Esperance local Andrew Sharpe, disappeared by fifteen-foot White, and search party. | Photo: 7News

Man who tried to save Esperance surfer Andrew Sharpe killed by fifteen-foot Great White is brother of longboarder who lost leg to Great White in 2006

"A brave, brave soul."

For Jan Golebiowski the surfer who tried to save his buddy Andrew Sharpe from a “monster” Great White at Kelpies, in Esperance, on Friday morning, it was a dreadful feeling of déjà vu.

In 2006, his kid brother Zac, fifteen at the time, was surfing a knee-deep sandbank at Wharton Beach, a sheltered joint between Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid National Parks, when he was hit by a ten-foot White, the animal taking his entire right leg.

“It came from the side and it felt like what’d you’d imagine a big king hit to be like,” Zac told The Guardian. “A very big strike. It was a full-on horizontal attack in water that was only just head height. When I take my friends to where the attack happened they are always amazed that a shark attack could have happened there. The shark bit [off] my leg and the force of the bite took me down, pulled me under. There was no fighting for air. It was too shallow for that. It took me under and let go. I came straight back up and called for help. The [2.5-metre to three-metre) shark was probably a juvenile, curious, experimenting maybe. If it had been bigger it would have bitten me in half. A big shark in full hunting mode, it would have been carnage. [My brother] said it circled a couple of times. It could have attacked two more people but didn’t. Any higher up my leg and it would have got [major] arteries.”

Ten years later, Zac, who sank into a years-long depression, became a bodyboarder and moved to South Australia, returned to Esperance for a camping vacay to mark a decade since the attack. He was swinging back to town after surfing Whartons and passed the turn-off to Kelpies at the same time a Great White was attacking, and killing, teenage surfer Laticia Brouwers.

“It felt like returning to the scene of a crime,” said Zac.

On Friday, big bro Jan was among a group of fifteen-to-twenty surfers enjoying what another local Ross Tamlin describes as “perfection conditions” when the shark hit.

“Obviously everything panics at the time when they realise what’s happening. The guy who was closest to him, Jany, tried to render help but I think it was all too much for him and he paddled in. Jan’s a very brave man, he’s a hero,” Tamlin told The Sunday Times. “And he was great mates with Sharpey, so for him to obviously try and render assistance – brave, brave soul…your initial thoughts are obviously with the surfer and you want to render assistance as much as possible. That’s what we all wanted to try and do, whether you can actually achieve that and do anything is another story.”

Tamlin said the dorsal fin and tail fin of the White were so big his initial thought was there were two sharks.

“I’ve never seen a dorsal fin that big before, not even in media footage,” he said.

The Western Australia premier Mark McGowan has ruled out drum lines (“We’re not putting in drum lines because there are people in the water”) and, instead, said his government will increase its Great White tagging program.

Photo Mick Curley/Lost Indonesia

Shaper Matt Biolos responds to board being sold for $5 in dissent: “I guess I’m a racist, now. Must be because I denounce the violent destruction of hardworking people’s property as a way to protest police brutality.”

The sequel!

Surfboard shaper Matt Biolos, currently en route to the Maldives for an absolutely fabulous family surf vacation, came under Craigslist fire, two days ago, when an upset one-time Lost enthusiast sold his Puddle Jumper for $5 declaring, “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.”

He went on to complain about hypocrisy, claiming that Biolos had built his brand on the backs of “degenerate drug users” then “veiling his racism with social elitism.”

I was confused, not very much understanding what it was about, the tying of degenerate drug use to veiled racism and social elitism and heading out on a sailing yacht so couldn’t call Biolos straight away but purposed to as soon I was in back in port.

To figure out what this business was all about and share my pride in the Craigslist activist for putting his money where his mouth is.

Admirable in this day and age.

No signal on the high seas etc. and I put it out of my mind until arriving in Newport Beach and seeing that Matt Biolos had taken to social media and spoken up for himself.

