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.”

Niccolo Porcella, Teahupoo lip ride in 2015.

Surfing (and breakdancing) confirmed for 2024 Paris Olympic Games; Teahupoo or ‘Wall of Skulls’ site of contest: “We can put the women on at a time of the day when the waves are less powerful!”

“We have ways of planning that now and it will allow women to also surf at Teahupo’o.”

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed the selection of surfing, and breakdancing, for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

And it’s gonna be Teahupoo for the surfing, naturally, ’cause France conquered this gorgeous lil corner of the Pacific a lil over a 150 years ago thus enabling an island fifteen-thousand clicks from Paris to serve springy, puffy and buttery croissants.

“The conditions at Teahupo’o offer an amazing performance wave that will excite athletes and captivate fans. Elite surfers – men and women – compete here regularly and are eager to compete for Olympic glory at Teahupo’o. With 22 men and 22 women surfers, we are happy to reaffirm our total commitment to gender equality and fair sport,” said the International Surfing Association’s Fernando Aguerre. “We salute the five candidatures (Hossegor etc), which were all excellent and well-known surf destinations, but Tahiti was truly exceptional in offering our athletes, and our sport, spectacular conditions for optimal competitions.”

Teahupoo was taken off the women’s calendar in 2007 ’cause it was deemed too dangerous.

And, now?

“We can put the women on at a time of the day when the waves are less powerful,” the president of Tahiti’s surfing federation, Lionel Teihotu explained to AFP. “We have ways of planning that now and it will allow women to also surf at Teahupo’o.”

The waves at Teahupoo will be a dramatic contrast to Chiba’s brave little beachbreak runners expected for Tokyo in 2021.

Open Thread: Comment Live as the Maui Pro presented by Roxy gets underway at beautiful Honolua Bay!

We're back!

I apologize for the slack in getting our Open Thread up and running this morning. Hawaii time etc. But here we are and with all the boys (Chris Cote etc.) and all the girls (surfers, Rosie etc.) and it feels like everything is right, again, in the world.

The waves look glassy and classy.

Who you got?

Tyler Wright apparently shone already but Steph coming up and will likely shine more brightly.

Watch here!

Comment below.

Everything right including Tyler’s fabulous new singlet.