Sharks in Florida (pictured) smiling broadly at their skillz.
Sharks in Florida (pictured) smiling broadly at their skillz.

Celebrate: Florida outclasses Australia, Reunion, South Africa and entire world combined for most unprovoked shark attacks in 2019!

The sunshine state!

Oh it is good to be number one. To be able to tilt chin back, slightly, puff chest out, a touch, and walk down the street with extra long steps, arms swinging robustly. And today, Florida is metaphorically strutting its stuff having once again topped Australia, Reunion, South Africa and the entire rest of the world combined for most unprovoked shark attacks on human men in just-wrapped 2019.

Feel free to pop a bottle Yuengling and read the report yourself:

For decades, Florida has topped global charts in the number of shark attacks, and this trend continued in 2019. Florida’s 21 cases represent 51% of the U.S. total and 33% of unprovoked attacks worldwide. However, the state saw a significant drop from its most recent five-year annual average of 32 incidents.

Unprovoked shark attacks also occurred in Hawaii (9), California (3), and North Carolina (3), with single incidents in Georgia, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the Virgin Islands.

In Florida, Volusia County had the most shark attacks (9), representing 43% of the Florida total, in line with the five-year annual average of nine incidents in the area. The remaining incidents occurred in Brevard (2) and Duval (5) counties, with single incidents occurring in Broward, Martin, Nassau, Palm Beach, and St. Johns counties.

By way of comparison, Australia had 11 attacks, Reunion had 1 and South Africa, once brave and proud, had 0.

Hang your metaphorical head in shame, South Africa.

Deep, profound shame.

But surfers in South Africa celebrate and travel to Florida. You are snack number one!

Man with electric underwater broom cleans Melbourne pool. | Photo: 7 News

Extreme weather: Melbourne wave pool closed for second consecutive day due to freak “mud rain”!

"Since the wild dust storm rained mud on us last night, our dedicated crew of facilities technicians, divers, robotic vacuum cleaners, sweepers and even lifeguards have been scrubbing non-stop…"

Pool surfers’ lives are in tatters this morning after it was revealed Australia’s first commercial wave pool would remain closed after freak “mud rain” that left the facility with a brown tank.

From Urbnsurf,

Since the wild dust storm rained mud on us last night, our dedicated crew of facilities technicians, divers, robotic vacuum cleaners, sweepers and even lifeguards have been scrubbing non-stop to return our surfing lagoon to its usual crystal-blue state. Regrettably (due to the thick nature of the dust) we’re still hard at work cleaning our lagoon, and in the interests of our guests’ health and safety, @urbnsurf #melbourne will be closed tomorrow, Friday 24 January 2020.

An act of God that must’ve taken the joint’s PR team by surprise given “mud-rain” is unlikely to’ve made it onto the list of potential closures.

Death, turds, paralysis, board through an eyeball, lightning, hail, these you can prepare for and mount compelling responses to.

But to be shat on from outer space?

Meanwhile, tears have been flowing on the company’s IG account as punters struggle to come to terms with the chaos of life.

Oh no! How is Saturday looking? I was booked in for the 9th of Jan and did my back on the 8th of Jan so missed out. my rebook is for this Saturday. Please tell me it’s all going to be ok… and it’s my 40th today, I’ll head down after work tomorrow and give you a hand cleaning it if you need?

We’ve literally just landed in Melbourne having flown from Sydney especially for tomorrow at your pool, having booked two sessions each the second they came live. You could have given us some warning yesterday/this morning?? Please please find a way to fit us in this weekend on your rights? We’ve booked flights, a car, two sessions… it’s been an incredibly expensive weekend

There was some good advice to be had, howevs.

4ft and offshore on the surf coast tommrow. Would rather be there!

you guys should head down to the surfcoast , it’ll be pumping and a lot of us are back at work now , so there will be a few less crowded breaks. Two days of great swell , adventure and sun – free of charge

If you’ve got a sesh booked at Urbnsurf, hit ’em up via email ([email protected]) for updates.

Phones are aching with traffic. You ain’t gonna get through.

