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.

Davy Jones's Locker hanging in the National Maritime Museum.
Davy Jones's Locker hanging in the National Maritime Museum.

Indian newspaper poetically describes tragic episode: “Man meets watery grave while trying to rescue drowning surfer daughter.”


The Indian subcontinent has so many joys, almost too many joys, and is well worth a visit. The various regional cuisines entice, architecture inspires, trains, hill stations, hotels, drinking tea and shattering the cups on the tracks so as not to inadvertently touch lips with an untouchable all set the heart racing but one of the greatest pleasures is the Indian use of English

The language is as much theirs as it is ours, as the English first spread the tongue across the land in 1608, but they have done better things with it.

Can we, as an example, read a passage from the New Indian Express that details a tragic event of father drowning while trying to save his surfer-daughter?

Chennai: Man meets watery grave while trying to rescue drowning surfer daughter.

CHENNAI: A 51-year-old software engineer drowned in the sea off Thiruvanmiyur while he was rescuing his daughter who was pulled by a giant wave while practising surfing on Monday morning.

The deceased was identified as Balaji, an employee of a private software firm in Tidel Park and a resident of Vannandurai in Besant Nagar.

According to police, the incident happened around 7 am at Thiruvanmiyur beach.

Police said that Balaji accompanied his daughter Revathi, 11, a Class 6 student, to surf in the sea.

Quoting on the onlookers, police said that Revathi, who was training with the surfboard, was suddenly sucked in by a giant wave. A shocked Balaji entered into the sea to save his daughter. He drowned as he was unable to swim in the rough sea.

Police said surfers usually do not practise in a rough sea, but the duo reached Thiruvanmiyur claiming that the sea was relatively calm there compared to Besant Nagar.

Extremely tragic but written better than anything in Austro-American surf, save Longtom, in years and years. We other continentals have dispensed with “watery graves” and “Davy Jones’s Locker” and other pirate-adjacent words and have stumbled into pure bore. Drowning, asphyxiated, etc. But we should reclaim the swagger as we are closer to pirate heritage than any, save right-of-center politicians.


Seal-fattened shark bites Oregon surfer’s leg in rare attack: “The incident serves as a valuable reminder to never recreate alone, in or out of the water.”


As you well know, I grew up surfing central-southern Oregon’s icy cold water. The Pacific there teems with life from crab to seal to the mighty Great White Shark herself. Shark sightings were common in and around my hometown and I swear I saw a massive silhouette, once, when I as out for a paddle near the long rock jetty jutting out from Bastendorff Beach.

Scary, though I always thought about my own spindly arms and legs then looked at the many seals swimming by, luscious and fat, and thought the shark would know better.

Well, apparently the beasts have developed a taste for spindle for last evening a surfer was tasted in Seaside, there in the very north.

The man, who was riding a fine Super Brand board, sustained non-life threatening injuries to his leg and was helped by fellow surfers and an off-duty lifeguard who fashioned a field tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The man was then transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The fire department said, “The incident serves as a valuable reminder to never recreate alone, in or out of the water. The fast response of fellow surfers was instrumental in providing aid to the victim.”

Very confusing advice in our Covid days when, I thought, we were supposed to recreate alone. Kafkaesque, I suppose.

In any case, I wonder if this expanded palate, amongst sharks, will hold or if human leg will simply be a trend. Like cronuts.

Did you ever have a cronut? I did and an original one too from the bakery that invented in New York City.

I was underwhelmed.

Updated: Super Brand has offered to give the Oregon hero a free board. If one of you know him, please pass along this turn of good luck.