Which should go?
Which should go?

Bait and Switch: Family made famous for feeding their young children to “ravenous” Great Whites come under fire for “duping fans!”

“Shady or, at the very least, very confusing."

“Being sold a bill of goods” is one of my very favorite aphorisms. Have you heard? Used yourself? I won’t get into the linguistically gorgeous joys but, basically, it means “swindled.”

Have you ever been? Ever not read the fine print or bought a new car off the lot?

Well, you will certainly understand the outrage surrounding the “Bucket List Family” made famous for throwing their very young children into a shark cage with regulators that didn’t fit their tiny, little mouths.

And over the just-passed holidays, the Bucket Lists offered their fans some too-good-to-be-true giveaway that turned out to be just that, thus coming under much anger. Shall we read from once-important BuzzFeed? Of course!

This week, angry fans said they felt duped by a popular Instagram account that did not make clear the full details about a massive annual giveaway for free trips around the world. Some people even argued that the lapse in disclosure allowed the family’s account to rack up a lot more engagement and followers.

What we know so far is thanks largely to a lawyer named Paige Griffith, from Montana, who spent her holidays digging and posting about the debacle to her Instagram stories. More from her later.

The Gee family, more ubiquitously known as the Bucket List Family by their more than 2.4 million Instagram followers, are five self-proclaimed nomads who travel the world for content. This lifestyle was possible after dad Garrett Gee reportedly sold his app to Snapchat for $54 million in 2015. You love to hate to be envious to see it.

Each year, parents Garrett and Jessica host a huge giveaway series they call “12 Days of Bucket List Christmas.” The idea is that for 12 days at the end of the year, they surprise “families in need with a gift that means so much to [their] own family: the gift of travel,” Jessica told me. This year’s destinations include Tanzania, Hawaii, Fiji, Disney World in Orlando, and more. It’s a huge, commendable idea, and fans get excited about it every year.

This year, however, the family’s latest posts about their giveaways have been flooded with comments from frustrated fans who say the whole thing was carried out in a way they felt was “shady” or, at the very least, very confusing.

And that’s all I need. Fans of the Bucket Lists who felt “duped.”

What a crock and I’m busily planning a shark diving trip with my daughter. Sure she’s six, no longer five, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Families that look thusly while riding a bunch of hideous mid-lengths…

…are up to something and I’ll get to the bottom of it shortly.

More as the story develops.

Oregonian local (pictured) enjoying a post-surf banjo pluck.
Oregonian local (pictured) enjoying a post-surf banjo pluck.

Locals Only: Oregon journalist-cum-VAL crows about “sublime, amazing” surf in MY Beaver State!

Real insight: This kook don't know.

I do everything here for you, you know that right? Everything. Oh you think all the shark business, all the horrifying tales from our modern and current shark apocalypse is due some weird personal kink?


But also and mostly they are also my counter to the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise, to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, to Fake Hurley now selling beard oil to Des Moines, Iowa farmers who hope, dream of one day, of absorbing surfing right into their pores.


Surfing is for us and only us. Like Gotcha’s wonderful founder Michael Tomson once boldly declared, “If you don’t surf, don’t start.

But how is the World Surf League going to make money if nobody starts? How will Kelly Slater or Fake Hurley?

And so they all crow about about how amazing, how spiritual our Pastime of Kings is while I scream, “Beware! There’s a Great White circling your pale legs!”

In any case, as you may or may not know, I grew up surfing the cold hell of Oregon. The miserable cold rip-tidy, sharky hell and that’s what it truly is but today I stumbled upon a piece in The Oregonian that began thusly:

I’m a mountain guy. A lover of lakes. A backpacker, climber and skier.

As such, few of my adventures pull me toward the beautiful Oregon coast.

But I defied that tendency a few months back, heading west in search of a new thrill: surfing.

Cold hell. Messy hell. Horrible hell. Welcome to hell, now you’re in hell (buy here).

