Will Webber, supine, semi-dead on Spooks Beach.

Legend surfboard shaper says he was seconds away from death after rescuing drowning child in wild cyclone surf! “It was like being in a heavyweight fight you knew you shouldn’t be in… It was bloody close!”

“I felt people grabbing me, I heard voices. My head was so hot. I couldn’t use my arms or legs…"

The Angourie-based surfboard shaper Will Webber, brother of concave pioneer Greg Webber, has revealed he nearly drowned two weeks ago and only minutes after successfully rescuing a drowning child in wild cyclone surf. 

Will says he was watching the surf with a couple of pals, as he does every day, when he saw a dad and his daughter caught in a rip at Spookies, a dramatic righthand ledge just north of the more famous Angourie Point. 

Fifty-two-year-old Will says he ran the 250 metres to the water’s edge, saw the kid going under, dived in and swam into the zone. 

“I knew she didn’t have oxygen and she could get brain damage,” he says. 

By this time, another shaper, Luke Short, had paddled into the lineup on a mini-mal.

The pair got the father-daughter combo onto the rocks. 

“Then I turned around to Luke and said, ‘Now I’ll show ‘em how it’s done’ and went to swim over the bank,” says Will. “I forgot it was an east swell and how much water was in the bay. I’d been fasting and I’d lost a lot of weight and was starting to get cold quickly. I was getting pounded by these relentless sets. I’d come up and there was only two seconds before another wave. And I was in a hell rip going out to China and getting belted and belted. And then I started worrying about sharks ‘cause it was so murky and yucky. I was going out to sea and I thought, I can’t beat this. I started to get weaker and weaker and, finally, I went, fuck it, I’m going to have to do it, I need help. I figured as soon as someone saw me waving, I could lie on my back and go out to sea and wait for the coastguard, that’s if they could get out. Trouble was, it was too choppy to lie on my back and I started to get heavy. Later, I’d look at my board shorts and see that the pocket was open, this big pocket. 

“Then I looked over and saw Luke Short two hundred metres away. I was thinking, fuck, hurry man. He didn’t look to be getting anywhere. He knew he had one shot at getting me. If he got stuck, or if he duck dived and lost the board, which he’d grabbed without a leash, we’d both be stuck. Right then, the biggest sets of the arvo came in. Got two six-footers on the head. Oh, man, I was thinking, get in here quick. I couldn’t get near the rocks. It was bloody close. I don’t think I could’ve made one more set. My last two breaths were like gulps into my cheeks, not even into my lungs. 

“Finally, Luke got me and I grabbed him around the neck like a vice. When the wave picked us up I started strangling him, then the wave overtakes us and I’m drowning and Luke feels me starting to faint and then he does this reverse jiujitsu double leg lock around me. We wash up on the beach with this massive surge. 

“I felt people grabbing me, I heard voices. My head was so hot. I couldn’t use my arms or legs. I was spewing so they put me in the coma position. After a while the police turned up and they had to lift me up like a dead body and carry me to the ambulance.

“The ambo’s came, shot me full of stuff and put me on 100 percent oxygen. Spent four hours in hospital, lungs x-rayed, had to wait for the lactic acid to come down.” 

At nine pm, Will was released from Maclean hospital, “Oh, man, nine o’clock and I’m standing in the streets of Maclean, in boards, freezing cold. I went from the penthouse to the shithouse.”

That night, sleep didn’t come easy.

“I was laying there with a god’s-eye view of it, trying to work out what went wrong. I go to that beach every day. My Mum’s memorial chair looks straight out there. I was saying to Dad, it was like being a heavyweight fight you knew you shouldn’t be in but you know you can get through it somehow. I was holding on for that, keeping enough oxygen to work with. I definitely didn’t give up, but the lights were getting dim. It was fucking… it was really bloody close.”

Check out Will’s boards, here, and buy his debut novel CHUD (“Thirty-three pages of addiction and debauchery!”), here. 


Watch as Great White leaps out of water and destroys pelican next to surfers at popular Californian beach, “It’s like Reunion Island around here!”

Happy pelican gets disappeared at Rob Machado's home break!

Four months ago, Southern California’s exploding Great White population forced the temporary suspension of Finals Day at Lower Trestles, a popular wave a little out of San Clemente. 

Great Whites, once synonymous with Central and Northern California, now make regular appearances at popular surf spots from San Clemente to San Diego. 

The Encinitas filmer Bryan Johnson who posted this footage from four days ago (watch his latest work The Lockdown filmed during sixty-five days straight of swell during the heat of the pandemic last year) says he sees Great Whites all the time. 

“I saw two yesterday, a ten-footer and what was probably a twelve-footer jump out of the water, oh yeah,” he says. “There were two divers’ buoys right next to ‘em, too. Oh gosh, every day I see ‘em. It’s like Reunion around here.” 

Johnson says he sees most of the Whites at Seaside Reef, a surf spot popular with local pro’s including Ryan Birch and Rob Machado, and at Del Mar, a little further south. 

“I went fishing on my longboard there and three surrounded me in six to seven feet of water,” he says. “One popped up, six foot, real small ones, really small Whites. Seaside has the biggest ones… I’ve lost count of how many I’ve seen, literally hundreds. I’ve seen them in four feet of water. I was taking a mother of four for a surf lessons and she almost shit her pants, she thought it was a dolphin. I said, no ma’am, that isn’t a dolphin. I had to take her in real quick.” 

Johnson ain’t entirely concerned, there hasn’t been a fatal hit since his doctor was killed by a Great White while swimming near the surf spot Tabletops in 2008. 

“They’re eating pelicans, they’re not biting us yet,” he says. 