Click here to watch the clean-up from a TV network chopper. 

Longtom on Album Surf Disasym: “For me, stiff, slow, lacking ability, I had a lot of brilliant, really fun moments!”

But, "If surf-time and go outs are at a premium then experimenting with asymmetricals is likely a poor return on investment."

So many rabbit holes to get lost down with surfboard design and scarcely enough time in a human lifespan to get a taste of everything at the buffet, if you’ll pardon a mangled metaphor.

Alternative board designs are like crack cocaine to me, likely because they are a crutch for limited ability, stiff, slow, five-point bottom turns and all that jazz.

Alternative designs can make you feel better than you are, or at the least stop rubbing your nose in the insufficiency of a mediocre skill set on high-performance equipment.

Asymmetrical surfboards are viewed through this lens, incorrectly I think.

Although alternative, there’s nothing inherently low performance about them, unless your definition of high performance is strictly pegged to CT standard surfing.

Alternative ripping.

Is it a thing?

Yes it is.

We credit Ryan Burch as the modern-day maestro, with Bryce Young his understudy. Dane Reynolds gets the dad bod all over alternative boards. A cornerstone of the movement is asymmetrical equipment.

Bob Simmons, author of the modern surfing life, begat futurist Carl Ekstrom*, who begat the asymmetrical surfboard at Windansea, La Jolla San Diego ,1965.

Experimentation in the southern hemisphere was carried on primarily by Allan Byrne from the Gold Coast via New Zealand and Phil Myers at Lennox/Ballina.

That’s the basic history of it.

It had it’s moment in the sun and now it’s coming back around.

The Disasym from Matt Parker at Album surfboards, Encinitas, follows the line of the Ryan Burch process: performance asymmetrical surfboards.

The one I rode is 5’10”, no volume number, which was blissful, a generous foil with a parallel-accented outline curve.

It comes with a custom Futures set: large twin-fin under the longer toe-side tail rail and half a quad set under the shorter heel-side rail.

The Theory as elucidated by Ekstrom at Windansea: longer rail line on the forehand where you can apply more pressure and a shorter heel side arc. I’m not sure that theory would stack up scientifically under the rigours of modern high-performance surfing but it works empirically for Burch and pals.

My first session in janky point surf did not go well, apart from establishing the board as a very good paddler, especially into waves with the sawn off nose. It felt stiff and sticky, then lacking drive, which accords with Dane Reynolds initial impressions when riding it in Mexican point surf for The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

He was able to change something up in his approach, unspecified, to make it work. That occurred on my watch too. Not so much my approach but better waves bought the board alive.

A prolonged swell event from a tropical cyclone near Fiji brought a ton of surf, of varying quality. Ryan Burch uses the board in good waves in place of the high perf thruster. Both his and Bryce Young’s feature the narrow, ski-type parallel outline found on the Disasym.

With the single concave bottom it needs a certain hull speed to break free.

Once attained the board feels completely different.

The stiffness and stickiness transforms into a very fluid, slippery feeling. You get the downwind “catamaran” effect where the rails feel more sensitive and effective the faster you go.

That’s an effect common to certain concave designs.

How much effect the asymmetrical outline and fin cluster has is hard to say.

Watching Burch and Young it’s obvious they can draw different lines, especially frontside, at say, Indonesian reefbreaks for Burch and Angourie for Young. I rode mostly backside so theoretically the toe-side top turn should have been constrained.

It did not feel constrained.

I had planned to take the board to the Tullamarine tub but based on the advice of fellow asymmetrical rider Stu Nettle I left it at home. I doubt there would have been the wavespeed to get it going. Parker markets the board as a high-performance vehicle, which is true and fair, but I’d go a step further.

It shines as a step-up in the good wave space.

The asymmetrical surfboard does present a conundrum for the late-capitalist society surfer. The dichotomy between the leisure class and the time-poor sod has never been more sharply delineated. If surf-time and go outs are at a premium then experimenting with asymmetricals is likely a poor return on investment. You have to find something that works and stay close to it.

