Gimme dem feet!
Gimme dem feet!

Breaking: “Very aggressive” twelve-foot Tiger shark bites, deflates, stand-up paddle board then chases terrified pilot to shore!

Very scary.

Oh I hope you are not in Maui right now nor anywhere near for a “very aggressive” Tiger shark, measuring twelve-feet, has a taste for man in its mouth but was left completely unsatisfied when trying to eat one. And what would you do if you were over two football fields in length away from the shoreline there on an inflatable stand-up paddle board?

Much suspension of disbelief already, I know, but then what if you felt the air going out of your vessel, turned around and saw a massive beast with its teeth stuck right in, inhaling compressed air and poor lifestyle choices?

It would be terrifying, the thought of being eaten whilst riding an inflatable SUP, no? And let us learn what happened just yesterday to Larry Oberto of Seattle and Maui. Let us keep our fingers crossed, hoping beyond hope that everything turned out ok.

State officials say a 10-12-foot-long Tiger shark deflated an inflatable stand-up paddle board about 200 yards off shore from 1681 Halama Street in Kīhei on Maui on Tuesday morning, Dec. 3.

The man aboard the inflatable at the time, was in the ocean with a group of other paddlers when the shark bit the back of his inflatable.

57-year-old Larry Oberto of Maui and Seattle, said the shark bit the back of his inflatable which immediately deflated. Another paddler, identified by Oberto as AJ Gaston was nearby on a board so he saw swam over to him and got on his board, according to DLNR reports.

The paddle boarders say the shark was “acting very aggressively” and pursued them to shore, according to information compiled by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Larry Oberto (pictured) mocking his tormentor.
Larry Oberto (pictured) mocking his tormentor.

So Larry Oberto had to ride nuts-to-butts on another man’s inflatable stand-up paddle board while an overly-furious beast chased them all the way to shore?

The indignity is only more horrifying that actually getting eaten and ending that string of poor lifestyle choices.

Again, if you are in Maui, or anywhere near including but not limited to Oahu, Kauai, California, the best thing to do is stay out of the water for at least six-months.

More as the story develops

Watch: Metallica x BeachGrit x Billabong x Randy Irons!

And win AI Forever/Metallica merch!

It is a warmish fall day in San Francisco. A pea soup fog has eaten up the Pacific Ocean teepees at Ocean Beach and, on the streets of the Mission District where BeachGrit is accumulating camera equipment at the creative agency Avocados and Coconuts, the hordes of homeless people, who outnumber the homed five-to-one, are enjoying the sun from their sidewalk perches.

BeachGrit is in the famous port city to interview and film Metallica, the American musical act whom you may’ve heard of, for a collaboration with surf co Billabong.

Might we, which includes the director Jack Boston, 16mm filmer Michael Clifford and audio man Michael Perez, be able to sprinkle our fairy dust on the collaboration and create seven different short films to coincide with each capsule, five tied to their first five albums, Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice For All and the self-titled, Metallica, aka the Black Album?

Well, yes.

After a forty-five minute drive from the Mission, across the Golden Gate Bridge, a short meander through the green hills of Marin County and past the Museum of International Propaganda, BeachGrit stops at a single-store warehouse, painted in white, just off the 101 and abutting a Middle School.

A barbecue is busy outside the sliding door, a Mexican chef busy on the griddle.

Inside, the walls are decorated with the detritus of three decades of touring and recording.

One wall features six captured mice (one withered animal with “XXX 30 Years Strong” written above its corpse) and a large cockroach (“Here Lies Papa Roach”). Vintage Black Sabbath posters, framed album covers (Queen: Sheer Heart Attack, Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous), a map of the world (“Places we’ve gigged”) and busted guitars and flags and so on create a homely sorta feel, made even more so by staffers that don’t appear to just like their jobs, but to live ’em.

In the carpark, James Hetfield’s assistant sees me peering into the front of his boss’s 1940, I think, pale blue Chevrolet convertible, asks for my phone, and takes a well-framed photo of me and the pretty car.

Before the interview, there is a photo shoot for the band’s whiskey label Blackened. I mention to the guitarist Kirk that a bottle would be appreciated. Later, he gifts three, a net gain of $129 dollars.

(At eight am the following morning, driving with sweaty hands and an irregular heartbeat, alone and with dark thoughts, through hairpin bends from Big Sur back to Los Angeles, I regret, very much, asking for the booze.)

In a back room, waiting for the rest of the band to be free, I ask James, a considerable man who is six-feet and two inches in socks but with a cowboy and hat and boots is elevated well above his interlocutor, if he has a private jet.

“No! Do you?” he says.

The interview features all four members of the band, James, Lars and the two surfers in the group, Kirk Hammett and Roberto Trujillo.

