Surfer and marathon swimmer “caught in jaws of a Great White” near San Francisco describes bite as “like a mosquito sting…Their teeth are razor sharp and cut through the skin with ease”!

"The leg of the wet suit bulged with blood."

Three days ago, surfer and marathon swimmer Nemanja Spasojevic was hit by a Great White while diving for crabs off Gray Whale Cove State Beach, south of San Francisco. 

Now, in a written account about the attack which he shared to SFGATE, Spasojevic, thirty-eight, has described the pain of being hit by the White as being like a “mosquito bite… more like curiosity bite (than) attack.” 

Happy Nemanja Spasojevic at Zuck Gen Hozzy.

Spasojevic, who was carrying a GoPro but didn’t film the attack or encounter, says he had just stuffed an undersized crab back and was looking for a bigger one when he felt a little pain in his leg and came face to face with the Great White, which he estimates as between six and eight feet long.

He couldn’t see its white underbelly but saw its distinctive nose and black eyes. 

“At that point I just started kicking with my back turned towards rocks frantically, Hoping if it strikes again it will hit the fins. I reached white water area where water was bashing on the rocks. I did think it’s minor, but I could feel that the wet suit was ripped and cold water was coming in. At this point I was out and walking on the sand, the leg of the wet suit was bulged/filled with blood. … I was aware that it may not be just a small bite, and I might need to drive to the emergency.”

Spasojevic got to the beach, used his dive belt as a tourniquet and asked a fisherman for help.

“When he noticed me I just dropped on the sand to position my body head downwards, as the beach was sloped, to help keep blood in the brain and slow blood loss. Rubber dive belt tourniquet may have helped but did not stop flow.”

Spasojevic was discharged from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after twenty one hours with three diff antibiotics and a box of painkillers.

“My view of it was just a curious bite as gentle as it can get from such a powerful predator. Their teeth are razor sharp and cut through the skin with ease. In addition to being thankful to all responders, I’m very grateful to the shark as well that it was gentle and did not strike again. … [After all,] ocean is their home and we are just visitors.”

Controversy: The Industrial-Surf Complex on mission to disenfranchise brave surfboard shapers, erasing logos, names, wherever and whenever possible!

Never trust Big Surf.

One very bright spot in our surfing world, over the last seven years, has been the rise of the shaper. Once relegated to windowless closets where dust and resin poison, the brave craftsman would work tireless hours in order to make others shine.

The door has been opened to the humble artisan’s closet, though, and he is now a celebrated, lauded part of our experience.

The Industrial-Surf Complex, made up of the World Surf League, Olympics, Costco etc., long used to complete, power has not taken kindly to the intrusion.

If you notice, all shaper logos have been scrubbed from each and every board for the upcoming Ultimate Surfer to air on ABC.

Boards as naked a ISA chief Fernando Aguerre’s ambition. As white as WSL CEO Erik Logan’s teeth.

Likewise, there will be no surfboard shaper logos, names, at the Olympics either per the controversial Rule 40 which declares that “only approved sponsors” may reference ‘Olympic-related terms’ i.e. no logos with athletes only allowing to thank their sponsors, including shapers, a total of seven times.

All that work, those days and weeks and months away from family, to be scrubbed clean on the world’s biggest stage.

Will the shapers revolt? Surfers have their back?

Create a sneaky hand sign like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games?

Something that means “This one goes out to you, Jon Pyzel…” without saying the words “This one goes out to you, Jon Pyzel…”

Big Surf, man.

Never trust Big Surf.

In disturbing sign of what’s to come, Olympic-bound Kolohe Andino forced to explain surfing using Legos: “Here’s me right there on my… shark surfboard. I’m Chewbacca.”

Imagine the inanities our beloved Irukandjis, Brazilian Stormers, Jordy Smiths will also face.

From World Surf League CEO Erik Logan to International Surfing Association chief Fernando Aguerre to Bluestar Alliance, owner of Hurley, maker of beard cream, so much is riding on these upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Surfing’s grand debut. Oh finally but finally the nut will be cracked. Once exposed to our sport of kings, millions of people across the globe will fall in love with competitive professional surfing and seek it out.

Hungry for 6.93s.

Starving for Joe Turpel.

Unconsidered, lost in the cushions, as it were, are the professional surfers themselves.

