Australian surf town in shock after a surfer and a swimmer are hit by sharks only forty minutes apart, “I was in chest deep water putting on my legrope when it hit me like a bowling ball!”

"Two shark bites in one arvo at the same place is pretty hectic."

The east coast of Australia is still reeling from devastating floods that flushed out a good slice of the continent recently in previously unimaginable ways.

Bloated rivers swamping everything in their path.

Towns washed entirely off the map.

Much horror on the ground.

Situation still unfolding in many places  (you can donate to support aid efforts here).

Even spots that weren’t hit too bad like my local area are still seeing bath-warm, syrupy water conditions over three weeks later.

We’ve gone from P-Pass blue to Canggu brown and it’s still showing no signs of switching back.

Before and after the rain.


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And after


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With the rain has come the sharks.

Giddy with the amount of livestock and refuse being pumped out into the lineup they’ve been bumping and grinding on anything that pops into their periphery.

Bulls, mainly.

The type to munch first and ask questions later.

Amazingly, one sleepy little backwater here on the mid-north coast of NSW has seen two bull shark attacks in the one day.

Crowdy Head sits just south of Port Macquarie, and is one of the most easterly points of the Australian mainland (behind only Cape Byron and Seal Rocks, for those playing at home).

Crowdy’s a protected bay. North facing. Could have been a good point break if not for the fishing harbour plonked right on the top of the point.

It holds a special place in my heart. I learned to surf there as a grom. Scattered my dad’s ashes at a favourite spot of his just down around the bend in the bay. Still visit regularly.

It is, though, an objectively shit wave.

Might get good one or two times a year but for the most part is a ten mile-long closeout.

Which makes getting hit by a shark there even more annoying.

Tradie Tim McAndrew was going out for a quick paddle in the muddy brown waters around five when he was hit.

“I was only in the water for about a minute. I was in chest deep water and had just come up from putting on my leg rope. Then ‘wooshka’, this thing has come in and hit me like a bowling ball and I thought ‘what the fuck was that. I looked down and, yeah, I saw the blood and thought ‘shit I have been bitten by a shark’.”

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Luckily Tim only sustained minor injuries. Was able to get himself out to the Manning Base hospital in nearby Taree for treatment.

But upon being patched up by a friendly nurse he discovered he wasn’t even the first shark attack victim the nurse had seen that day.

“When we got to the ED and I told the triage nurse I had been bitten by a shark, she said ‘oh another one!’,” Tim said. “She pointed in this guy’s direction and I get chatting to him and he’d arrived at the ED 40 minutes before me. He had been bitten by a shark at Crowdy Bay, too.”

Tim said the guy told him he had been swimming laps at Crowdy Bay for 30 years.
“Two shark bites in one arvo at the same place is pretty hectic.”

As far as I can recall there hasn’t been any attacks on the Crowdy main beach in living memory.

Though another local did have a run in with a bull at the nearby backbeach about fifteen years ago. Given the turbidity and warmth of the water, this type activity is a given.

But compare the bull shark attack victims, all still walking, talking, and for the most part smiling, with the recent spate of White shark attacks we’ve seen up and down the coast.

Poor souls consumed whole in methodical, unaggravated attacks.

Those Whites do not fuck around.

Teen clings for life etc.

In cinematically dramatic rescue, Kauai firefighter scales “Cliff of Insanity,” swims deadly Satan Sea in order to save teenage damsel in distress!

Heroes made.

As much as we don’t care to admit, there are levels when it comes to hero-dom. There is, near the bottom but still on the scale, surf champion Joel Parkinson telling semi-adult TikTokers to take their mess elsewhere. There is, at the middle, feminist hero Lucy Small clashing with all-comers, breaking glass ceilings etc. There is, very near the top, a Kauai firefighter who scaled a cliff, swam a devil’s churn and rescued a teenage damsel in distress.

Per the local news:

Hanalei firefighters responded to a 911 emergency call about a 16-year-old Oahu girl who was trapped on the rocks at Queen’s Bath in Princeville on Monday afternoon.

First responders were told the girl was trapped on the rocks amid dangerous surf. Lifeguards with the North Roving Patrol Unit also responded on Jet Ski and remained on standby in waters outside of the large surf break.

A firefighter hiked down to the rocks, swam over to the girl, and successfully brought her to safety. The teenage girl had no life-threatening injuries and refused treatment from officials.

The story continues, likely sharing important details, but I didn’t read and would prefer to ruminate instead, if you don’t mind.

Did the incident have anything to do with hazing, seeing the 16-year-old hailed from Oahu?

Did the firefighter have a goatee like Josh Brolin in the film Only The Brave?

Here’s a fun fact. My brother had a gal friend who babysat Josh Brolin’s children when he was engaged to Minnie Driver and the two, plus Brolin’s two children, lived on California’s central coast. Brolin, who also starred in No Country For Old Men, wore a Templeton High School jacket in the film. That’s where my brother and his gal friend matriculated.

Now it’s your turn.

Any fun facts?

Please share below.

Matt Banting (pictured) with more stickers on board.
Matt Banting (pictured) with more stickers on board.

One-time World Surf League rookie sensation Matt Banting excoriates former sponsor for ruthless beheading: “Contracts these days mean nothing!!”

99 problems.

Australia’s Matthew Banting was, once upon a time, a heralded rookie ready to conquer hearts and minds. The electric surfer from Port Macquarie, there in the very middle of New South Wales, debuted his exciting repertoire of aerial maneuvers and slashing down carves on the World Surf League stage in 2015, drawing deeps breaths from Joe Turpel, little grunts from the 1989 World Champion Martin Potter.