Back in 2007, in a similar deal, Billabong launched a Metallica collaboration and the band were filmed and photographed with Andy Irons, a surfboard illuminated by flames.

All four have very fond memories of Randy, James enjoyed his rebelliousness and Roberto and Kirk were a little starstruck, I think, to be in his orbit.

There are two short films for the AI-Forever collection, one with Seth Moniz, the other with classic footage of Randy.

The AI Forever-Metallica collaboration is available from today and, if you want to leave a very kind note, below, the writer of the sweetest will receive a package that includes a short-sleeved t-shirt with the twin skull artwork by skateboard artist Pushead – known for 1980s skateboard deck graphics and Thrasher Magazine designs – next to the insignia AI Forever, a pair of camo surf trunks with the Metallica logo, a long-sleeve tee which is a throwback to the 2008 album Death Magnetic that inspired the initial collaboration with Irons and a cotton corduroy jacket has a Ride the Lightning style Metallica logo.

Warning: Celebrity surfer Josh Brolin burns “pucker hole” while participating in dangerous new sun tanning trend!

"Increases creativity and creative output..."

And you thought Laird Hamilton’s ice baths were bad. You thought Kelly Slater’s elk antler infusions were odd and also his homemade chia seed puddings. You count yourself a skeptic when it comes to the latest health fads but admit your curiosity was piqued by “perineum sunning.” The ancient art of… well… The ancient art of… hmmm.

I’ll let Metaphysical Meagan explain.

Perineum sunning is an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East. In Taoism, the perenium or Hui Yin is called the “Gate of Life and Death.” This is a gateway where energy enters & exits the body. I first learned about perineum sunning through my studies of Taoism and Tantric practices.
The benefits of perineum sunning include:

•It brings in prana or solar energy from the sun into the organs within the body which strengthens the organs.
•Perineum sunning prevents against the leakage of chi or life force energy from the body. This in turn sustains health & longevity of the physical body.
•Increases creativity and creative output.
•Aids in a healthy libido & balanced sexual energy.
•30 seconds of sunlight on the perineum is equivalent to being in the sun all day with your clothes on.
•It regulates the circadian rhythm and promotes deeper sleep.
•Grounds and connects you to the Earth.
•Increases your personal magnetism and amplifies the auric field.


So was celebrity surfer and actor Josh Brolin who, according to Page 6  “gave hot new wellness trend ‘perineum sunning’ a whirl — with disastrous results that left his ‘pucker hole’ sunburned.”

And let’s go straight to Mr. Brolin’s Instagram for the latest:

Tried this perineum sunning that I’ve been hearing about and my suggestion is DO NOT do it as long as I did. My pucker hole is crazy burned and I was going to spend the day shopping with my family and instead I’m icing and using aloe and burn creams because of the severity of the pain. I don’t know who the fuck thought of this stupid shit but fuck you nonetheless. Seriously. #blackholefriday #blackholesun #severeperineumburns #santamonicafiredepartment #assholecare

Still sold?

Go forth brave adventurer. Fortune favors the bold.


Here we see Josh Brolin saving a VAL from certain death. A kind man undeserving of his current fate.

Hero: Florida surfer sees captain of boat thrown overboard while out charging a wild storm, paddles over and saves the day!

"My adrenaline was just pumping..."

We’ve talked about our own personal acts of surfing heroism here before, how we’ve lent a nub of wax to a stranger in need, how we’ve winced, empathetically, when witnessing a poor soul step on a stingray. Beneath the crust, the grump, there a gorgeous benevolence but have you ever been out, surfing a storm and seen a boat attempting to come in to harbor when its captain got pitched overboard?

What would you do if you had seen such a thing?

Wince empathetically?

Well, a Florida hell charger one-upped us all and let us read about the harrowing tale of hero Burt Garnsey

A Florida man was surfing alone at the Boynton Inlet when he saw the captain go over, clawing at the boat’s Bimini top before falling into a frothy sea the color of steel.

The captain was in the water and the boat, with eight charter passengers aboard, bobbed precariously Sunday in powerful waves heaved at South Florida from a deepening coastal storm off the Carolinas.

Burt Garnsey was surfing alone at the Boynton Inlet when he saw the Starfish Scuba captain go over, clawing at the boat’s Bimini top before falling into a frothy sea the color of steel. Garnsey looked to the bridge of the 34-foot vessel. The wheel was unmanned.

“I just started paddling toward the boat,” said Garnsey, an experienced mariner whose family has worked on the water for three generations. “It was still sideways.”

Garnsey, 51, was eyeing the horizon at about 10:30 a.m. when the Starfish came into view, got whacked by a wave that turned it parallel to the whitewater, and then another that threw Starfish Captain Bradley Williams off the bridge.

