Why do I shape surfboards? Well... I guess it’s just something I’ve done since I was a kid. A sort of escape from an overly-stressed world to a simpler more creative space! What has started as a way to fuel my own surfing passion has now become a way to stoke out my fellow surfers, and that is truly fulfilling to me. It’s the way I have found to give back to others. Thanks for all the support and love along the way! | Photo: Per Jerner/Ben Kelly

Confirmed: Santa Cruz shaper Ben Kelly killed by a Great White shark “bigger than ten feet”

"It feels like the ultimate form of betrayal to fall victim to the one thing a surfer recognizes and fears as a possibility."

An autopsy on Santa Cruz shaper Ben Kelly, who was killed by a shark while surfing Sand Dollar beach aka Shark Park on Saturday, May 9, has revealed the animal to be a ten-foot plus Great White.

Sean Van Sommeran, the founder and director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation which was created in 1990 to push for the protection Great Whites in California and whose own story is worth your time reading, attended the autopsy.

He posted his findings on the PSRF Facebook page.

I attended the autopsy yesterday, the shark is almost certainly to be subadult white shark estimated to be 10′ plus.

Mr Kelly was on the inside of his friend while surfing on a short board.

Kelly was seen by his companion to be pulled underwater amid commotion at Kelly’s board.

Kelly surfaced and immediately exited the water with companion however the bleeding could not be stopped.

DNA and Xray will be used in attempts to recover potential teeth frags or shark tissue and pending final report.

It is most likely that a subadult shark 10’ft or over was cause of the tragic mortality and the juvenile and yearling sharks not at all likely to be implicated.

The shark most likely responsible for the fatality is of the generational category that has always been known to frequent that particular location prior to 2015 arrival of yearling and juvenile shark pups. Test results and lab report still pending.

As these sharks mature from subadult 10′-14′ to adult (14.5’ft and over) they change course and migration routes and begin to circuit the open ocean and deep sea and return seasonally to large seal colonies such as the Big Sur, ANI, SEFI and other well known seal and shark associated sites and seasonal way points.

It should not be presumed that the younger and smaller sharks we see in the Shark Park and La Selva areas will continue to hang out at these locations until they are 20 foot long massive dangerous sharks.
They rotate out as they mature and graduate to wide migratory routes mostly associated with pelagic offshores or coastal seal colonies that can support their energetic requirements.

The Mercury News spoke to witnesses and reports, 

“Kelly was…bitten on the leg and knocked off his board. He quickly got back on and began paddling to shore — as did his friend who was surfing further outside. Once they got to shore, they used a surf leash from one of their boards as a tourniquet but couldn’t stop the bleeding in time.”

Leashes ain’t tourniquets, however, although surfing doc John Cohen has created a sixty-dollar device all surfers in Santa Cruz, WA, Byron Bay, South Africa, Reunion, should use.

“In thirty seconds, using a tourniquet, you’ve saved a friend’s life,” says Cohen.

Want to help out Ben’s wife Katie? Funeral, living expenses etc? Donate here.

As his buddy Zachary Shull writes, “It feels like the ultimate form of betrayal to fall victim to the one thing a surfer recognizes and fears as a possibility. We sign the proverbial liability waiver every time we paddle out, but the thought of such a horrific event is dismissed as an extreme rarity. Those thoughts are quickly overshadowed by the joy and refreshment that comes from surfing and getting a good wave, and so we still choose to paddle out.”

Watch: Alarmingly large 20-foot Great White shark circles tiny boat off coast of Western Australia while fishermen curse poetically in terror!

The meg.

20 feet of anything is big. A 20-foot-long submarine sandwich, 20-foot-long dining room table, 20-foot-long beating stick, 20-foot-long pool table, 20-foot-long ancient Phoenician scroll detailing various taxes, 20-foot-long hopscotch court and what have you.

Big and impressive.

A 20-foot-long Great White Shark?

The stuff of nightmares but this is exactly what a small boat filled with Western Australian fisherman stumbled upon just days ago.

Lurking, menacing, showing off.

How did they react?

You can watch for yourself but here is also a helpful transcript.

Look at the size of him! (undecipherable) in the water!

Uh oh, don’t like the look of this. Go away, fuck ya.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit I’ve never seen one that fucken big.

That’s enough for me.

Fuck, me.

He’s just sitting down there, what the hell?

Yeah, as long as he stays down there. He’s scoping us, mate.


Holy shit. That is fucken huge.


I’ve now seen my first six meter white pointer.


Robert Frost could not have done it any better.

Henry David Thoreau burning with jealousy from beyond the pale.

Watch: French surfers refuse to bend for draconian anti-surfing laws further demolishing national stereotype!

"Four police officers arrived and made us get out of the water, but it didn't take us long to get back into the water.”

The Coronavirus Apocalypse sure has exposed many heretofore unknown truths. But two months ago who would have ever guessed that surfers, as a whole, are spineless tattletales just waiting to shame fellow surfers and call the police on them for not following the rules?

Who could have imagined that the French, by and large, are a bold, brave people who refuse retreat and will fight to the bitter end?

Certainly not me.

