Cape Arago, Oregon. Very near Bandon. Around the corner from my favorite wave.
Cape Arago, Oregon. Very near Bandon. Around the corner from my favorite wave.

Terrifying: Young Oregon boy nearly swept out to sea by “extraordinarily barbarous” rogue wave, saved thanks to mother’s “banshee-like shriek!”

The joy of naivety.

Oh the ignorance of youth, that grace-filled dance of naivety, where boys and girls get themselves into very bad spots and are only saved thanks to pure luck or a mother’s banshee-like shriek. But have you been keeping abreast on the extraordinarily barbarous surf pounding southern Oregon right now? King tides and a massive swell, courtesy of some Pacific storm or another, is bashing the coastline from Florence down to Brookings. Throwing up huge plumes of whitewash and very tragically stealing young lives.

I grew up there, as you well know, in Coos Bay a depressed town where hard-luck was a way of life. Any time “swell events” would occur folk from as far away as Eugene and Portland would rush down not to surf, of course, but to watch waves hit rocks and explode into the air.

And there was always the “brave” boy or girl who would get as close to the edge as possible, taking for granted that the ocean is benevolent. But Oregon’s ocean is not benevolent, it is vicious and mean and another young boy almost got swept into it, only saved thanks to both pure luck and his mother’s banshee-like shriek but let us turn to eyewitnesses there on the beach in Bandon just thirty minutes south of Coos Bay and home to a fine clam chowder restaurant.

The lure of storm watching during some of the highest tides of the winter – known as “king tides” – brought people out to the Oregon Coast.

Jill Stockford shared video from the south jetty in Bandon, Oregon, on Saturday that showed one close call.

“A large crowd gathered at the south jetty in Bandon to watch the big waves at high tide during the high surf warning, Saturday January 11, 2020,” Stockford wrote via Chime In. “A young boy decided to jump down onto the beach, ignoring his mother’s yells for him to get off the beach immediately. When her tone changed, the boy finally got off the beach, literally within seconds of a fast moving sneaker wave narrowly missing him and dragging him out to sea. You can hear him laughing in the background unaware of how serious that sneaker wave was.”

Youth… amiright?

And here’s another naughty sneaker from what was once called Marshfield.

"Shark fins swimming around, blood-curdling screams, bodies getting sucked under, and empty life vests popping back up to the surface."
"Shark fins swimming around, blood-curdling screams, bodies getting sucked under, and empty life vests popping back up to the surface."

Watch: After reports of sharks “ripping the limbs off” navy men and downed pilots, U.S. government becomes “bizarrely obsessed” with developing repellant!

History's grandest shark attack!

But we surfers we know all about various shark repellents because they have been marketed to us for years. There are, to name but a few, shark eyes, Modom’s shark leash, shark bite proof wetsuits and Sharkbanz.

The last one is my very favorite because a young man who had just received a Sharkbanz bracelet under the Christmas tree went for a surf and was immediately bitten whilst wearing his gift.

Oh, we surfers we’re suckers for any whiff of protection from the vicious man-eating apex predators swirling beneath our feet and in far greater numbers than ever suspected but did you know the United States government once became equally fixated with shark repellents too?

It’s true and all  began on July 30, 1945, when torpedoes from a Japanese submarine destroyed the mighty U.S.S. Indianapolis. Over 200 sailors went down with the ship yet 900, or so, survived the initial trauma and were left adrift at sea for 4 days. Many perished from the elements but those who survived the cold were subject to an even worse fate.

One survivor — a 20-year-old Marine — recounted seeing shark fins swimming around them, hearing blood-curdling screams, watching bodies get sucked under, and seeing empty life vests pop back up to the surface.

It’s impossible to know how many died by shark attack but rough estimates range from a few dozen to 150 people. Many consider this the largest shark attack in history. And it took a toll on Navy morale.

Soon the US military started handing out a chemical shark repellent. For the next few decades this little pouch was standard issue for pilots, sailors, and even astronauts. But what none of those people knew at the time was the shark repellent didn’t actually work.

Oooooh the conspiracy, the wild stranger than fiction conspiracy and you must watch the informative yet fun video from America’s Public Broadcasting System to learn all about it.

The earth is truly flat?

