Surfer dragged from jaws of Great White by impossibly brave husband shifts to boxing following severe nerve damage and partial paralysis of bitten leg, “I was just really sick of feeling like I couldn’t function”

Anytime she thinks about the attack “I’m hit with low grade nausea and panic. And that just comes at me day after day, after day."

Twenty twenty was a helluva year for Great White attacks in Australia, east coast, west coast, they were everywhere. 

By August of that year, there had been five fatals, including two on surfers: fifteen-year-old Mani Hart-Deville at Wooli, two hours north of Port Macquarie, and sixty-year-old Rob Pedretti at Kingscliff, another couple of hours north.

Over at Bunker Bay in Western Australia, twenty-eight-year-old surfer Phil Mummert was hit by a “freakishly large” Great White.

“The White came out the water and inhaled the board pretty much,” said a witness. 

In Tasmania, a ten-year-old kid was snatched from the deck of a fishing boat by a Great White, only to be dragged back on board by his dad. 

A psycho year that was confirmed at the end of August when  thirty-five-year-old surfer Chantelle Doyle was hit by a ten-foot Great White at Shelly Beach in Port Macquarie, a pretty fishing town on Australia’s mid-North Coast.

It was only an act of impossible bravery by her husband, belting the White in the face until it released its grip on his wife’s leg, that saved the woman, 

“This fella paddle over and jumped off his board onto the shark and hit it to get it to release her…pretty full-on, really heroic,” said Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce.

Wild, yes? 

Two years on, Chantelle has shifted to boxing following severe nerve damage to her bitten leg, which means she’s gotta wear a brace on her left foot and lower leg.

“My leg is still partially paralysed,” she told ABC News. “And I had expected a lot more and I was just really sick of feeling like I couldn’t function the way I ever used to function. So I started boxing.”

Anytime she thinks about the attack “I’m hit with low grade nausea and panic. And that just comes at me day after day, after day.”

Of the attack,

“It grabbed me and I grabbed the board and it readjusted … There were three distinct readjustments of the jaws. I was holding on to the nose of my board… It was like being bitten by a dog – it’s painful but it’s more this intense pressure and squeezing and crushing.”

Not that she holds any grudges against Great Whites.

Her six-minute bout on October 29 will be leveraged to raise money for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“I have this crazy vision that Australia could be a global role model for biodiversity and living with nature and I really think we can be,” she says.

 

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Quit-lit: “If you want to surf forever, how do you do it? How do you keep it new and fresh? Is it a worthy or even possible pursuit?”

"I like the idea that longboarding is out there, waiting for me."

A week or so ago, I got in the car and drove to Ventura.

Along the way, I got stuck in a traffic jam.

There I sat in traffic on the way to an event at Patagonia and felt terribly guilty about my life choices. I am bad at the planet, I thought, as I sat there crawling along, blowing exhaust into the air with all the other people blowing exhaust, too.

At least the ice cream was organic. On the way to the traffic jam, I surfed bad Rincon and ate good food at The Good Plow. Ice cream understands. Ice cream makes everything okay, even the parking ticket I got in Ventura. But that is getting ahead of the story.

The bad surf and the good ice cream and the traffic were all on the way to see Lauren Hill’s new film, The Physics of Noseriding. If you don’t know Lauren, she wrote the large-format book, She Surf where she wove together a diverse set of stories about women’s surfing from around the world. The film offers an endearing and nerdy look at how longboards work, and specifically what makes noseriding possible.

I’m pretty sure the curve of a woman’s hip off the end of a longboard, that dance, that swing, is one of the most beautiful things in surfing.

But, how does it actually work?

That’s the question Lauren sets out to answer. It all sounds extremely earnest, and not at all the kind of thing I would normally wade through traffic to watch. Lauren’s skill as a storyteller turns the film into a joyful exploration.

I should tell you that I can’t longboard. Not properly, at least.

