Russell (left) and what might have been. Photo: Instagram
Russell (left) and what might have been. Photo: Instagram

Horrific spate of near-fatal celebrity surf accidents continues as Formula 1 hunk George Russell injures himself riding “the devil’s cleaver”

More thoughts. More prayers.

Of all the many things to wake up worrying about including, but not limited to, inflation, war, civil unrest, pandemics, climate change, fentanyl, the top of the list is certainly the possibility that a celebrity, or notable figure, will become permanently disfigured, or dead, whilst trying an e-foil board.

Two short months ago, thoughts and prayers poured in for DJ Khaled as the beloved plus-sized musical artist suffered a debilitating injury that required a massage.

Last week, I read about another famous person who also tumbled off a foil but can’t remember who it was now.

And today we have learned that British Formula 1 hunk George Russell has bruised himself while learning to e-foil on his two-week vacation.

Appearing to be on the Mediterranean with his girlfriend, Carmen Montero Mundt, grainy footage shows Russell gliding above the turquoise waters but doom lurked below.

The devil’s cleaver.

“It was good to branch out and do these things,” he said. “Historically I never wanted to do other sports, especially in-season, in case of injury. But I felt like I wanted to try something new, and keep my sense alive. A few injuries along the way! But all recovered now. When you fall off a foil board…”

Formula 1 fans left worrying greatly by the dangling ellipses.

When you fall off a foil board, what?

Your leg gets severed?

You die?

Thankfully, the Mercedes driver finished with, “There are a lot of videos which I didn’t post, falling off big-time! I really enjoyed it. For a lot of us, when you’re so focused throughout the year, to have two full weeks of doing nothing, you get a bit bored after a bit of time. To have an activity, it was fulfilling to make progress, and to not be falling off by the first days.”


The Formula 1 season, in any case, gets underway this weekend with the Dutch Grand Prix.

Will you be watching?

Glamorous Australian dubbed “sexiest surfer alive” almost severs nipple in horror Indonesian wipeout

"Getting the nose of my board in the left side of my chest leaving me with a gaping hole for the rest of the trip."

The last time Soli Bailey came onto my radar, or at least my night thoughts, was several years ago when a commission came in from a Chinese magazine to write a piece about surfing, with Soli as its centrepiece. 

Although I won’t reprint it here, it is the most overblown story I’ve ever written, and that’s saying something, as you know. 

An excerpt. 

“It’s men like Soli who hold the new surfing, which is neither dangerous nor paltry, neither exclusive nor overblown, in his palm, watching the light, the eternal light of a gift from the gods, dance over his fingertips.” 

The editor, a handsome homosexual in his early thirties, asked me out, hardly surprising given the flowery words I’d submitted, and spoke in graphic terms of what he would do to the Byron Bay maestro and Pipeline Pro winner if he was given carte blanche. 


Bailey was in Indonesia recently and in between riding six-foot Green Bush almost severed his hirsute areola following a wipeout.

“Rolllercoaster of a trip recently…couple of crazy freight trains on day two which led to a unlucky injury, getting the nose of my board in the left side of my chest leaving me with a gaping hole for the rest of the trip but the last day was too good not to get amongst it!”

Many quips in the comments, “off your tits”, “serious nipple rash”, “free the nip” and so on.

Thoughts and prayers as the Americans say.


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A post shared by SOLAMON BAILEY (@solibailey)


Surfer fighting for his life after attack by twelve-foot Great White at Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

"His foot ripped off and basically he was bleeding everywhere."

A surfer in his forties is fighting for his life this afternoon after being hit by a suspected Great White shark at Port Macquarie, a holiday hamlet four hours north of Sydney and birthplace of the great Mick Campbell, the one-time tour contender. 

The man, who is forty-four, was hit at ten am, and suffered upper and lower leg injuries. He was transported to Port Mac hozzy for emergency surgery. 

As the surfers in the lineup paddled for shore, the shark tried to attack for a second time dispelling that hoary old myth that shark bites are a mistake.

A teenage girl who saw the attack described it as “really, really scary. I have never seen anything like it,” she told NBN. “His foot ripped off and basically he was bleeding everywhere. They were trying to talk to him, he was silent, he was frozen. They tried to tie his leg with the leg rope from the surfboard and some sticks to keep it straight.”

Attacks by Great Whites aren’t exactly rare around Port. Three years ago, thirty-five-year-old surfer Chantelle Doyle was pulled from the jaws of a ten-foot Great White by her insanely brave husband Mark Rapley. 

“The shark was latched on to her leg. I just jumped into the water. I did what anyone would have done in that moment,” said Rapley, forgetting, perhaps, most of us are cowards in the line of fire and would’ve fled without a backward glance, soul mate or not.  

Witness Jed Toohey described the scene.

“It was unbelievable, the scream was incredible and there was splashing everywhere. Mark, her partner, got her up on the board. Mark was a hero. He started laying into the shark because it wouldn’t let go. He saved her life. He got off his board and started punching the shark. If he hadn’t put his own life at risk, it would have been strong enough to take her out to sea.”

