On the road.

Horror: Quaint Australian hamlet known for wonderfully clear water revealed to be “Great White Shark Superhighway!”

Traffic jams etc.

You don’t think of me as Australian but I am, or at least am in our modern self-identity era. I self-identified as Australian when I was five-years-old living in Papua New Guinea with many Australian friends. They talked better than me.

Cooler.

Ate Vegemite on toast, a substance I assumed to be chocolate.

Thus, I was Australian too.

I lived in that Lucky Country some ten years ago and took a trip to a gorgeously quaint hamlet doubly named Forster-Tuncurry, once, with then notable professional surfer Craig Anderson.

Forster obviously pronounced Foster.

The water, he told me, was famously clear and boy was it.

So clear.

We surfed with a gangster who had gold teeth. A longer-than-necessary story and I wouldn’t bother with it you now except to say that Forster-Tuncurry is apparently a Great White Shark superhighway.

A brand-new research report assessing “white shark behaviour (sp) along coastal beaches for conversation-focused shark mitigation” used a drone and revealed something very disturbing/titillating.

And you guessed it.

Shark tracks.

Great White tracks.

The report, funded by NSW DPI and associated NSW Shark Management Strategy, Southern Cross University and the Paddy Pallin Foundation in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of NSW, found 108 sharks tracked, just swimming there looking for snacks and revealed…

…Water clarity did not influence swim behavior according to track metrics in our study

Time of day influenced white shark behavior in terms of average swim speed, track straightness and net velocity. Notably, the slightly faster swim speeds and higher net velocities, as well as potentially slightly straighter tracks, in morning and afternoon periods.

White sharks found near the surf zone in this study were juvenile to sub-adult size classes

Whilst some of the behavior observed might support the exploratory bite hypothesis, there is likely an increased risk of a shark bite to bathers during situations where there are large shark-attracting food sources present.

But those red lines?

Can those, scientifically, be assumed to be trails of blood from panicked surfers attempting to reach shore after having feet chomped right off?

Likely?

More as the story develops.


ELo (left) and Pat (right) in the midst of it.

Listen: “There is, right now, a massive power struggle atop Mount Positivity for the very soul of professional surfing!”

Two men enter, one man leaves.

I had too much obvious fun when World Surf League CEO Erik Logan and World Surf League Vice President of Events, Tours and National Regeneration Pat O’Connell swung by Dirty Water last week. Derek Rielly’s pepperings, ELo’s evasions, Pat’s laughter all had me laughing too.

It was only when I read the comments, underneath the posted podcast, that I realized none of this is funny and I blew my second chance to demand accountability from Mr. Logan, master of doublespeak, expert in evasion.

Damn it.

Erik Logan 2

Chas Smith 0

Well, I’m already agitating for a third go ’round. Not to salvage respect, oh no that is long gone, but to try and be a better surf journalist.

David Lee Scales and I spoke about this on today’s Grit! About personal evolution and also about the massive power struggle happening, right now, atop Mount Positivity for the very soul of professional surfing.

Watching Mr. Logan and Pat, splitting the screen, Pat starting to mimic some of the doublespeak but catching himself and laughing at the ludicrousness of saying everything and nothing at once, Mr. Logan appealing to Pat’s core credentials etc. made me realize, for the first time, they are locked in deadly battle.

Both ultra-positive, yes, but both stand in front of professional surfing and see something… different. Mr. Logan needs it to be a consumed product leading to growth in the “content” department. Pat, I imagine, would be happy to simply stick the world’s 16 best surfers on the world’s 8 best waves and let ‘er rip “content” be damned.

He knows how bad Transformed et. al. is. He knows the WSL content is generally terrible with no hope of getting better. His eyes, those friendly, glorious eyes can’t hide it.

So, will Mr. Logan roll Pat? Will Pat smash Mr. Logan? Is your breath bated?

Listen here!


Artist recreation of the scene at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California.

Teenage surfer “aggressively bumped” by shark, has foot punctured by stingray in unprecedented So. California tag team!

