"Don't flatter yourself, babe. Where's your boyfriend?"
"Don't flatter yourself, babe. Where's your boyfriend?"

Scientifically proven: “Man-eating” Great White sharks hate the taste of women!

Very un-PC. Extremely not equal-opportunity.

And I am absolutely certain you’ve been following along with this Summer of Great White Sharks that is mercifully drawing to a close. In case you’ve been away, a quick recap. Numerous Great Whites moved in to my once placid North County, San Diego Shangri-La in June and turned it into a vicious, fear-stricken Hades. Across the country, in Cape Cod, these same Great Whites multiplied like Mormons and started nipping folk, causing mass panic. A call went up from town halls to Fenway Park to club baby seals in response. Where did they come from? Likely Cape Town, South Africa which lost all of its Great Whites thereby cratering local “shark diving” operations.

Well, according to science the Summer of Great White Sharks is actually only the appetizer for Great Whites, and other sharks, favorite season for man-eating is actually the Fall. What is more, Great Whites, and other sharks, prefer surfers to all other ocean hobbyists, and most prefer male surfers. Even our most set-in-their-ways grandparents know to keep that sort of sexism to themselves but that’s partially why sharks are so nasty.

Per the respected scientific journal Daily Star:

Statistically, September is the most dangerous month for shark attacks.

More people are bitten by sharks in the waters around the the Florida coast than anywhere else in the world. Since 1882, 827 unprovoked attacks have been recorded in the Sunshine State.

But sharks are not equal-opportunity attackers. Historically, 93% of shark attacks have been on men. And, in particular, surfers. Around half of the people bitten in any one year will be surfers.

Statistically, the most likely time to be bitten by a shark is between 2 and 3pm. Locations of shark attacks are most commonly within 6 feet of the surface and within 100 feet of the shore.

Proving that sharks aren’t singling out humans for attack, a polar bear’s jawbone was found in the stomach contents of a Greenland shark, answering the age-old question of which one of these deadly predators would win in a fight.

Well that’s a lot to chew on right there. Men should not surf in Florida or anywhere, for the next three months except Cape Town, between the hours of 2 and 3pm within 100 feet of the shore. Also, finally we have definitive answers on the Shark vs. Polar Bear debate that has gridlocked the brightest human minds for years. I’ll be trying to comfort Team Polar Bear’s co-captains Neil deGrasse Tyson and Malcolm Gladwell tonight.

More as the Fall of Great White Sharks gets underway.


Family Feud: Surfing’s once stodgy tour explodes with middle-fingers, split ranks and the return of a legend!

Get ready for a war in New York!

While we were busy complaining about the lack of… fire in the booth at the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo presented by Hurley a rumble was cracking the very ground asunder all the way across the globe in Spain. A quake ripping the oldest sort of continually inhabited surfing apart at the seams. A fissure split wide for the world to see and, yes, this was all happening during the World Surf League’s revamped Longboard World Tour and I know you don’t care but you will now.

In a quiet move, the WSL tapped egg aficionado, and all-around stylish man, Devon Howard, to be commissioner of the tour, stretched from one event to four with stops in Noosa, Galicia, New York and Taiwan. The rules were also adjusted to reward the sort of longboarding we all enjoy-ish watching (traditional) as opposed to the sort of longboarding that mocks human development and common sense (high-performance).

And let us read from the rule book:

Article 70: The surfer must perform controlled maneuvers in the critical section of the wave utilizing the entire board and wave using traditional longboard surfing. The surfer who performs this to the highest degree of difficulty with the most style, flow, and grace will receive the highest score for a ride.

So, you know, noseriding, control, footwork and whatnot.

Well, the high-performance longboarders on tour are NOT HAPPY and one in their ranks, E. Delpero, became furious after losing to a traditional longboarder in Spain and let fly a series of middle-fingers at the judges, the cameras and, I must assume, the commentators.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B19gaR9nS3T/

This family feud packed its bags right up, wounds still festering, and is coming to New York this weekend where Hurricane Dorian will be there to greet them. What is more, the famous Joel Tudor is set to surf in the event, his first in years. He, you know, is the godfather of modern traditional longboarding and I have to think that the high-performance crew will be waiting for him at JFK airport with zip guns and bicycle chains. Come read the comments on Joel Tudor’s oft utilized Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B11QWQnJ8Fn/

How did longboarding become such den of intrigue? I honestly don’t know but will be watching when the New York event kicks off and if there is a fight in the water I will actually become a fan and stop throwing rocks at leashless longboards that wash up on the beach when I’m sunning after my normalboard surf.


