Happy Whites! | Photo: NBC

The Australian Shark Attack File to be renamed over fears sharks are being “utterly demonised” even as the country records unprecedented surge in numbers of surfers, swimmers and divers killed by Great Whites!

Experts say sharks, and by sharks they mean Great Whites, have been “unfairly demonised” and the word attack “triggered negative concerns".

Six month after Australian authorities moved to rebrand shark attacks as “incidents” and “negative encounters”, the “Australian Shark Attack File” is to be renamed the “Australian Shark Incident Database.”

Experts say sharks, and by sharks they mean Great Whites, pretty much the only man-eater in Australian waters, have been “unfairly demonised” and that the word attack “triggered negative concerns”, as if Whites were teenage girls hiding under the covers after a cruel Snapchat message.

The Australian Shark Attack File used to be a dusty ol’ thing found at the Taronga Conservation Society, the offshoot of Taronga Zoo, an animal prison located on Sydney Harbour and famous for locking up the bounty of the African savannah.

Rarely did the fatal side of the ledger have to be updated, the dust blown off the journal every ten years or so after a diver was be hit by a White somewhere offshore.

Then, in 1999, the White was protected and the game changed.

The name change comes off the back of Australia’s deadliest year (2020) of Great White attacks in ninety years, and with the ink barely dry on the death certificate of a swimmer disappeared by a “massive” Great White fifty feet from shore at a Perth beach in November, 2021.

As in the case in these sorts of stories run by the mainstream press, an “expert” is wheeled out to reassure the public that despite record numbers of fatal attacks, well, you’ve got more chance of being hit by a falling piano or poisoned by the barb of an angry arthropod.

The exhibits manager at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, Tereza Todd, told the radio station 3AW, “You’d be surprised how often they do approach people and don’t do anything… Shark attacks are quite rare and they don’t happen very often.”

Tell that to the families of the following surfers, all killed by Great Whites within the last two years,

Timothy Thompson, a newly married thirty one year old who was about to become a father for the first time, hit at Coffs Harbour in September. (“I heard screaming,” said one witness. “I saw a man without an arm, there was lots of blood. He was shouting ‘help me’ — people were trying to get him out to the shore.”)


Mark Sanguinetti, killed by a Great White fifty feet from the shore at Tuncurry by a fifteen-foot Great White in May, 2021.

(“The shark came out of the water, just smashed him, five seconds later he came round and hit him again… Just the whole bone exposed, no meat on him at all.”)


Andrew Sharpe, 52, hit by a Great White at Kelpies in Esperance, October 9, 2020. Never seen again.

(A local surfer said he was taken “almost whole. The body is just fucking gone.” An Esperance local, Jess Anne, was swimming with her kid a kilometre away and said the water turned red.)


Nick Slater, 46, hit, killed by a Great White at the Supabank, Queensland, September 8, 2020.

(“One of the guys who dragged the lifeless body to shore, Jade Parker, said “the whole idea that the shark was trying to single him out is not realistic” despite the footage showing unequivocally the shark doing exactly that. It hit him then hit him again.”)


Mani Hart-Deville, 15, hit, killed by a Great White, Wooli Beach, NSW, July 11, 2020.

(“A really big Great White shark came up and took a bite, and he was screaming out. Then the surfer said the shark came again for another attack … and another surfer actually bravely went and tried to get the shark off him and then they pulled him out of the water.”)


Rob Pedretti, 60, hit, killed, by a Great white, Salt Beach, NSW, June 7, 2020.

Oblivious swimmers stalked by ten-foot shark in wild shallow-water vision captured by drone (and by GoPro-equipped goggles) in area notorious for fatal Great White attacks!

"There are sharks everywhere, there's a lot more than I thought."

Yeah, you’ve heard of Esperance, place with the prettiest white sand beaches in the world and water so blue you’d swear some deity had been a little too heavy on the saturation slider.

Also, and as you know, heavy on the Great White traffic.

In October last year, a local surfer Andrew Sharpe was taken whole by a Great White while shredding a joint called Kelpies. A few years earlier, teenage surfer Laticia Brouwers died in front of her family after being hit by a Great White in 2017; same place Sean Pollard, 23, had an arm and another hand bitten off by a Great White in 2014 and a few clicks away from where diver Gary Johnson was killed by a White in January, 2020.

The state’s premier, channelling Marie Antoinette, said at the time, “There’s always a risk when you go in the water.”

(After being told the peasants were starving Dauphine Marie Antoinette said, “If there’s no bread why don’t they eat brioche?”)


Local port worker and keen diver and filmer James Hooper (@roadimtravelling) was in Lucky Bay, in the Cape Le Grand National Park there just south-east of Esperance, readying for a dive when he sent his drone up to spot for sharks. And by sharks, Whites, not the myriad other mostly harmless species that inhabit this gorgeous stretch of Southern Ocean.

“Last week we saw what was probably a White, four metres long (13-feet), then another one the night before,” says Hooper.

The bird goes up and Hooper sees a ten-foot shark, which looks a helluva lot like a Great White from above, following a couple of spearfishos.

“The chick I was with, Simone (@troopy_travellers), who’s a marine biologist, took off and legged it,” says Hooper, who flew the drone low over the swimmers and dipped its wings to warn ‘em that there was a shark. “She had to run a k and a half (one mile) to warn ‘em. Sharks are so stealth they had no idea what was going on. There’s nothing you can do you’re fucking helpless.”

