A ten-foot White caught, tagged, released off Angourie on Australia's east coast by the Department of Primary Industry's Shark Smart program. | Photo: @nsw_sharksmart

Eyewitness: Monster Great White took well-known Esperance surfer “almost whole”; WA Premier blames victim: “There’s always a risk when you go in the water.”

"You’ve got a situation where the numbers have built right back up again. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. The numbers are very high… similar to what they were in the 1960s."

Historical perspective is a hell of a thing.

So how about this.

There has never been a period in human history when humans, divers, surfers, whatever, have been killed by Great Whites in such numbers as in 2020: seven deaths this year, four surfers, Rob Pedretti, Mani Hart-Deville, Nick Slater and the  “well-known local surfer” Andrew Sharpe killed yesterday, and three divers.

A local surfer said he was taken “almost whole. The body is just fucking gone.”

An Esperance local, Jess Anne, was swimming with her kid a kilometre away and said the water turned red.

“It did stretch quite a fair way in the water,” she told 7News.

And the fatality rate from Great White attack, usually one in ten, is now two out of three.

For the Western Australian premier Mark McGowan, Newcastle-born, educated in Coffs Harbour and Queensland before joining the navy and moving to WA, another shark attack is business as usual; a result, he says, of man entering the beast’s domain.

After yesterday’s attack at Kelpies in Esperance, where teenager surfer Laticia Brouwers died in front of her family after being hit by a Great White in 2017, where Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White in 2014 and a few clicks away from where diver Gary Johnson was killed by a White in January, the premier said “There’s always a risk when you go in the water.”

Fuck me.

As Marie Antoinette asked her servants after being told the peasants were starving, “If there’s no bread why don’t they eat brioche?”

The mood, as you’d expect, is pretty hostile to Great Whites down in Esperance right now. There’s a theory kicking around that once a shark has a “blood meal” it’ll return to the area during their annual migration.

Diver Greg Pickering, who’s been hit twice by sharks, the last a Great White in Esperance in 2013 (interestingly, seven years almost to the day since yesterday’s attack) called for a cull after Laticia Brouwers was hit warning then that WA could expect “more of the same” unless action was taken to reduce growing shark numbers.

An abalone diver for forty years, he told PerthNow, “There wasn’t any. You never saw them. That’s changed now. You’ve got a situation where the numbers have built right back up again. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. The numbers are very high. I’d say they’re similar to what they were in the 1960s. I’ve seen more sharks over the last few years than in the 20 or 30 years before that.”

The attack and Australia’s Great White Crisis has gone curiously unreported by the surf media, Surfline running a story on the importance of sharks in the eco-system and Stab magazine ignoring the attack altogether instead preferring to run a story called Rusty’s Been Rad Since Forever and Their New Collection is No Exception, a thousand or so words on the brand’s Before Crowds collection.


Orange County surfer sells 5’8 Lost Puddle Jumper for $5 after becoming disillusioned with shaper Matt Biolos and the “conscious-presenting” industry that protects him!

"Cant imagine being seen in public riding a board that has his name on it."

There are many deals available on the internet but maybe none better than a 5’8 Lost x Lib technology Puddle Jumper for $5 currently on Craigslist. The board seems to be in wonderful condition, with the exception of a dirty wax job and ugly tail patch so what’s the catch?

Well, it has Matt Biolos’s name on it and let us read the advertisement, together, now.

Well, I really liked this board. It had an eco-element, lib-tech futuristic technology, and a really fun shape… Then I found out that Matt Biolos is an arrogant racist pig. I should have assumed, but fuck this guy. Wan’t his brand built on decades of images of degenerate drug users? Wardo, AI, Spike… Seeing him veil his racism with social elitism, coming from a drug addict himself, is disgusting. What’s worse? An industry that protects him and pretends to be “conscious.”

Cant imagine being seen in public riding a board that has his name on it. First $5 cash in hand, it’s yours.

The full-throated takedown of Biolos seems to be misplaced and/or not fully informed. Tying racism, social elitism and drug addiction together is also a bit difficult to follow but the spirit is admirable. Putting money where mouth is, or rather, taking money from where mouth is.

The Lost x Lib Puddle Jumper retails for nearly $800.

But have you ever made a similar stand?

Selling something for cheap and/or buying something expensive and altering like golfer Bubba Watson did with the famous General Lee?

Or are you too busy furiously searching Craigslist, clutching a $5 bill?

More as the story develops.


Great White circles twenty-five-foot patrol boat. | Photo: David Riggs

Breaking: Surfer killed by suspected Great White at Kelpies, Esperance; same beach teenage surfer killed by Great White in 2017 and where surfer lost both arms to Great White in 2014.

The new reality.

Police and paramedics are investigating a shark attack on a surfer at Kelpies, Esperance, a pretty stretch of sand on an impossibly pretty stretch of coastline, seven hundred clicks south of Perth in Western Australia.

A large shark spotted, a surfboard found floating in the water, no surfer.

Beach closed.