Gorgeous photo by the one, the only, Steve Sherman @tsherms
Gorgeous photo by the one, the only, Steve Sherman @tsherms

Watch: New TV show follows Eddie Vedder, Jack Johnson, Kelly Slater and other “Surfing Rockers!”

Get ready for a little night music!

There are good ideas and then there are great ideas. A good idea is to make a movie following three young surfers on a roller coaster action tour of the globe’s most exotic and dangerous surfing spots. They travel to Madagascar, Mexico, Bali and Hawaii seeking the ultimate wave, a 40-foot force of nature that travels at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.

A great idea is to make a television show about rock stars who have a passion for surfing and how the ocean has influenced their lives and music.

Guess what.

Today is your lucky day for… A day after the new Pearl Jam album is revealed band members from Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Red Hot Chili Peppers announced that they are set to appear on a new television series next year.

‘Surfing Rocker,’ the new TV show is about rock stars who have a passion for surfing and how the ocean has influenced their lives and music.

The TV show will be feature Anthony Kiedis, Ben Harper, Billie Joe Armstrong, Kelly Slater, Taylor Hawkins, Kirk Hammett, Jack Johnson, Jim Lindberg, and Eddie Vedder. Surfing Rockers is set to debut on TV February 2, 2020 in Brazil.

And I seriously don’t know how the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios and Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion Erik “ELo” Logan let this concept slip through his fingers. It’s what we, in the biz, call “synergy.”

Speaking of, did you know Billie Joe Armstrong’s surf van is still for sale? If you act fast it can be your lucky day x 2.

Also, if you were tasked with making a television show about a subset of surfers which would you choose? Surfing Techies? Surfing Businessmen? Surfing Businesspeople? Surfing Chiropractors?

Other?


"Let me get this straight, BL, they… literally… take the coral and put it into the bamboo and let it sprout?"

Opinion: “The 2019 Tahiti Pro had the worst commentary in the History of Sport!”

Any sport, anytime, anywhere.

We now know, more than ever, that in our modern world words have the power to hurt. I felt hurt when old mate from Zig Zag said BeachGrit were snark merchants and the comments were where “human hope comes to die”.

That seems not just unfair, but untrue. Hold that thought, please.

I know Chas has already had a swing at the following subject but it does deserve, I think, a story all it’s own.

After much research and deliberation I think we can make the claim, and have it both true and fair, that the 2019 Tahiti Pro had the worst commentary in the History of Sport.

Any sport, anytime, anywhere.

The big day before the finals was a true gift to the WSL as a sporting spectacle. The last such day was 2014.

Five long years ago. Five years in professional surfing is an epoch.

Five years ago the WSL did not exist.

Five years ago there was no Willian Cardoso, no Yago Dora, Wade Carmichael, Ricardo Cristie, Kanoa Igarashi.

Five years ago Filipe Toledo sat out Teahupo’o with an ankle injury.

For a professional league that has now laid on, what I call the narrative pivot, and considers itself, in the words of 2IC Pat O’Connell to be in the “business of telling stories” never has so much ripe material for commentary gone so unremarked.

A truly stunning negation of reality.

Ross Williams was the best of a truly woeful bunch but his fallback line “There are no easy draws on Tour, everyone is a weapon” sounded more and more peculiar as events transpired.

He first employed it as Kanoa Igarashi was giving a tepid performance, that was far from the worst of the day. A generous appraisal is that he was just thoughtlessly repeating a rote phrase.

The actual story was the exact opposite: here we had an actual world title contender who had not been tested in heavy water and was being found wanting, right in front of our eyes.

The story of the coral was comic.

Of course we want Coral Gardeners; not a pre-school kiddie between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn should be allowed to start school until they have mastered the art*. But to have the wozzle send in Joey and Kaipo as the pitch men, and call the play by play was…..it seems too snarky to call it weird.

