Turn the camera this way, baby....
Turn the camera this way, baby....

Environmentalists accuse shark researchers of throwing salt into “man-eating” Great Whites’ sex lives!

Do you like to watch?

And how much do you cherish your privacy? How much do you enjoy keeping the dark corners of your life dark, circle of trust tight, sheet pulled over your naked body, Mark Zuckerberg outside tapping on your window like the woman in that early 1990’s Mervyn’s commercial, repeating “Open, open, open…”?

If you are anything like me then quite a bit. I didn’t grow up in the Snapchat age where every scrunchy face, every pancake with chocolate chips is posted for the world to see. My scrunchy faces and chocolate chip pancakes are mine and mine alone.

Environmentalists, likewise, feel that the “man-eating” Great White shark’s toothy grin and male femur he’s snacking upon should be his and his alone. That his “horizontal mambo” should stay between him and his partner or partners but shark researchers very much disagree, pitting the two against each other in a potentially violent battle of sensitive wills.

As you know, the prehistoric beasts have reached record numbers off the America’s eastern seaboard. There they thrash about, man-eat, terrify and snap and you know because many of these are tagged then tossed back into the sea to thrash about, man-eat, terrify and snap some more and maybe even try to get laid all why getting tracked by you, me, shark researchers.

Environmentalists feel this tagging amounts to an invasion of privacy and we must go to USA Today for the very latest.

A tagged 10-foot, 3-inch 564-pound great white shark called “Shaw” by researchers is making his way south along the New Jersey coast from Nova Scotia.

Following the shark is a growing debate about whether the gains to be had over the intrusion into the shark’s life is worth any potential long-term harm to the animal.

Shaw was tagged near Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, on Oct. 1, during OCEARCH’s Expedition Nova Scotia 2019. He took two weeks to reach the New Jersey coast.

The group placed satellite tracking SPOT-tags on 11 great white sharks on the expedition. It also conducted health and reproductive assessments and collected vital scientific samples from the sharks, such as fecal samples.

OCEARCH’s method of tagging and sampling of the sharks continues to draw scrutiny in the scientific community.

The group brings the sharks aboard a vessel while the SPOT tag is placed on the animal’s dorsal fin. The shark’s belly is cut open and an acoustic tag is placed inside.

Heather Bowlby, the research lead at the Canadian Atlantic Shark Research Laboratory, told the Canadian press they’ve shifted away from bringing sharks on board a boat because the animals lack a rib cage to hold up their body weight when they’re out of water.

Gregory Skomal, a shark researcher with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, told the Canadian press, he’s concerned about long-term problems OCEARCH’s methods may cause on the reproductive success of the animal from the interaction.

OCEARCH has defended its methods. Robert Hueter, from Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory and one of the group’s chief scientists, was quoted in the Canadian press as saying the criticism about unknown, long-term impacts are “speculation without data.”

So there we have it. A potential problem as it relates to the “reproductive success” of the vicious misanthropes.

Do you think that Great Whites care about the feelings of their partners?

Are they tender lovers?

I find it hard to believe but will be following along thanks to OCEARCH’s shark sex cams.

Revealed: Planned Palm Springs surf resort can accommodate “up to 95 professional surfers at a time!”

That's 47 concurrent overlapping heats!

One of the great puzzlements in professional surfing is why there are so many professional surfers. We’ve been pondering this odd fact together for many years without satisfaction, without satisfying answers as to why professional surf competitions are filled with so many professional surfers that they must run over two distinct swell events. Without understandable justification as to Alex Ribeiro.

I sometimes think that professional surfing might just be the world’s tallest pyramid scheme, all these professional surfers paying entry fees etc., but then put my drink down and try to think more sensibly. Less conspiratorially.

But then this morning, demitasse in hand, I stumbled across the very latest news for a new wave tank being built near Palm Springs, California and would you like to read the details?

-The surf lagoon would be open to the public 330 days per year.
-Surfers would pay an hourly fee or sign up for various packages or passes.
-Surf sessions will run one hour at a time.
-On an average, there will be about 50 to 60 surfers in the water at any given time.
-On a weekend day, there will be about 75 surfers in the water at any given time.
-For a special event, such as surf competitions, there could be as many as 95 surfers in the water at any given time.
-Proposed hours for the lagoon are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weeknights; to midnight on weekends and holidays.
-The surf center, open 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., would include restaurants, bars and shops that will be open to the public. Non-surfers who want to use the beach, pools and enjoy other activities like bocce ball and pickleball, can buy a day pass.

For a special event, such as surf competitions, there could be as many as 95 surfers in the water at any given time.

