Fatal shark attack in Santa Cruz likely result of “stay-at-home” orders associated with Coronavirus prevention according to wildlife biologist

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, animals worldwide – from bears and bobcats at Yosemite to marine life in Hawaii – have been spotted reclaiming their natural habitats."

Last week, Ben Kelly, a 26-year-old surfer and shaper from Santa Cruz, was hit by a Great White and tragically died from his injuries on the beach. According to the coroner, the shark was likely a “sub-adult in the 10-foot range.”

Shark sightings are not uncommon along this stretch of northern California coast but attacks are rare, though in a recent interview host of Animal Planet’s “Extinct of Alive” and wildlife biologist Forrest Galante suggested there could be a spike as surfers return to the water as “stay-at-home” orders associated with Coronavirus prevention are relaxed.

Per Santa Cruz’s local KRON4 news, Galante said, “…the shark that attacked and killed Kelly probably had not seen a surfer in the area since stay-at-home orders were enacted. With a lack of humans in the water, the shark was most likely comfortable and attacked when its area was disturbed.”

Shark attacks are most often a case of mistaken identity as they hunt for seals, Galante said, adding that the increase in shark sightings is not uncommon since sharks are now hunting in areas previously frequented by humans.

People are urged to exercise extreme cation, especially since many California beaches are reopening or are expected to reopen this week.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, animals worldwide – from bears and bobcats at Yosemite to marine life in Hawaii – have been spotted reclaiming their natural habitats as humans continue to shelter-in-place amid the pandemic.

A memorial fund has been set up for expenses associated with Kelly’s funeral. Donate here.

Photo courtesy Carter Hess Facebook.
Photo courtesy Carter Hess Facebook.

From the Feel-Good Dept: Florida man loses leg while surfing; found two months later by young treasure hunter!

Come on get happy!

I don’t know about you, but I regularly consider treasure hunters on the beach whilst sitting in the lineup. What is the average day’s haul? The most valuable thing the average treasure hunter has ever discovered? Is it cathartic swinging that contraption around? Does it really work? Is there a lifestyle blog associated with treasure hunting? Does it also feature shark attack news? Plus many more questions.

Well, just days ago a thirteen-year-old treasure hunting Florida boy discovered a titanium leg while searching for treasure. He did not have the above set up but was rather scuba diving. And before we consider if the beach treasure hunter burns with jealousy over the scuba treasure hunter let us learn all we can about this heart-warming story from The New York Post.

A Florida man lost his leg while surfing — only to be reunited with his prosthetic weeks later after a boy found it on a treasure hunt.

Carter Hess was surfing the waters of St. Andrews last month when a wave came crashing down on him and knocked off his custom made, $3,000 titanium prosthetic leg.

He tried searching for it the next two days and came up empty, The Panama City News Herald reported.

“I knew immediately it was off of me,” said Hess. “I’ve surfed in much bigger waves and it never came off like that.”

Weeks went by until Sebastian Morris, a 13-year-old from Santa Rosa Beach, found the leg mostly buried in the jetties of a park, roughly 30 feet away, while on a treasure hunt with his father, Bobby, according to the outlet.

“I don’t think I would have ever found it,” Hess said.

The teen started an online campaign to find its owner and Hess’s friends forwarded him a story on the effort.

Hess connected with Sebastian’s family online and they met up to return the leg and let Hess treat them to dinner.

Hess, who lost his leg serving in Afghanistan, is now considering taking up scuba treasure hunting for himself which brings us back around to beach vs. scuba. After spending more time considering, I feel that the beach treasure hunter does, in fact, burn with jealousy over the scuba treasure hunter who not only has better stories, finds better treasure and has a better time but also pulls more action in the tiki bar after the sun is set looking all like this…

Very suave.

Sophisticated and brave.

6'10 21 big
6'10 21 big

Listen: “Uh oh, oooh no, no, no, no, no am I a mid-length guy?”

A fate worse than death.

Let’s be honest. Each of us here are extremely fragile when it comes to our surfing and surfing-adjacent lifestyle choices. Oh we can, each of us here, front that we don’t care. That surfing is a fun-but-stupid thing we do, and talk about, and watch, and listen to, and think about but it doesn’t define us.

That “…in the water, I’m just out there for me and who cares what anyone thinks because I don’t care and especially don’t care what anyone on the dumb internet thinks because only weak-willed turkeys care about that sort of nonsense.”

But we all care.

Not only do we surf, talk about surfing, watch surfing, listen to surfing (when we can’t watch) or podcasts, think non-stop about but it also, and more importantly, defines us.

Our tombstones engraved with the scarlet S.

I hate mid length surfboards.

Hate the egg, the fun board, the long fish, the peckerwood.

Hate and have hated my entire life.

Then one day, a year ago, Devon Howard drifted into my life all smart and handsome and stylish on a damned mid length surfboard.

Devon fucking Howard.