Still, 

“I just hope they move. They’re out there and they’re the real deal. It’s not like we’re putting inflatable Great Whites out there. Don’t make yourself look like a bird and stay close to your friends.” 


"Drive me to the airport, baby."

Hawaii staggers as residents flee paradise in record numbers for lives of toil and grime on the mainland: “It is an existential economic issue for the state.”

You can help!

Most surfers, when they close their eyes at night or keep them open whilst at word desks, dream in rainbows. In swaying palms, warm water, plentiful waves, limes in coconuts, Spam musubi, cracks and false cracks. Of Hawaii. Oh those islands, the most isolated in the entire world, floating free, pounded by waves and legend are where we all want to be, all things equal.

Hawaii.

An earthly paradise.

Except the State of Hawaii is currently staggering as its population shrinks yet again, residents fleeing for the mainland in droves. According to Honolulu Civil Beat, one of the finest news organizations on earth, this “drain” is leading to all sorts of un-chill problems. Per the story, and according to Peter Ho, chairman and chief executive of Bank of Hawaii, Hawaii’s population decline reflects a hollowing out of the state’s middle class, which he calls “an existential economic issue for the state.”

What’s even harsher, the problems driving people out of the state “involve a broad range of things, none of which is easy to solve, says Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.”

“There isn’t one solution,” he said. “Or we would have already tackled it.”

Well, what is one of the problems?

Brain drain.

According to research, “almost 15% of Hawaii-born people living on the mainland are between the ages of 18 and 44 and have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 7.7% of those remaining in Hawaii. Another finding: in sheer numbers, there are more Hawaii-born people with a bachelor’s degree or higher living on the mainland than there are who stayed in the state.”

There are organizations now in place trying to remedy by keeping smart ‘uns home but I think we, here, can help. Do you have a college degree?

Move to Hawaii!

Boom.


Dupont, rescued. | Photo: @justinedupont

France’s queen of big-wave surfing reveals harrowing near-death episode on wild eighty-foot wave at Nazaré’s day of days on Jan 8, “I took a huge wipeout which brought me right in front of the cliff. The place where no one wants to be…”

A bombshell confession plus spine-chilling images of her brush with death from one of the world's premier big-wave shredders!

The French big-wave surfer, the first woman to surf mythical outer-reef Belharra and two-time XXL award winner Justine Dupont, has revealed just how close she came to drowning during January 8’s swell at Portugal’s Nazaré.

Dupont, who is thirty and whom we last saw deftly piloting her jetski atop a Nazaré lip a month, made the bombshell confession on Instagram.

I AMOK😅
During the last swell everything was going well😃
I had just ridden several good waves with @fredodavid, my board was amazing and @lucaschumbo had just put me on a cool wave.
He then towed me on a huge one, I got down the face to the bottom, once I wanted to start my bottom turn, my board got stuck😨
I then took a huge wipeout which brought me right in front of the cliff. The place where no one wants to be❌
Fred tried to get me but the timing was just too tight and he had to run along the cliff. I then got atomized by several waves until I was pushed close to the @rcj6666 rocks all the way down the cliff. Lucas managed to rescue me right before I ended up like a seashell on the rocks. @Sergiocosmico had also followed him behind💪🏼
As he carried me to beach with the help of the lifeguards I waved to reassure everyone and say “I am OK”👍🏼
I was very tired but conscious and OK. I’m happy with all the training that allowed me to stay conscious until the end and endure such violence.
In the evening looking at the pictures I am really grateful to see everybody who moved to get me out of there!!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Justine dupont (@justinedupont33)

Commenters are a who’s who of big-wave surfing including Ross Clarke-Jones, who was lashed upon the same rocks and hence Dupont calling ‘em the @rcj666 rocks, Kai Lenny and Lucas Chumbo.

 


Professional surfer (pictured) rich.

Australian economists plead case for more robust understanding of the world’s estimated $91 billion dollar surf market: “This is a major knowledge gap we are now trying to fill!”

Pennies from heaven.

If you were to venture a guess as to what Dirk Ziff saw when he bought surfing for free that handful of years ago, would it be the deep pleasure owning beautiful boys and and girls performing the watery dance at the very top level? A chance to be a philanthropist on par with Andrew Carnegie? Or maybe billions upon billions of dollars hidden in them thar hills?

Well, four Australian economists have also seen those billions upon billions, a staggering $91b (Australian dollars) but rue the fact that the market is woefully misunderstood.

According to Drs. Manero, Spencer-Cotton, Leon and research consultant Lazarow, “There are many studies on the economic value of Australian beach pastimes such as fishing, swimming and diving. But not for surfing,” citing that “surfing’s benefits to human well-being aren’t often studied in economics terms. This is a major knowledge gap we are now trying to fill.”

What can be done to increase the bottom line? Not build things like sea walls and groyns that wreck waves, for one. Not dredge without serious environmental analysis on how it will alter the surf (see: Mundaka), for two. Partake in “planned coastal management” like the prescient geniuses on Australia’s Gold Coast, for three, who decided to pump sediment out to sea just beyond those Snapper Rocks et. voila.

Superbank.

“The project is costly to operate and has impacted nearby beaches. But its expenses are outweighed by improvements to surf quality and beach amenity, which underpin the local economy and the nature-based, active lifestyle the Gold Coast is famous for.”

The authors also call for good waves to be given legal protection by making them corporations.

They actually did not suggest making them corporations but I think that is a very good idea.

Lowers Inc.

There was no word on how organized professional surfing should suck off the $91b (A) teet but I have to think Ziff and co. are on it.

It’s a gold rush.