But wait...

They say that a shark cum surf journalist has much fortitude and knowledge except for in his own home and how true that appears to be, for an unprecedented tag team of shark and stingray took down a teenage surfer, or bodyboarder, minutes away from my own home when I was in the water and I missed it.

Missed it entirely.

Oh, certainly the rumors circulated to me within hours. “Shark attack at Moonlight Beach…” though was quickly downgraded to “Never mind… stingray.”

Stingray hits are a dime a dozen here.

Painful but cheap.

This morning, however, I read that first there was a shark attack, later downgraded to aggressive bump followed by a punctured foot due stingray, which caused me intense shame, and let’s go all the way to Boston to learn more.

A 16-year-old boy was punctured by a stingray and aggressively bumped by a shark Wednesday, days after beaches reopened along California’s coast.

The teen was on a bodyboard or surfboard around 5:30 p.m. off Moonlight Beach when he encountered the shark, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The victim first told lifeguards he was bitten by a shark; however, on the way to the hospital officials determined he was “aggressively bumped” by it, the Union-Tribune reported.

The boy’s mother told KSWB the shark tore his wetsuit and a sting ray punctured his ankle.

The beach was immediately closed and shark advisory signs were posted along the beach, KNSD reported.

Per Twitter:

Teenage surfer encounters a shark & stingray at #MoonlightBeach. Lifeguards say he kicked at a shark. A woman identifying as his mother says shark did not bite him but a stingray punctured him. The teen was rushed to the hospital w minor injuries. Stay w #FOX5SanDiego @ 10/11PM

And wait just a dang second. I AM a shark cum surf journalist and my shame is vanishing as my solid reputation re-grows. Absolutely no way this happened. The bite to bump is suspicious as is going to the hospital for a stingray jab, normally treated right there in the lifeguard tower by placing foot in bucket of warm water.

I shall postulate that the teenager was bumped by his bodyboard then stung then discombobulated as he has been locked out of the ocean water for months and forgot what it all feels like, the swirling and pulling and pushing and whatnot.

The heavy toll of Coronavirus closures.

But I promise to stay on the trail for you. To uncover other such truths and bring complete light to SharkStingray-Gate.

More as the story develops.


If I say its safe to surf this beach, Captain, then its safe to surf this beach! I mean, I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'll surf this whole fucking place! | Photo: @apocalypsenow

Rebel Northern Californian sheriffs refuse to enforce Gov Newsom’s “unconstitutional” beach shutdowns: “We know what it’s like to be forgotten, overlooked and marginalized when it comes to decisions made by our state government!”

"Beaches and outdoor recreation are essential aspects of our daily lives here and critical to our mental/physical well being."

There has to come a point in this whole thing when that part of the population that hasn’t been terrified into a state of hysteria starts to think, if everyone that’s dying is over seventy, fat, diabetic, why am I cowering indoors.

When Californian Governor “commie bastard” Gav Newsom announced last night that he was going to re-shutter all of the state’s beaches after bad bad HB and Newport sun-lovers were photographed frolicking on its shores, not all the state’s counties stepped into line.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal responded by telling his constituents that “I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County,” he said, “and if an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights, I will not enforce it…It is not okay to punish Northern California for Southern California’s mistake, and I hope he hears that loud and clear.”

Del Norte County’s sheriff Erik Apperson, meanwhile, posted a thrilling screed on Facebook.

Residents of Del Norte County,

After the well-publicized media coverage of over crowded southern California beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom’s Shelter in Place Order, the Governor has made clear his intention to shut down all California beaches and state parks, effective May 1st.

This one size fits all response does not serve the people of Del Norte County. My job as Sheriff is to do just that. With a population of less than 30,000 people in the entire county, Del Norte accounts for about 1,200 square miles of land and nearly 40 miles of coastline.

Now, I understand what state we are in and often we must be aligned in our response to large scale challenges. That said, I will not participate in limiting the movement and freedoms of Del Norte County residents as a reaction to behavior by those well outside of Del Norte County. We are already sacrificing more than our share and frankly we are exemplary in our efforts as a community.