Oh, I can stand there like the Statue of Liberty and hope the giant slab of fiber glass goes mostly in the right direction. This does not work all that often. Graceless splashing and flailing is the usual result. I don’t understand how to make a longboard sing and dance and do magical things. Noseriding might as well be a walk on the moon.

Growing up in Florida, Lauren learned to make the most of small surf. Longboarding and the noseriding’s weightless sensation captivated her imagination. These days, she lives in Australia where the long walls of Byron Bay’s points give her more space to play. Her experiences inspired the film, and she wanted to showcase the skills of surfers she admires.

The wide-eyed curiosity of Namaala Slaab provides a frame for the film.

Namaala, whose sister Jalaan is a shaper teeters on a fallen log in an illustration of balance, and her explorations bring the more abstract ideas of the film to life. In a tribute to a scene from Gidget, Namaala rides a longboard on her bed in a demonstration of the Coanda effect.

Yes, there’s actual physics in the film.

Lauren takes us into the deep end, and ably brings us back. I came away from the whole thing much smarter. And while Lauren could not fit a discussion of board design into the film — maybe she can make a future film or write an article on this side of the story — I felt like a “got” longboards in a way I didn’t in the past.

There’s also some lovely surfing, and a hilarious, too real depiction of shortboarders. If you don’t recognize yourself, my shortboard friends, you are not being honest. That’s us, flailing away in search of an elusive and impossible grace.

Great, you’re saying. She’s going to take up longboarding and make us read all about it. She made us read about her red bikini and and her ice cream and her parking ticket. Longboarding?

This is a bridge too far. Someone make her stop.

Since I have banned myself from buying new boards for the time being, you are safe.

For now.

Recently, I wrote a profile story of Matt Warshaw, which you can read in the next issue of Emocean Magazine. As you all know by now, Matt lives in Seattle and has mostly quit surfing. As I tried to make sense of Matt’s relationship with surfing, I had a number of lengthy conversations with long-timers about life and change.

If you want to surf forever, how do you do it? How do you keep it new and fresh? Is it a worthy or even possible pursuit? I think one answer is to try different things. Ride different boards. Seek out different waves.

And so, I like the idea that longboarding is out there, waiting for me. There’s a whole way of surfing that I don’t understand and have never really experienced. Maybe I’ll never try it. Maybe I’ll quit and move to Seattle first. But I like the idea that it’s out there, one of an infinite range of possibilities, a road to take or not as inspiration sparks.

I loved Lauren’s film for its light-hearted invitation to learn more about one of surfing’s mysteries. And maybe one answer to the question of how to surf forever is to remain open to its possibilities, even if they don’t all fit into the present.

But then again, I’m just an idiot with a parking ticket.

Lauren’s currently on tour with her film, and you can follow her @theseakin for showings in Australia. The film appears online next year.


My neighbor Jerry Jones (pictured) old.

Buoyed by unprecedented success, World Surf League CEO takes opportunity to mock elderly owner of Dallas Cowboys for using outdated technology!

Jerry Jones uses a FLIP PHONE?

But to be the CEO of professional surfing at this very moment, sitting on a growth spike not seen since… well ever. Numbers through the roof. Numbers to the moon. Millions upon millions upon millions of new fans tuning in and clearly falling in love with our Sport of Kings.

Viewership eclipsing European soccer, crushing America’s National Football League.

The confidence boost must be intoxicating. Enough chutzpah to openly mock the owner of global sport’s richest franchise, one Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, for using outdated technology even.

The WSL’s Erik Logan did just that on his preferred platform, hours ago, head back laughing at Jones’ use of a flip cellular phone instead of, I’d imagine, an industry standard iPhone.

Logan penned, “I love having conversations with leaders and tremendously successful people about what drives them to generate success and learn from their experiences. As I have the conversations, every so often you pick up some classic pieces of information! This is a clip from an interview I did with my friend @kellimasters , Former Ms. Oklahoma and one of the very first and most successful FEMALE NFL agents. I was so surprised by this nugget.”

“Surprised” in the rudest way possible.

