"The shark made a decision it didn’t want to eat him and let him go."
Very tragic news out of Maui, this morning, as it has been revealed that the surfer who was hit in Honolua Bay has died from his injuries. Sharks are vicious creatures, not purposefully of course but naturally, and Tigers are some of the very worst.
Across the Pacific, in my home state of Oregon, a 20-year-old surfer named Cole Herrington was hit by a Great White the day before and it currently in the hospital recovering from a bite to the leg and described his attack to the local NBC News affiliate.
I was just sitting on my board and then the next thing I know I just got hit really hard. And I looked around for my board, and grabbed my board, and knew I got bit. I don’t really remember what happened. Some people said it came form behind me and that’s why I didn’t see it. It bit me and lifted me out of the water and dropped me back in. When it first happened, it was like “What’s going on? OK this is getting real.” Once you figure out that you’re getting attacked by a shark, you’re just calling out to God asking that it doesn’t come back to bite you again. You just want to get out on the rocks. Once you get on the rocks then it starts to hurt, you want to get this blood stopped.
Other surfers helped fashion a field tourniquet and the young electrician’s apprentice vows to surf another day. Extremely harrowing and, according to shark book author and retired University of California professor A. Peter Klimley, extremely fortunate.
That fella has a lot to be thankful for,” he told The Oregonian. “If a shark really wanted to consume him, it could have. If they don’t want to release something, they don’t have to. This surfer was small and helpless in the mouth of the shark. The shark made a decision it didn’t want to eat him and let him go.”
I’ve always held the assumption that Tigers go all in and Great Whites just take a taste but I don’t know if that is backed up by science.
In any case, sharks. What the hell.
Surfer attacked by tiger shark at site of Maui Pro dies of injuries; WSL confirms no further competition to take place at Honolua Bay.
"You can bleed out very quickly from an injury like this."
A recreational surfer who was attacked by a Tiger shark at Honolua Bay, the site of the WSL’s opening tour event for women, has died of his injuries at Maui Memorial Hospital.
The Lahaina man, who was fifty-six, was twenty yards offshore from the old boat ramp when the shark hit, causing catastrophic injuries to his left side lower extremities.
A paramedic on the scene, Maile Calasa, told KITV, “You can bleed out very quickly from an injury like this… My partner and I were watching the surf because we already got canceled from a call that was already at the bay, and we got approached and told from the Jet Skis that a person got bitten so we got down there in a reasonable amount of time. Then, two bystanders in a truck picked us up and took us in to him… and that was huge as far as timing went. It really came down to the whole team of people that helped him, honestly. From the people at the Roxy Pro, to the watermen, the lifeguards, firemen, police, the ER doctor that had blood as soon as we got in the ER at bedside, the surgeon was there… all the nurses, it honestly was a really great team effort. And everyone worked together really, really well.”
The man’s board was recovered with a seventeen-inch piece torn out of it.
In a piece to camera from Oahu on the morning of the attack, the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan called the attack an “incident” adding the WSL’s “thoughts and prayers” were 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 five fatal attacks in Maui in the last twenty years, 2004, 2013, 2015, 2019 and 2020.
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.
One new feature of the webcast was the celebrity call-in. An extended video chat over the broadcast that ranged from the languidly sexual with new mum Kelia Moniz to the wildly homoerotic with Tom Carroll who could barely contain his froth at the sight of Kelly Slater's Twin Fin (he wants to feel that twinny in the backdoor, he wants to feel it, he's ready to go!”).
Billabong Pipe Masters, Day one: “Homoerotic! Languidly sexual! ‘He wants to feel that twinny in the backdoor, he wants to feel it!'”
Come Trestles it might be a wholly different story, but right now, even with backwashy weird Pipe that looked like an Australian beachbreak at various points in the day things are OK. It was a day of moreorless soothing entertainment, low grade soap opera to paraphrase Kaipo.
It was weird seeing the draw, I’d forgotten half the people on it were still on Tour. Jaddy, Alex Ribeiro, Fred Morais, Peterson Crisanto, Seabass. I think Strider may have damned them with faint praise calling them an “eclectic crew”.
Seems like the Tour consisted of Italo, Kai Lenny and John Florence over the last six months.
