J-Bay, Mick, White.

World Champion surfer Mick Fanning ruthlessly bullied by so-called friends in the water exacerbating deep trauma: “People splash behind me, I freak out.”

Rude.

I apologize to you for my lack of production here lately. I am currently in the studio recording the audiobook version of the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell. It is brutal. Brutal to read aloud for hours upon hours a day in a dark box. Brutal to read my own words, penned nearly a decade ago, and not be able to edit them or provide updated caveats. Brutal to hear my own voice saying uncouth things.

I made ruthless fun of many people in the surf industry from Graham Stapelberg to Dusty Payne to world champion surfer Mick Fanning.

As we all now know, Mick is a saint. One of the most well-loved figures in all of Australia with legions of adoring fans. But I wrote and wrote and wrote about his “dull face” and “boring fashion” and “bland chipped-tooth’d smile” over and over and over.

I have zero adoring fans and deservedly so. I am rude. I am a bully.

But maybe just maybe my early bullying helped prepare Mick Fanning to face the mental torture he is currently dealing with?

As you recall, Mick was brutalized by a shark during a professional surf contest in South Africa five years ago. The most viral moment in our small world.

Very scary and haunting him still but do his pals care for his needs?

No.

According to Mick, who appeared recently on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, his so-called friends prank him often, pretending there is a shark in the water. “It still took me about a year or so to get through my PTSD. Even still, I’m very wary of what’s in the ocean. People splash behind me, I freak out. My mates do it to me all the time.”

The host asked, “Does anyone ever yell ‘Shark! Shark!’ when you’re out there? And do you think, listen, don’t do that?”

Mick responded sadly, “Yeah there’s a few here that do that.”

Horribly rude and unnecessarily mean but might Mick have the tools in his emotional toolbox to deal with this relentless onslaught thanks to an unlovable surf journalist?

Possibly?

More as the story develops.


World’s most beautiful surfboard shaper Hayden Cox buys two houses on Sydney’s exclusive Barrenjoey Peninsula

Feted shaper now part-owner of Sydney's version of The Hamptons…

Many years ago, I wrote a story called The Most Beautiful Shaper in the World.

I commented, “He is still the most fantastic looking man I have ever seen and what sleepless nights he caused me!”

Back then, there was no delicacy to his exceptionally virile merchandise. He was as blood ripe as they come.

The women, including my girlfriend, maybe my girlfriend most of all, had to be treated for spells of dizziness. Worse, his surfboards were addictive and try as I did, I couldn’t be indifferent to his skills

These days, however, the crown of Most Beautiful Shaper in the World, held for thirty years in Coolangatta, Queensland, now resides in one of two houses in Palm Beach, Sydney’s version of New York’s The Hamptons.

One of Hayden’s dreamy lil pieces of the Barrenjoey pie.

Hayden Cox, who is thirty-eight, and married to the marketing whiz Danielle Cox, née Foote, has rolled his biz HaydenShapes into one of the most popular surfboard brands in the world.

He is a wonderful story of a driven kid who shucks the expectations of his family (accountancy!) to learn to shape, build a surfboard company, create a unique method of surfboard construction and, eventually, be feted by icons as diverse as Audi and Alexander Wang.

And success buys pretty things.

Four years ago, Hayden and Danielle bought an old waterfront house with 180 degree views of the estuary called Pittwater for $1.8 mill and which they sold after a gorgeous renovation earlier this year for $3.6 million.

Since that sale, the pair have bought a waterfront house at nearby Clareville for $3,337,500, currently available to rent at $2200 a week, ten gees a month, roughly, and a 1950s three-level, four-bedder “beach shack” on monied Pacific Drive, with panoramic views, for a little under three-mill.

Examine here. 

(And walk through the world’s slickest surfboard shop here.)


An extravaganza of nature.

Just in: Watch as Elephant Seal protects fur seal colony from marauding Great White shark!

Battle of the heavyweights.

A three-ton elephant seal has been filmed chasing a Great White shark away from the easy kill of baby seals on Robberg Peninsula in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. 

The elephant seal, named Solo, is a popular attraction for tourist operators in Plett, looking adorable as he sleeps on the mountain or frolicking in the Cape’s cold water, his snout fixed into a permanent grin. 

Here, the White gets real close to seizing a bebe before daddy swings in.

Two things you’ll take away from the vision, below. 

One, that the Great White is, mostly, an opportunistic predator and is averse to anything that might give it hell (buy Biteback stainless steel spikes here, designed to stab apex predators where it hurts) and, two, clear water, Plettenberg Bay, mmmm, that name and that colour water sure do ring a bell. 

Yeah, four months ago, the same drone pilot that snatched this footage, fourteen-year-old  Luka Oosthuizen, generated a thousand headlines when he filmed a twelve-foot White swimming through a group of surfers during a clear-water middle of the day sesh fifty feet or so from the beach.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CByT2_sn1MK/

Even crazier thing was, the day after “a whirlwind of interviews from all over the world”, the kid took his bird up in the sky and filmed another White swimming through surfers.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB0z7uGnYjf/

Good times.


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.

Right?

Am I reading this all correctly?

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