Garnsey bellied in a wave toward the boat. Concerned it would capsize with no one on the bridge, he climbed up on the dive platform, undid the leash that attaches him to his surfboard and ran to the wheel.

“My adrenaline was just pumping,” said Garnsey, whose family owns the Boynton Beach-based Sea Mist III fishing charters, which was also out Sunday.

How does the tale end? Heroically of course with Garnsey even finding his board on the beach later.

The proposed $1.5 billion Maddison Estate development from 2012, with Slater pool as gorgeous centrepiece. | Photo: Tracks

Longtom investigates WSL’s billion-dollar Australian wavepool development, part II: “An ad man and property developer walk into a bar and say, ‘Have I got a deal for you!'”

Stark's pitch: trust us, we're the WSL, would we/could we do wrong? May need some refinement.

Roman Polanki’s 1974 film noir classic Chinatown deals with corruption over access to water in early 20th century Los Angeles. Basically, the story of the subjugation of public good by private greed.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately, since 2013 actually, when Kelly Slater soft-launched his tub as part of a $A1.5 billion development proposal called Maddison Estate in Pimpama, “the last remaining rural town on the Pacific Motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.” The property developer behind that development was the Gold Coast entrepreneur Peter Drake.

Maddison Estate had a stall at the then Quiksilver Pro, in those heady last days of the ASP. Glossy brochures, babes and studs standing around in the Queensland sun pitching the project, almost three years before the wavepool reveal that shocked the surfing world.

“Maddison Estate is an exclusive community, however, the general public will be able to access the wave experience,” Kelly Slater Wave Co. GM Noah Grimmett told in 2012.

But, the project, which was going to take seven years to build, never got up.

In 2015, Drake became the third biggest bankrupt in Australian history with debts of $337 million. He reported personal assets of “a block of land worth $500, two second-hand cars and a little over $1,000 in the bank.”

A little background about the sunshine state.

Queenslanders love property development.

From time to time the state is disfigured by paroxysms of development. The Gold Coast, canal estates, high-rises, etc etc. Bulldozers are like crack cocaine to a certain type of human animal. The state even has its own mythological developers who exerted an outsize influence on the political process, the so-called white-shoe brigade.

The developer behind Coolum Surf Ranch, Don O’Rorke is as good as they get. A very fine, sharp stud, known by his peers as the “baby-faced assassin.” Don loves his go-outs, gets a yearly trip to the Ments on his pal Brian White’s boat, the Indies Trader 3 and is famously known for his aversion to litigation.

An AFR profile in August describes a framed cheque on his desk that reads, “$600,000 dispute, $5 million in legal fees, $200,000 settlement.” According to Don, “It reminds everyone of two things; one, the futility of litigation and two, don’t fuck with us because we will go the distance.”

Don’s one of us, except with vastly deeper pocket. He donated the land and a half-a-million dollars for the Hurley HPC and was subsequently made a life member of Surfing Australia. The organisation that Andrew Stark led for close enough to a decade and left to join the WSL, with close to a singular mission: get the first Kelly Slater tub launched in Australia.

Property developers, you won’t be surprised to hear, are the largest political donors in Queensland, or at least they were.

Don’s Consolidated Properties (CPG) was no slouch in that regard, barely missing a podium finish, with the fourth largest developer contributions. The last developer to make a donation to the Australian Labor Party (which holds power in Queensland) on the day the Premier banned them in Oct, 2017?

Don’s CTP. He got in a $33,500 donation that day, following on from a $16,000 donation a few weeks before.

Perspectives on property developers giving money to politicians are very much in the eye of the beholder. For developers like Don, it’s all about good government relations.

Others see undue influence. Less charitable views exist, like that of the Crime and Corruption Commission who found a “risk, or perceived risk, of corruption at the local government level arising from political donations from property developers.”

Don’s big break was a Casuarina, a long stretch of coastal land, where according to renowned surf journalist Nick Carroll, he “saw a future where others saw bugger all.”

People did see other things, though.

They saw bush and tried to preserve it. The process was not quite as squeaky clean and praiseworthy as Carroll paints it. In May 2005, the Tweed Shire Council, which hosts Casuarina, was sacked after an independent report found it had been the puppet of developers. Pro-development councillors were funded by a lobby group called Tweed Directions and Emeritus Prof Maurice Daly said councillors whose candidacies were funded by Tweed Directions no longer had the public’s confidence and were not able to carry out the council’s functions.

Don O’Rorke, who was building Casuarina at the time, donated $50000 to Tweed Directions. All perfectly legal and there is no suggestion otherwise.

