Dead juvie White. | Photo: White Shark Conservation Trust/Dick Marquand

Grisly: Head of decapitated Great White shark, covered in stab wounds, found on popular beach, the predatory fish apparently killed for its pungent, mercury-ridden meat!

Head, pectoral fins and innards abandoned on shore… 

A juvenile Great White shark has been killed for its meat, authorities presume, after the head, pectoral fins and innards were discovered on a New Zealand beach.

The White Shark Conversation Trust posted the gruesome photo on Facebook,

“This image was taken today, May 8, at Pilot Bay, Tauranga. This is a juvenile white shark that appears to have been killed to consume. The shark has what appears to be stab wounds to the head indicating it was killed after it was brought to shore. Someone must have seen the shark being caught or cut up. This act is illegal on a number of accounts- killing of a protected species and being in possession of parts of a white shark. These are prosecutable offences and we urge anyone who knows anything about this to report their information to DoC (Department of Conservation) or MPI (Ministry of Primary Fisheries).”

Speculation that the fish might’ve been hit by Orcas, whose lust for White livers is legendary, was hosed down by the photographer, Dick Marquand.

“A clean cut just behind the gills is a fair indication that it wasn’t orca. Though that is open to interpretation of course… It was a clean cut to remove head but left pectoral fins and innards – bags still intact. Teeth and jaw intact. Stab wounds (approx 12) on head. Underside fins had been ‘filleted’ off and were found nearby.”

The Great White is a protected species in New Zealand and it’s illegal to keep the jaws and fins and so on. Punishment is a 250k fine and, or, two years in the pen. 

The Department of Conservation’s shark expert Clinton Duffy told reporters, oowee, y’don’t ever see this, the valuable jaws left on the beach while the meat, which is filled with mercury and real stinky with shark piss, is taken away. 

”We don’t often get them walking away with the bulk of the animal,” he said.

A better meat, if you like shark, is Mako, which is like a less oily swordfish. Marinate for twenty-four hours in a bowl filled with a mixture of chopped garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce and ginger.

Cops are investigating etc. 


"The Box, oi!"

Official: The World Surf League despises its core fanbase, its hooligans, yet can’t sort any way to make disappear!

Even scarier? What if the hooligans make up a plurality, if not a majority, of the WSL's audience?

I sat down, Mother’s Day afternoon, with you, with us, to watch professional surfing together. Oh it was fun, it always is, the wit, the barbs, the hot takes and cold ones too. Live commenting as our professional surfers danced on the world’s most perfect mid-length wave.

It is, isn’t it?

Margaret River’s Main Break the ideal place for Devon Howard or Torren Martyn to tango?

And I would have been happy enough to watch Ryan Callinan or Filipe Toledo do their foxtrot but… “The Box,” “Jack is livestreaming The Box,” “Box…” kept popping up in the live comments and so, as easy as two clicks of two artificial buttons there I was in that Box’s channel and wow.

Magnificent.

Funner, intense, wonderful.

Never had a mistake been more pronounced in real time.

Jessi Miley-Cyrus is the commissioner of the World Surf League, she makes the call, and she made an egregiously bad one for all to see.

An abject disaster, one that will asterisk the Margaret River 2020/21 final result forever, but only for us, only in our section, because the League has its Wall of Positive Noise™ and no mention of Jack in the Box from any official channels nor will there be.

Which made me realize something, realize it even further when Derek Rielly later wondered in the live comments, “Is there another global sporting franchise that so deliberately refuses to broadcast the (critical) opening minutes of its Final?”

The World Surf League despises its core fan base, its hooligans, and wishes we would disappear but can’t sort a way to make it happen. Can’t figure out a way to ban, bar, sweep away like English, Scottish, Welsh football clubs did theirs in the 1990s by sticking closed circuit cameras everywhere and spiking ticket prices into the unaffordable range.

So long, naughty boys.

But the WSL is free and/or will be cheap if they ever build a paywall around that Wall of Positive Noise™.

We watch with each other at home.

So what to do with this BeachGrit Firm?

Ignore, pretend it’s inconsequential and small, a lightly annoying gnat that may never go away but also doesn’t matter.

Here’s a funny story.

Pre-Covid a very popular new social media application was blowing up and the WSL wanted to partner. The app suggested that the League broadcast an alternative feed with different voices on its platform and had stumbled upon what it thought a perfect counterpoint.

BeachGrit.

According to someone in the room, that offering was met with pinched faces and a hard no.

The two entities parted ways without further discussion and nothing came to fruition.

No one but no one knows how large a WSL viewing percentage The Firm commands but let’s play with the numbers we have.

The final, ‘tween Jordan and Pip, commanded low-3k concurrent views on the WSL’s Facebook Live. Let’s be charitable and double that for 6.5k some-ish by including worldsurfleague.com too and that with days of build-up, much media, millions of followers across multiple social channels, high production value etc.

