See this ten-foot White? Caught on a drumline at Ballina, "Shark Number 28" has been tracked swimming from Queensland to WA and back. Forty thousand clicks since it was tagged in 2016. | Photo: @nsw_sharksmart Message

Healthy: 333 Great Whites caught on ten-mile stretch between Ballina, Lennox and Evans Head!

"The big pectoral fins look like a plane, the white belly almost gleams in the sun against the dark rocks. We eyeball each other."

Don’t let it be said that there ain’t a flourishing White population in Australian waters, the result of a decision by the conservative government in 1999 to erect a legal forcefield around ‘em.

Whatever you think of Great Whites, majestic, horrifying, divine or the embodiment of evil, they sure do like it in the warm, clean waters between Lennox Head and Ballina.

Over the past four years, the NSW government has employed contractors to tag and release sharks caught on drumlines between Lennox Head and Ballina and around Evans Head.

The drumlines are of the “smart” sort, which means whenever a shark, or whatever, bites, the contractors are hit with an email, text or call telling ‘em to come and free the fish.

And the head-count?

Three hundred and thirty-three Whites have been caught, tagged released, sixty-seven Tigers and only seven Bulls, once the staple bities around these part.

Three hundred plus, oowee, that’s a lot of Great Whites swimming around.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_5henYj_RV/

It doesn’t necessarily mean terror, however.

(A couple of exceptions, here, here and here.)

Last year, BeachGrit’s Longtom wrote of a divine encounter with a juvie White at his beloved Point,

Flick. Some little imperceptible rapid movement in my peripheral vision sparks an unconscious reaction. I turn quickly to the movement. It takes a micro-second to see clearly what it is. A White shark. Coming in very hot straight at me. I don’t feel a thing even remotely allied with fear. It’s a “whoa!” I face it.

It turns quickly and comes almost to a dead stop. I can feel the pressure wave on my legs. White shark does a slow circle around me. I can see it the whole time in the crystal clear water. Comes in nice and slow right underneath me and rolls over. The big pectoral fins look like a plane, the white belly almost gleams in the sun against the dark rocks. We eyeball each other.

There is no fear, no frozen feelings, no panic. Just a profound moment of inter-species communication across the gulf of millions of years of evolution.

Are you, like me, thrilled by the rude good health of Australia’s great white stocks?

Are you, like me, not planning on surfing the Ballina to Byron stretch anytime soon?


Photo: The great Steve Sherman (@tsherms) pictured Kelly Slater (unleashing crude gesture) with the environmentally sound older brother of 1984 World Champ Tom Carroll.

BeachGrit reaches bridge too far in describing Kelly Slater as “most environmentally damaging person on earth”; Gets blocked on Facebook and Instagram!

With a bullet!

A BeachGrit podcast criticizing Kelly Slater’s environmentalism has prompted a string of social media blocks from the world’s greatest surfer in which he may have derided his critics as “loser types” either internally or out loud.

While social media blocks are common for the eleven-time world champ, this series has the flavor of personal grudge. The podcast, called Dirty Water ep. 7, was produced by a group of Kelly Slater’s biggest fans, Chas Smith and Derek Rielly whom prominently co-founded a magazine Slater once boycotted.

In the episode, co-starring Steve “Longtom” Shearer, Chas Smith riffed on former 1984 champion, Tom Carroll, and what a quiet, non-pollutive life he lives.

In contrast, Dirty Water ep. 7 had Longtom opening with, “Bill Finnegan is going to write a hundred words on Kelly Slater, what’s going to be in the first sentence?”

“Greatest surfer of all time,” said Chas.

“Loves Instagram,” Derek said.

“What else?” asked Longtom. “Starts with E.”

“Empath?” said Chas

Longtom boomed, “Environmentalist! That’s how the world knows him!”

“Everything Kelly does has an eco-centric point in it. But, for reals, Kelly Slater has done more damage to the earth than any non-politician of the last decade. That man has travelled, spewing carbon into the atmosphere, the amount of surfboards he’s chewed through, he’s the most damaging human of the last ten years.” Chas leaned in.

“And draining the Coolum wetlands to build a canal estate makes him number one with a bullet,” added Longtom.

BeachGrit is a surf website launched in 2013 by disaffected anti-depressives looking to “defeat boredom and sycophantism” in 2020, even at the expense of being blocked on social media by the world’s greatest surfer.

“Being blocked on social media for those who support the right to a slight chuckle over self-described ‘surf fans’ who do not is a worthy effort,” the group’s mission statement reads.

More as the story develops.


Photo courtesy of Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Justice: Sexually abusive Great White Shark has chunk bitten from tail by “classy, bougie, ratchet” female discovering her “inner apex predator!”

I'm a savage.

Dark day. Bleak days. Pandemic disease rushing wildly around the globe, indiscriminately killing obese 80-year-old diabetics with underlying heart conditions. Economic collapse immanent. Surfing criminalized. Rock salt lamps and their warm ionized air, the only thing keeping humanity from complete implosion.