Whatever is weirder than weird. Joe calling the glowing coral a “cry for help”; there is no precedent in the annals of sports commentary.

Barton was woeful. During the insane Italo/ADS heat Italo’s first wave was ridden in silence.

Action: Adriano De Souza standing tall in a huge watery cavern, one of the best waves ridden in five years.

Commentary (BL): So they literally take the coral and put it into the bamboo and let it sprout?”

(Lea Brassy): “Yeah!”

Missed: an eight-point ride from Italo (Interview with Bourez).

Missed: another eight-point ride from Italo (his best).

Missed the start of another one.

Missed the start of ADS’ heat-winning wave.

BL: “I can’t stop smiling (laughs) These are the days you dream of being a pro surfer (Cardoso safety surfs a shoulder without remark). It’s hard to get to the point of talking about coral but how was it for you?”

If I am being snarky, can you find me another example of a sport that on its day of days so spectacularly loses touch with the play by play?

I spent the weekend searching, looking through thousands of hours of You-tube videos and cannot.

There are clips of commentator gaffes, clips where a guy misses a Touchdown conversion and the commentator claims he kicks it, but nowhere does the commentary completely lose touch with the action.

Medina’s ten-point ride: “I was watching that interview more than the wave and enjoying Jeremy’s insights” (BL).

He missed the days only ten-point ride!

I don’t want to be unfair. I don’t want to trade in snark.

Is it over-reach to claim a new, world-historical low has been reached?

There’s an exchange somewhere between BL and Joe, about Owen and helmets and coral that is better that anything Monty Python every wrote.

And it’s serious.

Real sports have oversight committees or arms-length commentary. It feels terrible to flog this dead horse we all love so much for putting on free live surfing for us to watch, but how could they blow it this badly?

And, what was your favourite piece of commentary gold from the day of days?

I will never get past the “cry for help”.

My shameful secret: the worse it gets, the more I enjoy it.

One more: have we now officially entered the post-sport phase of professional surfing?

*A bootie ban in tropical waters is surely the best way to save corals. Keep schlubs from stepping all over it.


Innovative: Cape Cod residents propose clubbing baby seals in order to chase away “man-eating” Great White sharks!

Is the enterprising surfer looking at the wrong enemy?

I trust that you have been following along, closely, with this wild summer of Great White sharks. Oh they’re everywhere in America. They’re shutting down beaches in my once-Arcadian North County, San Diego. They’re bumping fishing boats, feeding on whales and speaking an unflattering dialect of English off Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

Worse, though, they’re chasing off tourists from that area depending on the influx of those seasonal dollars. My once-utopian North County, San Diego is fine. It never gets cold here but Cape Cod? Oooee! Summer is its only habitable season.

And what to do? How to possibly solve this pointy-toothed, rolled-back-eye’d man-eating problem?

Well, some Cape Cod businessmen and longtime locals are blaming seals, Great White sharks’ favorite snack after surfers. According to the august Yahoo! News:

Gray seal populations in New England were nearly eliminated by hunting through most of the 20th century, but federal protections passed in 1972 have allowed their numbers to proliferate. Today there are an estimated 50,000 seals around Cape Cod.

One proposed solution is killing seals to control their population. The practice, known as culling, is a relatively common tactic that has been used to manage species like birds, rodents and even kangaroos.

Proponents of seal culling say it is the most effective and efficient way to reduce the number of sharks in Cape Cod’s waters. Businesses that rely on tourism are suffering because the attacks are scaring off summer visitors, they argue. Others say the seals have become so numerous that they’re creating problems beyond just attracting sharks, such as stealing fish from fishermen and creating an unpleasant odor on beaches.

Has there been any backlash to this innovative plan? Surprisingly, yes, and from environmentalists, no less, who claim the number of human fatalities is still minimal compared to the absolute carnage a bacchanal of baby seal clubbing would cause. The “proposed solution” anyhow, as Yahoo! News points out, is moot seeing as gray seals are still a protected species in Mass.

But a boy with a club can still dream, can’t he?

Also, dear Australian friends, is there backlash in the Lucky Country to the clubbing of baby kangaroos?

More as the innovation develops.