The now-familiar site of a rescue chopper with victim of Great White inside. | Photo: 9News

Australia’s Great White Shark Crisis: Port Macquarie surfer survives hit by 10-foot Great White after husband punches shark: “It was a tremendous act of bravery!”

"Pretty full-on, really heroic…"

Thirty-five-year-old surfer Chantelle Doyle has been flown to Newcastle with serious leg injuries after being hit by a ten-foot Great White at Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie, a pretty fishing town on Australia’s mid-North Coast.

According to reports, it was an act of bravery by her husband that saved the woman.

“This fella paddle over and jumped off his board onto the shark and hit it to get it to release her…pretty full-on, really heroic,” said Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce.

So far this year, there have been five fatal shark attacks, including two on surfers: fifteen-year-old Mani Hart-Deville at Wooli, two hours north of Port Macquarie, and sixty-year-old Rob Pedretti at Kingscliff, another couple of hours north.

Two weeks ago, at Bunker Bay in Western Australia, twenty-eight-year-old surfer Phil Mummert was hit by a “freakishly large” Great White.

He survived the attack but remains in hospital.

A local surfer on the scene said, “The White came out the water and inhaled the board pretty much. The guy managed to roll out of the way and then a longboarder got him to the beach.”

The Great White shark has been protected in Australia since 1999.

As Longtom posited one month ago,

We’ve created a world tailormade for our old pal the White shark.

But if you create such a world, and the White Shark Recovery Plan makes clear such a world is a desirable and wondrous thing then ain’t there a slight ethical obligation to consider the kiddies and old sea dogs who wind up in the jaws of nature’s most long lived apex, opportunistic predator?

The people who have to drag them in, watch them turn grey while they wait for the chopper to arrive?

The Mums, Dads, school mates, drinking pals, girlfriends and boyfriends etc etc etc?

Is there an end state where we can say, OK, too many, let’s go fishing?

Two Canadian surfers save “starving, cold, terrified dog” from a beachfront cave proving once and for all that Canadians are beautiful saints!

Get the tissues ready.

“Surfers are the worst…” “We’re all horrible selfish bastards…” “Surfers drain natural wetlands in order to build wavepools and call it environmentalism…” are common refrains among our kind. A sort of acceptance of our fallen natures.

As Scottish surfer and highlander J.P. Currie declared yesterday, “Surfing delivers the highest concentration of kooks and losers outside of ultimate frisbee.”

But he was certainly not meaning Canadian surfers. Beautiful saints. Perfect in every way.

Have you never seen Pete Devries in his log cabin all lumberjacky?


And now we also have Zach Regan and Matty Johnson, two other Canadians, who planned an exciting overnight surf/camping trip to a remote stretch of Vancouver Island’s west coast.

They were almost to their final destination in their aluminum boat when, out of the corner of his eye, Matty saw the brown legs of an animal sticking out of a cave.

A dog. A starving, cold, terrified dog.

A thick storm was coming but they decided to save man’s best friend anyway, their own safety be damned.

According to the Good News Network: The pair’s rescue mission involved a “wetsuit, a surfboard, a lasso, almost being bitten in the face, a reef, big waves, and awesome teamwork.”

Once the creature was safely in their boat, they snuggled her in a bag to keep her warm. Then, once on dry land in Canada again then found her owner.

Photo courtesy of Saint Matt Johnson.
Photo courtesy of Saint Matt Johnson.

Also they did not kick her, even lightly, in the ribs.


Every Canadian.

We'll bulldoze it all then build, get this, an "eco-resort" and…hee hee…an "environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways” and an “indigenous cultural centre.”

Kelly Slater “urges” Queensland government to approve WSL’s $1.2 billion wavepool-and-six-star eco resort development on former cane farm; will transform Sunshine Coast into “surfing Mecca” says champ

The paradox of the environmentalist businessman…

Self-described pro-environment and wildlife advocate Kelly Slater, eleven titles, slayer of Instagram trolls, has “urged” the Queensland to approve the WSL’s billion-dollar development on 510-hectares, or 1200 acres, of “highly constrained land” near the Queensland beach town of Coolum.

Speaking to Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail, Kelly said the development, which has been stalled by environmental concerns, would create a surfing mecca.