But always a silver lining and today we find ours in the animal kingdom where classy, bougie, ratchet female Great White sharks are in the midst of an inspiring #MeToo moment.

Shall we turn our frowns upside down?

Something tore into a 12-foot shark off the East Coast, taking part of a fin and leaving teeth marks around its hulking body, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Photos of the battered shark (named Chex) were shared Saturday on Facebook, showing the most striking of its “battle scars” was a missing top lobe from its thick tail (caudal) fin.

“We do not know how this happened, but our science team can hypothesize that the (tail) injury could have been caused by a boat strike or an interaction with another shark. If you look around Chex’s gill slits, you can see the scar of a bite from another shark,” the conservancy wrote.

“Unfortunately, we do not know why another shark would bite Chex. It is rare to record interactions between these animals.”

OCEARCH, another shark research agency, has speculated that male great white sharks may bite each other in the North Atlantic while competing for females in mating season, or the females themselves bite males to ward off unwanted sexual advances.

And there we have it. “The females themselves bite males to ward off unwanted sexual advances. “Chex (read: Harvey Weinstein) swimming around just assuming every female is his for the taking. Being both an apex predator and an apex sexual predator but sorry, bud, TIME’S UP and there goes the tail.

I truly hope that other fish and whales take note and also that male Great Whites start behaving with more decorum.


Dane Reynolds releases new video channel along with manifesto: “I miss making surf videos despite the preposterousness of the pursuit!”

And, "I’m going to try and keep the bar low and get videos out rather than dwell on what’s worthy."

A gift, this afternoon, in the form of a big plate of liver mush fry topped with red-eye gravy from the still best surfer in the world, Ventura’s Danny Reynolds.

Reynolds, who is thirty-four and surrounded by bacon fat, has returned to the blog, vlog, whatever it is game, with Chapter 11 TV, a reboot of Marine Layer Productions, which was shuttered two years ago. 

In a manifesto posted to the homepage of Chappy Eleven, Reynolds writes,

Sometimes the absurdity of trying to make surf videos becomes perfectly clear. This particular morning I showed up before dawn and the waves weren’t what I had hoped for.

Mini had texted me the evening before ‘JW going off’ as I was making the kids dinner, which is kinda cruel as I can’t just drop everything for a session anymore, things have to be at least somewhat planned and evenings are mostly reserved for bathing, feeding, managing conflicts and trying to get the kids to bed early enough to have a brief moment of solace. So we agreed to meet first thing in the morning.

But by morning the swell had dropped and it was foggy and cold. I still paddled out to validate the effort. Surfing at dawn is awesome when the waves are exciting enough to get your blood pumping but trying to do airs at this hour is like waking up and doing gymnastics in a cold shower. Water trickled through the seams of my suit as I waited for a shitty little refraction off the jetty to connect with a meager 2 foot swell from the South Pacific so I can catch it and stand my fossilized body up on my surfboard and hopefully do a trick that I can post on my website.

Shit wasn’t coming together so I paddled down the beach where about a dozen people had gathered and there seemed to be a little more action. The waves were a little more interesting with even a few novelty tubes.

I notice a kid paddling for straight closeouts and getting pitched then sitting in the impact zone waiting for waves.

The best wave I’d seen all morning formulates just within paddling distance so I dart off. I see him darting off in the same direction. My goal is to catch a 2 foot clean little barrel, his goal is to not get smoked by a 2 foot clean little barrel.

I get into position.

As I’m dropping in I see him in my peripheral vision still paddling his ass off hoping to not get demoed.

He just makes it out of the way of the waves devastating blow, but bails his board to ensure no physical harm. I make the barrel but have to change my line to avoid hitting his board.

“I should snap on that kid” was my first thought.

Of course I would never because I hate bumming people out more than anything but I’ve been conditioned to think this is a worthy scenario for verbal abuse.

i grumble to myself “If you can’t hold on to your board in 2 ft surf you should be at a beginner spo-”

“Bro that was a SICK barrel!” He shouts which instantly disarms my thought process.

“Ha, yeah, that was a fun little one”

“BRO are you Dane?”

“Ha, yep…”

“Why aren’t you on tour anymore???”

“Cause I’m old and out of shape”

“Bro, but Kelly’s like 50 and he’s still doing IT!”

“Yeah I know… he should probably give it up”

“No way bro, NEVER give up on your dreams!”

This conversation is comical, his level of enthusiasm lifts my spirits.

“But you’re still a PRO SURFER right?”

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a pro surfer anymore”

Kid was a little confused…

“Do you ever surf Tar Pits??”

Over the course of 2 hours of surfing no clips that i would typically put in a video were recorded, I came home to chaos of fighting children. Bobbie has a knack for spite which triggers Maggie who’s usually cool but when she passes the threshold of frustration there’s no coming back. Sammy loves the chaos and contributes at will. It was more tolerable than normal after getting a few little head dips.

