live just south of the largest White shark nursery in Australia. Conservative estimates put the number of juveniles in my area at around 250. You can actually check out one of the local beaches on on Google maps and spot the silhouette of a shark in the satellite image.

Chuck in bulls, tigers, bronzers. They’re out there, lurking. Yeah, the likelihood of an attack for me is still low. Juvie Whites are supposedly docile. My local area is netted.

Only a couple of serious attacks in the last hundred years.

But go looking for them and you will find them. Do I need to know every time I’m in da bite zone of one of the fuckers?

Hell, nah. I’d probably never surf again.

So my initial reaction is to call this guy a Chicken Little, screaming at shadows only he can see and shattering the cognitive dissonance we employ every time we surf.

I want to say this is another example of technology overstepping its boundaries.

We don’t need this level of vigilante surveillance in our lives. The hand of fate shall not be bowed to.

But here’s the rub, I don’t live on the north coast where this shit is actually life or death.

I don’t know what it’s like to see somebody attacked.

Or to not be able to surf certain beaches for months at a time.

Or to have to truly consider what it would feel like to be consumed alive, cold black eyes staring at me blankly while I spend the final moments of my life gasping, grasping, succumbing to the ultimate agony.

What if this drone alarm actually worked, and the guy saved somebody from getting the chomp?

Surely it would all be worth it?

Could it actually work? Should it work?

Cute guy with genuine questions, seeking answers.

(Editor’s note: Here’s a happy White near happy children, peacefully co-existing etc.)

Court report, Thomson v Cooper: “Are you deterred, comrades?”

"For a slap on the wrist, I'm gunna go dunk a nineteen-year-old Israeli chick straight out of national service…"

Is it not true that the purpose of social media was/is to publicly shame and punish someone who has massively or minorly fucked up and suffered the misfortune of being caught in the act?

And, who among us, has not enjoyed the tremendous pleasure of kicking a gal while they are down and maybe, if they are truly compassionate, feeling a little frisson of “there but for the grace of God, go I” etc etc.

Magistrate Karen Stafford took a slightly different view on the matter when she sentenced Mark “Carcass” Thomson for his surf rage incident at Ballina Court, yesterday, 11am EST.

If you recall from the last instalment, Carcass had hired a legal team of three.

Costs were slashed by a third yesterday when only two showed up for the sentencing. A female who remained silent and did not address the judge (strategic error?) and the Bobby Duvall look-alike who got a little heavily irradiated getting thawed out from the cryovac.

Kaz did not enjoy the vibe of Cryovaced Bobby Duvall.

He addressed the judge early asking if they could address the sentencing now. In so many words she told him to sit the fuck down and wait and to add a little salt into the wound made him spell his name out to the court.

After a thousand AVO applications and penitent 20 years olds who had crashed cars while driving drunk were dispensed with, Kaz called the “Matter of Mark Thomson” on and asked if they were any further submissions.

“Yes, your Honour,” said CBD.

He came up with two references,“not many”, he admitted, “but they are damn good.”

The only genuine surprise of the hearing was that Albe Falzon, creator of surf hippy utopian film Morning of the Earth, was one of the two referees.

As has now been widely reported, the solicitor also made representation to the court that the abuse Thomson had been subjected to on the internet be taken into account as punishment already served.

CBD found the material “horrific” and admitted he had read most of it (presumably at the billable hourly rate. Good gig, reading BeachGrit and getting paid for it!).

What’s more horrific?

Being called a cunt on the internets or a bill for fifty-grand from a team of barristers who get laughed at by the judge and can’t secure a not guilty verdict?

Kaz, if I read her right, very much enjoyed delivering the sentence, which she stretched out over 40 minutes of high-quality oratory.

She broke it down into three categories.

The max penalty available for the offence, five years in the pen, two years available to her in the local court.

The seriousness of the crime, between the middle-and-high range.

And, finally, the subjective features of the defendant.

Here, she lingered to deliver some real tough talk.

She found Carcass at all times the aggressor, the action deliberate and sustained. She called Jodie Cooper an “elite surfer, not a weekend hack”, the only slightly bum note, weekend warrior would have been better.

She noted the total lack of insight or remorse shown by Carcass and to answer the plea made by his legal team that it was out of character she raised the matter of a previous assault in 1998.

“The court needs to make sure there is adequate punishment to deter the crime (particularly Mr Thomson) and to protect the community, including the surfing community,” Kaz said.

At this point I wrote, “Wow! She’s gunna put him away!”

Instead of putting the defendant away though, she aimed up at the surfing community itself – those who had perhaps shown a little too much relish in delivering a kick on social media.

Were you one of the tough talkers?

Your “extra-curial” punishment was taken in favor of the defendant!

Crazy innit.

Kaz’s deterrent? Two years of being a good boy and 300 hours picking up rubbish at Lismore, presumably tailored around good swells at the Point.

Are you deterred, comrades?

I’m not.

For a slap on the wrist, I’m gunna go dunk a nineteen-year-old Israeli chick straight out of national service.

Give her the old Lennox baptism.

Kidding Kaz! I’m deterred!