California governor Gavin Newsom signs sweeping stay-at-home order thereby guaranteeing record crowds in lineups: “Surfing is a healthy outdoor activity that should be pursued by young and old!”

"If you don't surf, don't start."

Bah humbug. California’s governor Gavin Newsom just signed a sweeping state-at-home order, going in effect at midnight tonight, locking over 85% of the state’s population down until Christmas. No more nail salons or haircutting. Movie theaters re-shuttered and bars put under lock and key. Playgrounds, museums, zoos all boarded up. No word, as of yet, on the fate of French Laundry.

“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks. We can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system.” The governor said in a statement.

What is being left off the naughty list, this stay-at-home around, is surfing. Moreover, it is being actively encouraged.

Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting public health officer, said, “Staying home for three weeks is a sacrifice, but if every Californian did that for a month, we could stop this disease in its tracks. This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health.”

Lower-risk outdoor activities and I think we, as a community, have put up with enough, no? I’ve never seen more crowded lineups in all my days. It has, frankly, reached the absurd and so I would like to encourage Gov. Newsom and Dr. Pan to add one caveat into the order.

Michael Tomson’s brilliant edict “If you don’t surf, don’t start.”

Those who have picked up the Pastime of Kings during the Covid-era should be ordered, by caveat, to stay out of the lineup and/or go surf in Santa Barbara.

A fine compromise.

Surfer attacked by Great White at Kangaroo Island, airlifted to hospital; Australia’s Great White crisis reaches boiling point: “There’s a lot of sharks… you have to expect anything, frankly,” says town mayor.

"We've got heavy concentrations of sea lions and a lot of sharks live in the waters around…"

A twenty-nine-year-old man is lucky to be alive after getting hit a Great White while surfing at D’Estrees Bay at Kangaroo Island, seventy miles south-west of Adelaide in South Australia. 

He suffered “serious lacerations” to his back and thigh.

The man, who was surfing a protected reef called Sewers, named so in the nineteen-sixties because locals said the barrel “spits you out like a piece of shit”, paddled to the beach and was driven to Kangaroo’s biggest town, Kingscote, where he was met by paramedics. 

First, the local hospital, then a chopper to Adelaide for treatment.

The attack didn’t surprise Kangaroo Island’s Mayor, Michael Pengilly. 

“It’s a very popular spot down where these people are surfing down at what’s called the sewer,” he told the national broadcaster. “There’s a lot of surf spots right around the island and of course we’ve got heavy concentrations of sea lions and a lot of sharks live in the waters around, particularly the south coast of Kangaroo Island. It’s not surprising, you’re going into their territory so you have to expect anything, quite frankly.”

The last attack on Kangaroo Island was in 2005 when twenty-six-year-old surfer Josh Berris survived a hit by putting his hand into the shark’s mouth to push it away. 

Last month, a Great White was photographed swimming under the Kingscote jetty. 

It’s the, dunno, sixth?, attack by a Great White on a surfer in Australia this year? 

Lemme count. 

The hit-and-run by a “freakishly big” White at Bunker Bay on a surfer near Margaret River,  the killing of teenage surfer Mani Hart-Deville at Wooli, north of Coffs Harbour, the death of Rob Pedretti at Casuarina, just south of the Gold Coast, Nick Slater, killed at the Superbank and well-known Esperance local Andrew Sharpe taken “almost whole” by a Great White at Kelpies, the same beach teenager surfer Laticia Brouwers was killed by a White in 2017 and where Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White in 2014.

One week ago, surfers in Esperance were run out of the water by a Great White. 

And, a few days ago, a father and his kid were eyeballed by a “giant” Great White while surfing near Port Campbell in Victoria. 

Flake, or shark, is the animal you'll find wrapped in batter in an Australian serving of fish and chips. | Photo: @blairparker77

Just in: Dozens of dead sharks “dumped” at sight of WSL’s Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast!

“This is devastating.”

A fiendishly clever Queensland man has pushed the buttons of vulnerable social media users with photographs of dozens of sharks apparently dumped on the beach at South Stradbroke Island, the sight of the WSL’s Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast.

“Flake anyone?” writes Blair Parker.

Shark, with pilchards in mouth.

“Oooh man, that’s sad,” writes one.

“Yummmmm,” he responds.

“Parker, what are you doing to me. (Sad face emoji.) You’re killing me here.”

“Yummmmm… I know you like flake chips,” writes Parker.

“This is devastating.”

“Fish is good for your diet xx,” writes cheeky Parker.

Later, he brings in a little perspective.

“This is a great example of locally caught produce A family business catching local food to feed families like mine and yours. There are very few licenses available for net fishermen. They catch sustainable species… I eat fish… I’ve also worked on long line boats twenty years ago. In those days, they took the fins to send to the Chinese and threw the rest overboard. These sharks are prime examples of perfect eating variety.”