But the journalist-cum-VAL decided to lie and write:

My day started at a surf shop in Seaside, where I met up with surf instructor Lauren Ahlgren and got outfitted with a rental wetsuit.

We then headed south down the coast, passing Cannon Beach and parking our rigs just off the highway at Oswald West State Park, home to the popular Short Sand Beach.

We hiked for a half-mile, hauling our unwieldy boards, and emerged at the beach before too long.

It was, in a word, sublime.

The beach, which is known as Short Sands or Shorty’s, sits in a stunning cove framed by volcanic basalt and sandstone cliffs.

There’s no highway noise. No concession stands. Just classic Oregon coast vibes.

I believe he means “classic Oregon coast vibes” as a positive but take it from one who grew up there.

It’s a meth.

One big giant meth plus the surf sucks too.

And I’m going to hunt down this lover of lakes, this backpacker, climber, skier and teach him a proper lesson. I’m going to take him for a surf around Coos Bay, a bowl of Mo’s clam chowder in Florence then… Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

More as the story develops.

Celebrate! Mavericks is back!
Celebrate! Mavericks is back!

Winning: Young, non-surfing co-ed on verge of reviving Mavericks contest, shaming “incompetent, billionaire-owned WSL!”

From the mouth of babes!

And what has Greta Thunberg taught us all this past year? Yes. That adults are uninspired, selfish, greedy, destructive, uncaring, bloated, hideous, wastes of air. That we can’t get anything done, can’t even save ourselves from catastrophic climate change much less hold a surf contest not even thirty minutes from metropolis San Francisco at California’s premier big wave spot not even if a co-Waterperson of the Year, who happens to be a billionaire, owns all of professional surfing.


…out of the mouth of babes etc.

The children are our future and a child-adjacent co-ed who attends Georgetown University is on the verge of reviving Mavericks but we must not waste anymore time self-loathing. We must head to The Mercury News directly for more.

The World Surf League, surfing’s version of the NBA or NFL, failed to bring a big-wave contest to Mavericks, the renowned break near Half Moon Bay.

But a Georgetown University senior and San Mateo coast native — who doesn’t even surf — is inching closer to resurrecting it in time for an event this winter.

“I’m not very athletic,” said Elizabeth Cresson, the 21-year-old who is spearheading the effort. “We’re connected to the ocean, and it’s something I care a lot about from a conservation and athletic standpoint. Mavericks has always been top of mind.”

Top of mind for the potential invited surfers: proof that this isn’t just another narwhal-like proposal they’ve become so accustomed to since the contest began as the Men Who Ride Mountains in 1999 and has only been contested 10 times in the two decades since.

“I’m not holding my breath for anything until things become a little more solidified where athletes see invites and we see who the title sponsor is,” said Tyler Fox, a Santa Cruz surfer who finished fourth in 2016, the last year the contest was held.

Potential competitors do not know much about the plan that is being spearheaded by Cresson, a Half Moon Bay native who grew up in Hillsborough.

Cresson stepped in to try to fill a void after World Surf League officials announced in August the end of the Big Wave Tour that was supposed to include Mavericks this season.

“We are planning on doing this full-throttle, making it exciting and as impactful as it can be,” Cresson said.

The piece goes on, inspiring, detailing how our brave heroine has secured the permits, $50,000 and the dreams of weary professional surf fans exhausted by an unscalable Positive Wall of Noise.

Bravo, Elizabeth Cresson. Come be CEO of BeachGrit next.

A Great White is captured, tagged, released. | Photo: Department of Primary Industries

Man killed by suspected Great White in Esperance, Western Australia; two years since town’s last fatal attack by White on 17-year-old surfer

"They are still searching the ocean for the victim."

A recreational diver has died after being hit by a suspected Great White shark near Cull Island around 1:00pm, WST, on Sunday.

Early reports suggest the man, named as Gary Johnson, lost his arm fending off a Great White.

