Heroic surfer castigates hundreds of beachgoers who “stood around taking selfies” while he saved woman from drowning!


Yes, I love technology, always and forever, but we can all agree that modern day self documentation has gotten completely out of hand. Camera forever pointed backward. Reams upon reams of digital emptiness. A pack of Narcissuses drowning in ceramic hardened glass.

Well, a British surfer finally had enough with the whole business and castigated hundreds of the crown’s subjects after saving a woman from drowning while they all stood around in selfie mode.

The scene unfolded at Portreath Beach, there on the southwest end of the English pendulum, when a woman got caught in a rip current. Peter Elliott, surfer, watched as she kept getting “battered” by six-foot waves. Being the heroic sort, Elliot immediately paddled into the action and got to the work of lifesaving.

Did those on the beach join in?

According to our brave friend, “Over a hundred people just watched a woman drowning today but only three of us went in to try to help her. This poor lady is beyond incredible, she survived but hundreds of onlookers taking selfies should just hang their heads in shame. Can you imagine how that poor lady fighting for her life felt looking at the beach seeing everyone just watching and doing nothing?”

What complete and utter bollocks.



A helicopter eventually came, hauling the poor lady right up into the sky and to a hospital and the lifeguards were very thankful to our bold brother, saying, “Although we don’t advise members of the public putting themselves at risk, thanks must go to the surfer and friend who aided the casualty whilst the emergency services were en route.”

Though when will this selfie craze end?

Or is this how the dinosaurs went out?

Staring at gorgeous reflections in puddles of mudd?

Begg, at right, just before the life-changing attack. | Photo: 7News

Astonishing bravery of Australian surfer attacked by 12-foot Great White shark revealed, “Both of his hands were balloons from hitting it!”

"He was dragged so deep it went dark and he thought he was going to drown. He was only able to swim for the surface after his foot ripped off at the ankle."

If there is any sort of generational memory or learned behaviours among Great White sharks, the sons of bitches around Port Macquarie must surely be getting the hint. 

Three years ago, thirty-five-year-old surfer Chantelle Doyle was hit by a ten-foot White at Shelly Beach, Port Mac, only for her husband to jump off his board, climb on the shark and beat hell out of it, saving her life.

“It was unbelievable, the scream was incredible and there was splashing everywhere,” witness Jed Toohey said, “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.”

Now, it can be revealed, Toby Begg, the forty-four-year-old surfer who was belted by a twelve-footer one month ago in Port Macquarie, losing a foot and maybe a leg in the process, has become one of the few human beings on earth who can say they survived multiple Great White bites. 

Like Chantelle Doyle’s husband, Beggs got hands although the details certainly make for sobering reading. 

According to our source in Port Mac, Begg was dragged so far underwater it went dark and he thought he was going to drown. He was only able to swim for the surface after his foot ripped off at the ankle. 

Back on the surface, the White hit him again, Begg scrunching into a ball, which would save his life, but causing his leg to take most of the impact.

“Then he was on the surface punching it in the head for ages. Both his hands were balloons from hitting it. After 30 seconds it let go and he started paddling in. It’d severed the femoral artery in his leg and the only thing that saved him was there was a doctor and emergency room nurse walking on the beach (separately who didn’t know each other). His foot is gone and they’re saying his other leg might come off at the hip but they’re trying to save it. He’s a mad keen surfer and wants to get back in the water. After Mick Fanning called him in hospital and gave him a pep talk about how he’d bounce back he said, ‘That was nice of him, but the shark snapped his fucking leg rope… I’ve lost my foot and maybe my leg, so I dunno what he was going on about.’”

"I am, like, a princess who loves the fuzzy fabrics on the inside of wetsuits. Apparently, I am also a slave to marketing." | Photo: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Surf Journalist famous for reporting in tiny red bikini discovers wetsuits that don’t kill historically enslaved African-Americans!

"I’m not here to tell you how to feel about the environment and I’m not here to tell you what to buy. You are all grown-up humans (mostly)…"

Yesterday, Lewis Arnold and Chris Nelson dropped the trailer for their new documentary, The Big Sea. The film links surfing and specifically, the wetsuits we wear to Cancer Alley in Mississippi.