Chemtrails are changing the climate?

Sharkbanz contain tiny little bits of mulched sailor from the U.S.S. Indianapolis?

I won’t spoil.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's McLovin!
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's McLovin!

Salvation from Above: Two portly swimmers snatched from open jaw of vicious Great White shark by “McLovin doppelgänger” drone operator!

Don't look now...

Though do you remember when you were a young child and imagined monsters hiding under the bed, waiting to reach out and grab your tender ankles? Wanting for your parents to turn out the lights then for you to have to use the toilet so badly, so painfully, that further delay was simply out of the question then…


Snag your dainty astragalus and pull you down to Helm’s Deep?

It turns out they were true, real, for it was revealed, just today, that for every shark we see in the water there are up to 100 more circling hungrily, viciously, menacingly below.

Is your blood running cold?

It should be but here, let us turn down the temperature even more by reading from Australia’s esteemed 7News. Let us look helm right in the face.

A drone has captured the moment a shark came within metres of two oblivious swimmers off Main Beach at Forster in New South Wales.

Bystanders rushed to alert the pair of the close encounter – with what is believed to be a 2.5m Great White Shark – but experts say encounters like this are more common than you might think.

“For every one shark that you see, there might be 10 or 100 sharks that see you,” Rob Townsend from SeaLife Sydney told 7NEWS.

“You just don’t realise because they’re not mindless killers.

Which makes matters that very much worse. Sharks, especially Great Whites, are mindful killers brimming with knowledge, tactics, intelligence and savvy. They are maniacal, sociopathic…

…there and in greater numbers than we ever supposed, ever even imagined.

But let us also learn more about this brave drone operator, this true guardian angel.

Cameron Grace, 17, was flying his drone while holidaying with family in the area when he spotted the beast on his camera.

The teenager was horrified at seeing the eerie footage and sent his aunt Rachel Walter sprinting to the beach to warn the swimmers of the imminent danger.

‘I got into the water and I waved for the two boys to get out. They were completely oblivious.’

Oh it is wonderful that this story had a happy ending but shall we gaze upon the savior? Upon the boy named so poetically Cameron Grace?

The spitting image of McLovin from Superbad no?

More as the story develops.

Act Fast: Buy tickets today for surfing’s Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games for the unbelievably low price of $4,500 each!

Deals like this don't last long!

The early bird gets the worm, so they say, and that aphorism has never been more true than it is in our digital age. But how many times have you seen something incredible on Ebay, say, or Barney’s Warehouse (RIP) that you just had to have… but the price… but the hmmmmm… and do I really want it… and while you paused off it flew to someone with a quicker trigger finger? A more thoroughly robust spirit?

Very many times and heartbreaking each.

Well, with surfing’s Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games just months away it is best we not sleep on tickets for today they have gone on sale and by sale I mean $4500 per for the medal rounds, $2250 for the quarters and semis. $2250 also for the first rounds.

The hot tip was sent through by Jack English, surf photographer most famous for our Cryin’ Jordy who owns the fine brand Sea of Seven, and he must have purchased his own Olympic surfing tickets already to be so brazen with this sharing but whatever the case we all now stand to win.

Except, quick question, what is the over/under on how much tickets will be available for day of?

An even $5000?


Very exciting. Possibly an investment opportunity.

Buy here. 

"I rode a wave every set, save a set I missed when my legrope snapped on the right. Three times I rode two waves in a set, for a total of 42 waves in the two hours. About what Ricardo Christie rode in an entire year on the CT." Longtom prises open the right.

Longtom surfs Melbourne tank: “Each wave was strangely unsatisfying but taken as a whole: mad, weird fun!”

People will pay for sex. The question of whether they will pay for waves has now been answered emphatically in the affirmative.

The way I see it there’s really only three ways a gal can swing on the question of wavepools, at this juncture Jan, 2020.

There’s the all-out frothers, the curious (those for whom the Voltaire saying, “Once a philosopher, twice a pervert” applies) and the purists who’d like to nuke the tubs out of existence.

My tendency has been towards the latter position, but I left that guy at home for my one day, fly-in, fly-out mission to Melbourne Urbnsurf.

Being the last surf writer into the tub is a strange place to be.

