Watch: Progressive equal opportunity sharks surround paralympic swimmer out training; inspire a record-smashing 100 meter dash!

"I think they were the 100 metres where I most put my heart and soul into swimming in my life."

Inspiration has been difficult to come by in these days of our Covid lives. Distanced from other people, forced behind masks, living in a pixilated Zoom world that once felt futuristic but now feels like a collaboration between Max Headroom and Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.

Rough times.

Lines of poetry gone unfinished.

Potentially masterful works of art collecting dust on easels.

Well, we always have the animal kingdom when our humanity needs a spark and thus we travel to Spain where a brave teenaged paralympic swimmer was training off Costa Brava.

The Rough Coast.

Ariel Schrenck Martinez, who has one arm and one leg, and a member of Spain’s paralympic B-Swim Team was going through the paces, trying to find some incentive, with his mother on the beach filming.

Suddenly she saw not one but two shark fins, tracking her boy.

Like any good mother, she began screaming loudly.

Martinez told TV channel Antena 3 Deportes: “My mum started to shout like a crazy woman that there were sharks in the water.

“At that moment my body started panicking terribly and I started swimming like a madman.”

“I think I was 100 metres from the shore. I think they were the 100 metres where I most put my heart and soul into swimming in my life. I’m not in top shape and I almost died sprinting to the shore.”

Video footage that Martinez crushed the previous 100 meter paralympic record of 47.68 held by Ihar Boki of Belarus and there is little doubt that he will be bumped up to the A-Team in time for the 2021 Tokyo Games and surfing’s grand debut.

Now it is your turn. Take the wonderful story of Ariel Schrenck Martinez and use it to fuel the best Zoom call of your life today, in turn inspiring one of your colleagues to really smash it tomorrow.

Eventually all of humanity will be back to doing what we do best.

Doing Zoom calls in person.

Let’s give ‘er hell!


Happy Great White, caught, tagged and released a click out to sea, at Tuncurry. | Photo: @nsw_sharksmart

Miracle: The Australian “Great White superhighway” where sharks happily co-exist alongside surfers and swimmers!

Come to a joint crawling with Whites and where no one gets hurt…

A week ago, “terrifying” and “chilling” drone footage emerged of two Great Whites swimming under three surfers at Tuncurry, a pretty little fishing town with an occasionally good beachbreak four hours north of Sydney.

(Watch here.)

A local drone pilot regularly patrols the skies above the main beach in town and what everyone thought but couldn’t prove until he got his little chopper into the sky, was that the place is crawling with Great Whites.

I’ve riffed on it here; Chas did it here. 

What recent headlines (“Death lies beneath!”) miss, I think, is the obvious conclusion from recent events.

Great Whites, at least the squad that patrols this stretch of beach, find little of value in the bones of human beings, something the surfers involved in the rumpus were quick to realise.

“We could hear a drone going and I’m like ‘where is that coming from?’ And we turned around and there’s a dude running down the beach to come wave us out of the water yelling ‘there’s two Whites behind you!'”one of the surfers told Channel Nine’s The Today Show.

“I actually found it quite reassuring that they’re not interested in us, they were just swimming past and happened to run into us,” said another.

“I reckon it happens on a near daily basis here,” said the third.

He ain’t wrong.

A recent six-month smart drum line trial run along the area’s beaches caught, and released, sixty-five Great Whites, two Tigers, no Bulls, and seventeen “non-target” sharks including five absolutely stunning thresher sharks.

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

And, still, not a bite, a nudge, nothing, in Tuncurry.

Unlike at Boomerang Beach, a few clicks south.

This story’ll put the wind up ya, as they say in these parts. 


Water, precious as hell, as always.

Revealed: The staggering cost to fill a wavepool with water!

Seventy-eight million litres or twenty million gallons of precious raindrops…

You ever wonder how much water goes into a wave tank ‘cause they big, yeah?

How much you think it costs to turn the hose on and fill the hole?

The Morning Bulletin, a daily newspaper that services Central Queensland, which includes Yeppoon, home of an experimental wavepool powered by a giant plunger, has reported of an imbroglio between the pool’s owners and local council over whether the pool should continue to receive a discounted rate for water.

The numbers are pretty wild.

See, from 2017 to last September, Surf Lakes and the Livingstone Shire Council had an agreement that gave Surf Lakes cheap water ($1.30 per thousand litres or 0.004 cents a gallon) because the company said it “could bring substantial future economic activity and benefit to the region”.

The pool, which takes seventy-eight million litres to fill, or “over nine times the average daily water consumption for the entire shire”, paid $102,078.60 for the initial fill, a saving of fifty-grand from the usual commercial rate

Since September, however, that rate went up to a little over two bucks.

As the Morning Bully reports,

“It would appear the reasons relied upon by Council to support the initial request are no longer relevant, or at least significantly diminished,” the April 2019 LSC council report read. 

The unlikelihood of the facility ever opening to Capricorn Coast surfers has made the project a point of community contention.

The newly formed council with new Mayor Andy Ireland confirmed the newly formed council will re-assess the agreement later this year.

The Slater pool in dusty ol Lemoore, meanwhile, takes sixty-eight mill litres to fill; the Wavegarden tanks in Bristol and Melbourne, twenty-two mill.


No one knows the etiquette, no one wants to follow rules, it’s all about the escape and don’t fucking tread on me in the process. Hit that pipe. Click that Amazon purchase. Post that comment. Bring that soft top into waist-high mush. Endorphin rush all day long – living the dream, baby.

Report from hillbilly USA: “More bigotry, meanness and narrow-mindedness towards others in the water, especially if they have no idea how to surf!”

"Hit that pipe. Click that Amazon purchase. Post that comment. Bring that soft top into waist-high mush. Endorphin rush all day long – living the dream, baby."