We got the last heat of the Mikey Wright/Leo three-peat to decide who gets the injury wildcard. Both will be on Tour anyway, so no great stakes but a fun enough drama watching Leo up the ante with minutes to go threading a deep Backdoor bomb and greasing a tail-high reverse on the end.
Mikey needed a wave and it came. He got pitched from crest to trough. And that was really the tale of the tape. Superior decision making from the Italian stallion.
Wait, can that still be said? It seems too toxic masculinity.
The Covid protocols seemed weird. Strider started with the mask, then stripped it down. Filipe rocked it for the full presser. A black branded Hurley. Jordy in the paper, generic blue mask. Then they were dispensed with. Slater, in plain black, wore one down the beach but not for the presser.
Hair styles were a feature. Voluminous and man-bunned in the Thor style by Connor Coffin, extravagant and unruly SeaBass and JJF, luxurious helmets like Medina. Bodies likewise revealed those who had let go of the reins and those who had been in the gym. John, with an extra 10 pounds of muscle, looked the strongest. Italo brought the same high energy, reckless approach. One huge rotation to the flats on the shallow inside section drew groans from the booth. A similar throwaway flip attempt by John on the buzzer despite a comfortable win made my heart leap.
Italo seems indestructible, John fragile.
Ross claimed starting at Pipe advantages rookies, a claim I strongly disagree with. Toy three-to-five-foot Pipe notwithstanding, there couldn’t be a wave on tour that favours incumbents over aspirants more than Pipeline. Compared to the traditional start at Snapper, where a warm-water playful right really does favour the rookie unless it is behind the rock.
I think we will see a rookie bloodbath at Pipe, with the obvious exception being Jack Robbo, who was imperious in the last heat of the day.
Jack joined a small number to make double-figured heat scores. An even smaller number went excellent. One, in fact. That being one Jack Freestone. That’s a fair assessment of a day where grinding was as vital as threading tubes.
One new feature of the webcast was the celebrity call-in. An extended video chat over the broadcast that ranged from the languidly sexual with new mum Kelia Moniz to the wildly homoerotic with Tom Carroll who could barely contain his froth at the sight of Kelly Slater’s Twin Fin (he wants to feel that twinny in the backdoor, he wants to feel it, he’s ready to go!”) to the barely comprehensible with Mark Occhilupo.
It was strangely surreal, mildly unsettling and very amateur hour.
In other words, a perfect fit for the WSL.
More to come, I hope.
Kelly was in a mild froth himself. Two days arrived in Hawaii, no warm-up surf, hasn’t paddled out at Pipe since Feb. Riding a black 5’6”twin fin. “
It never ends,” he said, referring to the chase, the stoke, the “ADHD we get from waves”. Hopefully, I interpreted, his career.
He said it was “fun to find a new feeling” in relation to the twin-fin but my favourite moment was a new riff on an old classic. The carving/sliding three-o he pulled when the heat was won was a little bone thrown to the true believers. The twinny elevated the heat beyond the meat and potatoes served up for most of the day.
Comparing the frontrunners who will be there at Trestles or thereabouts: Jordy looked insane. Very happy, very fresh, very free. No soul crushing Pipeline waiting for him next year must be the most delightful feeling for him. Get the worst out of the road first. Cruise through the back end, forget about Tahiti and crush it at Trestles.
Medina looked both absent and then harried. But did enough to squeak through.
Did Italo steal his soul last year? Question one for the Medina camp 2021.
Italo was pure Italo, ready to go. More than ready, maybe. John looks superb. Very calm, very composed, very strong. Recent edits have shown a surfer in his prime, framing every turn with pure speed and stillness. Trestles could deny him a runaway Title, the one he was cruising to last year.
Toledo has been parenting.
And as all parents know, time in the water comes at a premium. By the time you’ve fed the kids and cleaned up half their bowl, fitness can suffer.
Can Pip surf his way back to peak fitness at Pipe? It does seem a little late in the day for preparation.
If you missed the day?
Go watch John’s waves, Jordy’s and Jack Freestones heat.
Every wave of Kelly’s. A barnstorming Kelly run on a twin-fin is the dark horse pick for 2021, and after the madness of 2020, nothing can be ruled out.
Watch the whole eight hours again, here!
An average surfer reviews fleet of secondhand boards: “Anti consumerist. DIY punk ethos. A true waterman can ride anything etc.”
