Great White sharks attack surfer at Blacks in South Australia.
Great White shark hits and bites surfer at Blacks in South Oz. Main photo, Great White in action, little photo, the surfer's shooter after the attack.

Surfer attacked by Great White shark in South Australia as horror season continues

"Spread the word. No one goes in the water." 

As one below-the-line sage remarked a couple of weeks back when fifteen-year-old grom Khai Cowley was killed by a Great White in front of his dad at Ethels on the Yorke Peninsula, “In South Australia, you can have sharks or you can have surfing. You can’t have both.” 

(Or words to that effect.) 

Two months ago, 55-year-old surfer Tod Gendle was killed and disappeared by a fifteen-foot Great White at Granites, twenty clicks out of Streaky Bay, South Australia, seven hundred clicks north-west of Adelaide. 

Earlier in 2023, and just a hundred clicks south, local school teacher Simon Baccanello was killed by a Great White while surfing at Walkers Rocks in Elliston.

A brave soul, Baccanello warned others to split as the Great White started swimming towards him telling terrified kids in the lineup, “Don’t worry, get yourself to shore”.

Now, a sixty-four-year-old surfer from Elliston has been bitten between the ass and leg at Blacks by a Great White. He paddled in, climbed the cliff, refused an ambulance and drove himself to hospital, reflecting the chaotic nature of a Great White hit and the difference just a few millimetres can make.

Still, a Great White hit is a Great White hit. Substantial.

A message bouncing said the surfer, named Murray, “needs stitches but will be ok. Spread the word. No one goes in the water.”

Surfboard bitten by Great White shark at Blacks, South Australia.
Great White attacks surfer at Blacks in South Oz. This is what his shooter looked like after the obligatory attack–from-below.

Blacks, which is near Elliston, is the archetypal South Australian slab, swells swinging onto shallow limestone shelf before evaporating in uncomfortably deep water, notorious for Great Whites. In 2000, two surfers were killed in two separate Great White attacks, one at Blacks, one at Cactus 140 miles west. 

I remember sending a few pro’s to Blacks years back and laughed, but understood, when I heard a story of ‘em paddling onto the dry shelf when a couple of dolphins surfaced.

After Khai Cowley was killed on December 29, the South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas said,

“The reality is there are sharks along our coastline around the southern part of our nation. When people venture out, particularly where they go quite far away from the shoreline, there is a risk associated with that.

“But we’ve seen 11 fatal shark attacks in South Australia since the year 2000 so the fact we’ve seen three across this summer is startling and it is of concern.”

Sharks or surfing? Which way do you swing?

(More on the attack as it comes.)

Plus sized girl surfer.
Now, here, is what you’d call an athletic, though slightly bigger, gal. Big boned as we used to say. A helluva long way from fat and not, I’d suggest, represented on the Fat Scale. | Photo: Billabong

Billabong pivots to plus-sized surfers to extend “reach to important demographic of underserved consumers.”

A range of sizes including small fat, mid fat and large fat but no super fat or death fat. 

The once iconic surf giant Billabong, now effectively cuckolded by the Authentic Brands Group which also owns former arch enemies Hurley and Quiksilver, has been partnered up with another brand to produce plus-sized womenswear.,

Profile Enterprises, specialists in big gal’s gear, will take the reins of the plus-plus sizes, “manufacturing, wholesale and the distribution of Billabong Big & Tall mens as well as Plus women’s apparel across the U.S. and Canada.”

From the Authentic Newsroom,

“We are proud to partner with Authentic to bring this active lifestyle brand to our robust distribution platform,” said PROFILE Ent. President, Frank Riech. “Billabong offers PROFILE the opportunity to extend our reach to an important demographic of underserved consumers.”

The first Billabong Big & Tall and Plus collections will be available in Spring 2024 at major Big & Tall and Plus retailers as well as across various retailer e-commerce channels.

It’s a wise move, clearly.

Half the US spends its days eating and crapping although what constitutes plus-size will, obviously, shift with the prevailing winds.

What’s fat today might be skinny tomoz.

Do you know about the fat spectrum? 

It’s wildly fascinating.

Y’see, there’s small fat, mid fat, large fat, super fat and death fat.