The kid was going places.

Unfortunately some poor finishes and injury lightly derailed the trajectory and Banting fell from the championship tour and then, recently, became unceremoniously cut by his sponsor.

Taking to Instagram, the 27-year-old wrote:

Can’t believe I signed a 2 year deal recently with a surf company, I get injured 6 months into it, I tell them to put payments on hold out of respect I can’t do anything at the current time for the company. They say thank you for that, we’ll resume your payments when you return and obviously pay you out the rest of the 24 month contract.

I haven’t received a payment since I’ve been back, I didn’t mind because I knew I was still a little bit away from getting back to 100%.. Then I heard today they aren’t going to resume any payments. haha.

Contracts these days mean nothing!!

A ruthless beheading.

A handful of years ago, this surf industry was fertile land sprouting million dollar contracts for any surfer who could semi-successfully land an alley-oop. The apocalypse then struck, bankruptcies all around, much contraction, but the floodgates have re-opened in these Covid times with money gushing like precious electrolyte-enriched water onto the soil, making the land fertile once again, or theoretically fertile.

Is the professional surfer no longer valuable as commodity?

Too many of them?

Stock mismanagement?

If you were the SVP of Tours and Head of Competition at a surf brand, who would you pay and how much?

Surfer with Asperger’s syndrome known for unique “double-jointed” turns makes stunning case for wildcard at prestigious WSL event, the Grajagan Pro, “I am ready to battle the worlds best in the barrel. Let’s do this !“

"He knows things I don't know. He knows things that all the guys I'm surfing with don't know," says Kelly Slater.

A conga line of surfer stars has formed to support Maui-born surfer Clay Marzo’s claim on a wildcard slot at the WSL’s prestigious Grajagan event, which begins on May 28.

“Saw that the WSL is having a contest at G Land in a few months. A big long barreling left,” Marzo, who is thirty-two, wrote on Instagram. “I would love to get the wildcard into that event. Who thinks Wsl should give me the wildcard? I am ready to battle the worlds best in the barrel. Let’s do this !“


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World champs and various notables quickly added their weight behind the claim.

“The guru born in the barrel,” wrote 2001 world champ CJ Hobgood.

WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski, “I think the whole world would be stoked to see @_clay_marzo in the @wsl G-Land event. You got my vote my dood.”

Former sparring partner of Kelly Slater, Shane Beschen, wrote “Wildcard for Marzo at Gland would be insane, fully justified as he is one of the best tube riders and all around surfers in the world with an incredibly entertaining and radical approach. Would be a fan favorite for sure.”

And Kelly Slater, eleven times champ, wrote “I’m all for it. Teahupoo also.”

Of Marzo, Slater has previously said, “He knows things I don’t know. He knows things that all the guys I’m surfing with don’t know.”

Laird Hamilton, also from Maui, calls Marzo “an artist who can’t be pigeon-holed. He’s something all together different that should be cherished.”

Interestingly, it was the surf writer and filmer Jamie Tierney, the director of Marzo’s 2007 signature film Just Add Water, who convinced his mama the then eighteen year old should see a doc.

“My parents are both psychologists,” Tierney told USA Today. “I could tell he was more than a typical teenager… Almost everyone has had to deal with something like this. Let’s talk about Asperger’s but not as disease or a disability. Clay is so good because he has Asperger’s, not in spite of it. His level of focus in the wave is incredible, he makes instant natural connections with the water, something very few people have.”

Six years ago, Marzo and his mama were stiffed for $400,000 by their crooked bookkeeper, who would serve three years for the crime. 

No word, as yet, from Santa Monica re: wildcard.

Rob Kelly, blizzard, trunks.

New Jersey pro surfer described as sport’s “Wim Hof” defies elements to surf iciest winter on record in only surf trunks, “The Jersey cold is a unique beast with its own set of claws that can cleave your insides in two!”

"There were a couple of days where I was thinking, 'This may be too much!'"

The typical Polar Bear Plunge usually consist of pale Nordic bodies jumping into some glacial water for charity.

Every New Year’s Day, New Jersey pro surfer Rob Kelly, who is sponsored by Billabong, takes a swim/surf sporting only trunks.

This winter, as a personal challenge and with a level of commitment that rivals Seppuku, Rob decided to dip every day.

Rob surfs when theres swell, swims when it’s flat.

In trunks.

Current NJ ocean water temperatures are hovering around 39 degrees, (4 C) outside air temps averaging 19 degrees or minus seven.

But that don’t stop Kelly.

Neither do blizzards.

The New Jersey coastal cold is a unique beast with its own set of claws that can cleave your insides in two. A simple duck dive, even clad in a five mill suit, can feel like cinder blocks being dragged across your back and will literally take your breath away after resurfacing.

Which is what makes what Rob is doing all the more jaw-dropping.


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Rob told ABC 6 Action News in Philadelphia, “The whole rest of January has been the coldest, snowiest on record. I wanted a challenge, of course, I got one. Be careful what you wish for. There were a couple of days before I went in I was definitely thinking ‘This may be too much.'”

Kelly is no novelty act. You may remember Kelly from last winter where he caught the best faux replica Backdoor barrel Jersey juice is capable of.


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In classic Jersey form, Rob even gets a chuckle from the camera crew over at ABC Philly at the end of his interview when he highly recommends civilians do not attempt to surf in a blizzard wearing only trunks.