I wanted to hate him but it was very difficult and his surfing…. ugh …. so gorgeous.

View this post on Instagram

I’m excited to share this new board with you. Join me next Wednesday, January 15 at @cisurfboards_sbstore for the unveiling of two new models for 2020: the CI Mid (shown here) and the Fish Beard. Going to be a fun night with some short videos on the boards, some design chit chat Q&A stuff with me, @parkercoffin and CI crew, raffle a new board, some food and beers. Doors open 6:30, starts at 7 pm. Possible outdoor screening if weather permits. I’ll be sharing a lot more details on this board next week and the ones that follow. In the meantime, this board isn’t really in one particular category so I’m going with modern midlength. This board is 6’10” and I’ll talk more on all its details later, but what was a huge surprise about this design was how well it boogied in smaller surf. I’ve found myself usually riding these sort of designs in head high plus surf (I’m 6’1”), but this does really well in waist high stuff, too. More on all this soon! Thanks again for everyone’s interest, stoke and support on this new board. Hope to see you next week. Clips by @g___r___a___n___t #ciSurfboards #ciMid

A post shared by Devon Howard (@devon_howard) on

Anyhow, I somehow lost a surf trivia game with David Lee Scales, at the very beginning of this Coronavirus Apocalypse, and thereby won a Channel Islands MID.


Today, maybe not coincidentally The Grit!’s 69th episode, I received it from Devon fucking Howard’s very hand.

It felt good under my arm.


Listen here and I surf it tomorrow.

World Surf League boldly recasts Coronavirus pandemic as “environmental justice crisis disproportionately affecting communities of color!”

Feat. Sal Masekela

And it is truly amazing to watch our World Surf League bend, morph, find new feet in the time of Coronavirus. Professional surfing has, of course, been cancelled thereby wiping away the league’s previous raison d’etre. Thankfully the pivot to “media platform” had already begun and now we watch home tours, unboxing videos and Sal Masekela safely zooming with his Santa Monica neighbor from two streets away named Reese on WSL PURE ONE OCEAN about how the Chinese lung disease is actually an “environmental justice crisis disproportionately affecting communities of color.”

A bold recasting.

Did the fans embrace with tear-stained cheeks?

Instagram suggests a mixed response.

ktown80: Right….. I’m gonna have to say that’s a hard pass.

mykure1: “Learn why Covid-19 and is an environmental justice crisis?” Is this evidence based? Or perpetrating fear and false narritives.

samwaldroup: issa no from me

charles.davern: Isn’t there some plastic in some body of water that you guys could cry about? The race card is SO played! Humans are all the same do us all a favor and stop putting color to it!

gastonn808: How did the corona virus turn into a communist agenda?

coliegoalie: WSL x cnn collab?

gra_murdoch: Appreciate the sentiment, but coming from the same outfit that sent me this blast yesterday: “”Live from the Sunrise Shack, Koa Smith opens up, rides, and almost lands a backflip on a fresh Hubboards boogie board that basically breaks the Shaka Scale. He then catches and releases a pesky backyard rat with a new humane trap.” it’s kinda hard to engage sincerely sometimes. Much as I really want to believe.

matt_weier: Damn, I didn’t know Covid was racist. Now i really hate it

jezang: Just stick to surfing @wsl pushing neo-marxism and identity politics is just going to destroy your fan base.

__kate__b: This is soo needed such important quality discussion. This is the best on multiple levels. Love love love it.

Will you watch?



Official BeachGrit Guide: How to prepare mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally for a mid-length surfboard!

Feat. Moby Dick

Recently, Chas confided his intention to attempt a midlength. The board in question arrives on today. Will Chas be ready? Can such a frail, willowy man actually push 6’10” x 21” x 2 3/4” of foam around the ocean?

The answer is, definitely not — not without a dedicated program of training. Honestly, it is probably already far, too late. It does strain the imagination to picture Chas training for anything, unless it involves vodka and drinking more of it.

We will, nonetheless, attempt to help this poor hapless man, before his giant new surfboard sends him flying into another galaxy or more likely, into a drowning Wavestormer trapped on the inside by the onslaught of massive, pounding set waves at summertime Swamis.

First off, Chas is going to have to carry this thing. A man could strain something vital trying to wrap an arm around a 21-inch wide monster. The gym is off limits during the quar times, and buying anything resembling weights requires black market contacts of the sort generally reserved for downloads of Sea of Darkness or buying cocaine, the good stuff, not that imported shit.

You know what’s easy to buy? Fucking books. Also, books are heavy, which makes them relevant to our current situation, which is, to repeat, the need for Chas to carry a very big surfboard to the beach, and then into the water.

You’re going to want a big book, with so many pages. Like, say, Moby Dick. Have you ever even read all of Moby Dick? I have not. It is a very big book with far too many pages — and far too much about the whale and all its various parts. The tail, the fin, like, hello, get on with it, some of us have lives over here.