Obvs, young studs like Burch and Young who get paid to surf have an entirely different surf equation to solve.

I do have a wave-rich diet, due to eschewing the material pleasures of the consumer society in favour of Camus’ sumptuous poverty by the sea.

I can afford to blow off sessions in search of new sensations.

Don’t worry I work my little arse off, but there aren’t many days when I can’t get three to the beach.

Curiosity and time: if you’ve got both on tap and some good waves nearby.

Chilean pointbreaks come immediately to mind.

Maybe a Scottish or Icelandic reef, then asymmetrical surfboards could be for you.

Probably not a bad pathway for an ex-CT pro looking to reinvigorate a stalled career ie Matty Wilko.

Dane in the end pronounced judgement on the Disasym: “I got the hang of it and it’s pretty sick.”

For me, stiff, slow, lacking ability etc etc, I had a lot of brilliant, really fun moments on the Disasym.

It worked.

My judgement: I shall pack it for G-land as the small-wave board.

(Buy here, $US950 plus shipping etc.)

Clinton, pictured, making rude comments about surfers.
Clinton, pictured, making rude comments about surfers.

Virulently “anti-surfer” Hillary Clinton releases new four part documentary; Tees off on Bernie Sanders and his “bros!”

"They can do it to anybody."

Now we all know that politics and surfing don’t often mix, no? Oh the two are very much oil and water but we can also agree that if ever there was a virulently “anti-surfer” politician, it was/is erstwhile presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Of course you recall how the one-time senator from New York, a state not known for being overly friendly to our kind, possibly “severed off” two of surf journalist Liz Crokin’s ten fingers.

You also certainly remember how she just called the only surfer in the United States House of Representatives and only politician to ever appear on Ain’t That Swell Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian asset.

Well, in a new documentary she is going hard after Bernie Sanders and his “Bernie Bros” and let’s read her hurtful talk in a just-released interview promoting a new four-part Hulu documentary.

“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said in the documentary. “He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

“I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online ‘Bernie Bros’ and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it.”

Now, I assume the Bernie Bros, per Ms. Clinton’s record, are exactly like surf bros. Like, “Hey, bro, saw that sick little nugget…Hey, bro, don’t paddle on me…” and feel very badly that we are getting drug through this dirt.

But do you also feel bad or do political attacks roll off your back like water off a shark’s?

Also, with no professional surf contest on the horizon, will you watch and enjoy the new Hulu documentary?

More as the story develops.

Shark bites surfer.
Shark bites surfer.

Revealed: Surfers account for vast majority of world’s unprovoked shark attacks, attracting the apex predators by “splashing” and “wiping out!”

We're number 1!

We’re number 1, we’re number 1 and don’t tell me you don’t have a warm glow in your chest right now, emanating outward, feeling real nice. Don’t tell me you aren’t proud as punch because when was the last time we were number 1 in anything? Our industry has been decimated, climate change is chewing through our communities and/or burning them to the ground, Kelly Slater will soon retire and then no one will even know what surfing is anymore full stop.

Not even after it’s “huge” Olympic debut.

But today we’re number 1 as it was just revealed in the Yearly Worldwide Shark Attack Summary.

Today we are proud as punch and let’s read the section pertaining to our singular glories, what we do better than all ocean-going folk combined.

Following recent trends, surfers and those participating in board sports accounted for most incidents (53% of the total cases). This group spends a large amount of time in the surf zone, an area commonly frequented by sharks, and may unintentionally attract sharks by splashing, paddling, and “wiping out.” Swimmers and waders accounted for 25% of incidents, with remaining incidents divided between snorkelers/free divers (11%), body-surfers (8%), and scuba divers (3%).

It makes much sense that sharks don’t like to be splashed.

To be quite honest, I don’t like to be splashed either especially when my eyes are open and the splashed water hits one of them with some velocity. It hurts and, if I recall in my nearly finished graduate degree in shark behaviors, the man-eating beasts don’t have eyelids.

In any case, I’m proud of us and we all deserve to take the rest of the day off.

Go surfing, get attacked, smile.

Today is ours.