(Editor’s Note: Your correspondent is six feet tall (183cm) and weighs 200 pounds (90kg). He is of average skill, though prone to bouts of unprompted fall-down syndrome.)
All boards purchased within last eight months, except the Bonzer.
Sam Egan 7’4 x 19 ½ x 2 ½ $400
Maybe ten years old, but in beautiful condition. Hidden in the bottom of a pile at a second hand board store. Six-ounce glass all over, thick stringer. Mid ‘90s blade meets middle age. Heavy in all the right places. Excellent price.
Surfed from four-to-eight-foot in strong, wintry conditions. Groundswell, stiff offshore etc. You already know this story.
What more is there to say?
Maybe: why does your correspondent waste so much time pilfering through secondhand refuse when he could just go and order something to his exact dimensions?
For moments like this. For the rare boards. The hidden gems
Plus, it’s anti consumerist. DIY punk ethos. A true waterman can ride anything.
Etc etc etc.
Yeah right, kook.
5’9 x 21 x 2 ½ Modern Highline $300
Anyway, faced with the existential quandaries proffered by one’s own existence, the question of what board to ride should sit weak legged in comparison. Like meeting Buddha and asking how the weather’s been.
Exposing the triviality of aquatic poncing v life n death. Mere guff.
But maybe it’s also a microcosm of those quandaries. A symptom of them. Ignorance isn’t bliss, but enlightenment comes with baggage too. The grass is always greener.
Or, in this case, shorter. After a winter of riding big boi boards, your correspondent had sudden spring-time urge to do as many throw away, un-landed airs as possible.
This five-fin biscuit presented itself on Gumtree. A machine pop-out but purchased secondhand so less guilt attached. Still glassed well. Ostensibly a learner’s board, but ridden as a twin it had an almost mini-Simmons thing going on .
All the usuals. Paddled crazy, turned on a dime.
But ultimately the vibe of riding a pop-out VAL machine began to singe this correspondent’s few measly stands of core credibility. Felt like some sort of crime was being committed.
Also, correspondent does not like shorter boards. Your back foot’s gotta go somewhere.
Footnote: Sold to a kindly English backpacker. Arranged for pick up out the front of work. As correspondent was taking board from boot, managed to crack rail on internal wheel mount. Fifty dollars knocked off agreed sale price. Penance for sins committed. Immediately took 7’4 out in two-foot onshore slop, like John the Savage with his whip. A struggle, but that’s the point.
Salvation still awaits.
6’5 x 19 x 2 ⅜ Psillakis $40
Magic. Absolute magic. Picked up at garage sale. Still in great condition under layer of grime (no, I didn’t try to fuck it).
Standard shorty, but also not. Foiled, sharp rails. Wide point slightly forward. SDV – the holy trinity shorty bottom shape. A severely angular square tail. Neck beard-esque, but with slightly less width. Looked like it had been cut with a set square.
The everything-in-one board (does that mean your correspondent is one with everything?). Tight, controlled surfing. Would go anywhere it was told. The hold and release on back hand reos in particular offered a full twenty percent more range than comparable shorties. However a slight shift of weight into the wider point would allow it to press over flat spots, maintain drive etc.
Possible highlight telling people in the surf how much the board cost.
“See this one? Forty bucks. Can you believe it? Forty. I can’t. Forty bucks.”
Buckled on a backhand floater over a small draining section after a dozen or so surfs. Crease above the fins. Terminal. Genuine disappointment.
Toyed with idea of getting Psillakis to reshape but as with all things in life, correspondent was too indecisive to organise.
Is this really where I want to be?
8’4 x ?? X ?? Swapped
The dreadnought. Has the ascetic lines of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Less a surfing experience than a forty-minute workout, with random wave cameos. Swapped for a custom twin-pin mid-length which was evoking similar vibes to the Modern. As featured in a couple previous stories on here already.
Quad but has lost both side fins, so surfing it as what can best described as a mini-duo.
Beautiful entry into swooping bottom turns… but that’s it.
Turns like a dog.
Have somehow managed to crease despite thickness. Near terminal, can feel board flexing through turns. Will ride until death then maybe get a more functional version shaped. Still like idea of something straight and pure for big, windy, unruly days.