Forbes estimates that the Cowboys are worth some $5.7 billion, coincidentally what the WSL’s owner Dirk Ziff is now worth on the strength of surfing’s growth.

As it happens, I sat in a booth next to Jerry Jones two years ago at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Handle Bar. Or, actually, it was Ajax Tavern in Aspen. I did not notice a flip phone but he seemed salt-ish of the earth, chatting easily with staff, being generally chill. I thought about making some small talk but had nothing to say so kept my mouth shut.

I also sat next to LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy but that was a different restaurant, the Little Nell’s Element 47 and on a different trip.

He had crumbs on his 5 o’clock shadow but I didn’t openly mock.


Johnson (left) with Kelly Slater. Happier times.

Jack Johnson receives restraining order against scary female fan who insists on buying three-figure VIP “meet and greet” tickets at surf crooner’s shows!

Capitalism.

Now, Jack Johnson may not be your cup of tea but the North Shore local’s surf bonafides are beyond dispute. Coming up along side The Momentum Generation, Johnson cut his teeth at Pipeline and such, pushing against Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian etc. then playing healthy tunes on oceanfront yards afterward.

Well, his career took off with massive hits such as Banana Pancakes and Bubble Toes and Upside Down and he sells out concert halls is able to charge thousands of dollars for VIP meet and greet packages.

Living the dream… except… a woman has been scooping up too many of those VIP meet and greet packages and harassing the poor surf crooner so much that Johnson was forced to turn to the courts in order to get a restraining order against her.

Per TMZ:

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Jack claims the woman traveled to Houston, Texas on Aug. 26 and got in his face at his hotel … and the interaction was so frightening, not only for Jack but also for the bandmate who saw it all go down, Jack and his band bounced until cops came and detained the woman.

Jack had a show that night in the Houston area … and he claims his alleged stalker often buys VIP packages to his shows in order to get close to him. JJ also says she emails him and his management, claiming she’s been the victim of a long-term financial scheme … conning her out of millions of dollars.

Jack says he’s worried for his safety because it’s easy for the woman to track his movements … pointing out his tour dates and personal appearances are readily available online.

True and one quick search showed me that he is next playing in Santa Barbara tomorrow and Chula Vista on Friday where the meet and greet is going for a cool $1134.

Are you in? If yet, mind your Ps and Qs.

No harassing.

Then again, if someone was paying $1134 to harass me, I’d feel it was a fine exchange.

Capitalism.


Surfer brutally attacked by shark in California’s famed marijuana-growing country marking first such incident in memory!

Unchill.

For those who have never been, the state of California is an incredibly vast, exceedingly diverse slice of land. San Diego, down south, feels a different world from Los Angeles which, in turn, feels a different world from San Francisco. Surfing cultures in Orange County, host of the World Surf League’s famed Finals Day, Santa Cruz, Lemoore, etc. are as different from each other as they are from surfing cultures in, say, Brittany, France.

One of the lesser publicized would have to be those who brave the cold waters up north in Humboldt county. The region is very famous for its marijuana growing, more so than wave quality, but the sparse population makes it appealing for those who enjoy paddling alone. Though, the intrepid may think twice after a weekend shark hit critically injured a lonely surfer.

According to local news:

A shark bit a surfer and seriously injured the 31-year-old male about 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Centerville Beach, according to the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department and emergency personnel speaking over the scanner.
The FVFD post stated, “The patient was transported by City Ambulance to a hospital.”

Emergency personnel speaking over the scanner said that the surfer had “Code 3 trauma” with a hemorrhage in the upper thigh that was being controlled with a trauma tourniquet.

The VFD post pointed out, “To [the] recollection of our membership, we have not had an incident like this. This is a reminder that there are many hazards to be aware of when you are at the beach…Please be safe.”

Wishing complete recovery to the surfer but don’t you think the volunteer fire department’s “reminder” is a touch harsh?

Fairly unchill?

Surprisingly so for Humboldt.

I suppose you can never judge a volunteer fire department by its cover.