Just days ago, we met Frenchman Dylan Nacass who happened to be surfing Bells Beach when a very near relative of the mighty Great White shark attacked. Did Dylan tuck tail and run? No. He punched that shark twice in the face then calmly paddled to shore where he stripped down to the national uniform (trim underpants) and threw shakas (watch here).

And today? Today we have an unruly pack of Cannes surfers who mocked the law keeping them out of the water by paddling into some very attractive Mediterranean waves. When the gendarmerie came motoring across the sea to bark them out do you think they quickly formed a puppet gendarmerie force, much like collaborationist surf media Stab magazine, in order to enforce the “no surfing” rules?


But we must read the rest of this inspiring story together and now.

A group of surfers in Cannes, in southeast France, defied a government ban to take to the waves on Monday amid a debate over whether beaches should continue to be closed to the public to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“It’s so much fun, we’ve got the waves, the sun,” one surfer, named Adrien, told Reuters.

The group of around a dozen surfers were in the water for about two hours, before local police arrived in a patrol boat to force them to leave the beach.

“We surfed for what? Two hours? Four police officers arrived and made us get out of the water, but it didn’t take us long to get back into the water,” said Nicolas, a Belgian surfer living in France.

France’s beaches, closed since March, have become a battleground in the debate over how far government restrictions to control the spread of the pandemic should go.

And now let us sing.

Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L’étendard sanglant est levé,
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes!
Aux armes, citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

Yay TikTok: World champ Italo Ferreira and divine Disney Brazil host Maria Azevedo mock the damn bug that knocked the world off its axis!

A blessed spray of healing mist…

In a blast of irony, it was on the eve of the COVID-19 disaster when BeachGrit fiddled with the WSL for pivoting towards TikiTok, the two-year-old Chinese vid share network adored by teenage girls.

Were they onto something?

Was surfing now beholden to phone zombie VALS?

At the time, we didn’t think so.

“As [TikTok] creates enhanced tools and more opportunities for us to reach newer audiences, we want to make sure that we’re focused on what’s going to drive our business and that consumer journey that connects back to the WSL,” the WSL’s Chief Community Officer Tim Greenberg told Front Office Sports.Video surfing is aspirational, and music is aspirational in a lot of ways – therefore, we have this very natural space to begin programming content because it is so endemic to who we are as a sport.”

A lunatic lunge for the lowest common denominator, as the expression goes.

But, fast forward almost two months and after weeks in our little shelters, with runs in our stockings and pinafores stained with cherry cola, TikTok has become an old friend.

We came to mock, but was thrilled by the dancing.

And now this.

Who can’t help but stare at this sublime twelve seconds from world champ Italo Ferreira and the divine manifestation of his girlfriend Maria Azevedo as they mock the damn virus that has knocked the world off its axis.

A blessed spray of healing mist.

Difficult times etc.

From now on I'm beautiful and noble! I'm a mid-lengther!

Opinion: “The damn mid-length is a legitimate cheat code! It’s the ugly duckling future!”

"It's got fucking FAA approved engines (Volume + Thickness+ Length) making it ghost ride into just about anything you want…"

The men behind the mid-length. Good god, can we just end this thing right there?

If your name is not Torren Martyn and your age is not 60, hang the damn thing up.

Or stomp it into obscurity.

Both options are highly encouraged.

Nonetheless, let’s begin where I first became aware of the mid-lengthers, wave catchers, drawn-out turners, and swoopers of individuals.

Trestles, the glorious meeting ground for any and all Southern California rippers looking to hold the rail beyond the usual Huntington hop eye sore. It is a place that So’Caler’s hold with much regard for its “national park” feel, its beauty and tranquility and, most significantly, its long tapered walls.

Along with the many elements of nature it exhibits, it also plays host to something on the other end of the spectrum.

Something horrible and grave, insistent and annoying, something formidable.

The fucking Mid-Lengthers.

Again, we should just end there.

But, we won’t.

The damn Mid-Length is a legitimate cheat code in this game of surf we love and hate to play. It’s got fucking FAA approved engines (volume + thickness+ length) making it ghost ride into just about anything you want. It also has a long, drawn-out rail line allowing it to never piddle out on mush.

And the worst thing of all?

It is owned and operated by the modern surfer.

The guy, call me sexist, who screams “Eureka” (I found it) when he realizes this is the board he’s yearned for. All those years suffering on a wave-starved, chiseled-out potato chip are put to bed.

Now he can shut his eyes at night dreaming of the thousands of waves he’s gonna catch, the hundreds of people he’s gonna out position and the handful of fist bumps he’ll receive on the beach.


Very strict burns.

Drop-ins up and down the beach until every Mid-Lengther across the globe comes to recognize that if you ride a Mid-Length you’re gonna get burned.

It’d be stupid to sit here with my arm in chair (no pun) and declare that “progressive, radical surfing” on shortboards is the way forward and informally “the solution.”

Because, to be frank, it is not.

The way of the future is the Mid-Length due to the increased amount of surfers and the decreased amount of secluded surf spots.

This does not mean to engage with the Mid-Length right now.

It simply means to push pause on this fad and hold off until it is absolutely necessary.

Once Erik Logan converts every living thing in this world into a surfer, you’ll know the time has come to call your local shaper and effectively sell your soul.

Until then, forget about trimming.