As Hooper watched, the spearfisho got out of the water, then went back in solo.

“I thought he was done and dusted, so why is he swimming back out? You see the shark watching him and following him. Then the guy sees the shark…”

And, here, Italian Riccardo Trebbi (@riccardo_wmc) who was equipped with a GoPro on his goggles and who was with his girlfriend Jenny (@tutubirdie), on her first foray into the spear game, takes up the story.

Shark has a swing at the spear.

“I saw the drone flying really low, swinging left and right trying to tell us something. I didn’t think too much of it and was about to flip him (the bird). I went back in the water, then saw the shark. I thought, let him swim past, no drama, but as he swims past me he turns to me. Fuck! What do I do now! A friend of mine told me to poke ‘em on the nose with the spear or if you’re surfing, punch ‘em on the nose. I tried to poke it and it opens its mouth and had a bite of the spear. It wasn’t going away. After a while it gave up and swam away.”

An examination of the footage revealed that while it looked like a White from above it was, likely, a Dusky Whaler, a vaguely dangerous fish but one that ain’t got a rep for hitting humans.

Still, as Hooper says, you might wanna keep a bird in the air when diving or surfing round these parts.

“They’re fucking everywhere,” says Hooper, who is new to the drone game. There are a lot more than I thought.”

Revealed: Santa Claus able to stay forever young by following big wave icon, superfood scion Laird Hamilton’s glorious health program of ice baths and turmeric teas!

Take every present.

Children fall out of belief in the great Santa Claus at some point in their early lives due the theoretical impossibility of what he does. The energy it must take to fly around the world, following night, delivering presents etc. and never recover, Santa becoming a cute little meme, but has no adult re-checked their lost faith in light of the equally great Laird Hamilton?

Oh the big wave icon, superfood scion has defied aging for the past 50-years by jumping into ice water and drinking various forms of turmeric.

Santa lives in the land of ice baths. Turmeric grows in Hawaii.

1 + 1 = Santa does Laird’s XPT training and gets the dang job done.

David Lee Scales and I discussed this truth and became angry at the World Surf League, amongst other things, on the most recent podcast.

I am in Italy.

And in all sincerity, merry merry merry Christmas to you all.

Open this present later.

Courtesy: Life of Kai.
Courtesy: Life of Kai.

World’s greatest waterman, Mark Zuckerberg BFF, Kai Lenny profiled in technology magazine: “No wonder the tech elite has a crush on him, he reads like the protagonist in an extreme-sports version of Revenge of the Nerds!”

Flipping the script.

It is Christmas morning in Cortina, Italy and beautiful. Snow on ground, church bells ringing and I must get to the slopes but before I do, I would like to leave you with a loving new profile of Kai Lenny by the great Daniel Duane.

Duane is an accomplished author, having written one of my very favorite surf books Caught Inside. The piece is in the technology magazine Wired and likely very good but I will have to read later as the mountain is calling.

Here’s a paragraph.

Hearing Lenny talk about this in person, I could see his appeal to the Zuckerbergs of the world. The nearest cultural antecedent to Lenny—the other obvious choice for a billionaire’s water-sport man crush—was Lenny’s own childhood hero, Maui big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. But Hamilton was the living archetype of the blond, muscle-bound surfer-god, with giant shoulders and cold green eyes—and therefore too reminiscent of the high school bully who pushes around the budding computer genius before the latter flips the script and becomes richer than God.

Lenny, by contrast, reads more like the protagonist in an extreme-sports version of Revenge of the Nerds, where the dorky kid from a loving family, abused in adolescence by the popular boys, grows up to become a better athlete than any of them, and way better looking.

Very cool.

No surfing at Morro Bay.

Solo Surfer killed by suspected Great White shark in Christmas Eve attack at “The Pit” in Morro Bay, California

A lonely death.

A bodyboarder has been killed by a shark, likely a Great White, on Christmas Eve morning at a San Luis Obispo County spot near Morro Bay called The Pit, an open beachbreak less than a mile north of Morro Rock.

Most of the information comes from Facebook posts.

According to Jennifer Little, no one witnessed the attack, and the boydboarder’s body and board were found by surfers:

“Fatal Shark attack at the rock in Morro Bay on Christmas eve. Very sad Surfers found the body. Sheriff’s were in the pit parking lot going car to car trying to figure out who the victim was based on cars still parked.”

At 1:17 PM, the Morro Bay Police Department issued a press release that wasn’t much more illuminating:

This stretch of beach is no stranger to shark sightings and attacks.

In September of 2015, a shark sighting cleared 70 people out of the water tout suite. This was one day after a 72-hour clearance order was issued four days after 54-year-old surfer Eleanor Dempsey was attacked by a shark around 10:15 AM at Morro Strand State Beach, according to a news article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune:

Dempsey said she had been in the water about 35 minutes when she saw the shark approach her about 2 feet underwater. “First I thought it was a dolphin and I thought, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ ” she said. “And he kind of landed on my board. Then I realized he had taken a chunk. And I was, like, that’s not what dolphins do.”

Dempsey estimated the shark was 7 or 8 feet long and as big around as a stout man.”

More as it comes.