Watch: Australia’s Bondi Beach puts on magnificent show as swimmers, sharks, salmon engage in what social scientists are calling “non-triggering reproduction of The Little Mermaid!”

"These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now."

Under the sea, under the sea, darling it’s better down where it’s wetter take it from me. And were you a fan of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid? Oh it was so wonderful with the singing and the dancing and the ham-fisted creole accents.

Well, as you may have read, Disney is now laying a twelve second message in front of many of its older films that reads, “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”

I do not know if The Little Mermaid is fitted with the disclaimer, though I’d imagine many were triggered by not only its creole accents but also Ariel’s white privilege. In Denmark, for instance, someone scrawled “Racist Fish” on Copenhagen’s Hans Christian Andersen Little Mermaid statue.

But leave it to Australia’s Bondi Beach to make things right.

Yesterday two sharks, two swimmers and a large school of salmon put on a magnificent show that is entirely non-triggering. Zero accents. No songs about “kissing de girl.”

Except… are the salmon making some sort of racist caricature?

More as the story develops.

Fabrizio Stabile.

BeachGrit investigation (Part one of four): The death of Fabrizio Stabile and the case against BSR Surf Resort

A surfer dead, a thirty-million dollar sale of the park blocked pending the verdict, allegations of fraud.

(Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll be running a four-part investigative series on BSR Surf Resort by Cedar Hobbs, whom you already know and perhaps secretly love. Was New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile’s death caused by a negligence and the matter covered up, as alleged by his family in their ongoing wrongful death lawsuit? Was the pool’s water, dyed a fabulous blue-green, coloured to cover “a pathogen soup” in which deadly bacteria thrived? Today, part one, the background of the death and the lawsuit.)

On September 8, 2018, New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile and a group of friends visited the BSR Surf Resort.

Less than two weeks later, Stabile, who was twenty-nine, died in a hospital bed.

His death was attributed to a brain-eating amoeba; his physicians calling it primary amoebic meningoencephalitis and Naegleria fowleri infection of the central nervous system.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria fowleri “infects people when water containing the ameba enters the body through the nose.” Infections cannot occur from drinking contaminated water.

Infections are extremely rare. From 2010 to 2019, only 34 infections were reported in the U.S.

They tend to occur during the summer months, “when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, which results in high water temperatures and lower water levels.”

The fatality rate is over 97%. Only four people out of 143 infected in the United States between 1962 and 2017 have survived after contracting the amoeba, according to the CDC.

Seven months after his death, Stabile’s parents filed a suit against BSR Surf Resort, owned by Stuart Parsons, in the District Court of McLennan County, Texas, for more than a $1 million.

The complaint claimed that Fabrizio Stabile was exposed to the amoeba at BSR.

The Stabiles alleged gross negligence, asserting that BSR “had subjective awareness of the risks involved, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, and/or welfare or others.”

They additionally asserted a premises liability claim, arguing that BSR knew, or should have known, that there was a substantial risk of a recreational water illness that posed “an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to Fabrizio Stabile.”

Lastly, they asserted a wrongful death claim, asserting that Stabile died as a result of BSR’s wrongful conduct.

In December 2019, apparently in response to a pending sale of BSR, the Stabiles filed a motion to protect the cash sale proceeds.

According to the motion, only a month after the filing of the lawsuit, “Parsons entered into discussions to sell the assets of BSR.” Notably, the sale would have apparently separated the liabilities, where they would have been kept in “shell corporate entities” owned by Parsons.

It further alleged that the pending transfer was fraudulent, as evidenced by an alleged “massive chlorination of the surf pool” prior to a CDC inspection and alleged false statements to the press “about the pre-inspection chlorination.”

The Stabiles detailed several other examples of behavior that they contended showed that Parson’s had “a tendency toward fraud.”

These included the alleged destruction of evidence through a chlorination of the surf pool the day before a CDC inspection.