Beaches and outdoor recreation are essential aspects of our daily lives here and critical to our mental/physical well being.

Let me also be clear that this is not an invitation for people that have such limitations being imposed on them to come visit Del Norte County. We are committed to the safety and well being of our families and I am not interested in people visiting here that do not share that priority. If your decision to take a tour of Del Norte County results in our local residents being less safe then you are not welcome here, COVID-19 or not.

As for us, we are for the most part practicing social distancing. Many of our businesses are taking a tremendous hit financially for the greater good. We are listening to our outstanding Public Health Officer and we deeply value his guidance. The vast majority of us are wearing masks and large numbers of us are working from home. Some of us aren’t able to work at all. We are leveraging our local economy for the sake of a healthy community. So far, health-wise, we have not been greatly impacted by COVID-19. We hope that continues but we are also constantly preparing for a worst case scenario. Our local leaders are talking and we may not always agree with one another but we are all putting Del Norte first. We are taking steps to move forward while preserving what we cherish.

We know what it’s like to be forgotten, overlooked and marginalized when it comes to decisions made by our state government. The byproduct has resulted in conditioning to be resilient and somewhat independent over our nearly two centuries of existence as a county. We are located on the extreme northwest tip of California. Make no mistake, we are in California, but we are also in Del Norte County.

I will remain vigilant and focused on the Constitutional freedoms, behavior and well being of people within Del Norte County, while continuing to support California the best I can. As Sheriff, I will not punish the good people of Del Norte for the actions of those outside of my county.

To my fellow residents; please continue to be an example to the rest of the state. Let’s work together while sharing a common goal of what’s best for our residents.

I am Del Norte proud and honored to be your Sheriff.

Admirably,

Sheriff Apperson

And so the people rise.


(Screen grab from video)

California Governor “Gestapo Gavin” Newsom singles out Orange County as “seat of all evil, unrepentant Coronavirus super spreaders” and shutters its beaches!

"Carry on being careful."

Who would have ever believed, when the clock struck noon Pacific Standard Time, that typically conservative, well-to-do Orange County, California would be the very heart of rebellion? Oh not me and not in a thousand years but there I was, driving home from Orange County, California when the clock struck noon bringing Governor “Gestapo Gavin” Newsom to the airwaves.

We had all learned, last night, that he was planning on closing all of California’s beaches, from Crescent City to the Tijuana Sloughs, and I was already burning.

Boiling with rage.

His smarmy voice, slightly ragged as is the fashion these days amongst political leaders showcasing their “strength, wisdom and compassion” filled my truck’s interior. He began by complimenting Californians on coming together to “flatten the curve” adding nothings about “standing together” and “being on the same team” as he went.

My knuckles turning white, gripping the steering wheel, anticipating his pivot to the beach closure and his nanny state nonsense.

“The beaches…”

And here it was.

“Orange County has been on our list of health concern and they’ve done a wonderful job down there, I just think we can tighten that up a little bit. So we’re going to have a temporary pause down there.”

Down there?

Down where?

He continued rambling, passive aggression etc. The “raised alarm bells” from people outside in the sun, appearing not to obey “physical distancing guidelines” from the smashed perspective of a telephoto camera lens. Semi-praising San Diego and Los Angeles counties while digging the heel of his jackboot into Orange County.

And what the hell?

I almost couldn’t believe my ears.

He was leaving the rest of the state to “carry on, being careful” etc. while putting the entirety of Orange County under lock and key.

Does he have a vendetta against California’s crown jewel?

Some major beef?

That has to be outside of his purview, no? Like, he can close state beaches but not city beaches, yes?

“My job as governor is to keep you safe, and when our health folks tell me they can’t promise that if we promote another weekend like we had then I have to make this adjustment…” he continued to roll.

But my mind was running hot, wondering if Orange County’s proud residents will rise up as one, this weekend, in defiance.

More as the story develops.