A good pal to Andrew Stark, as is now widely known. Starky is an ex ad-man.

An ad man and property developer walk into a bar and say, “Have I got a deal for you.”

Which is pretty much what happened at Coolum in their “community consultation.” A later radio interview mentioned one-on-one meetings with environment groups who thought building a huge urban development on a floodplain was a spectacularly bad idea.

The radio interview gave the impression the groups concerns had been allayed.

I foot-slogged it through Nambour, the old faded cane town half-an-hour inland from Coolum, looking for the Sunshine Coast Environment Centre. A low-set building nestled in a back alley, around the corner from a community building where an outdoor soup kitchen was set-up, a dozen hard scrabble crew leaning against a wall smoking cigarettes.

“They’re good at building on floodplain,” said the Chris Cooper look-alike before assuring me that none of the groups who had done the one on one consultations were swallowing the Kool-Aid.

I have an XDI* report about climate risk in front of me.

Should we talk about climate risk? Boo, hiss!

We already know what they will say: increased impacts expected from sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding on the short, coastal Maroochy catchment. Bigger floods, greater inundation, higher insurance costs, evacuation plans for residents. Nuts. Gimme my man-made floodplain toobs and eco-lodge.

Have you heard about Blue Heart, the latest WSL Pure campaign? It aims to build blue carbon, the sexiest form of carbon, by sequestering it in coastal wetlands.

I kid, Blue Heart is a Sunshine coast directive aimed at blue carbon in the Maroochy wetlands. It’s under direct threat, of course, by the Coolum Surf Ranch proposal. Reece Pacheco, head of WSL Pure, has been contacted for comment. Crickets at time of publication.

I have a local property developer pal too.

“It’s fucking swamp,” he said about the proposed site. “They’ll have to build canals and lakes, as well as the wavepool just to elevate the building sites.”

The chief engineer, Dr Trev Johnson, is a specialist in, wait for it… engineering canals.

Where is the water coming from? asked Genevieve in instalment one.

Mr O’Rorke stated it would not be taken from reticulated town water but, extracted from the nearby Maroochy River, its associated waterways and interconnected ground water via a complex (and unsustainable) pumping system into the pool then circulated onto constructed wetlands and a series of ‘lakes’ – presumably for the upmarket ‘lakefront’ housing lots.

This risky and energy intensive process could severely impact on the hydrology of the river and its protected wetlands.

Coolum Creek Conservation Park and the regenerating Yandina Creek Wetlands are within proximity to this site. The mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of acid sulfate soils to “create” an aspirational “developable” area of some 125 hectares (308 acres)  compounds the unacceptable risk from this project.

That’s the presser from the Sunny Coast Environment Council, btw, after the one-on-one with Don and Starky.

Stark’s pitch: trust us, we’re the WSL, would we/could we do wrong? May need some refinement.

2032 Olympic venue? Rejected by Tokyo and Paris, the universe where the wavepool is the accepted venue is becoming an increasingly parallel one. A spokesperson from Tourism Minister Kate Jones office said it was way too early to have discussions about potential Olympic venues but that Queensland Tourism remained committed to promoting Queensland’s natural assets.

Sounds like a yeah, but nah, to me: we got miles of beaches and we want to promote them.

Nick Carroll asked us to sympathise with Starky’s plight, forced to pitch a very difficult proposal after the Florida Palm Beach debacle. I do feel a little sorry for them that they are not pitching this in the age of the old print mags, where sympathetic coverage by the old-boy network, if not outright advocacy, could be assured.

We don’t even need to speculate on that.

A piece in this month’s Tracks by veteran surf journalist Phil Jarratt handled Stark with the gentlest of velvet gloves. His relationship with Don O’Rorke got one sentence in one paragraph. The timeline of being tapped on the shoulder by the WSL to deliver on the pool while his pal needed some sizzle to sell a piece of very soggy steak where both partners could turn floodplain into billions of dollars was not discussed.

Where’s it at?

There’s no record of any proposal with council, so they are being truthful, which means the development is grinding through (what I am assured is a very thorough process) in the Queensland State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA). Until, and if or when the WSL/CPG release a Draft Masterplan and start telling local residents and surfers what’s really up and how much it will cost them to get their floodplain toobs the whole process is nothing more than a sales pitch that is haemorrhaging trust.

It’s probable we will never get the exact timeline, and who approached who.

Carroll calls the arrangement between Stark, the WSL guy and O’Rorke a “beautiful confluence of interests.”

Very much murky waters ahead comrades.

But, I doubt we will walk away, like Jack Nicholson’s Jake Gittes was advised to in the closing scene of Chinatown with the immortal words: “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown”.

Next: The case for!

*XDI=Cross Dependency Initiative.