By my reckoning, Profile will be selling Billabong clothes all the way up to large fat, but not a helluva lot happening for the super fat and the death fat.

Linda, from the epic site Fluffy Kitten Party, explains its myriad complexities here.

I’ve removed the “White Fragility” framework because WOW that did not age well, and I should never have used it. I know better now, and I’m sorry. I updated the definition of “deathfat” and credited author and fat activist Lesley Kinzel with creating the term (with sincere apologies to Lesley for causing misunderstanding). I included history and context for the term “super fat” that I did not understand when I wrote this (h/t to the fats who educated me on this after this piece was published), and I changed the format to be more of a neutral explainer. I’ve also updated the image because, frankly, it was hard to read! I tried to cram everything into one image, but it’s just impossible to include everything in one image and not make a cluttered mess. So now, you have a big infographic.

Fat Categories
Fat Categories explained!

Logan (insert) wrecking stuff. Photo: Amazon Prime
Logan (insert) wrecking stuff. Photo: Amazon Prime

Surf Girls Hawaii officially cancelled as former WSL CEO Erik Logan’s “poopoo touch” reaches out from beyond the grave!

The gift that keeps on giving.

Erik Logan, former Chief Executive Officer of the World Surf League, is a gift that keeps on giving. The Oklahoman with a magical wetsuit of armor came our way via Oprah Winfrey less than ten years ago but his impact reverberates. Hired to lead the newly formed WSL Studios, which was shuttered immediately after he gave it the cheese touch, Logan failed upward and onward. His initial promise was to make “shoulder programming” around the tour.

His one project, there, a Billy Kemper miniseries, was a non-success by any and every metric.

Branching out, Logan helped push The Ultimate Surfer to air, considered by most to be the worst reality television program of all-time. He then broke Box-to-Box, a star machine that could do no wrong… until Logan came ambling along, by tanking Make or Break. Not finished, and from the grave, he turned the beloved Surf Girls Hawaii into World Surf League pap for Amazon Prime and it was, of course, cancelled after one lonely season.

Its creator Monica Medellin announced the end, penning, “Creating and producing Surf Girls Hawaii has been a 5 year process with many ups and downs but it was 100% worth it. I hope my work can open up possibilities for girls, woman and people of color through the power of sports.”

Her version, pre-Logan, was gold. As Jen See reported:

About two years ago now, the women’s media platform Togethxr made a four-part film called Surf Girls Kaikaina. Owned by Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel, and Sue Bird, Togethxr has created a killer platform for women’s sports. Surf Girls Kaikaina painted a group portrait of teen surfer girls coming of age in Hawai’i, and focused on Hokulani Topping, Vaihitimahana Inso, Ēweleiʻula Wong, and Puamakamae DeSoto.

As the Surf Girls Kaikaina series progressed, it centered the girls’ Hawaiian culture and their efforts to find themselves both in and out of the water. Though contest surfing formed a piece of the story — Moana Jones and Carissa Moore both appeared — it was not foregrounded. Instead, director Monica Medellin centered the young womens relationships with surfing, the ocean, and their culture. The interviews, which took place in bedrooms and skateparks had a raw authenticity. It felt real.

Enter the aforementioned Man with a Poopoo Touch.

Surf Girls Hawai’i puts contest surfing at the center of the story. The narrative arc becomes the effort to qualify for the Championship Tour and the stresses of competing. There’s a sequence devoted to training that predictably involves carrying rocks underwater. It’s like Ultimate Surfer got stuffed on a plane and flown to Hawai’i.

Surf Girls Hawai’i plays like an extended advertisement for the WSL, and that’s almost certainly what Logan set out to make. In her original, Medellin trusted her material. She believed that this coming of age story about girls surfing in Hawai’i had something to tell us. There was less lip gloss and shine in Surf Girls Kaikaina, but far more authentic story-telling.

What’s frustrating about Surf Girls Hawai’i is that it grew from a compelling concept. These women are plainly strong, engaging, and passionate characters. Tell me the story of these women, growing up in Hawai’i, finding their way in some of the world’s toughest lineups. Tell me about their fears, frustrations, and joys. Tell me about what it means to them to be Hawaiian and how their heritage shapes their relationship with the ocean and the wider world.