And the fact that Parsons allegedly “set up numerous LLC[s] and trusts, all of which he [was] the sole owner and officer [of].”

The last was an alleged event in which Parsons lost his phone in Lake Whitney “just before being required to produce the text messages in discovery.”

BSR filed a response that same month. They asserted that the motion for protection of cash sales was “extraordinary and unprecedented” as it requested the Court to hold proceeds from a non-fraudulent transfer.

BSR denied that there had a been a hyper-chlorination of the pool prior to the inspection, arguing that CDC test results had in fact shown that chlorine was not detected.

They further denied that Parsons had lied to the press.

They also called the allegation that Parsons had “purposefully” dropped his phone in Lake Whitney “nothing more than mere conjecture,” as the text messages sought were later recovered and produced by a forensic data expert.

On December 21, 2019, the presiding judge submitted an order that required BSR to preserve the proceeds of the sale, effectively stopping the sale.

BSR appealed the order in January 2020, arguing that order should have been vacated as it failed to satisfy the relevant legal requirements, calling it “a sword over the Defendants’ neck held at the whim of the Plaintiffs” and an attempt to force a settlement.

In a brief filed January 7, 2020, BSR pushed back on the notion that Stabile had been infected at BSR, asserting “no one has made a judicial finding that Stabile was infected in the only body of water that he visited at BSR.” They further implied that Stabile may have contracted the amoeba at his job at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which “involved collection of water samples.”

BSR additionally claimed that the sale was not fraudulent, asserting that there was no evidence of attempts to destroy evidence.

The brief called the pending sale “an arm’s length transaction for a fair price.”

The court denied the motion and later referred the case to mediation.

BSR rejected that order in March, calling mediation “impractical” and claiming that further time to consider mediators would “not aid in an agreement,” leaving the parties in a stalemate.

Oral argument is scheduled for November 3.

Surf-lit: “He stares up at the carpeted roof panel with the LED lighting and grimaces. He thinks about how he judged surfers with vans like this; It didn’t matter how well they surfed, they were bound to be dickheads. And now it’s him”

His mind claws at the bad thing. It might be a dream but sometimes it’s not.

Something doesn’t feel right.

It’s the feeling he sometimes gets in the morning when the limbo between sleep and waking has briefly freed him from something awful that could come flooding back at any moment.

His mind claws at the bad thing. It might be a dream but sometimes it’s not.

He was on the boat again, trapped in the hold. He remembers the cloying darkness, the heat and throb of the engine, the plastic boxes stacked with ice, the layered smells of diesel and remnants of old, dried-in prawns, and the thudding on the deck above as the men continued working.

He remembers the feeling of knowing they would be laughing at him. Grown men, hard men, buoyed by humiliating a 13 year old.

He fumbles for the hood of the sleeping bag, pulls his knees up into his chest and extricates the last gasps of sleep’s warmth. He tries to shiver off the feeling of dread as if it were trapped in the coldness of the air.

The van doesn’t help. He wishes he was back in the old one. He stares up at the carpeted roof panel with the LED lighting and grimaces. He thinks about how he judged cunts with vans like this. Fucking Transporters and Sprinters. It’s embarrassing. It didn’t matter how well they surfed, they were bound to be dickheads. And now it’s him.

At least there’s a crack in his windscreen. He’s refused to fix it. It makes him a little more comfortable, somehow.

“Wankers,” he mutters to himself.

He’s listened to the sound of the building swell with apprehension. Just beyond the condensation and the cold, metal panels it’s been bombing on the reef all night. He knows it’ll be big today, knows that he’ll struggle to be sharp enough.

If he misses one or two early it’s over. The crowd, his confidence, all will devour him.

“Fuck it.” he says, shaking his head in one quick motion like he’s trying to knock something off.

And what board? It’s always the same. A relentless carousel of decisions that probably amount to nothing either way. Any board will do.

