A Great White circles twenty-five-foot patrol boat in Esperance.

Esperance surfers describe terrifying encounter with Great White only weeks after monster Great White took well-known local surfer almost whole: “It was serious, it was really close!”

"I've never seen Mum like that before. She was just trembling on the beach."

If you live in Esperance, a pretty little town once famous for its impossibly clear water but now better known as the world’s Great White attack capital, well, your nerves are going to be a little frayed.

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.

In October, popular local surfer Andrew Sharpe was taken “almost whole” by a Great White, the body never recovered.

“The body is just fucking gone,” said one witness.

Another witness, swimming with her kid a click away, described the water turning red.

Nine months earlier, diver Gary Johnson was hit by a White as soon as he dived into the water off Esperance to set his anchor and killed. Last week, an inquest heard that his wife dived in after her husband, the water “full of blood and sand”, the tail of the Great White “flapping” up and down.

She described his eyes as “open and lifeless.”

In 2017, teenager surfer Laticia Brouwers, holidaying in Esperance, died in front of her family after being hit by a Great White.

Three years earlier, Esperance surfer Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White.

There’s a theory kicking around that once a shark has a “blood meal” it’ll return to the area during their annual migration.

On Thursday, six surfers were called to the beach by terrified beachgoers “frantically waving their arms” after a twelve-foot Great White was spotted dangerously close to the group.

As per the state broadcaster,

Tagon Robbs and Brayden Little were among a group of six surfing a break off West Beach, two minutes from the centre of town, when terrified beachgoers began to wave them in.

“[Tagon’s] parents were on the rock, his dad just got in from the surf, and they were just frantically waving their arms, screaming,” Mr Little said.

“So we all paddled in. We didn’t actually see the shark until we got onto the step.

“Then we saw the shark coming back in through the line up, and it was like probably a three- to four-metre great white, which looked like a little submarine.

“[I’m] pretty freaked out obviously.”

While the Esperance local said he had seen a couple of sharks while surfing before, he said he had never seen one so close nor witnessed such a visceral reaction from onlookers.

“[Other times were] nothing like this. Nothing like the fear and the people running down and the actual fear in their eyes, and so it really hit home this one, it was serious, it was really close.

Mr Robbs said he felt grateful to be alive.

“If there was no-one running down the stairs, you never know what might have happened. We wouldn’t have seen it [the shark],” he said.

“I’ve never seen Mum like that before. She was just trembling on the beach.”

Diver Greg Pickering, who’s been hit twice by sharks, the last a Great White in Esperance in 2013, 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.”

Suburban Sydney locals erupt in rage, despondency, as beloved surf club gets modern facelift: “They turned it into a microwave and I reckon I’ll die miserable now…”

Up in arms.

And now let us turn to the extremely divisive topic of modern architecture. Are you a fan or do you find anything built after 1950 an utter abomination? Do Frank Gehry’s swoops and undulations make you shudder with glee or recoil in disgust?

Is the name Zaha Hadid taste like honey on your lips or bitter gall?

Well, the world’s current most passionate, volatile debate spilled into Sydney’s typically passive locals dug in on both sides over the $3m refurbishment of the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club.

What was once a simple yellow brick has turned fabulous (in the author’s opinion) but the man who paid for it, New South Wales treasurer Dominic Perrottet, is infuriated and says it now looks “like a massive microwave.”

Continuing, he added, “In the lead-up to the 2017 budget I stood inside that stunning clubhouse and announced new funding to upgrade it and make it more accessible. This isn’t what I had in mind. It’s possible I said the old clubhouse was good enough to frame, but I didn’t mean literally. We have to stop turning icons into eyesores. Buildings like this occupy public spaces that belong to everyone. That’s why beauty in architecture is so important. The buildings we build should complement the beauty of their surroundings. Our city deserves better and we must do better.”

Some have found the facelift so disturbing that an online petition has been set up demanding the original architecture be restored.

Coogee Surf Life Saving Club president Todd Mison, however, has slapped back, telling Perrottet they didn’t ask for the money in the first place, it was just given, and that he loves the re-design. “I can only go on what I’ve heard, but I stand outside that club literally everyday and the feedback is predominantly positive from both club members and passersby. I think the way they’ve blended the old downstairs portico, which has been left in situ, with the contemporary, is amazing.”

Mike Harris, a landscape architecture academic at the University of New South Wales, said, “The (redesign) doesn’t look impressive, even for a modernist apologist like myself. But if the original ever had any architectural merit it has been modified beyond recognition – a not uncommon incremental process over 100 years.”