The Department of Fisheries, meanwhile, is sending a team to South Straddie to determine if any offences have been committed.

“Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol will investigate whether the reports of dead sharks on the beach are current and whether their presence is due to discarded bycatch,” a spokesperson said. “Local fishers should sort their catch further offshore and release any bycatch alive wherever possible.”

Yesterday, social media users were made very sad when the blood-spattered corpse of a juvie Great White was found dumped at Point Lowly, a popular swimming and diving spot in South Australia’s upper Spencer Gulf, around four hundred clicks north-west of Adelaide.

Photo: The iconic Steve Sherman @tsherms.
Photo: The iconic Steve Sherman @tsherms.

World’s greatest surfer, and possibly its “most environmentally damaging person,” Kelly Slater fingered in damning new study on greed and erosion in Hawaii: “It could set in motion a domino effect leading to chronic beach loss.”


It was, roughly, seven months ago when I decided that the world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, has likely done more damage to its environment than any living non-politician. A harsh assessment, one I am neither qualified nor in any position to make, but I had a feeling, you know, a gut instinct and today my prescience was certified by ProPublica in a devastating piece titled How Famous Surfers and Wealthy Homeowners Are Endangering Hawaii’s Beaches.


ProPublica, whose tagline is “keep them honest,” spilled roughly 15,000 words describing how oceanfront homeowners have been erecting illegal sandbag structures over the years that have not been regulated by the state and have, in turn, led to massive beach erosion. The homeowners argue without protection that their beautiful homes will crash into the sea.

The news outlet talked to many on both sides of the debate including our Kelly Slater and let us hurry to that section without delay.

In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.

Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in which near complete loss of beach resources is a realistic future due to sea level rise and the prevalence of [densely] urbanized shoreline development,” he wrote to Slater, noting that the situation on the North Shore is particularly precarious.

Lemmo added that if the state doesn’t enforce strict policies controlling shoreline armoring “it could set in motion a [domino] effect leading to chronic beach loss.”

Still, he left the door open to a future approval, inviting Slater to submit additional information about the structure that was installed and why it was needed. Lemmo said his office is still waiting on the surfer to provide the details about his emergency barrier, which has been in place for more than two years.

In a brief phone interview, Slater, known for his environmental activism, said that without the sandbags people “would have lost properties outright.” He did not respond to a request for a follow-up interview.


So ouch that even I feel bad for the 11x World Champion and would like to help him extract himself from the “known for his environmental activism” bed of hypocrisy in which he is uncomfortably tossing and turning. It is something I am both qualified and in a position to do.


You have two ways out.

1) Double down on being a plutocrat. Your many fans accept your superiority and would accept that you and your pals Dirk Ziff, Jeff Bezos, Gavy Newsom etc. know best and are actually acting in The People’s™ interest.

2) Follow me down the primrose path of “hyper-irony” where the only thing that matters is thinking you, yourself, are funny. Then you can actively continue to satirize both “environmentalist” and “wealthy homeowner, wetland bulldozer to build Surf Ranches, etc.” and call the whole thing a morality play.

I recommend number 2 but it’s totally up to you.

Blood-spattered juvie White at Point Lowly, South Oz. | Photo: Whyalla Fishing/Facebook

Just in: Blood-spattered Great White Shark found dead, likely illegally killed, at popular swimming hole; deleted Facebook photos appear to show shark caught by fishermen, tail-roped and dragged to shore!

And it isn't the first time a Great White has been mysteriously iced.

A juvenile great white, eight feet or so, has been found washed ashore at Point Lowly, a popular swimming and diving spot in South Australia’s upper Spencer Gulf, around four hundred clicks north-west of Adelaide.

Great Whites aren’t exactly rare in South Australia, click here if you want to examine how often you’ll see ‘em out there, and around Point Lowly, occasionally they’ll swim in a couple of metres of water just off the beach.

“I was there fishing off the rocks October-November. Seen a big White hanging around the rocks a few times. Maybe it was him,” said one commenter in response to the story of the dead juvie White on Adelaide News.

But, while it might be common to see Great Whites, what’s rare is to find one dead, likely slaughtered.

Speculation is rife on social media that a couple of local fishermen hooked the fish with rod and line, tail-roped it and dragged it to shore, leaving it to die.

Photos were shared, quickly deleted.

Hooked juvie White.

Fisheries Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions scooped up the animal and took it away for forensic examination.

“With the assistance of locals, the shark was located and retrieved… as part of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the possible cause of death,” a spokesperson said.

Whites are a protected species in Australia, have been since 1999, and if you kill ‘em and get caught you’ll be hit with a ten-gee fine.

It isn’t the first time Whites have been mysteriously iced.

Last year, in two separate incidents, two Great Whites were found “wedged under the reef between South side and Rifle Butt beach” in Margaret River; one shark, according to locals, with a rope still tied to its tail suggesting it had been “dragged and drowned.”