At least it can be his pre-loaded excuse. Shouldn’t have brought this one out, he’ll say when he misses one, nodding down at his board. Yeah, yeah. Bit more volume, yeah. Haven’t been getting in much. Yeah.

It’s all bullshit.

None of it really matters. Not in the micro of how much he enjoys his surf, and not in the macro of fucking-everything-else.

He wishes he could shake the feeling of being a fucking fraud.

He remembers more.

He’s squinting at the shaft of light pouring down as they scrape back the heavy hatch cover. The panicked cawing of white feathers tumbling towards him merges with cackling laughter. He can’t tell whether the sound is coming from bird or man.

Mostly it’s gulls they’ll throw into the darkness, but sometimes he’ll get pelted with other things, small octopus, fish not worth keeping, spongy pink growths attached to chunks of sea coal.

He shakes his head again, this time so hard he feels a sickening pressure at the back of his skull.

Funny, he thinks, as the rumble of water over rock snaps him back. He travels this far then gets uneasy about going in. It’s getting harder.

Could he move? Should he? Think about what you’d be giving up. And would you even surf more often, or just be pickier?

Fuck it. Same thought spiral. Still no conclusion.

At any rate, she would never come. And you’ve got the boy to think of now.

As he drove away, both were crying. The entire twenty-four hours before leaving were spent arguing. He’d shouted, said things he knew would cut. It was pathetic, letting his anxiety and guilt about going surfing manifest like this.

The long, isolated drives will catch him open and he’ll want to call her, say sorry. Sometimes he feels like calling within a few miles. But he knows it won’t change anything, apart from quelling his guilt, briefly.

Maybe he’ll call, maybe he won’t. Sometimes he can avoid it and the moment passes. Sometimes it lingers until finally he meanders home. Those times are the worst. Returning disappointed in yourself. A waste of time, a waste of emotion.

He’s thinking about the boat again.

He didn’t mind the gulls. Their squawking, hell-bent flaps were always quickly silenced by the dark as they cowered silently in the corners, just waiting for it to be over.

He shuffles out of the sleeping bag, shivering and exhaling loudly. He leans over the front seats and wipes the condensation from the windscreen to get a look at the reef. Black-clad figures move silently over the rocks, heading for the water in the retreating darkness.

He looks at the crack in his windscreen.

He thinks about the fracture spreading from the bottom corner and into his eyeline like a grim, translucent spider.

He can’t tell if it’s actually growing or not, he thinks it probably is but he can’t know for sure. He should get it fixed, but he won’t.

Instead he’ll try not to see it in his peripheral vision, try to stare right through it as it spreads or doesn’t.

It could shatter at any moment.

He’s sure of that.


British big wave surfer Tom Butler declines invitation to Nazare: “When you have the contest director apologize to all surfers after the event saying ‘sorry for the way the webcast and post-event coverage came out,’ you know you’re in a shitty political event.”

More shame on Santa Monica!

I have not seen any World Surf League headlines for weeks, now, and sometimes forget there ever was such a thing, fronted by an executive from Oklahoma by way of Oprah Winfrey. Like a bizarre fantasy. A tipsy-turvy alternate universe.

Just this afternoon, though, Santa Monica’s WSL made the news again, this time by possibly screwing big wave surfers out of money and generally frustrating them.

But let us keep our pitchforks and tiki torches in their closets for a moment and go to the Instagram account of the world’s most famous British big wave surfer Thomas Butler and see what this is all about.

Butler, who has competed for years on the Big Wave World Tour and rode one of the biggest Nazare waves ever, will not be competing this year.


From the mouth of an angel:

Big winter swells are here and i’m being asked what my plans are for the season ahead. Right now i’m not planning to chase any swells abroad and have decided to decline my invite for the Nazare event. I’m taking a needed break from chasing Europe’s biggest storms. Aged 31 i’m completely content with my achievements but kind of burnt out from trying to monetise my sport.