I live on a one-bridge on, one-bridge off barrier island that is open to the tidal ebbs and flows, and for a few months each fall the hurricanes, of the Atlantic.

There are hundreds of these islands that run from North Carolina down into Florida. Many were, and some still are, the sea islands known for being homes of Gullah Geechee peoples, descendants of enslaved Africans brought to port near where I live.

This suggests that at some point these islands used to have soul.

Today, though, it’s a chaos of white people whiting at the beach.

You see, for two months the island was accessible only to locals or workers, enforced by a checkpoint at the bridge.

No ID or papers? You’re not getting on.

It’s a local municipality, so the council and mayor can make these decisions on behalf of the safety of the taxpayers that live here.

Funny thing, though — it seems keeping people locked up for two months and then letting the beach back open because our state governor thinks it’s a good idea to spread the virus some more brings out the masses.

Two months of bliss out here — no footprints on the beach. No trash. No light pollution. No bass booming from tinted windows as wannabe white gangsters drive by.

No Pan-Asian chicken salads.

And the only surfers? Those who live on the island.

And we still need to add the secret ingredient, a result of the island selling its own soul beginning about twenty years ago. All the old hippie and biker shacks that were affordable for food and beverage and college folks and single moms and artists to rent — flipped for million-dollar mansions that house either retirees or are letted out weekly for Airbnb.

Take away this Airbnb traffic and it’s a ghost land.

Like going back 30 years. Abundant wildlife. Quiet.

No footprints on the beach. Paradise on an island.

But open it all back up, and it’s chaos.

Made worse yesterday and today because of a for these parts fun little hit of south swell. Water now up over 70 F, and the outside temp at about 85 F and sunny.

And every aspiring surfer cooped up for the past two months in the region now out in front of my house.

Cigarette butts and beer cans on the beach. Parked tourist cars jammed all up in yards. Plastic beach toys littered everywhere. Dolphins and rays and pelicans scared away.

And in the water? SUPs, boogies, soft tops, longboards, shortboards, even a fucking foil board.

The problem with gentle waist-to-stomach-high lappers in warm water is there’s no scare factor, nor requisite level of surfing skill.

Nathan Fletcher once said anyone on an 8’6” can paddle out at ten-foot Pipe and try to get a wave, because there are so few takers.

Not here. It’s the opposite.

Because it’s possible to walk into the lineup, people do.

And they’re clueless.

It’s a microcosm of the macrocosm of our world right now — no one knows the etiquette, no one wants to follow rules, it’s all about the escape and don’t fucking tread on me in the process.

Hit that pipe. Click that Amazon purchase. Post that comment. Bring that soft top into waist-high mush. Endorphin rush all day long – living the dream, baby.

For about two months, some of that old soul I remember snuck back into what’s left of my community.

Felt like the 1990s all over again, before cell phones and when there were only about 3.5 billion people on this planet, give or take.

It was even possible, if my wife and I had sex anymore, to have snuck onto the empty beach at sunset and had a thirty-second root as the pelicans flew by.

All for naught.

That great wordsmith of letters Mark Twain opined: “It liberates the vandal to travel — you never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stubborn, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean man in your life but he had stuck in one place since he was born and thought God made the world and dyspepsia and bile for his especial comfort and satisfaction.”

Well, Mr. Twain, you’ve never been out in the lineup with five hundred kooks packed shoulder to shoulder, all who traveled to my home during a pandemic.

After two months of a touch of soul creeping back onto this sea island, I’m all for a bit more bigotry, meanness and narrow-mindedness towards others in the water, especially if they have no idea how to surf.

For my opinionated, self-conceited sanity, please stay home, and keep your nine-foot weekend warrior board, your trash, your shit music, and your COVID germs with you.


"Back to the pub, haole. You are lower-intermediate at best."

Big Friday: “Recipe for disaster” swell headed for Cornwall; Authorities appeal experienced surfers to “keep kooks on the sand!”

The dawning of a golden new age of violent localism.

Common sense is hard to come by these days what with heroic baby whale rescuers copping fines in Australia, heroic connoisseurs of Asian fusion cuisine copping fines in America, but in the land that gifted us common law, common sense appears to be reigning supreme.

And let us hurry back to the motherland, to Jolly Olde England where a monster swell is headed straight for surfing hotspot Cornwall.

Forecasters are predicting surf in the odd 9 – 15 ft range accompanied by great weather and spring tides. A recipe for disaster as less experienced surfers may be tempted to paddle.

The solution in Australia and America, I feel, would be to close the beach and fine those sitting at home and drawing pictures of stick men in barrels.

In England, there is simply an appeal for experienced surfers to keep kooks on the sand and let us go straight the bottom of that pendulum where we read:

Carve Surfing Magazine has issued a warning to all surfers in the South West, saying that a combination between the swell, spring tides, good weather and no lifeguard cover could be a “recipe for disaster”.

They wrote: “Community groups are trying to fill gaps with observation and advisory patrols, but obviously this is not a great situation so we need the help of the surfing community to keep an eye out for potential victims of tidal surges, rips and people get out of their depths.

“The period of swell arriving is Friday afternoon combing with an incoming spring tide, lasting through Saturday.

“At present it looks like a quick blast from a fast moving bombing low which could quickly drop to 965mb. We will update warnings in due course.

“If experienced surfers or ex-lifeguards can offer advice where needed it will save lives in this challenging period.

“Coastguards and lifeboats are on standby, but as we all know prevention is best.”

Amen that prevention is best and I would very much hope that Cornwall’s experienced surfers cinch up their black shorts this Friday, paddle into the lineup and punch the teeth out of any lower-intermediate surfers mouth. To scream, “Be gone with ye!” when they try and park.

The dawning of a golden new age of violent localism.

The most silver of linings.