Vision of the last swingers party there did not look inviting. I thought, yuck! The thought of all that throbbing surf gristle made me feel self-conscious and claustrophobic. I ain’t a herd animal, like to do my own thing in my own time.

Nonetheless, when a pal invited me along for a true FIFO punter experience it had to be done.

Being a regional deadshit, it was a trip of firsts.

First Uber ride, first duck parfait with mustard fruits on doughnut (velvety mouth feel, slightly bitter). The Chinese driver wore a face mask to pick us up from our Melbourne renoed terrace digs. Thick haze carpeted the city, officially the worst air quality on Earth.

If you cocked your head just the right way you could smell a million cooked koalas in the bushfire smoke.

Based on advice from others and the desire of my travel companions to not schlep boards through the city I hired a board from the facility. A well-manicured youth with impeccable teeth and a man bun from Toronto Canada aided this process.

Fifteen dollars for two hours. I chose a Hayden Shapes Holy Grail. My pals: a JS Nitro, Pyzel Astro Pop and Hypto Krypto.

All shortish, with generous asses and epoxy. Also recommended.

The take-off, wedged into a concrete corner, against the wall is stressful and hectic, but easily mastered. We started on the right, one hour. Intermediate mode. The first few waves were frustrating and weird. You can’t pump for speed, go faster than what the wave dictates. The power pocket is small.

“I’m going to get hold of you,” I thought, “and give you a good kicking.”

But I could not get hold of it.

Then I thought, “I’m bored, I’m done.”

I tried to remember what I’d learnt from the surf improvement and what I was doing wrong. I was trying to keep Derek Rielly’s recommendations in mind, trying to maintain my critical faculties when, in the relentless rush of waves, I was swept away in wavepool froth.

My mind went blank, I started jack-hammering away like an old priapic billy goat.

The siren sounded, we swapped sides.

The Holy Grail felt weird on the right, much better on the left.

Each wave was strangely unsatisfying but taken as a whole: mad, weird fun.

There was a dozen in our group. A dozen waves per set.

Twenty sets in an hour.

I rode a wave every set, save a set I missed when my legrope snapped on the right. Three times I rode two waves in a set, for a total of 42 waves in the two hours.

About what Ricardo Christie rode in an entire year on the CT.

People will pay for sex.

The question of whether they will pay for waves has now been answered emphatically in the affirmative.

The joint was packed.

Apart from our young female surf guide? Surf marshall?, I did not see a female paying customer.

Maybe gals do not want to pay for waves.

According to our marshall, rapid hierarchies form and snakeing can happen, even in the so-called democratisation of an artificial line-up where the dollar value of a wave makes everyone equal.

It’s quite easy to kick out early and get to the head of the line for one of the first three waves, which are cleanest. Gaming the system will be a common tactic in an eighteen-man lineup with twelve-wave sets.

The other question: will wavepool skills translate to the ocean, either via beginners developing proficiency or intermediates building skill sets is harder to answer.

It’s a helluva work-out.

Much more paddling than I expected and the use of rip and tight take-off zone is a decent simulacrum of various reefbreaks. There’s not much room for personal style or prettiness on the wave.

It happens quickly, is over quickly.

No one skill building in a pool is gunna come out looking like Joel Parkinson.

I guess that’s a qualified yes.

Straight out of Tullamarine on the Jetstar 464 to Ballina. Woken by the hostie as the wings dip over Lennox Point. The lines are stacked end to end across the Point. In the ensuing froth I left my voluminous notebook with thousands of words of detailed notes onboard.

Fifteen minutes to my pal’s place, on the end of one and then back out at the Point.

It’s cranking somewhere between intermediate and advanced setting, double-overhead sets. Dolphins careering through the line-up, a carnival atmosphere. Nature at its finest etc etc.

Three hours later, I got the fifty up, was so exhausted coming in I got pinballed through the rock garden and bruised up like a hanging meat carcass.

The tub and your local firing in a single day.

Might as well call it a fully cooked surf turkey.

Would I do it again?

It’s too damn easy, too anti-depressive and too much damn fun to rule out.

Resistance seems futile.

Building that thing at the airport was a stroke of genius from Andrew Ross.

A 24-hour FIFO surf trip to an artificial wave is the future, right now.