Take, for example, Kolohe Andino’s pride as he was recently forced to sit down behind a bowlful of Legos and explain surfing to a stupefied audience using them.

“Here’s me right there on my… shark surfboard,” he begins, voice dropping slightly then uttering, “I’m Chewbacca.”

He then builds what appears to be an arch, has Chewbacca “drop in,” go inside the arch then flicks him out with his finger while explaining barrels.

The audience laughs hollowly.

Next, Andino does his best to build a wave breaking though is troubled by the lack of curved pieces. Unbent, he talks through how Olympic surfing will be scored on snaps, aerials and, he pauses, “wave height” building his small tower taller.

“So if the waves are this big and you find a wave… this big, you’re stoked. Don’t fall off.”

More hollow laughs.

Kolohe is an extremely good sport but this is only the beginning. Imagine the inanities our beloved Irukandjis, Brazilian Stormers, Jordy Smiths will face.

Imagines the Spicoli impressions they’ll be conscripted to do and all because Logan, Aguerre and Blueflame crave more eyeballs, dry beards.


Watch here.

In horrifying yet possibly justified attack, shark attempts to grab parasailer before taking flight: “One moment he was ready for glee, the next he feared he’d be an amputee!”

Historical first.

I have traveresed much of the Middle East from Morocco to Egypt, Yemen to Syria, and many more beautiful countries between though one of my more memorable stops was in Aqaba, Jordan. For it was in Aqaba that amoebic dysentery threatened to eat my guts and render me dead.

The general bummer came on slowly, in a small hotel overlooking the Red Sea. Feeling sort of unwell etc. Then it came on quickly and I became delirious and weird. Much unpleasant. My best friends in the world transported me to a local hospital, the doctor shook his head and I was hooked up to and IV for a week.

I would drag my IV bag out to the hospital’s parking lot, after regaining a touch of strength, look at the towering mountains and think about Lawrence of Arabia who famously took Aqaba from the rear.

I would look out to the Red Sea and watch parasailers soar.


A general bummer but worthy of shark attack?

Shark’s apparently, maybe, think so and in an unprecedented attack, a shark leapt out of the water and attempted to damage severely.

One moment he was feeling glee, the next he feared he’d be an amputee.

The young man was reportedly fine but taken to a different hospital, not my local one.

Happy-ish ending but parasailing.

What’s the point?

Have you been?

Can you describe?

Whatever your position on the contest, you gotta admit, it's as fun as pools get.

Surf Ranch-lit: “Great surfing is about finding a line through chaos and watching great moments in surf comps is bearing witness to that pursuit!”

"Without the chaos you’ve just got an aquatic gym."

I’ve become obsessed with the Surf Ranch.

The more you think about it the crazier it becomes. It is insane, and it’s making me insane.

Looking at the skateboarding analogy you can see why building a wave version an un-changing handrail assists the technical side of surfing: try the same air, the same turn, the same combo, over and over and over on the exact same section on the exact same wave, you get better at them. The logic is unquestionable.

But great surfing is not quantified by technical precision alone, it involves something less easily defined.

I need to stop right here to clarify that I am not heading in the turgid direction of claiming that surfing is fundamentally a spiritual exercise, of course not.

Most of the time it’s a selfish exercise for joy junkies who fiend after more and more and extreme self-gratification, as I’m sure we all know, is the very antithesis of enlightenment. That whole conversation is as absurd as it is tedious (unless it is being had by the old-timers like Alby Falzon who have genuinely earned the right to go there).

The tedium I am referring to can be attributed to people like, umm, Rasta, Rob Machado etc.

Whether it is in the front of our minds or not, when we are watching surfing in the ocean there are sub-conscious questions being asked before a surfer even gets to their feet: how did they end up in position to get that one?

How often does that spot get like that?

Is there another one behind it?

And if we extrapolate this line of questioning to its limit we arrive at the bigger picture, the elemental forces at play to produce a single wave and the complex systems that animate weather. Now we begin to appreciate that navigating a lineup so to be in the right place at the right time to get that one bomb is not just some trivial element of a surf comp.

It is the seed of the drama. The vital game that precedes the performance itself.

What you gain from the stasis of mechanical perfection and consistency is nullified by the predictability that environment produces, predictability being the enemy of excitement.