That year, 2020, was a wild one for Great White attacks in the area: fifteen-year-old Mani Hart-Deville at Wooli, two hours north of Port and sixty-year-old Rob Pedretti at Kingscliff, another couple of hours north.

Beaches closed etc.

More as it comes.

Kelly Slater called “world’s politest surfer” after fans and pro’s line up to share examples of champ’s astonishing etiquette in the waves

"I’ll never forget it… that split second interaction taught me so much about earning and giving respect."

In a video shared to Instagram earlier today, the gifted surfer and genial YouTube host from North Carolina, Brett Barley, provided further evidence, as if it was necessary, of Kelly Slater’s astonishing etiquette in the water.

In the fish stew that is Skeleton Bay, all sand and surfboards, Barley is filming from inside the tube when the greatest surfer of all time appears on the shoulder. Slater examines the rider in the tube but where most other pro’s would’ve swung into the maw, consequences be damned, he politely exits the scene, allowing Barley a clean exit.

Slater, who is fifty-one, had joined the shoe-sale conga line of tube-wranglers, which also included popular surf vloggers Nathan Florence and Jamie O’Brien, to the wave called Donkey Bay or, more colourfully, “The Namibian Rickshaw.”


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A post shared by Brett Barley (@brettbarley)

After sharing the post, surfers lined up to tell their own stories of Slater’s kindness in the water.

“Immediately after @kellyslater rescued a pelican and won the King of the Peak contest in 2001, he and I were the only two in the water down the beach towards Spanish house,” writes Gilby Grams.

“We were about 10ft apart, and a random overhead storm surf peak came right to us. I had only been surfing for like 2 years. The conditions were garbage, I was right on the peak, (probably too deep for my ability), but we both paddled for it. Kelly looked back from the shoulder and we locked eyes in that unspoken “you going?” moment, and I had a split second to commit or pull back for Kelly at his home break. I committed, and he yielded. Probably didn’t even register for him, but I’ll never forget it… that split second interaction taught me so much about earning and giving respect.

“For someone in Kelly’s position: It’s who you are when no one’s watching, and it doesn’t even matter to you.

“For someone in my position: no matter who it is- they may or may not show you respect- that’s outside your control- but they can only show you as much respect as you have for yourself… IF you can muster the confidence to express it.

“When you do, you may be pleasantly surprised- and when that happens, some of that confidence you mustered may stick around moving forward.”

Actually, he’s the only reader to tell such a story but I got one!

Years back, Slater at his nineties peak, when he was unbeatable, kicked ass like a horse, grotesquely, embarrassingly dominant, is surfing Burleigh Heads. I’m riding a seven-foot gun, snapped all the six-o’s, and was digging this ancient gunslinger, when I get a set from Cove and through to the inside. I dodge half-a-dozen attempts at collision and wave sharing when I see a man, beautiful head of chestnut hair, paddling on the next section. Just as I lift my shoulders and race to fend him off, he pulls back, smiling, so close if he’d had a gun he could’ve blasted out my brains.

Lovely man, and I’ll hear no word against him.

Medina and his gang of guy-pals in Bora Bora.

Happily divorced Gabriel Medina celebrates premature end of season with $2000-a-night Bora Bora vacay alongside guy-pals!

"Cold head, warm heart," writes the triple world champ, cryptically.

Four months ago, like a German tank crunching through straw huts on its way across a border Gabriel Medina stormed into title contention following a dominant performance at the Margaret River Pro. 

Ironically, it would be a misstep in Brazil, a seventeenth at the Rio Pro, that would leave him tantalising close to the top five,

Remember last week’s Tahiti final when Medina and Jack Robinson had a shoot-out for the last place on Finals Day? When Robinson sat in the windy Teahupoo lineup, watching as Medina collected six waves, accumulating fifteen points, even before he’d looked at one, only to coolly scoop up two near-excellent rides to win. 

With no need to traverse the globe to San Clemente where I believe he would’ve hiked Filipe’s dress to his waist and finished the reigning champ for good, Medina has celebrated his end of season with a vacay to Bora Bora with a very select group of guy-pals. 


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A post shared by Gabriel Medina (@gabrielmedina)

Staying at the Conrad, where the over-the-water villas cost around two thousand dollars a night, Medina shared a series of posts, shirtless in his little dunk pool, cycling with his guy pals, showering, looking pensive on deck with guy pal, also topless and with protuberances as indescribably magnificent as Medina’s, a buffet dinner, the hotel entertainer and so on. 

“Cold head warm heart,” he writes, cryptically on one page and, “Special days in paradise” on another.


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A post shared by Gabriel Medina (@gabrielmedina)

Medina, who turns thirty in December and divorced almost two years, is probably one of the most complicated men in surfing and the extraordinary fact is surf fans don’t know it. They think he’s simple, easy, a glamorous man in a handsome body and with an expensive house.

So be careful, as they say, when you lift the lid of the pot and look at what boils inside. 

Next year, he comes for Toledo, Colapinto, Ewing and a fourth gilded crown.

(Also, if you want to get onto the easiest pro boards to ride, a five-ten Johnny Cabianca-shaped Medina in my case, give ’em a hit here. Johnny’s wife Kelli will steer you into a life-changing new sled.)