Imagine a surf competition with 95 professional surfers in the water at a time. Roughly 47 heats overlapping. 1,504 professional surfers per sixteen heats.

“Non-stop action…” as Joe Turpel would coo and is this the World Surf League’s great plan for domination? To make every able bodied man, woman and child a professional surfer with all the incumbent fees etc?

It is difficult to see another angle.

Update: The realtime Olympic qualification scenarios for the most important sport of professional surfing!

An injured man reigns!

I know, I know that I spend a good 85% of each and every day quietly mocking surfing in the Olympics, another 15% loudly mocking it and yet another 56% giggling about Olympic Surfing’s head cheerleader Fernando Aguerre’s bowties. That’s a lot of time but, underneath the mocking both loud and quiet, and giggling is an intense interest. Never before in our history has one season meant so much.

It means nothing, obviously, but the top two surfers from each country on the World Surf League Championship Tour will be invited to compete in Tokyo and that is intensely interesting•.

And with only two, two, events left on the World Surf League Championship Tour calendar** left it is very important we take stock.

Who will be representing the most important sport of professional surfing for the masses this coming summer?

Who will be our Jesse Owens?

As we stand right now:

Brazil: Gabe, Filipe

USA: Kolohe, John John

Australia: Owen, Jules

France: Jeremy Flores, The Spartan™

South Africa: Jordy Smith, TBD

Israel: Derek Rielly

Besides France’s enduring colonial perfection, the most intriguing storyline, after Derek Rielly swinging for Israel***, is that of John John Florence.

The greatest surfer in the entire world**** was injured very early yet there he sits and with one more Kelly Slater failure, with two Kolohe Andino equal 17ths, he’ll slip right in despite not surfing, professionally, since 2016.

That is either an epic statement of his skill or a complete and utter repudiation of American surfing.

Which do you think it is?

Seth Moniz, the wildcard here, would be such a wonderful storyline. There he sits at 11th just waiting for either Kolohe to fail or John John to stay hurt and Kelly to….. Kelly*****.

If the Hawaiian wonder with an impeccable pedigree can sort a decent finish in Portugal then in his own backyard then brilliant.

Otherwise Derek Rielly for Israel.

But also what in the world happened, Kelly Slater? Your number one obstacle blew out his knee. The other American is Kolohe Andino. Are you telling me, even at 60 years old, you can’t overcome?

If you don’t show up/blow up in Portugal then your 11 World Titles are meaningless.

*Currently drinking

** Can’t remember

*** Go Derek!

****Is he? Is John John Florence the current greatest surfer in the world?

***** Be weird but showcase talent but allow weirdness to overcome.

Meet: the shredder changing the world via biomolecular engineering!

Max Weston don’t like what’s happening to the world with its rapacious consumerism and waste. But Max ain't weeping about it. He's doing something.

All lives are precious, but are some worth more than others? Max Weston is a twenty-seven-year-old chemical and biomolecular engineer, and surf rat, from Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches.

While the rest of us eat, drink, surf, fuck, talk shit, work enough to earn cash to keep us in data and shelter, and try and snatch a wave here and there, Max has thrown his life into solving society’s problems through ingenuity and technology.

I meet up with Max in a beachside shelter at Sydney’s Bondi. He pulls up in a small black Japanese four-wheel-drive, the back seats folded down to fit his nine-six Gato Haroi, a five-seven Haydn Lewis twin and his five-five Lost Catch Surf softie.

He’s alterno-man, as you might’ve guessed or if you watched the O’riginals clip here, first. You might’ve even written him off in the opening minute when you saw ol twinkle toes dance up to the nose.

(You remember the last two O’riginals films? Beau Cram, here, and Reef Doig, here.)

But Max is that rare alterno-man, a retro ripper who grew up through boardriders contests and pro juniors, wanting to be a pro surfer like everyone else.

“I was a normal kid in Sydney, riding a fucking five-eleven thruster competing through high school,” he says.

His surf DNA is solid enough. His old boy got into surfing lateish, sixteen or so, but got so hooked he moved to the South Australian desert to gorge himself on those famous cold-water reef waves, slabs jealousy guarded by gun-toting locals and fleets of Great White sharks. Even though he moved his family, a wife and four boys including Max, the youngest, to Sydney thirty years ago they still keep a shack in the dunes, which Max vacations in every year.

When you watch Max on his Gato Haroi his easy to see his innate ability to put his board in the right part of the wave, his feet where they can jab the rocker up and down depending on his speed and turning requirements.

A good surfer. And a good surfer with other things on his mind apart from whether or not anyone can stop a rampaging Gabriel Medina.