Jack Robinson collected 300 – 500 concurrent on his glitchy 209k strong Instagram feed, 5% phone battery and dwindling, with zero advertisement, zero forewarning, pure in-the-moment word of mouth.

8%-adjacent.

Imagine if there had been some, any, attempt or care to draw a real audience. I have no doubt that a few hours of Box would have eclipsed the WSL’s entire final’s day, numbers-wise. I can also say, our live commenting numbers are spiking like they shouldn’t seeing we’re basically operating a fabulous sort of 1998 Netscape technology.

Ignore, pretend it’s inconsequential and small, a lightly annoying gnat that may never go away but also doesn’t matter.

But what if English, Scottish, Welsh football hooligans had made up a plurality, if not a majority, of the fans?

What then?

Do you think this terror keeps WSL CEO Erik “ELo” Logan awake at night or does the Wall of Positive Noise™ allow him to sleep like a baby?

While you’re thinking, a surprise is coming for Rottnest.

A little ultra hard surf candy.

More as the story develops.


Filipe brought something new, which would have forced judges to make a new decision about where the state of the art is, with huge ramifications for the Finals Day at Trestles.

Margaret River Pro Finals Day Analysis: “Would Tati and Filipe be hoisting trophies overhead if the Box was the venue? Lets just say no, and be done with that counter-factual”

How to explain the inexplicable decision to run the Finals at a B-grade spot when the A-grade spot across the channel was firing?

You couldn’t avoid one glaring takeaway from Finals Day today in glistening four-to-six foot Main Break rights: There really is a God and Brazilian pro surfers are her Chosen People.

God obviously whispered into Jessy Miley-Dyer’s ear in the wee hours that Main Break was the spot to be despite a fan base clamouring for a tube-riding shoot out at the Box. How else to explain the inexplicable decision to run the Finals at a B-grade spot when the A-grade spot across the channel was firing?

Would Tati and Filipe be hoisting trophies overhead if the Box was the venue? Lets just say no, and be done with that counter-factual.

The more glaring counter-factual was, what would have happened if John John was there?

His absence from the quarters lent a very downbeat tone to the opening proceedings, obviously not helped along by the news that Jack Macaulay had come to fatal misadventure in the near past. That made me feel sick in the guts, for what was not said, in the same way the Westpac rescue chopper doing laps around my place behind the Point makes my blood run cold. Last time was a young man in his twenties, same as Jack.

Brutal day for the Macaulays, God knows how you move on from that.

John’s quarter-final appearance in 2017 netted a 18.04 total.

In 2019, a 17.73 haul.

No one was anywhere near that level today.

Miles away from those performance benchmarks. It was flat viewing.

Knowing the best guy was on a plane for home, nursing a dicky knee. Perhaps reluctantly now coming to terms that the Florentian World view as far as surfing goes is a metaphysical cheque the two-time champ’s body can’t cash. At least not consistently or in competition.

Apples to apples comparisons are valid, I think, at cut-glass Main Break when it comes to John and the rest of the field today. The day was incredibly similar to the 2017 high point in terms of size and surface conditions.

For cosmic justice to be served, Griff needed to really be the guy to step up and smash Jordan Smith and go on to win the comp.

He could have.

He got the best wave of the heat, a wave Jordy gifted him with priority after scoring himself an eight, his first excellent ride of the Aussie leg. With plenty of time, Griff couldn’t conjure up a high six to match Jordy’s seven and the spectre of John continued to haunt the draw.

The semi between Filipe and Matt McGilivray was lacklustre, highlighted by the appearance of Robert Kelly Slater at 5.15 Honolulu time. Zinced-up Kelly fresh obvs from a full day surfing laid down the classic line, “I’ve been out running some errands.”

The busted hoof is the right one but Slater claimed it was now the left one and back that was giving him gyp, although he has been surfing “in the last couple of weeks”. A question from Ronnie Blakey about being ready to compete in the Olympics was unfortunately cut short but I’m quite certain Kelly said “that’s the plan.”

You would lay down good money he will be right for the Surf Ranch Pro next month.

“God has a plan and he loves you,” said Tatiana Weston-Webb after easily accounting for Steph Gilmore in the final. He obv’s don’t love the Australian male pro surfer. No Aussie anywhere near the finals again after Ryan Callinan fired thirty minutes of blanks in his quarter. Increasingly likely no Aussie male anywhere near the September Finals Day at Trestles.

What are we supposed to do God? What’s our plan? Dress in sack cloths and wander along the beaches whipping ourselves with chains and leather?

I guess we can blame God for whispering into Elo’s ear that the Ziff dream of a guaranteed Finals surf-off (ironically inspired by the first JJF world title) should be held at Trestles. Where one man holds a massive advantage over the rest of the field.

Well, two men actually, based on results.

They finalled today.

The Final started with a quartet of waves, which went unseen by the live viewing audience. I feel like a jerk for kicking the Woz in the nutz so repeatedly but as Derek Rielly questioned: is there another global sporting franchise that so deliberately refuses to broadcast the (critical) opening minutes of its Final?