There, the Denka Performance Elastomer plant produces chloroprene, one of the main chemicals used to produce conventional neoprene. It’s also linked to higher than normal incidences of cancer in the surrounding community.

Increasingly, there are good alternatives to conventional neoprene wetsuits. Several brands including Patagonia and the vintage-inspired women’s brand, The Seea have wetsuits made from Yulex in their lineup. Billabong, meanwhile, is using a similar natural alternative called Organiprene for their “Furnace Natural” line. A neoprene alternative, Yulex uses natural rubber harvested from tree sap. With an aim toward sustainability, Yulex meets standards from the PEFC and FSC for responsible forestry and works with farms around the world
Similarly to maple syrup, a tap in the tree’s trunk draws the sap. When dried, it’s processed into rubber. Injecting nitrogen to form air bubbles turns rubber into wetsuit insulation. That’s the basic idea, though the process is more complicated, of course.

But, are the suits any good?

A few years ago, I would have had mixed feelings about recommending that you try them out. Patagonia was the first to bring Yulex suits to market and funded the material’s development. When I tried their early generation suits, I found the trade-off between doing good for the environment and surfing happily to be pretty high. Patagonia’s previous suits typically felt too stiff and heavy and came at a premium price. So, I never made the switch.

Refinements in Yulex and in recycled fabrics more generally have changed the landscape significantly. Often, what we notice first about a wetsuit isn’t the rubber, necessarily. It’s the fabrics used on the lining and exterior of the suit. Recycled nylon fabrics such as Reprieve are now almost indistinguishable from conventional lycra and polyester knits. My bikini drawer has a mix of both these days, and I can’t tell the difference among them.

Last week, Patagonia launched a redesigned wetsuit line ahead of Northern Hemisphere winter. The new lineup is a notable upgrade from the brand’s past offerings. I’ve been wearing a men’s R2 from Patagonia’s latest release since last spring. It’s made from Yulex and recycled nylon fabrics and so far, it performs as well as my conventional neoprene suits.

Wait right there, you’ll be saying. This is supposed to be the cool, indie website. Selling out is for those other websites. We just spent like five days talking about ethics in journalism. Plainly, she didn’t learn anything. What the heck is going on?

Last spring, I received an invitation to visit Patagonia and hear about their upcoming wetsuit launch. The invitation came with no strings attached. Come check it out, they said. Of course, the brand hoped that I would write a story, and that I would write something nice. They gave me a suit to try, also in the hope that I would write about it. But, I did not make any promises, nor did they demand any.

Product reviews can be a murky business with tangled lines of influence and ad buys. You’re a saavy bunch. You know all about that. Many times, magazine gear guides were at least partly pay to play, if not entirely so. I’ve done my share of product writing over time, and I try to be straight up about it. If the product isn’t legit, I’ll do my best to tell you.

Let’s return to wetsuits. As part of the redesign, Patagonia shifted seams, reshaped neoprene panels, and said good-bye to ankle cuffs. For the lining, the brand uses a smooth recycled nylon. Patagonia constructs the exterior of the suit from a stretch nylon jersey knit from recycled threads. It feels light and flexible like any other wetsuit I’ve worn and dries reasonably quickly.

I am a princess who loves the fuzzy fabrics on the inside of wetsuits. Apparently, I am also a slave to marketing. Patagonia’s Mackenzie Warner. Mackenzie explained that the closer the Yulex or neoprene is to our skin — and the thinner the fabric lining — the warmer the suit will actually be. Science is so cruel.

Mackenzie is pretty much a rocket scientist, if rocket scientists made wetsuits. She studied at Cal State San Marcos with Sean Newcomer and Jeff Nessler, who have done extensive work on heat mapping and wetsuit design. When Patagonia hired her for an unrelated job, the wetsuit team pretty much totally stole her. Typical surfers.

I can’t tell you just yet how durable the new Patagonia suit is. I’ve only worn it since last spring in rotation with several other suits. So far, it’s doing fine.