Right now, Max is working on his doctorate thesis on the development of bio-sensors, a body of work made up of six projects, and how it can relate to sharpening the use-by dates on food.

See, Max don’t like what’s happening to the world, his world, with its rapacious consumerism and waste.

But Max don’t lay down in the street or perform theatre for the cameras. He’s a hero not a halo.

“Man can solve things,” he says. “Everyone thinks, the way we used to lives was beautiful but breaking down systems and going back to the past isn’t the solution. The solution is something we’ve never seen before. Technology is the solution.”

Max is in a research group of ten at the University of New South Wales working on the tech that would put millions of cellular sensors that mimic biology into food. So, instead of looking at that bottle of milk, noting the use-by date printed on the label has passed and throwing out the remaining quart, you’d be notified by a change in colour as the sensor interacts with toxins.

“I’m interested in mimicking nature and tweaking it,” he says.

And it’s not just a consumer thing. Reduce waste across the entire food industry and billions of dollars worth of food that is eaten instead of discarded means less resources consumed, fewer animals lining up for the abattoir’s knife and so on.

Max also discovered an enzyme in body fluids that’s a marker for cancer.

Still, Max is never far from the surf.

He just moved down to Bondi after a bust-up with his girl (she’s in the movie, check her out in her band The Buoys) and had to split from her joint in the inner-city.

So what does surfing give him?

“Lots of different stuff. It’s therapeutic at times, creative, social, it can be competitive, and, longboarding, especially is particularly expressive ‘cause otherwise you’re just standing there going straight trying to look cool.”

Max says he likes to change up his boards, longboard to five-ten, to twinny, to Beater, even a little bodysurfing.

“I like getting refreshed,” he says.


Question: “Should surfing ability be vetted? Should those who SUP be ordered into re-education camps?”

Somewhere far away, maybe Manhattan Beach where they can receive proper instruction?

If you were poking around these parts late last week, and by “these parts” I mean BeachGrit, then you might have seen me get real angry at the NBA, Apple and our very own Vans for capitulating to vague Chinese pressures without even putting up half a fight. Not even a pretend fight. Ooooooh it burned me. Burned me that American companies, leagues and organizations will fly the rainbow flag, preach tolerance, broadcast freedom of speech but it comes to actual freedom of speech and the fight of those brave Hong Kong protesters in the face of Beijing’s overwhelming totalitarian might, they all rolled on their backs, pulled apps, canceled press conferences, vanished art.

A shame. An embarrassing black eye but as I continued to burn through the weekend realized nobody cares. There’s no call here or in Australia or Europe to boycott Apple. No protests in support of Hong Kong in New York. No benefit concerts or even Instagram campaigns.

There is but deafening silence.

Well, this morning I woke up after an odd night ready to shake off disappointment with the west and get back to the business of The People™ when I stumbled across a story in the Pensacola Times about a new documentary on the China Beach Surf Club. It was composed of Americans fighting in Vietnam in the 1960s and made famous by Col. Kilgore in the epic Apocalypse Now.

China Beach Surf Club sounds like a wonderful film, in any case, and I would very much like to see it and let’s dip a toe into the history together.

“They had tried to start a club up originally before I was there and it didn’t really amount to a lot, I think they had 15 to 20 members,” the 73-year-old Martin recalled. “But it didn’t really advance to anything.”

When Martin was deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam, in November 1967, he soon made friends with the lifeguards and gained access to the lifeguard building.

Martin gained permission from his commanding officer to organize the club, agreeing to repair surfboards and take some of the burden off of the lifeguards who cared for China Beach surfers in addition to their standard duties.

Soldiers looking to surf during their down time were assigned a card by Martin, who would personally vet their surfing abilities — or lack thereof — before giving them the green light.

“There were not that many surfboards and we just didn’t really want every Joe Blow to have use of a board that did not really know how to surf,” Martin said. “What I would do is I would actually take the people out to the water, and I would be in the water and watch them to see if they have any skills or anything. And if they surfed well enough and they could use a board without damaging it, I’d issue them a card.”

I read the last bit with heart pounding, thinking to myself, “What a fantastic idea! Surfing ability – or lack thereof – should still be vetted. Those who can’t surf, or who choose to SUP, should be ordered out of the water and into re-education camps somewhere far away, maybe Manhattan Beach, where they can receive proper instruction on…”

…before realizing that I am no different from President Xi Jinping. A dirty, ruthless, unbending, stern eye’d totalitarian.

But am I really?

Are you?

Also let’s hurry up and get this surf vetting thing off the ground ASAP. Any ideas on how to implement broadly all at once?