Why?

Is it because we are sinners and need to be punished? I can’t think of any other reason they would be so vindictively bloody-minded.

Filipe and Jordy traded sets, for a clear advantage to Jordy, then smaller insiders where both fell. The second exchange though revealed a clear performance gap. Filipe was sizzling on a bladey swallow-tail on the smaller insiders. Jordy, more ponderous on a bigger board, aping the John John Florence long arc line.

Would judges pay the clearly superior surfing on a smaller wave or would it come down to, as Jordy Smith repeatedly intoned during the event to “getting the best waves”?

That was the only live question during the first half of the Final.

It was answered emphatically on the next exchange. Pip tore a clean mid-sizer several new orifices. The difference in turn speed, rotation and repertoire was stark. The JJF benchmark of long arc power surfing was being upturned by a new approach of savage short arc power.

Going back to the apples to apples comparison, this time between John and Filipe. John’s 2017 Final: two nines for a 19.03 heat total.

His 2019 reprise: two nines for an 18.05.

The numbers alone say that he would have easily accounted for Filipes 17.40 total.

I’m not so sure, though. Only one wave this event for John went excellent from turns alone.

Just one.

Absent the ten-point ride, the only excellent ride from his now aborted Australian leg.

I take that as evidence of repertoire fatigue from the panel who wanted evolution from John and responded with disinterest when they didn’t see it.

Filipe brought something new, which would have forced judges to make a new decision about where the state of the art is, with huge ramifications for the Finals Day at Trestles.

John’s day of judgment at the hands of our Brazilian favouring deity has been avoided, for how long, who knows.

WSL Women’s Championship Tour Leaderboard Final 5:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 29,970 pts
2 – Tatiana Weston Webb (BRA) 26,495 pts
3 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 22,035 pts
4 – Caroline Marks (USA) 21,305 pts
5 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 19,965 pts

WSL Men’s Championship Tour Leaderboard Final 5:
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 28,920 pts
2 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 24,150 pts
3 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 20,735 pts
4 – John John Florence (HAW) 19,395 pts
5 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 19,185 pts


Taj Burrow in 1999, shot for Transworld by the great Steve Sherman aka @tsherms.

Forty-two-year-old retired pro surfer Taj Burrow to compete at Rottnest Island WCT event! “How do you press eject from the ride? It’s a thrilling way to live!”

"(He) still displays skills neither withered by age nor retirement…"

Taj Burrow, who’ll turn forty-three in June but who still displays skills neither withered by age nor retirement, will return to Championship Tour competition on May 16 when he competes in the Rip Curl Rottnest Search. 

Burrow, who amassed a fortune as a pro surfer, twenty-five years with Billabong, nearly as long with Globe, and who wisely built a vast property portfolio to see him through his sunset years, ain’t doing it for the cash, clearly, but as an opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd.

His career was stellar, refused a seat on the  WCT tour when he was seventeen, won rookie of the year when he did turn up, was runner-up twice to the world title, won twelve events, is a Pipeline Master, and he amassed ten million dollars in prizemoney, as well as a reputation for being “aggressively virile”.

“How do you press eject from this ride?” Taj told me a few years aback, “It’s a thrilling way to live…

The Rottnest event, which is gonna be a closed-shop to spectators, lights up at Strickland Bay, a B-plus sorta wave on the west side of the island, from Many 16 to 26.


Pip Toledo, dominates final at Margaret River.

Breaking: Filipe Toledo, Tatiana Weston-Webb win Margaret River Pro, “It’s the stuff God hits your ass with when he doesn’t want to kill ya – just slow ya down!”

Brazil's clean sweep at Margaret River… 

In good enough four-to-six-foot waves at Main Break, although paltry in comparison to the epic barrels across the channel at The Box, Brazil took both gender divisions at the Margaret River Pro, Filipe, men, Tats, gals. 

Filipe, who’s just turned twenty-six, won his ninth event in nine finals, beating the South African surfer, Jordy Smith, thirty-three. A little irony is the last time he won an event, Rio in 2019, he also beat Jordy.

Tatiana, who holds duel citizenships, USA and Brazil, easily beat the seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore, whose slinky Gold Coast style and boards felt like an ill-fitting suit in the raw, ie imperfect, Indian Ocean waves.

Filipe made use of the poignancy that marks all great performances, his vulnerability in waves over three feet, not apparent today, although Margaret River is very different to Teahupoo, Pipe.

It was a wild day, although not always for good reason. 

First, the decision to ignore stand-up barrels at the Box, thereby denying female surfers the chance to unite opinion toward the equal work equal pay ethos. 

Second, the broadcast missed significant moments throughout the day as it cut to a static, wide-angle shot of the lineup, ostensibly a placement shot for advertising in various markets although Australia, the Americans, saw nothing. 

The men’s final was well underway before viewers got to peek behind the curtain. 

Finals day analysis, by Steve “Longtom” Shearer, to follow.