In 2019 I surfed the least I ever have. I was running a business out of my garage while raising 3 kids under 5. Plus the waves in California were mostly shit and the few trips I made time for we got skunked.

With all the kids going to school and Former graduating out of my garage my goal for this year was to make more time for surfing. It’s my salvation.

I got excited to start Chapter 11 TV in January when I was surfing a lot and feeling pretty good about it and getting inspired by the new generation of local surfers. I miss making surf videos despite the preposterousness of the pursuit.

Things have changed for everyone since January and for me has slowed the development of the site but i’m still excited and ambitious. I’m going to try and keep the bar low and get videos out rather than dwell on what’s worthy.

There’s no real concept or criteria for Chapter 11 TV, Surfing means different things to different people, I’m just trying to convey our version of it.

From my experience the less you expect the less you get disappointed.

Do you think Kelly should give it in?

I don’t, at least not until he’s so decrepit he has to be tossed into an incinerator to save his rep.

The other points are all very well made.

Hit here to watch his, and filmer Mini Blanchard’s, first five-minute cut.


Surfer escapes police dragnet in South Africa in daring escape. | Photo: Pee Wee's Big Adventure

Watch: South African surfer makes daring escape from COVID cops on bike; man arrested on beach for “standing still; Jordy Smith stranded “without food and water at airport!”

The Great Escape!

Clear lines have been drawn in South Africa when it comes to going surfing.

All the surfing bodies, like Surfing South Africa and World Surf League Africa, have made statements that any members breaking the law will suffer the consequences.

Most, including professionals like Matt McGillivray, Mikey February and Matt Bromley, have adhered to the ruling and have done what they can do help the situation.

Yet the professional surfing side of things, and the competitive side of things, is but an infinitesimal spec of what the real surfing population is in South Africa and in most parts of the world.

Most people don’t care too much about The League, are currently not working as a direct result of the lockdown,  just want to go surfing, and they are pissed off.

The rules in South Africa are totally out of whack with reality, and the situation is riddled with utter ridiculousness.

We are currently on an ever-speeding downward spiral of death by poverty and related disease that will dwarf any deaths by COVID-19, but back to the subject.

There have been peaceful protests across the country, and most surfers and authorities dealt with it quickly enough and gave each other some begrudging space. If you have any knowledge of how our politics work and how many poor people are suffering and fighting for survival, literally, with no food and no money, you will understand that no one in the corridors of power cares too much about privileged surfers waving expensive surfboards in the air and asking #when?

In Muizenberg, a massive surfing hub, and mainly suited to beginners, longboarders and SUP surfers, a protest took place during the “exercise period” (more on that later), but the surfers were standing still on their protest vigil, so they were duly arrested for “not exercising”.

One surfer managed to escape into the back alleys of Muizenberg on his bicycle.

In a hilarious, medium-speed bicycle/motorbike/police van chase, he escapes the police dragnet, scattering furious local cops.

 

How bad is the situation in South Africa?

Surfing is banned, and all booze is forbidden.

Bottle stores are closed, and if you are buying or dealing in alcohol, you’re going to jail.

Even cigarettes are banned.

Haircuts are also illegal, and pies are outlawed.

I know. Some crazy shit there. To be clear, let’s unpack:

Curfew 8 pm to 5 am, to stop people socializing.

Jogging (exercise) window 6 am – 9 am. But the first hour is pitch black, with sunrise at about 7 am. So, at 7 am the streets are jammed with people desperately trying to exercise, walk their dogs, keep social distancing and do the right things, but there are so many of us all at once it’s a bit counterintuitive.

Surfing – banned. Beaches are closed.

Booze – banned. It is to keep the hospital beds free for COVID patients, as so many hospital beds are usually filled with booze-related emergencies.

Restaurants are closed, and only deliveries are allowed.

Cigarettes – banned, to help the nation build up healthy lungs before they succumb to the disease.

Haircuts – banned. Hair salons are places where people gather and drink coffee and could easily transmit the disease.

Pies and all hot foods in stores – banned. In case people working with hot food are infected, and to prevent the handling of food.

A few months ago a weekend day might have consisted of having a quick haircut*, maybe having a pie, going for a surf, enjoying a few post-surf beers and perhaps a ciggie or two in the car park, picking up the family and going for a pizza and maybe a few more beers.

That has all gone.

It’s like a dream, as we sit around at our house and homeschool our kids and wonder what the fuck just happened and where all the pies are.

And as for Jordy Smith?

After a challenging transition from his repatriation flight from Hawaii, he’s now safe in a hotel in Johannesburg for fourteen days of isolation. He was stuck on the tarmac “without food or water” with 270 fellow South Africans, but they eventually made their way to the quarantine accommodation. He’s in there with Lyndall, so he’s going to be okay.

Read about Jordy’s plight here.

*Haircut only twice a year, so these exact days don’t happen that often.