If I do destroy it, Patagonia offers lifetime repairs. A skilled seamstress, Dulce Soto worked at a Ventura dive shop before Patagonia convinced her to move up the road to their shop. These days, Dulce leads the repair team, which also includes Buddy Pendergast and Hector Castro. She creates in-house prototypes for testing, and her knowledge of all the ways that wetsuits break feeds back into the design process.

Send a battered suit to Ventura — a repair set-up for Australia is in the works — and Dulce and her team fix seams and replace panels or zippers. I’d prefer that the seams don’t fail on my suit, but if they do, it’s nice to know I can get them repaired as long as I own the suit. Patagonia also tracks patterns in the repair requests to improve their future lines.

Obviously, nothing lasts forever. What do you do with your old wetsuits? Maybe you have a local non-profit that’ll take them. If you’re motivated enough, you can send them somewhere like Lava Rubber for upcycling into yoga mats or flip flops. Vissla has run several campaigns to collect old suits for upcycling, too. But mostly, we all know the truth. The dumb things are headed for the landfill.

Unlike conventional neoprene, Yulex can be pyrolized, which is a fancy pants way of saying that they set it on fire. When the repair team can’t revive a trashed suit, Patagonia sends it to Bolder Black, which sounds like a particularly astringent weed strain. Bolder Black uses a combination of heat and pressure to reduce natural rubber into a carbon black alternative. Because of its chemical content, conventional neoprene can’t be incinerated this way.

In the hands of Bolder Black, the used natural rubber becomes a black powder that serves a a pigment for black-colored plastics and rubber. Patagonia has begun using this dye in their product line. As part of its sustainability efforts, Vissla also uses a similar carbon black alternative in their wetsuit line

At the moment, only suits that pass through Patagonia’s repair team are recycled at Bolder Black. Hopefully in the future, we’ll see more efforts like it.

I’m not here to tell you how to feel about the environment and I’m not here to tell you what to buy. You are all grown-up humans (mostly) and you can make your own decisions about such things. I’m also not about to shame you if you buy the least expensive suit on the rack and go surf. But if sustainability is important to you, there are now legitimate alternatives to wetsuits made with chemical-based neoprene.

And I think that’s pretty cool. Over time, as I replace my suits, I’ll likely shift to more natural rubber whenever I can whether it’s Patagonia, Billabong, or another brand. When it comes down to it, surfing is play. To the extent I can, I’d like my toys to leave less of a mark on the planet and the people who live here with me. That just feels like a good way to go through life.

The suit I tested from Patagonia is available now in North America, and will launch early next year in Australia. Price for the R2: $US509. Sizing is consist when other major brands. Peruse here. Women’s suits are also available in sizes 4-12. You can find Billabong’s Natural Furnace line here

Freestone (pictured) getting bashed. Photo: WSL

Blood Feud: Jack Freestone declares “all respect lost” after professional surfing’s premium safe space Stab does him dirty!

"So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost."

Live by the access journalism, die by the access journalism, as the old adage goes. Stab burst onto the scene just last week after its co-founder completely unnecessarily admitted that the premium surf blog gladly trades soft coverage for entre. Sam McIntosh, Stab’s co-founder responding without being asked to a milquetoast interview with World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, declared his raison d’être for publishing is to be liked by his subjects.

And in so being liked, he can pass along press releases, dressed as news, to the paying consumer.

A win-win. Or rather, a win-win-ish.

In the latest and much-praised episode of How Surfers Get Paid, former world no. 14 and wunderkind Jack Freestone unloaded on professional surfing’s safe space after he was outed as being unkind to surfboards.

According to a well-placed source who watched, shapers Darren Handley and Jon Pyzel outed Freestone as “one of the more difficult riders to deal with” after the relationship between board sponsor and sponsee was highlighted. The vast majority of surf talent don’t get their boards for free, they belong to the shaper, and so Freestone punching his board, say, after a loss is a direct financial attack.