Footnote: Recently popped out second to last fin on a bottom turn, rendering it almost unrideable. Prepared to consign to scrapheap but upon coming in from a later session at the same spot, somebody had found fin and left it at showers, like a Chucky doll.
Reminded when riding this board that you’re always somebody’s reason to smile. It’s just that you are the joke.
5’11 quad fish Swapped
A recent fight with correspondent’s wife (asinine, probably own fault, standard bullshit, with a chorus as familiar as your favourite song) led to a hate-browse on Gumtree. Came across this fish. A good replacement for the Highline.
Agreed to swap for an unridden mal. Excellent condition. Resin tint. Unknown cenny coast shaper. Deep swallow, full through nose, swooping curves. Radio edit of a Mackie sidecut fish.
Still haven’t properly inspected bottom shape, suffice to say a quick run of the hand says there’s a lot going on.
Mainly ridden as a twin but had one fantastic surf with quads in. Back foot planted deep over the swallow. Incredible hold and drive.
Minor sticking point is the phallic shape of board, noted in a recent surf paparazzo photo. Looks like Fisher’s famous dick board.
Is this enough to stop your correspondent riding it, despite superior performance? Probably.
Footnote: Shooting fish in a barrel might be easy, but riding them in one sucks
Simon Anderson 6’4 x 18 ¾ x 2 ⅜ $50 on FB Marketplace
It’s December. Your correspondent started watching Xmas movies most nights. But the criteria this year has significantly loosened. Now includes movies with actors who have at one stage or another have been in a Hollywood Xmas film. Dylan McDermott, hunky star of the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, is also the lead in ‘80s Vietnam war classic Hamburger Hill.
“This is Mr Nathaniel Victor, and gets his rocks off watching you die. Some of you think you have problems because you’re against the war. You demonstrated in school. You wear peace symbols on your steel. You have attitudes. ‘I’m orphaned, my brother’s queer, the city of Chicago gave the clap to my sister. Mum drinks, Dad coughs blood, I have ringworm, the draft ruined my chances of being a brain surgeon.’ People. You are in Vietnam. You have no problems, except me. And him.”
Anyway, latent masochism left your correspondent wanting to ride something more brutal. Powerful. Plus, still trying to replace the Psillakis. Picked up this $50 SA special. Excellent condition for price, with fins. Refined shape. Full rockered. Needle nosed. (Just had to remove GoPro mount – ew).
Realised this is close to the dimensions correspondent rode in his early twenties: 6’3 x 18 1/2 x 2 ¼
Those were the days.
Only one surf so far. A couple of eviscerating turns conceived. But when sitting out back, waterline comes up to your correspondent’s chin. Is this board the equivalent of a mid-life earring and leather jacket?
“I’m sick and tired of filling body bags with your dumb fucking mistakes,” said ol’ Dyl McDermott to the rag tag collective of FNGs at the beginning of H-Hill.
So it goes with your correspondent’s board purchases..
6’6 Campbell Brothers Alpha Omega $450 with board bag
The twinzer. Honorary mention. Mint condition. Rare rounded pin (usually shaped as a swallow). Surely worth twice this much. Purchased two years ago and has since been ridden almost to death. Excelled in everything from grim one-inch slop to eight-foot heaving Lances. As close to a one-board quiver as one can get.
Simple enough design but intricate powers dwell beneath. Rich tapestries of channelled energy. Plus it gets heaps of waves.
Sometimes we search through life while the answer lies rift in front of is, with set fins and a partially delaminated deck
But even at the point of enlightenment, more questions present themselves.
Like, does it come in a 6’4?
Open Thread: Comment Live, Day One of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask!
But did you watch the Pipe Trials yesterday, here, with your best friends all naturally socially distanced and appropriate? Doing the right thing, flattening the curve, not putting undo stress on emergency rooms.
I remember the halcyon days when sixteen, or such, Hawaiian wildcards were entered into the main event. Somehow, some way, the World Surf League convinced them all to fight each other, for our pleasure, for just two wildcard slots.
Very “Gather the Native Americans up and march them to a reservation.” Extremely “Trail of Tears” and we shall, henceforth, call the Pipe Trials the “Trials of Tears.”
How will Josh Moniz and Miguel Tudela fare after surfing many, many, many heats?