From the police presser:

“Esperance Police and Marine Rescue WA volunteers deployed to the area on board marine rescue vessels. They are still searching the ocean for the victim. A woman who was on board the boat at the time of the incident has been returned to shore, and has been taken by St John Ambulance to hospital. She is suffering from shock.”

Two years ago, seventeen-year-old surfer Laeticia Brouwer died after being hit by a White at a popular wave in Esperance called Kelpies.

By coincidence, the surfer and doctor Jon Cohen, whom we interviewed a month ago about how to save someone who has been bitten by a shark and who sells tourniquets for surfers on his website, is currently working in the emergency department at Esperance Hospital where he is believed to be comforting the diver’s wife.

In that early interview, Jon spoke of the effect Laeticia’s death had on hospital personnel.

“I know some guys who were in the ED that day and it was a traumatic experience to manage. Cases like the are preventable deaths. People can act on the beach if they’re there when it happens. It might be scary to talk about but it’s reassuring to know that there is something you can do and it’s not complicated.”

Still, you gotta get ’em to the beach or a boat.

According to a report from the ABC, local man Glenn Quinlivan heard a mayday call his wife and raced to the scene in his boat.

“There was nothing to see,” he said.

All beaches in the area will be closed until Monday.

Kelly Slater adopts provocative pro-science stance in Australian bushfire debate: “One of my biggest fears as a kid was fires.”

"Mismanagement of forest underbrush back-burning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought," says 11-timer.

A recap.

Australia, if you’ve missed the blanket reporting, has been ablaze across its eastern and southern coasts since September.

Sixteen-million acres scorched, thirteen hundred houses gone, twenty-five dead.

Like most matters that require sound and rational thinking, fingers are instead being pointed this way and that way depending on which way you swing politically.

If you call yourself a progressive, it’s proof of the world’s imminent climate change apocalypse.

Yesterday, The New York Times ran an op-ed by the Australian author Richard Flanagan titled “Australia is Committing Climate Suicide.

Australia today is ground zero for the climate catastrophe. Its glorious Great Barrier Reef is dying, its world-heritage rain forests are burning, its giant kelp forests have largely vanished, numerous towns have run out of water or are about to, and now the vast continent is burning on a scale never before seen.

The images of the fires are a cross between “Mad Max” and “On the Beach”: thousands driven onto beaches in a dull orange haze, crowded tableaux of people and animals almost medieval in their strange muteness — half-Bruegel, half-Bosch, ringed by fire, survivors’ faces hidden behind masks and swimming goggles. Day turns to night as smoke extinguishes all light in the horrifying minutes before the red glow announces the imminence of the inferno. Flames leaping 200 feet into the air. Fire tornadoes. Terrified children at the helm of dinghies, piloting away from the flames, refugees in their own country.

From The Sydney Morning Herald,

“It needn’t be happening. We’re breathing woodsmoke, flavoured with burnt echidna, but it’s (prime minister) Scott Morrison’s coal-fuelled fire that’s turning our lovely world to ash.”

Those on the right point to arson and a lack of preventative back-burning for the catastrophe and cite a prominent bushfire scientist’s warning of disaster back in 2015, and published, ironically, yes, in the left-wing journal The Age.

Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of “misguided green ideology”, vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned.

Victoria’s “failed fire management policy” is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state’s Inspector-General for Emergency Management.

And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, “is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated.”

He said forest fuel levels had climbed to their most dangerous level in thousands of years.

And, now, Kelly Slater, 11-timer, lover of conspiracy theories and so on, has, surprisingly, gone for the latter and not, as one might expect, the former.

“I’m not sure a picture could better sum up the fear and devastation more succinctly,” Kelly wrote to his 2.6 million followers. “I’m no expert but from the messages and reading I’ve done on the subject, mismanagement of forest underbrush back-burning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought. I hope there is a silver lining and important lessons learned from the ongoing catastrophes once the dust settles. One of my biggest fears as a kid was fires and ironically enough, my mom was a firefighter. Maybe one created the other.”

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