“When people start thinking about surfing in Australia they generally think about Bells or the Gold Coast… this wave would become somewhat of a mecca and put the Sunshine Coast back on the (surfing) map…it will bring a lot of interest to the area and it will be a place that I know a lot of people are going to want to surf and have an ongoing impact on the local area…we have had so many people asking for so long where we’re going to build the next wave including Australia,” he said.

The WSL’s boss of getting pools built, Andrew Stark, described the development as the economic boost the state urgently needed.

“Given the current COVID climate and economic crisis that Queensland is facing, to bring such a sizeable investment and number of jobs to a regions such as the Sunshine Coast is extremely important,” he said.

In a piece written last year, Longtom visited the site and interviewed locals.

His conclusion?

Drive-time from the airport is fourteen-minutes at a hundred k’s heading due north up the Sunshine Motorway. Glancing left at the site which is bordered by the road the presence of water on the ground, despite the drought, is startling. Fifteen hundred residential lots, commercial, retail, hotels plus the wavepool on some of the lowest lying floodplain in south-east Queensland.

What, as they say, could go wrong?

I put boots on the ground at the site. I know this country very well. It’s in my blood. My people come from the Queensland cane swamps. They are Danes, Swedes, Sicilians.

Practical people.

They would understand the necessity of bulldozing the bush to make way for jobs. But I do not. The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.

From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

The greenwashing on the project will be immense.

Next level.

But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

The Courier-Mail also noted that Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tourism Minister Kate Jones had visited Surf Ranch last year and “publicly welcomed the Coolum proposal.”

You surf the swell? Well didya, weenie?

Real life: man disturbed by “surfer” co-worker, “Turning the memory of a good surf into virtual-office small-talk zaps it of its ineffable joy”

Are you an office weenie?

Tropical Storm Isaias rolled past my stretch of the Florida coast Sunday, promising to leave offshore winds and clean surf on Monday.

Going to sleep the night before, my brain’s neural pathways fired excitedly. Yes it would be a Monday, and yes I had to finish up and launch an ad campaign for work that was due Tuesday morning, but I was — and I assume other formerly office-trapped surfers will understand my joy — I was working from home.

Working from home, baby!

One positive from the virus is that it’s forced the big corporations to shift their butt-in-your-chair-from-nine-to-five mentalities, thanks to nature (or whoever you want to attribute this virus to).

As humans, we’re excellent mimics. And the C-Level suits at my plant are mimicking the C-Level suits at bigger plants and trusting their workers to get their shit done from wherever they want like responsible adults, without a middle manager peeking over their shoulders every other hour.

Excellent news for the office-job-holding surfer.

You get your work done on your time, and you surf around your work.

Feels like nature, via this virus, has shunted me into a dreamy version of leisure capitalism straight from Aaron James’s Surfing with Sartre.

I know I’m lucky.

Lucky to have a job when so many others don’t.

Lucky to be decent at said job.

Lucky that it’s the type of job that I can do remotely.

Monday morning and the high-tide was killing it; but by lunchtime it felt excellent, especially for the middle of summer on the U.S. east coast.

Florida at close to its finest.

I stayed out until the evening high-tide killed it again.

There’s no point in me trying to describe my ecstasy. I was full on like the end of The Art of Believing in Nothing, in which an anonymous 18th century French skeptic concludes: “Let reason vanish. Let language vanish. Let certainty vanish. Let nature return. Let’s stop talking. Let’s feel, live, and be ignorant about everything in tranquility.”

By the evening, I felt pretty ignorant about everything in liquid, groomed offshore tranquility.

And then came Tuesday, with lightning storms and the offshores knocking it all down.

My entire day was spent “getting pinged” on microsoft teams and being yakked at by pudgy heads inside little boxes on video calls about how to leveraging synergistic business strategies in order to provide disruptive solutions for the customer’s pain-points.

Speaking of pain-points — let me take you inside our “video alignment meeting” on Thursday.

There are two other surfers in the (now-virtual) office.

The first doesn’t concern us.

The second is an older, bald, possibly bi-polar guy we’ll call Jerry.

He’s a fine dude, but he doesn’t keep it on the down-low.

At all.

In fact, he’s very talkative about all things surfing, and has the tendency to monologue.

Half-way into the video call, he got onto the topic I’d been praying he’d avoid.

“Hey man, surf was great Monday! Did you get out?”

