“Best day ever” Mavericks has normally stoic big wave surfers writing gorgeous sonnets: “Let those who are in favour with their stars of public honour and proud titles boast, whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars caught a full Mavs bomb and it was super sick!”


But can you believe the feast of surfing we’re in the very middle of being served? The women’s event kicking off in Honolua Bay, Maui, with stirring performances from young upstarts and vintage pros alike with a sprinkling of wonderful identity politics. There very next day, yesterday, the Pipeline trials ran in full while the women’s event was postponed due shark attack while, across the Pacific, Mavericks put on an absolute show with typically stoic locals writing sonnets to its magnificence.

“Today is probably the best and the biggest day in recent memory,” Surfline’s local reporter sang, dispensing with typical chill.

Kai Lenny was there in the lineup and so were Jamie Mitchell and Ian Walsh not to mention Grant Washburn and Taylor Paul.

Surf height ranged from the low 30s to the upper 50s, groomed by gentle offshore winds.

“The best day I can remember,” crooned Grant Washburn.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee,” Taylor Paul whispered, tears coating cheeks, watching the sun sink into the gorgeous brownish-grey.

You can watch for yourself here. A little appetizer before we climb back into the Banzai Pipeline.

Very exciting.

WSL CEO Erik Logan.

Shark attack at Honolua Bay Forces “indefinite” Postponement of Maui Pro Finals, possible cancellation of event: “Our thoughts and prayers are with this victim”

No heats today nor tomoz maybe.

The finals of the women’s Maui Pro have been put on hold and the event may be cancelled after a recreational surfer was hit by a shark twenty yards offshore at Honolua Bay this morning.

The man, who was quickly reached by The Maui Pro’s water safety crews, suffered injuries to his left side lower extremities.

The water safety crews performed CPR on the man on the beach.

In a piece to camera from Oahu, the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan called the attack an “incident” adding the WSL’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the “victim” and that the event may be cancelled, which would make it the third WSL event to be called off because of shark attack, following Jeffrey’s Bay in 2015 and Margaret River in 2018.

There have been four fatal attacks in Maui in the last twenty years, 2004, 2013, 2015 and 2019. All hits by Tigers.

A week-and-a-half ago, a Californian woman suffered severe trauma injuries to her front torso after a hit while swimming in front of the Mahina Surf condos on Maui’s Lahaina coast.

Hawaii’s most famous shark attack was in 2003 when teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton was rolled by a fourteen-foot Tiger shark at Tunnels in Kauai, severing her left arm just below the shoulder.


Open Thread: Comment Live as the Pipe Invitational in the water on Oahu’s North Shore!

Pro surfing!

The best Hawaiian surfers are back in the water as the Pipeline Invitational gets underway. The top two, I think, get to enter the Pipeline in Memory of Andy Irons likely getting underway tomorrow.

But, anyway, fun and Pipe. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Come for the tubes, stay for the buttery smooth voice of Joseph Turpel.

Watch here.

Comment below.

Covid-19 Silver Linings: Whimsical “Surfing Santa” events cancelled across the globe as states re-shutter ahead of the holidays!

Small blessings.

I’ll tell you what really gets my goat these days. Whimsy. I do not like whimsical wall hangings, coffee mugs, fonts, cartoons, needlepoint.

I do not like whimsical coloring books, movies or holiday “traditions” like “ugly sweater” parties or “surfing Santas.”

The surfing Santa origin story is shrouded in mists of history, but there are, today, three massive gaggles, one Orlando-adjacent another in Huntington Beach and another still somewhere in Australia.

Participating surfers dress up like Santa and paddle out, usually on longer than appropriate boards.

Extremely whimsical but likely not this year as states re-shutter ahead of the expected holiday Coronavirus surge.

Per Orlando’s Spectrum News.

Longtime Surfing Santa Sandra Goodwin says she’s been part of the group since it was small enough to be hosted at the founder’s home 10 years ago. Now, it attracts people from all over the world.

“It was very intimate. Everyone would bring a dish,” Goodwin says. “We would bring it to the house and gather around. It was like an extended family.”

So far Cocoa Beach Winter Fest, the Christmas parade, and other events have been canceled.

City Commissioner Karalyn Woulas says it wasn’t the city’s decision but was left up to the individual organizations.

“The people who were in charge of canceling it did it out of concern for the community,” Woulas adds.

Goodwin says if Surfing Santas is canceled, she encourages people to keep the tradition going on a smaller scale.

“What I’ll probably do is put on a Santa hat and go out surfing. If you have your bubble of surfing friends, put on a Santa hat and take a picture,” Goodwin says.

I bet everyone brought whimsical dishes.

See you next year, surfing Satans.

The Great White as perennial movie villain.

The New York Times joins BeachGrit’s ongoing investigation into Australia’s Great White crisis: “Death by Shark Is at a High in Australia. What’s Going On?…Eight (Deaths) is off the scale and we haven’t even finished the year yet!”

"There's more than one shark expert shaking their head right now."

The New York Times is a daily broadsheet that recently blamed a French school teacher for his own beheading.

It could hardly be accused of being anything but on the liberal side of the ledger. 

So it comes as a surprise, pleasant or otherwise depending on your bias, that the paper has dived into Australia’s Great White Shark Crisis, something so far untouched by the Australian press.

Under the headline, “Death by Shark Is at a High in Australia. What’s Going On? we read,

What’s behind the increase in deaths? The question is vexing many in Australia, where public pressure is rising for authorities to take tougher measures to protect the country’s picturesque coasts this summer as people emerge from coronavirus lockdowns and eagerly head to the beach.

Scientists find the high numbers shocking, and they wonder what forces may be at play.

“There’s more than one shark expert who’s shaking their head right now, thinking, ‘What on earth is going on?’” said Culum Brown, a professor of marine biology at Macquarie University in Sydney who studies shark behavior. “Eight is certainly off the scale, and we haven’t even finished the year yet,” he added.

Maybe ’cause Whites have been protected since 1999?

Six years ago, I called a South Australian shark fisherman for his opinion on the then surge in Great White attacks.

Turned out he didn’t just have a theory on the dramatic increase in Great Whites in Western Australia, he was positive it was due to the AFMA (the Australian Fisheries Management Authority) shutting down vast areas of fishing areas to gill nets because of the by-catch of Australian fur seals and Great Whites.

What fisheries didn’t know was that skippers were under-calling the number of Whites coming up in the nets; the skippers afraid they’d be shut down if fisheries knew just how many Whites were destroyed as by-catch.

In the end, they were closed, anyway.

The irony was, he said, if fisheries knew just how many Whites were coming up, perhaps the White wouldn’t have been regarded as a threatened and endangered species.

“Think about this,” he said. “Ten years ago, there were nine or 10 boats operating and killing 200-to-300 Pointers a year. We were allowed to have an incidental catch of Pointers. They’d get tangled in the nets and come up dead. Now, say, if we work with a conservative kill figure of 200, and 50 of these Whites are mature, and of those 50, 25 are female, they are going to have one baby every two years. So, instead of the population growing like it was, or sustaining at a certain level, it’s blowing out. It’s growing faster and faster. The number of Pointers is increasing dramatically.”

As we spoke, he texted me a clip of a five-metre White attacking his boat, taken the day before on his iPhone. “This thing was breaking its teeth off on the boat,” he says.

“It’s only a matter of time before attacks surge again,” he told me. “That’s if people stay in the water. If they don’t, problem solved.”

The NYT, meanwhile, goes around in circles for a while before concluding,

“It’s probably just really bad luck.”