Being a professional athlete can be a very selfish pursuit to reach to a high level. Big wave surfing is a contact sport with consequences, there is no getting around that. So pre season, life long preparation is essential to be comfortable in the mix and stand a chance on the biggest days. With a young son my energy and time has to go to my family right now. Stripping back the pressure of being ready to perform in big waves and simplifying my life, working on goals closer to home has made me really happy these last 6 months. Of course having Ziggy to squeeze on the regular makes me so happy it feels like I’ve dropped down a 60 ft wave most days.

Fact is, not that many big wave surfers globally are getting close to the level of financial backing needed to keep our sport safe. For me more time has been spent behind a laptop screen than actually surfing. Commercialising myself as an athlete took all the fun out of what I was doing.

When you commit to a sport like big wave surfing and make the sacrifices and investment that are needed, you hope you can win titles and receive the recognition your performance deserves, not speaking just for myself I feel a lot of the surfers who have entered the @wsl awards and big wave comps feel the same. To make the sport even happen though some wild calls are made that probably are wrong decisions but probably the right decision in a business sense, most of the time at the expense of the athletes.

Take last years Nazare challenge, event staff completely pulled the wool over the athletes eyes. They said, “this is year 0 lets work together and build this event into something huge and profitable for all involved,” then to have @redbull as a headline sponsor and to keep it quiet until the competition day. Collecting my rash vest from a Red Bull counter but not being paid an appearance fee that reflects the company’s financial status doesn’t sit right with me when there is so much on the line.

“And when you have the contest director apologize to all surfers after the event saying ‘sorry for the way the webcast and post-event coverage came out,’ you know you’re in a shitty political event.

Support for Butler and his stand was immense.

Jamie Sterling wrote, “Great honest post. Love it when I hear the truth from real surfers like yourself. Good vibes. Family over everything.”

Ross Clarke-Jones added, “Incredible expression of your feelings.”

Nic Von Rupp summarizing, “This was soooo fucked.”

Aren’t you amazed by how consistently and thoroughly the World Surf League blows it? I have to admit, I am. I mean, to get it wrong every single time?


Ok. To the closets!

Nothing a little surf wax and electrical tape won't fix.
Nothing a little surf wax and electrical tape won't fix.

“Rambo of the Sea” Carolina surfer gets attacked by shark, punches beast in nose, packs bite wound with surf wax and paddles back out for more!

I’m not letting this rain on my parade!

But who is your favorite movie tough guy of all-time? Arnie Schwarzenegger as The Terminator? What about The Rock’s Luke Hobbs? Kirk Douglas’s Spartacus? Sly Stallone’s Rocky? Cobra? Hawk? Spartan?

I had always been a Mel Gibson as Marty Riggs man. The way he constantly dislocates his shoulder then slams it back it with a wink and grimace inspires, though, as someone who has constantly dislocated and always put it back himself, the slam is not recommended.

And had because my new favorite tough guy has emerged but let us travel to the Carolinas to meet the “Rambo of the Sea” Erik “Marty” Martynuik.

Marty was surfing, just a few days ago, off Emerald Isle there on the Tarheel State’s easternmost point with Eugene Kloepell. It was a beautiful day and the sun began to slide down the sky when… and here I will let Marty and Eugene tell the story themselves.

Marty: I look over, and I see a dorsal fin! I said oh man, that things coming right towards me. It was like the movie Jaws, you know when it cruises and is gliding through the water?

Eugene: There was something behind him, chasing him. I caught a wave and said ‘I’m out of here!’ That ain’t no blue fish, and I kept on paddling for all I was worth!

Marty: It goes down, and at that time I start looking around and then BOOM! It just nailed my board at the bottom! Next thing you know, I felt a stinging feeling. I gave him a good shot right to the nose and automatically he let go. That’s how I think I saved myself. Packed my knee with some surf wax and electrical tape and took my other back up board out. I’m having lower back surgery in 5 days I’m not letting this rain on my parade!

And there we have it.

“Marty” Martynuik.

Our new Vin Diesel.