“The surfboard washed up nearby to where the attack occurred and with obvious signs of shark attack,” Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski told reporters.“The chances of survival are obviously pretty slim considering some of the accounts that have been provided to us.”

The name Kelpies rings a bell don’t it. In 2017, teenager surfer Laticia Brouwers died in front of her family after being hit by a Great White.

Three years earlier, Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White at the same beach.

Nine months ago, Gary Johnson, hit by a White as soon as he dived into the water off Esperance to set his anchor, killed.

Last month, I spent a fascinating hour examining the new military-grade crankshaft tourniquets of Mr Jon Cohen, the emergency department doctor who has made it his business to stem the death rate from Great White shark attacks in Australia.

Jon lives in Sydney most of the year but spends a little time each year in the ED of Esperance Hospital.

Jon knows hits by Great Whites in Esperance are a new reality.

“I know some guys who were in the ED that day (Laeticia Brouwer was killed) and it was a traumatic experience to manage. Cases like that are preventable deaths. People can act on the beach if they’re there when it happens. It might be scary to talk about but it’s reassuring to know that there is something you can do and it’s not complicated.”

He doesn’t have, or won’t share, any opinion concerning solutions to a growing population but he does have a solution post-hit. His goal is to have a shark bite kit at all the main beaches, and he runs regular classes on what to do if a White takes a limb.

His kits even include a sticker to put on your car to show you’re packing a tourniquet and the skills to staunch a wound.

Last year, Cohen told me he Cohen wanted to get a haemorrhage kit at Kelpies. He said it might make the difference between life and death if someone was attacked.

Esperance has become such a byword for Great Whites, the Discovery Channel brought a New York-based marine biologist, Dr Craig O’Connell, to the isolated town to film a documentary exploring the peculiarly aggressive nature of Esperance’s Great Whites.

“People have begun arriving at the beach after hearing about the possible shark attack, worried about if their loved one is a victim. At least one person is in tears,” reported the ABC’s Emily Smith. 

(Below, watch as a Great White circles a twenty-five-foot patrol boat in Esperance, from 2017)

 


Scientists find coronavirus in samples of beach water for first time!

A nasty biz.

Cancel your surf trip to Minnesota.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Med School have found traces of found traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Lake Superior.

You know the joint.

The scientists have been testing eight beaches along Lake Superior since July, and over the weekend of September 11, traces of the nasty gruel were found at four of the beaches.

The team believes swimmers and surfers carry the virus into the water via faecal matter.

And so, many questions.

The first, is, “carrying the virus into the water via faecal matter” the reaction from local surfers when they see the waves of the Great Lakes? A reflex from visitors to the area upon hearing the mid-west accent or tasting its food?

“People excrete the virus in their faeces, and people deposit faecal matter in lakes,” Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told Yahoo Life, adding “People go to the bathroom in lakes.”

Of all the petri dishes in science labs over the world, don’t the stagnant freshwater lakes seem to be the champions of breeding and hosting microorganisms that can cleave your insides in two?

One has to assume the way salt kills certain types of bacteria that ocean water could be the safer of the two.

One thing Great Lake surfers do not have to worry about in terms of coronavirus is maintaining social distancing as the crowds in the water rarely goes over ten peeps.

There is still no scientific evidence that the disease can be transmitted through water, however, so keep swimming in “faecal matter and SARS-CoV-2”, all good etc.


"Isn't it true that the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun?" "Discredited in PHD thesis. Keep digging for panties."

Academic smashes surfing’s most cherished cliche in PHD thesis: “It’s the… best …surfer in the lineup having the most fun!”

Horror news for VALS.

You don’t have to dive too deep into the morass of surf cliches to bump into the hoary ol “the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” line.

Attributed to Phil Edwards, although he said nothing of the sort, which ain’t surprising, because a surfer like Philly-boy would’ve been deeply aware of the sport’s relentless mind-fucking; a sport that only reveals its secrets to the very young, rendering anyone joining the game after age twelve a life-long kook.

(There is, of course, nothing in this world that is sadder, or more hopelessly encouraged, than the late-in-the-game surfer.)

Now, an Australian academic, Robert Holt, has smashed the long-held, and deeply cherished, cliche in his PHD paper, Cape crusaders: an ethnography investigating the surfing subculture of Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia.

If you’re into the history of surfing in Western Australia, there isn’t a more comprehensive treatment, but it’s this excerpt that shines.

“The twin values my father imparted to me as a young footballer developing a feel for the game are correspondingly appropriate to surfing. ‘As long as you’re doing your best and having fun,’ he’d say. ‘That’s all that really matters.’ As a veteran surfer and as a cultural researcher I have observed many surfers in practice. The best surfers in the lineup are those who are having the most fun. These wave riders experience high doses of stoke. The most stoked surfers are those who catch waves and ride those waves to the best of their ability. These surfers experience hyper-fun. These surfers enjoy the surfing game, and surely, that is what really matters. This situation can be represented by the following simple equation.

Catching Waves + Wave Riding Performance = Surfing Fun.

Occam’s swishing blade in action, yes?

Read the full seventy-thousand-word thesis here.