Okay, back to work. Buy ten copies of Moby Dick. Now, don’t you start lifting all ten at once. That is the way to certain disaster. You have to build up to such feats of strength.

Start with one Moby Dick. Do some curls. Maybe lift a single Moby Dick above your head a few times. Then, add a second Moby Dick. Finally at last, after much determined effort, try lifting all ten Moby Dicks. This may take time, so do not be discouraged if it doesn’t happen by tomorrow morning.

Having arrived at the water’s edge with his giant new surfboard — I believe it is turquoise in color, which is a very good color for a giant new surfboard — Chas must now paddle his craft into the lineup.

This is a very delicate operation, which requires well-honed strength and perfectly tuned endurance. I feel like perfectly tuned endurance might be a bridge too far, but it’s good to have goals. We can not expect to turn Chas into Yuliya Efimova overnight.

How often have you seen people slumped on their giant surfboards like so many sacks of potatoes? Just like, lying there, feet splayed wide, dipping their fingertips in the water in a desultory way, never making much progress at all. This is everything that is wrong and bad about surfing on giant surfboards.

As surfers, we must take pride in our posture and our, well, something. I was going to write some kind of manifesto here, but really, everyone just needs to go home and do some planks and it’ll be fine. Chas, do some planks and don’t slump like a sack of potatoes on your giant, new surfboard, okay? Okay.

On to the still-bigger challenge of actually surfing the giant new surfboard, that might be turquoise, but might not be. It’s like the Schrödinger’s Cat of resin tints, not that I know what Schrödinger’s Cat actually is, but it looks good in a sentence.

Based on close observation, I have concluded that the main tenets of midlength surfboard riding include standing very still, looking very moody, and maintaining one arm high in the upright position. Bonus points, if you have the ability to grow a credible moustache.

The upright arm sticks straight up at the sky, and is typically, but not always, the arm at the rear of the surfboard. If you aren’t sure which arm is at the rear of your surfboard, you have far more problems than I can solve. Really, I can’t do everything over here.

To practice these skills, find a full length mirror. You do have a full-length mirror, right Chas? I mean, I can’t imagine those outfits happen entirely by accident, but we’ve already long ago established that my imagination does have some limits.

Stand in front of the mirror. Stand very still. Think of something sad, like how the whale dies at the end of Moby Dick. I mean, maybe it does? I don’t know, because I never made it to the end. Pretend the whale dies, and think serious, somber thoughts about the whale. Don’t forget to stand very still. Start with five minutes of still standing at a time. Then, increase until you reach 15 minutes or more.

Now the arm, you didn’t think I was going to forget the arm, did you? I don’t know how Moby Dick ends, but I am not completely incompetent over here.

After mastering standing very still, while thinking sad, somber thoughts, for five minutes at a time, lift your right arm straight up in the air. Do not point. This is very important! The hand must remained relaxed at all times, like it’s at some fabulous tropical hand resort and can’t be bothered to get off the lounge chair.

Practice standing very still, with a somber serious expression on your face, with your right arm in the air for, fuck I don’t know, as long as you can stand. You could also place one copy of Moby Dick in your upraised arm for additional strength and endurance, but I feel that this may be an overly advanced exercise.

What about turning, you’ll be saying, surely she is going to help Chas turn his giant, new surfboard. We’ve already established that the gym is off limits, which rules out squats, the only surefire way to ensure that Chas can push 100 liters of foam (or whatever it is) around the ocean.

But Chas does have a bicycle and Cardiff has hills.

Find the steepest hill in Cardiff, maybe the one that’s near the Patagonia store and the coffee shop, the one with the good espresso, except Chas drinks tea, which is a thing I still don’t understand.

Ride up the hill at least five times in succession. Sweat heavily. Curse and question all your life choices — this is how you will know you are doing it right.

Now, strap five copies of Moby Dick to the rack of the bicycle, the same rack that carried the box with the famous vanilla cake, which, why have I never received a cake? Really, it doesn’t seem like that much to ask.

With five copies of Moby Dick securely fastened to the rear of your bicycle, climb the steepest hill in Cardiff five more times, or until you fall over, which ever comes first. If you curse and question all your life choices, you have done it right.

It’s possible that this effort will make it possible to turn the giant, new surfboard, but there are no guarantees. I don’t make miracles over here. You have to train hard and be persistent to achieve big goals. That’s what they say, but it’s always possible that they’re lying.

Now you’re ready to terrorize the lineups from Cardiff to Rincon on your giant new surfboard that’s maybe turquoise or maybe not. If you run over anyone, just think sad thoughts about the whale and keep on standing still with your arm in the air.

Poise. That’s what you need. Poise and just a little practice will turn your mediocrity into greatness so fast, it’ll be like, the time I tried to read Moby Dick, made it to page ten and threw it across the room. That fast.

Good luck!