“Uh, not really. Pretty busy with the campaign launch.”

As he yammers along, the eleven other heads in the eleven other boxes begin to zone out, checking their phones, tip-tapping on their keyboards.

Except, of course, for my boss, who’s listening … with interest.

“It was so good all afternoon!” Jerry says. “So good!”

I try to deflect.

“Yeah, after work I went out for a little bit.”

He continues, detailing the intricacies of the swell and giving me a play-by-play of the cams he checked, the models he consulted, and the reports he read, until finally, he wraps up his monologue.

Done and dusted, right?

Awkward moment over, right?

So I say that I hope we get some more hurricanes, good and big ones, and it’d be great if they could plan themselves so that the cleanup day falls on a weekend, hoping — once again — that Jerry takes the hint.

But at the very mention of “hurricane,” all eleven boxes zone back in to the conversation and start yammering with a fury.

Fingers are wagged at me. Juju is mentioned. Accusations that it will be “all your fault if there’s another hurricane” are laid against me.

(Which, hate to break it to you, Tina from customer service, is going to happen.)

Finally, I’m asked why I can’t just get Kelly Slater to build a wavepool nearby?

And then — and then! — my boss shares his screen, goes to youtube, clicks on a wavepool video, and starts playing the clip for everyone in the virtual meeting.

Just me, my non-surfing co-workers, and my boss, watching a wavepool clip in our virtual meeting.

“Have you seen this before?” he asks me.

The clip plays for a full five minutes — the wave peeling off, perfect again and again, various pros ducking into that barrel — during which people talk about wanting to learn to surf, and people talk about sharks, and people talk about these cool things called hydrofoils that they’ve seen, and Jerry talks about wavepool technology.

Then, it’s over.

My boss un-shares his screen.

He goes: “Norris, you don’t look that happy!”

It’s sweet, because I think he expected that playing the clip would make me happy?

And I appreciate the sentiment.

But also, I’m disturbed.

How can I tell him how I’m actually feeling?

I say, “Oh, it’s just jealousy” — which isn’t a lie — and the meeting returns to people bloviating about ideation workshops for content strategies that will engage the first-time-buyer market and position the brand brand brand and its innovative technologies in this way or that way.

I feel supremely incapable of communicating with these people, with these eleven humans in their little boxes inside the glass screen of my little foldable laptop box.

I understand why I feel this way: the phenomenon of Wittgenstein’s Lion.

But I also feel like turning the memory of a really good surf into cheery, virtual-office small-talk zaps it of its ineffable joy.

I would have preferred everything left unsaid.

I would have preferred my Monday afternoon, the perfection that Isaias left, remain a secret.

Yes, I recognize the irony in writing about all this; but the difference is, I felt like y’all might understand.

An artist's impression of Beschen at his Arizona tank. | Photo: @miniwavesbydom

Shane Beschen announces Arizona wavepool made with tech from Minnesota; promises an experience, “like something you’ve never seen!”

Hot-as-hell Mesa, Arizona, to be home of new wave tank to rival Waco, Palm Springs etc.

Earlier today, the former world number two and “least huggable pro of all” Shane Beschen finally revealed his latest wave pool project, a tank in Mesa, Arizona, using engineering and tech made in Minnesota.

Swell Manufacturing, which includes Beschen in the management team as “creative/brand manager”, describes its waves as “fun, fresh, efficient.”

Beschen, who is forty-eight, is a longtime believer in the viability of wave pools in the USA, first in partnership with the German-made City Wave and, now, with attorney and developer Cole Cannon esq, who “is a negotiator at heart, not the soft type, but the ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ type that Teddy Roosevelt preached about.”

Both announced the project, which has been approved by the Mesa Planning Commission, on their respective Instagram accounts.

The build will begin in 2021.

“Relaxation not earned is just more stress. To solve this paradox, I decided to build a surf park because maybe then I can relax in it,” wrote Cannon.

“Our wave technology and vision for this project will be like nothing you have seen in the market to date and so grateful to be a part of this incredible project and team,” wrote Beschen.

Mesa, if y’didn’t know, is a hot-as-hell city twenty miles west of Phoenix, hits a hundred in the shade most days in summer, and before Beschen’s pool announcement was noted as the place where cops gunned down a weeping, unarmed Texas man, Daniel Shaver, in a hotel hallway.