Devil horns?
Devil horns?

Latter-day Saint attacked by shark in Florida opens up about life after bite: “The wound is pretty much just a big, yucky scab now.”

Greatest Generation Ever strength.

To have been bitten by a shark, whilst surfing, is a great badge of courage and to remain calm, un-worried, paddle self to beach and remain tear-free even when mother approaches is near Greatest Generation Ever poise but that was Doyle Nielsen who was bitten while surfing at Ponce Inlet in Florida.

The Latter-day Saints organ, Deseret News, recently caught up with the sixteen-year-old Mormon, who hails from Georgia, to both hear is story and see what life is like after bite.

According to Nielsen, he felt the bite though didn’t have time to be scared and calmly paddled to shore where a lifeguard bandaged him up.

His mother happened to be down the beach taking photos of brother Logan but came back when she saw a crowd surrounding Doyle. He calmly informed her that he had been attacked by a shark though, at first, she could not believe him. True enough, though, as evidenced by a “big gash” that needed stitches.

The nasty encounter was captured on film.

Extremely chill.

But what is like after bite? According to Mrs. Nielsen, “He’s doing great. (The wound) is pretty much just a big, yucky scab now. The first couple of days he was in pain, and that wasn’t very much fun. But now he’s having fun. It’s like he’s getting his fun reward.”

Yes, a great badge of courage award.

Open Thread: Comment Live, day one of the U.S. Open of Surfing Huntington Beach presented by Shiseido!

Professional surfing!

In devastating blow to American surfers’ sense of bravado, sharks and snakes tie for second place on just-released list of deadliest animals in North America!

Hikers and mountain bikers puff out chests.

Be honest, American surfer. You have been at a family gathering, dinner party, office confab wherein someone, aware that you surf, breathlessly asked how you handled being in the ocean with those scary scary sharks and you rolled out some “I-don’t-even-think-about-it-if-it’s-my-time-it’s-my-time” nonsense whilst bathing in the hot heat of being seen as oh-so-brave.

You Indiana Jones.

You devil-may-care.

Well, at the next family gathering, dinner party, office confab that hot heat will not be directed at you but rather at the older gal who goes hiking on the weekend, maybe the lightly overweight goggans who hits the mountain bike trails in early autumn, for the definitive list of animals responsible for the most deadly attacks in North America has just been released and our sharks are second.

Tied with snakes.

1. Brown bear, 70
2. Shark and snake, 57
3. Black bear, 54
4. Alligator, 33
5. Cougar, 16
6. Polar bear, 10
7. Wolf, 2

You oh-so-brave-adjacent.

A Great White at play.

Australian musician Hein Cooper recounts the moment he came face to face with a fifteen-foot Great White near Ulladulla, “I’ll never forget the energy around it. It carried this aura of calm confidence and we were just little peasants floating on the surface!”

"To be in the water with a big shark like that was a whole new level of heightened experience.”

A little earlier today, you might’ve read Hein Cooper’s piece to camera describing his run-in with a fifteen-foot Great Whitea half-hour drive south from his Milton home on the NSW South Coast.

I figure, call the guy, see what other juice I can wring from this tempting piece of fruit, dangling as it is from the lowest of branches. 

Bring, bring, hello, hello etc.

And the story begins. 

Two days ago, a Saturday in Australia, Hein, who is thirty and back in Australia after seven years abroad chasing his music dream, touring Canada, Europe, America, was on all-day surf, squeezing the teat of a north swell combed smooth by westerly offshores.

First, a beachbreak for a few hours, a little bakery hit, then a savage ledge popular with bodyboarders and named after a machine capable of extraordinarily swift violence. 

He saw a fin, sorta tipping on its side.

Hein figured it was a seal and looked away, told himself to act as if nothing had happened. 

When he turned back, he could see it was cruising towards him, his pal Genji, who would later be photographed scrambling up the rocks as the Great White moved in, and the other four surfers on the boil.

“It was drifting pretty casually. It wasn’t, ‘I’m going to murder you motherfuckers cruising’. At that point, I said to Genji, ‘Pretty sure there’s a shark over there.’ He thought it was a seal, told me to just relax, basically.”

Another surfer told ‘em his uncle, a noted spear fisherman around these parts, had warned him of an unprecedented number of sharks kicking around.

A lot of movement.