Stab teased the drop by praising Freestone, declaring, “Also, a big thanks must go to Jack Freestone. This episode featured some loose ends and ‘off the record’ quotes from our talent. We interviewed Jack and he was gracious, good humoured and totally unperturbed to have a few jabs by shapers let in.”


Apparently Freestone wasn’t completely appraised of how the scene would play out and/or lied to. The handsome Australian took to Stab’s own Instagram to state, “So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost.”

Tweaking a pro goes directly against Stab’s ethos and I wonder if consternation is burning hot in Oceanside tonight.

Investigative access journalism on the ropes.

Stab, in any case, has yet to respond but surf media watchers are hoping McIntosh pens The Dickhead Index Pt. 2 tomorrow morning wherein he passively-aggressively re-throws Freestone under the bus while signaling that editorial meetings are now being conducted at NeueHouse.


I, anyhow, had the privilege of briefly interviewing Freestone when your BeachGrit was involved in the Billabong x Metallica collaboration. I was very impressed by his candor and handsomeness and made a point not to do him dirty though, in truth, he didn’t do or say anything remotely controversial.

A new access journalism sheriff in town?

More as the story develops.

Papa Phil and Andy's kid Axel. | Photo: Lyndie Irons

Surf world mourns loss of “Papa Phil” beloved father of Andy and Bruce Irons

"Feels so sad and lonely without him here on Kauai. I can feel his happiness up there with Andy and it makes me smile and cry."

The surf world is in mourning after the death of Phil Irons, the much-loved daddy of Andy and Bruce and granddaddy to Andy’s kid, Axel. 

“Grief is a b*tch,” wrote Andy’s wife Lyndie. “Been MIA for a bit sifting through my heartache of losing Axel’s special grandpa. Even though we know it was coming it doesn’t make it easier. Axel and Papa Phil made a pact these last few months leading up to his passing that anytime Axel was in Hanalei he needed to run in the house and give him a hug. Axel is a man of his word and made that happen with not one complaint. 

“We spent as much time as we could together. I wrote Papa Phil my favorite memory in a card and he told me that it was his favorite memory together too. When Andy was here and surfing hours on top of hours like he always did. And I would find myself in papa Phil’s house on Weke Rd and we would talk for hours about surfing. I enjoyed every minute. 

“I moved to Kauai at 21 but mostly lived on the road but when I was on Kauai in Papa Phil’s house it felt like home. Papa Phil loved his boys deeply and helped them in every aspect of their surfing career. He was a sweet soft loving man that loved us so much. I’m so thankful to have had Phil and Danielle all these years. I miss him deeply. 

“When I just got in my truck at the airport yesterday something had died I think in the engine🤢 and I went to pick up my phone to call Papa Phil to to see what I should do and than burst into tears. He has been more of a dad in my adult years. Feels so sad and lonely without him here on Kauai. I can feel his happiness up there with Andy and it makes me smile and cry. Just miss Papa Phil and will try to take the lessons he taught me and use them always.”


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An outpouring of condolences followed, from Alex Florence, Jack Robinson, Mick Fanning, Jamie O’Brien, Joel Tudor, Selema Masekela, Luke Egan, Coco Ho, Shane Dorian and more. 

“So sad to hear Phil passed. Had some great chats over the years. Sending lots of love to you and Axel,” wrote Mick. 

“We’re at that age my dear where our elders are passing us the torch! Love to you and the rest of family!” wrote Tudor. 

Californian-born Phil Irons moved to Kauai in 1970 “and spent two years living out of a beachside tent on a diet of rice, bananas, and avocados”.

Andy, who was christened Phillip Andrew Irons, was born in 1978 and Bruce was born the following year.

Phil and wife Daniel divorced in 1989 and Phil moved the nine miles down from Haena and to the beach at Hanalei Bay, a decision that would prove pivotal in the boys’ surfing.

For five hundred bucks a month he rented a hundred-year-old shack from the Hanalei Bay Liquor Store. Danielle rented a joint 150 yards down the road and Andy and Bruce split their time between the pair. 

Andy’s son Axel was born on the opening day of the Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons on December 8, 2010, thirty six days after his daddy’s death.