That’s the story Logan steamrollered in his desperate effort to sell contest surfing to the masses. And I think we all know by now, that they aren’t going to buy what he’s selling. The story that didn’t get told, that might have drawn people to follow these women and their journey, that might have shown the world something beautiful about women’s surfing and Hawai’i — I’m not sure he even saw that story and its value. And that’s a shame.

Well, now it is dead, buried and forgotten. Another giant idiotic feather in the cap of the man Jen See rightly called “spectacularly untalented.”

What a succubus.

Meryl Streep (pictured) barreled. Photo: Mama Mia
Meryl Streep (pictured) barreled. Photo: Mama Mia

Film Icon Meryl Streep shouts out Palm Springs Surf Club in moving award show speech!

"Surf that wave, kids."

It is, officially, award season in Hollywood. That wonderful time of year when actors and actresses, directors and producers dress in lavish black tie and fill ballrooms or auditoriums with their glamor. Plebes, at home on Hungry Man Salisbury steak-stained La-Z-Boys watch the proceedings on free-to-air television and dream.

Last night, you certainly know, was the Golden Globe awards. Host Jo Koy gave what was universally described as a “cringe-worthy” performance though it hardly dented the joy winners Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Sarah Snook (Succession) or Beef felt whilst hosting their participation trophies.

Now, the Golden Globes are certainly wonderful but the official award season kick-off occurs days before in Palm Springs, California which hosts the annual Palm Springs International Film Awards.

That affair was wonderfully luxe but also sprinkled with wave tank magic. The Palm Springs Surf Club, which opened January 1st, has been top of mind for those traveling to the desert and dominated the proceedings.

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas won “best song” there for their Barbie hit “What was I made for?” Film icon Meryl Streep, handing them the gilded miniature Liberace piano, had other thoughts to share, though, declaring “You have delivered the Barbie love bomb. You saved the movies last summer, all of our jobs. You’ve delivered joy to countless generations and genders of people,” she began before pivoting, “And you should surf that wave, kids – until you’re old and deserve to be jaded like me.”

Billie Eilish and Finneas certainly should surf that wave, we all should, but what setting do you imagine they’d select? A slabbing barrel to air or something a little more user friendly? Whatever they chose, I don’t think it can go wrong. They can listen to inventor Tom Lochtefeld share and make an informed pick.

Surf that wave.

Joaquin Del Castillo breaks hip in Pipeline wipeout
Joaquin pieced together hip, inside and out, after Pipeline wipeout.

Peruvian surfer who shattered hip in Pipeline wipeout pleads for help with $100k medical bill!

“That wave must’ve just drove you straight into the reef.”

Christmas Day held little joy for the Peruvian surfer Joaquin Del Castillo, a surfer known for the kinkiness of his aerial game as well as a proven ability to impound himself in the Pipeline palace. 

Joaquin, who is twenty eight, suffered ten, yeah…ten, hip fractures after a catastrophic Pipeline wipeout, a wild old run for the joint which already has six scalps hanging off its belt only one month into the season. 

World number four Joao Chianca was dragged unconscious from the water at Pipe by teenage surfer Jake Maki, Teahupoo kingpin Eimeo Czermak lost the use of his legs and got belted with a concussion after going over the falls at the Vans Pipe Masters, Koa Rothman left a little of his face on the coral, a helmeted Pipe novice was pulled from the water on a pretty four-foot day after a wipeout that knocked him out cold and, most recently, Kai Lenny was concussed after splitting his helmet open on the reef during his SUP heat at the Backdoor Shootout.

In an Instagram post, Joaquin shows the x-ray of his pieced-together hip, along with the swinging fullness of his ball-bag, the scar, and asks surfers and any fans to continue sending cash into his GoFundMe account ‘cause he limped away from hozzy with a one-hundred gee bill in his pocket. 

So far, he’s raised around twenty gees.

“Two weeks into my operation after breaking my iliac bone in 10 pieces surfing Backdoor, I’m already at about 20% of the total Hospital amount,” he writes of life post-Pipeline wipeout.

“I am home @tubos_surf_school on the North Shore where I will continue my recovery with the goal of walking again for now and eagerly waiting to get on a plane and go home to Peru.”

Throw a shekel (or Sol) into the pot here.