@tcolla, a fine photographer, had posted the BeachGrit story on his Instagram account. Biolos, thinking it was the Craigslist activist, responded, “I guess I’m a racist, now. Must be because I denounce the violent destruction of hardworking people’s property as a way to protest against police brutality. Oh well, anybody want a Puddle Jumper for 5$? Reach out to @tcolla. He seems like an open minded guy.”

And the pieces are beginning are coming together. Matt, and his Lost, made their mark by being counter-culture, rock-n-roll black sheeps, etc. but now that he is wealthy he is standing up for conservative values, respecting authority, etc.


Am I reading this all correctly?

I’ll get this straight as soon as Biolos returns from the Maldives.

WSL CEO Erik Logan, socked in the bona fides.

Blood Feud: Black Girls Surf’s Rhonda Harper socks WSL CEO Erik Logan’s social justice bona fides, “I sat and watched with absolute horror…I told you the George Floyd paddle out was a performance more than a social justice moment”

"How do you co-op a Black woman’s work just like that? Proof that they take EVERYTHING from us."

The World Surf League’s CEO Erik “Elo” Logan has had his and his company’s woke bona fides socked by the founder of Black Girls Surf, Rhonda “Rokki” Harper, in a powerful screed posted to Facebook.

(Black Girls Surf was established in 2014 “for young girls/women surfers of the African diaspora. BGS is training and coaching the next gen of surfers ages 5-17.”)

“Part of ‘fighting systemic racism’ includes honoring the labor of Black women, not taking credit for it or using it as inspo for brand activations,” writes Harper. “Listen to this part of the Action Sports + Culture conference I sat and watched in absolute horror. Proof that they take EVERYTHING from us. According to Erik Logan, WSL is responsible for their BLM response and it started with Tyler Wright. I told you the Encinitas George Floyd paddle out was a performance more than a social justice moment. He invokes Harpo…Oprah’s company during this same interview. How do you co-op a Black woman’s work just like that?”

Watch the Elo interview here.

It isn’t the first time Elo’s woke bona fides have been questioned.

Earlier the year, we asked, Is the WSL festishising people of colour and is it this patronising approach masquerading as progressive values that has its potential audience staying away in droves?

And it ain’t the first time Rhonda’s bitten hard on mainstream surf.

Four months ago, Harper called surf identity Sal Masekela an “Uncle Tom” and accused the popular commentator and musician of “bringing negativity and dividing black people.”

“He hasn’t done nothing for black people in surfing!” said Harper, after Sal spoke at a George Floyd paddle-out in Encinitas, a speech described by Stab “as so powerful that it reverberates deep in our core.”

Harper said, “I can’t believe your daddy is Hugh Masekela who was down there with apartheid and you act like this!”


Beach sex, a rare and secret pleasure.

Brave Instagram influencer and philanthropist smashes surfing’s entrenched homophobia and exclusionist patriarchal structure via beach theatre!

Terrific fun and many important messages.

Social media influencer Willem Ungermann from Tweed Heads, just across the border from Snapper Rocks there, is a man of the times, a truth seeker who uses his online power to highlight surfing’s exclusionist patriarchal structure and its deeply entrenched homophobia.

In a two-episode series, which is part beach theatre, part Jackass-style pranks, we find Willem, who goes by the handle Willem Powerfish, terrorising a D-Bah line-up on his bodyboard, at one point accepting a beach fight only to drop to his knees and tell his surprised fellow duellist, “I’ll suck you dry, mate.”

Between waves, he tells one surfer “I fucked a bloke like you once”, another, “You’re lucky my dad Rex isn’t here, he’d smash your pelvis”, another, “Heard of the Bra Boys? We’re the Flatty Boys. Instead of going around bashing cunts, we fuck ’em”, another, “You know why I like surfing? When guys wear wetties and I can see their dick”, another he asks if he’s seen Ross Clarke-Jones’ cock and says, “I’ve fucking sucked it dry.”

(William is also known for his philanthropy, recently delivering five thousand dollars to shoppers at a regional supermarket. Watch here.)

Terrific fun and many important messages.

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.