The man had told his nephew to avoid surfing at dawn and dusk. Said he’d never seen so many sharks. 

“And…then…” says Hein, “we turned around at the same time, looking over to our right and it was a clear fucking shark fin, moving directly towards us. The clearest memory I have is that moment of seeing it, yelling out ‘SHARK!’ and all of us fucking fanging it into the rocks. Like, it was so lucky it was a long-period swell. We could’ve got absolutely fucking smoked. 

“Anyway, at that point, we all started paddling like crazy, all six of us. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw it again. It was moving towards us even more. For me, personally, even though I’d seen that and it was very real, this massive fucking fin moving towards me, it felt so unreal I couldn’t even conceive that it would take a bite. I wasn’t even that afraid. If it really wanted to too, it would’ve been no problem for it to reach us in a second and have a little bite. But, for some reason, maybe because we were all madly kicking and paddling, it went around us. By the time it wants to move in on us, it had gone all the way around, that’s when Genji was on the rocks looking at it.” 

Hein says the beached mariners experienced the elation of men saved from the jaws of death. 

“The next fifteen minutes on the headland and on the rocks we had this hero moment. Oh fuck! (Adopts provincial accent), ‘Do you realise, man, that if you hadn’t seen it, fucking, we would be dead, bro!’ All these conversations happened! It was very special. If it wasn’t for the White, we never would’ve talked to each other. It really brought every single person who was there together. The whole conversation on the rocks was about how many animals there are right now, turning on. The sharks in the ocean. Another guy said he’d been told by a fisherman he’d never seen yellow-fin tuna going so crazy, jumping against the headland at Jervis Bay. Someone said something about bushwalking in Milton and that they’d never heard the birds singing so loudly. A rise in the energy of planet earth, I think it’s positive, basically.” 

The height of the fin, forty cm out of the water, probs ten or so below, means the White was no juvie and was around four-to-five metres in length, fifteen-to-eight feet.

It might surprise the reader that Hein found the moment more profound than terrifying. 

“I’ll never forget that moment when we saw the fin. I feel honoured by that. You see dolphins all the time, it’s magical, and seals, but to be in the water with a big shark like that was a whole new level of heightened experience.”

He wasn’t rattled? 

“I surfed again yesterday and I was fine. I thought about it a few times but, and maybe this is coming from my ignorance and the unreality of it, but it didn’t feel like we were in any danger. Obviously, if it bit someone and we had to make a tourniquet on someone’s leg and carry ‘em up the volcanic rocks and drive half-an-hour to a hospital it wouldn’t have been the same.”


“I’ll never forget the energy around it. It carried this aura of it being so calmly confidence in what it was and we were just little peasants floating about the surface being heavily educated about our position in the world. That, despite all our creations and all the things we build up around us to feel secure, it doesn’t mean a thing in nature. It was healthy reminder that we are a part of it all.” 

Premium surf magazine Stab pivots full Inertia in hiring near-mythical “woman” to cover inaugural WSL Finals Day: “And beyond human to human respect, there is an Earth to human connection intrinsic to the activity itself that forces a holistic and progressive approach to sport!”

"Surfing wins."

If you know anything about me, you know that I loathe to kick a premium surf magazine when it’s down but… dang it. Stab begs for it. Lays on the ground whimpering “stick one in the ribs” and what am I supposed to do? Refuse? It’d be so rude so to do.

And, for the hyper-successful just-wrapped World Surf League inaugural Finals Day, the one-time Venice-adjacent publication went into the wilderness and virtually signaled an actual woman to cover.

One that was not of surf.

One who, according to Stab, has been published by The Paris Review, Cultured Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Real Pain Fine Arts and, in wonderfully woke fashion, the man powers that be “decided to test.”

But what did Toniann Fernandez see? What did she experience?

“What I think is unique to surfing, and is universally legible, is the culture and spirit of what I saw streamed from the finals. All day, people said that regardless of the outcome, ‘surfing wins.’ And beyond human to human respect, there is an Earth to human connection intrinsic to the activity itself that forces a holistic and progressive approach to sport. It’s responsible in a way that just can’t be matched by anything happening in a stadium. the growth of surfing into its deserved place in the world of serious sport seems, to me, a force for good.”




Serious sport?


I’ll trust someone from Stab is man-splaining the non-serious nature of surfing to her now.

Fingers crossed.

More as the story develops.