Coogee local Marty Doyle said, “I reckon it’s gross.”

But now to the most important critic of all.


What is your informed opinion?

35 Marine Parade, Byron Bay.

Rip Curl Founder Brian Singer revealed as mystery buyer of $22 million Byron Bay house; outbids Hollywood heartthrobs Matt Damon and Zac Efron and “dethrones” Chris Hemsworth’s compound as most expensive joint in town!

Byron Bay, a land of unfettered surf dreams and where “murfers” squabble over who has the best Blanc Marble countertops in their pretty haven of narcissism and clandestine infighting.

Rip Curl co-founder Brian Singer ain’t a man to die wondering.

Last October, after taking a dozen years to find a buyer they could live with and that and with the necessary bankroll, he and the brand’s other founder, Dougie Warbrick, sold the company they’d founded in Torquay in 1969 to camping retailer Kathmandu for $A350.

Brian’s 35.5 percent of Rip Curl got him $58 million.

And ain’t no better way to allocate a little of the spoils than with the best house in Byron Bay aka Far North Bondi, a land of unfettered surf dreams and where “murfers” squabble over who has the best Blanc Marble countertops in their pretty haven of narcissism and clandestine infighting.

Surf-wise, still real good, howevs.

Brian, who is seventy-six, has bought the new joint in a company name, sharing ownership with his four kids, Samala, Naomi, Anthony and Jade, outbidding it’s rumoured, Zac Efron and Matt Damon for the keys.

No wetsuit necessary, for the most.
Pretty, if chubby, lil rollers.

It’s the first time the house, which squats on a hillside overlooking the soft rollers of Wategos and under the watchful eye of the Byron Bay lighthouse, has been sold since 1994 when it was sold for a then record of $1.24 mill. 

Been a good month for Brian.

He has a share in the syndicate that owns Melbourne Cup-winning nag Twilight Payment, which won $4.4 million in prizemoney a few weeks back. 

Examine Brian’s new house here. 

Cowboy surfers (pictured).
Cowboy surfers (pictured).

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch sets off explosion of cowboy-beach themed restaurants and bars: “The world’s greatest surfer is, without a doubt, a design visionary far, far ahead of his time!”

World's collide.

But is there anything the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater cannot do? Anything at all (besides tip 20% at restaurants or bars)? Let’s count a few of his accomplishments.

He has won 11 world professional surfing titles.

He has set off an explosion of cowboy-beach themed restaurants and bars all thanks to his design influence behind Lemoore, California’s Surf Ranch.

But let’s go to Houston, Texas where the latest has opened.

Cowboy Surfer is a new casual bar with comfort fare and live music and officially opens Tuesday at 827 Frostwood Drive in Memorial.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “The 1,850 square-foot space features colors of bright blue and yellow and cowboy and surfer-themed artwork including memorabilia, posters, prints, photography, vinyl records and personal items from photographers such as Kenny Braun, Geoff Winningham and Mark Seliger.”

Bar co-owner Jack Massing said, “Visitors to the bar will enjoy the wide range of quality art and memorabilia that visually tie together the worlds of hard work and freedom while listening to the music that captures the spirit of Texas and the West.”

Very cool.

The menu will feature surfer-cowboy favorites chili and cheeseburgers and the bar will serve a drink familiar to all surfers, the Baja Beach Beer, which I don’t have to remind you, is made with vodka, orange juice, lime juice, jalapeno and ginger beer.

Muy delicious.

Kelly Slater was not available for comment.

Just in: Give the gift of modern radical Islamic terrorism to friends and family this holiday season!

Nothing says "I love you" like jihad.

And here you are, today, if you are an American celebrating Black Friday. Either shuffling down the overstuffed aisles of Target, jostling other masked warriors for the last Nintendo Switch, trying to remember if it is toxically demeaning or alt-empowering to buy the wife a Dyson vacuum cleaner, wondering if the mother-in-law would like a Home Depot gift card.

Hot. Uncomfortable. Nerves on edge.

Or maybe you are at home, refreshing the browser to try and get the best possible deal on Facebook’s new TV thing from Amazon and getting your identity “borrowed” and re-marketed directly back to you in seventeen different ways before you’ve even clicked on to the next gift idea.

The death of western enlightenment.

So why not just give the gift of modern radical Islamic terrorism to all friends and family?

Modern radical Islamic terrorism comes in a few different flavors but the best is Yemeni via Deoband, India and will solve all your moral and physical dilemmas and it is cheap. You can buy here too without a line.

Need more?

Here is one free chapter (feat. Sam George) from the velvety pipes of author Chas Smith.