Lamenting the loss of nature as a feature in a surf comp is not just some good-vibrations esoteric peace protest. The ocean as a system, or as an arena to complete in, if you want to frame it in the hyperbolic sports-crazed language of the WSL, provides a dynamic chaos out of which unlikely perfect scores occasionally emerge. Without the chaos you’ve just got an aquatic gym.

And there’s another dimension to surfing in the actual ocean, one that specifically relates to competition, the relationships we know certain surfers have with certain waves, and how that affects the way we see them.

You watch footage of Andy or Bruce or any Hawaiian out Pipe or Backdoor and you get this kinda macho rush, not only are they the best out there but it’s their spot and they dominate it, and we all love that narrative, whether we admit it or not.

Or you see Steph Gilmore out Snapper and you have a similar feeling. It’s not necessarily the mastering of a wave but a situation in which a person has invested so much time and intention into a certain patch of ocean that they seem to be rewarded for it, and it’s a joy to witness.

Great surfing involves a level of earned intuition that is developed, knowingly or not, over years of reacting to the unpredictability of the ocean. Maybe that unpredictability is the very essence of our excitement, and not only the thing that fosters great surfing but ultimately defines it.

I can’t help but think of Andy. I’m thinking about any session he had out Cloudbreak, or even the year he won Bells out at that sketchy Johanna rip bowl doing airs where others were doing floaters and cutbacks, where others were hitting the lip or his backhand when he surfed that left shorey at Pine Trees in the Lost vids.

Andy’s unpredictability was not limited to what he did on a wave, it showed in how he caught them. Remember that Teahupoo one where he turned around late with Bruce calling him in and he free-fell into it? Or remember Bruce getting his leggy stuck on a rock when paddling out for that heat at Pipe to requalify?

Couldn’t happen at The Ranch.

Is there sand there?

Do they paddle out?

Those are moments that, try as they desperately may, the WSL could never dream of writing into the behind-the-scenes drama that they mistakenly think the tour needs. The anti-logic is incredible. The ocean itself has always provided us a limitless and unknowable script, one that is immune to human contrivance, and The Ranch just chucked it out for an exercise spectacle, and now it’s warming up for a sex sells reality TV show.

Think back to when pro surfing was still exciting, the 2003 Kelly and Andy showdown.

Kelly has just given Andy that weird pat on the back. They’ve paddled out.

It’s all over the place onshore six-foot Pipe.

You’re scanning the ocean, watching where each of them is, wondering when a waves gonna pop up and who’s gonna get it.

Andy gets the first wave. He’s late, catches an edge after the drop and falls.

A few minutes later, Kelly gets a wobbly cover up: three points.

Behind him, Andy drops into a hollow Backdoor one and comes out and whacks it then gets that novelty cover up: 8.33.

Later in the heat, Kelly gets an under-the-lip Pipe one then holds Andy off a lumpy Backdoor wave.

Andy still hasn’t found a back-up. The ocean is a wind-swept foamy mess. Parko gets a throaty Pipe barrel out of nowhere.

Phil Macca holds Andy off a Backdoor bomb.

Andy is left floating around with dying time and no way of knowing what exactly to do where exactly to be.

He paddles between peaks.

Finally, he finds one, but it closes out before he can do anything.

Behind him, Kelly rolls in at to a bowly Backdoor set, gets one solid turn then it races off and shuts down.

With minutes to go, Andy paddles into one that doesn’t look like much from the take off, but it grows, the first turn is solid, then he pulls up into a foamy cover up then comes out and get that last little floater.

In the dying minutes, Kelly snakes Andy for the best Backdoor set of the final. He pulls in, standing straight up, but it clamps.

The hooter blows and Andy wins his third world title.

Now, imagine if that Final was held at The Ranch.

Great surfing is about finding a line through chaos and watching great moments in surf comps is bearing witness to that pursuit.

Just because Kelly is going a little crazy from forty years of over-obsessing over the micro-details of his performance and has forgotten that there is a bigger story to surfing than the physics of each individual turn, doesn’t mean we should be subjected to watching great surfers master one man’s practice machine.


The only solution I can see is if winners of the Ranch come out and publicly reject its rise to prominence and petition for its removal.

Filipe? Gabriel?

(Editor’s note: Sam Rhodes is the editor of Acetone, “a magazine dedicated to keeping alive alternatives to the internet and computers.”