BeachGrit habitué Offrocker aka Sean Mitchell, dead at thirty-six: “The world will go on, with or without me. Everywhere else I go, I’m surrounded by crying relatives, well-meaning do gooders who ‘have just heard the news, I’m so so sorry.’”

Come celebrate the short beautiful life of a gifted writer… 

Beloved BeachGrit writer, below-the-line commenter, Dr Sean Mitchell aka Offrocker, who was thirty-six, has died of colon cancer.

A couple of weeks back, Sean’s wife Michelle wrote to tell me he was in a hospice, that his time was short.

“I just want to let you know that BeachGrit has been such a big part of Sean’s surf journey, it gave him a place to relax, a sense of community, and connectedness with the ocean, even if he can’t physically immerse himself in it. Thank you for creating such a great community.”

Sean’s contribution to BeachGrit was profound.

Read, Schmaltz: Surfer with Cancer Gets Brief Hit-Out in Ocean, “Some moments transcend all the suffering in the world!”

“Once again, in the lineup I felt like order had returned, a return to normality for a few short hours.

So I’m back in hospital this week. More complications.

The waves of samsara keep crashing.

This week it’s a fever, two days in hospital on hardcore antibiotics until they can rule out blood poisoning.

Three weeks ago, a threatened blood clot on the lungs.

Last week an allergic reaction to a new drug and a pustular rash.

These are all minor bumps in the road.

I’m looking forward to getting back out there already.

Maybe I’ll see you, you can’t miss me. I’m THAT kook, ecstatic to make it out the back on a small day, huffing and puffing like a steam train and grinning like a maniac.”

And his last story Quit-Lit in the Face of Cancer: Reflections on my Last Surf Ever (Maybe) sure did hit the buttons, everyone but Sean-y weepy.

“Why, at this time, do I even care enough to write an article for the Grit degenerates?

Because I learned something invaluable on my last surf that I want to share with the quitters. An ethic you won’t find espoused in the sanitised corpo-surf culture, an attitude you won’t find in the hearts of those that wade around in the shorebreak between the flags.

And that’s the reality that no-one gives a fuck in the lineup. I got backpaddled by smiling hipsters on twins. I got dropped in on by murfers on logs. I got shoulder hopped by aggressive entitled adolescents unaware that their post-grom transition is complete and they are now legitimately bottom of the foodchain, no longer protected by minority.

That day was just like every other day, except it was my last surf for the foreseeable future and maybe forever.

It has given me reassurance that the world will go on, with or without me. Everywhere else I go, I’m surrounded by crying relatives, well-meaning do gooders who “have just heard the news, I’m so so sorry.”

If you’re anywhere near the GC on Friday, April 30, join fam and pals at the Pacific Beach Function Centre (Pacific Surf Life Saving Club), 1291 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach, Qld, between two and four, for a celebration of his short, beautiful life.


It's opening day at Narrabeen, come and dirty your hands… 

Warning: Australian man lands in emergency room with ruptured bowel after surfing near “brown sludge” in Port Fairy!

EPA on the case.

Of all the many things that can go rotten whilst surfing, (busted eardrums, dislocated shoulders, destroyed knees, shark attack, etc.) a ruptured bowel wall is not front of mind but this is exactly what happened to an Australian man over the Easter holiday, landing him in an emergency room, clinging to life.

Tim Dryden of Warrnambool had decided to surf The Passage in Port Fairy, as fine an idea as any, and paddled out into Victoria’s typical chill. Between sets, though, he noticed what he described as a “brown sludge” on the surface of the water. Assuming it to be churned up kelp, he ignored and kept at it.

Two days later, he was in the hospital, doctors feverishly sewing up a ruptured bowel wall they said caused by an infection picked up somewhere.

“I’ve actually had a life-changing and also life-threatening experience,” Mr Dryden said.

“Initially I was just shocked and then, I mean, I’m not an emotional person but I started thinking my life’s really changed. I nearly died.” He told ABC news.

As fate would have it, the patient occupying the hospital room next to his had also been out surfing the same spot just hours later and had been shuttled to the emergency room as well.

“I just thought it was bad luck initially, but if it turns out something that’s in the water, then that’s a whole other ballgame,” Mr Dryden said.

Now, the Environmental Protection Agency is looking into the matter though the local water authority is denying any problem, its director releasing the terse statement, “Wannon Water has not experienced any issues with our Port Fairy Sewage Treatment Plant or the outfall.”

What could the brown sludge have been?

Will you think twice next time an unknown substance floats past you?

I can’t think of much worse than a ruptured bowel wall.

Listen: Where do Gabriel Medina and Neymar Jr. rank on all-time list of sporting power couples? Both reaching peak potency, thanks to each other, in the same year?

History in the works.

The exquisitely wonderful coupling of Brazil’s Gabriel Medina and Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior has become a fun, if not interesting, talking point just months ago. Could it actually become the stuff of legends?

Sporting power couples are not common, not at all, which is why they are so incredible when they work. Usually after one, or both, have reached prime before they couple.

When they are on the downside.

See: Aaron Rodgers and Danica Patrick’s run.

But the ones that work?

Stuff of legends.

See: Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, Zach Ertz and Julie Ertz.

I pondered this, today, whilst chatting with David Lee Scales, getting the letter wrong though not the spirit. I thought Sue Bird was married to Abby Wambach and Travis Kelce married to some model but Zach Ertz, easily confused, married to Julie, a phenomenal soccer player.

Spirit correct.

Sporting power couples rare and legendary.

See: Gabriel Medina and Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.

Gab has electrified the surfing world with his re-re-emergence after the second, or maybe third, World Surf League work stoppage. Neymar is on the cusp of proving every critic wrong, possibly winning soccer’s Champion League, shushing many, many critics.

If Medina wins title and Neymar wins soccer world MVP where will they sit on the list?

Top five, for certain, but top three?

What if they double down next year?


Listen here.

Watch: Popular Oahu beach closed as fifteen-foot Tiger Sharks indulge in lewd bacchanal, feast on dead Humpback Whale carcass just off shore!

Life's a beach.

Imagine being a tourist in Hawaii, seeing the light at the end of a forever long pandemic tunnel, feeling the warm Spring sunshine on your face. Flying from the America’s midwest, say, or northeast. Getting tested before leaving, tested again upon arrival.

Covid free.

Strolling on the white sands of Waikiki with the wife and children at sunset. Daytripping to the North Shore to show them the famous Banzai Pipeline. Traveling to the most beautiful east side to show them where Jurassic Park was filmed.

Stopping by for a swim at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park and seeing the last of your children’s innocence draining away as they gaze out in abject horror, taking in a lewd bacchanal as multiple fifteen-foot Tiger Sharks feast on the carcass of a dead Humpback Whale.

No safety anywhere.

Covid still in the air, China and the U.S. saber rattling. Britain’s royal family in tatters.

The world an apocalyptic mess.

Life’s a beach, ain’t it just though.

Watch here.