Archive for May, 2008

May 29 2008

Blog Coverage of the Shark Attacks in Mexico

Published by under Mexico,Sharks

Troncones Surf Shop

The news coverage of the shark attacks in Zihuatanejo and Troncones, Mexico has been out of hand with pretty much every major news outlet and TV outlet adding to the feeding frenzy! Concierge did a good summary of the blog and news coverage here. It’s especially ironic considering how much a sleepy surf village Troncones is. One thing for sure, the line-ups in Guerrero are going to be empty now. So while scientists and reporter can debate whether global warming is to blame for the increasing global incidence in shark attacks, the fact is you’re more likely to die from a “collapsing sand hole incident” (yeah, I don’t really know what one is either) than from a shark attack (shark attack risk of death). So, if you want to score empty waves, now may actually be the best time to head down to Guerrero, Mexico (check out our guide to surfing the area of Guerrero and Michoacan). Your biggest struggles on a surf trip may more likely be from dealing with the logistics like getting scammed renting a car than with anything in the line-up. Regardless, don’t let it keep you out of the water and from exploring. Go surf!

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May 29 2008

American Surfer Injured in Shark Attack Plans to Surf Again

Published by under Uncategorized

Bruce Grimes, a Florida surfer, who was recently injured in a shark attack in Zihuatanejo Mexico plans on paddling back on it the line-up after he recovers. Bruce had recently moved to Zihuatanejo and opened up a surf shop down there. He suffered injuries on his arm and received 100 stitches but did not lose his thumb as had been reported. Authorities in the area have responded by spotting at beaches by helicopter to watch for sharks.

“I’ll go right back. Yeah, I’m that stupid,” Grimes said, examining his bandaged arm outside the hospital where he just had his daily cleaning. “I’ll go right back out as soon as I’m able to.”

In spite of over 70 attacks in 2007, there was only one fatality worldwide. Already in 2008, there have three fatalities from shark attacks.

Bruce Grimes on FOX News

Bruce Grimes on FOX News

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May 28 2008

Surfing the Thames… Yes, London.

Published by under Surf spots,Travel

Yes, the UK does get surf and actually gets good surf (see link “Pipeland Comes to Scotland“). Now, one entrepreneur’s vision is to have a wave park on the Thames in London. Steve Jones is planning the The Venture Xtreme project at Silvertown Quays. Surfers will be able to ride 3-5 ft waves all year round by the Thames in a wave park. (Youtube video at end)

London Surf Park, Venture Xtreme Project at Silvertown Quays

The wave park is planned for 2011 and offers 100 m long rides that can break either left or right. For $60/hour surfers would get the chance to ride up to 10 waves. [more after the jump]

Continue Reading »

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May 28 2008

Local Officials in Zihuatanejo and Guerrero, Mexico Alarmed at Recent Attacks

Published by under Mexico,Sharks

The recent shark attacks (and deaths) on surfers in the Zihuatanejo area of Mexico (state of Guerrero) has alarmed everyone in the area and even brought in the Mexican Marines and Navy to patrol and spot for sharks. So far, the Navy has reported not spotting any large sharks in the area; but locals remained concerned.

After the first shark attack in April, officials responded by hunting sharks in the area. There was a large backlash from environmentalist, tourist, and surfers. Unfortunately, the approach did not work as there were two additional attacks in the same area (one fatal). [See related posts below for more info] Local officials now are working hard at determining the species involved by catching and releasing them and trying to spot sharks instead of haphazardly hunting and killing them.

The attacks and recent press coverage is sure to dissuade travelers and surfers considering going to the area. Bruce Grimes, the American who was attacked on Sunday and lost his thumb to the attack, owns a surfshop in the Zihuatanejo area and is concerned about the effect of the attacks on business. In spite of his injuries, he’s planning a return to the water after his recovery.

“I’ll go right back. Yeah, I’m that stupid,” Grimes said, examining his bandaged arm outside the hospital where he just had his daily cleaning. “I’ll go right back out as soon as I’m able to.” [AP Press article]

Shark Attack Fatalities

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May 27 2008

Mexican Navy Secures Coast After Attacks, Jaws IV Scouts Mexican Location for New Film

Published by under Mexico,Sharks

So this shark thing is getting a little out of hand, and I promise some non-shark related posts after this one. The authorities in Mexico are taking the shark attacks very seriously (especially since the area is so dependent on tourism and surfer tourism). They’ve brought in the marines and the navy (the marines oddly had a strong presence when I was down there a month ago before the attacks in Troncones). From Reuters [link].

The response seems much more tempered and reasonable than their last response after the attack in April which was to go on a shark killing spree. And yes, the title suggesting a Jaws IV location in Zihuatanejo was a joke.

Reuters: The Mexican Navy searched for sharks in the ocean near Pacific surfing beaches on Monday, after two bathers were killed and another maimed in a rare spate of shark attacks.

Three boats and a helicopter patrolled the sea while Navy and rescue officials scanned the horizon with binoculars from popular beaches around the southwestern Mexican resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. They warned surfers not to go far out.

“We’ve been monitoring the beaches; we’ve done reconnaissance flights,” Rear Adm. Arturo Bernal said, adding that no big shark had been detected yet in the area.

Shark Cartoon

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May 25 2008

Third Shark Attack on Surfer in Mexico in One Month

Published by under Environment,Sharks

A shark injured a 49-year-old American surfer Saturday, May 24, at Playa Linda in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The attack is the third in one month in the area with a fatal attack on a Mexican surfer occurring a day earlier 20 minutes north near the beach resort area of Troncones. Adrian Ruiz, a surfer from San Francisco, was killed in an attack in April in Troncones. Authorities have not closed beaches in Zihuatanejo, but people were being advised against swimming.

Bruce Grimes, 49 from Florida, suffered minor injuries in the attack and managed to get to the hospital on his own.

“I felt something brush past me three times, scraping my skin like sandpaper. Then I saw a three-meter (10-foot) shark attacking my right arm,” Bruce Grimes told reporters after leaving the hospital Saturday.

Official blame the new influx of shark in the area on climate change.

“We brought shark specialists to the area and the first thing they said was that [sharks] could be because of cold water currents caused by climate change,” said Guerrero state’s environmental minister, Sabas de la Rosa. [Link to story]

Troncones, Mexico is officially the worst place to surf right now. Unfortunately, after the first attack in April there, local authorities responded by baiting and killing 12 sharks. It’s interesting that they blame climate change for sharp increase in shark attacks (Mexico hasn’t had a fatal shark attack in 30 years before the attack in April). I wrote a post a little while back on scientists linking increased shark attacks on global warming. I’m sure there will be a million theories on it, but it a troubling trend with three fatal attacks in one month.

The shark hunt by local authorities after the last hunt becomes particularly questionable after a recent report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that more than half of the world’s shark are under threat of extinction.

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May 24 2008

Another Fatal Shark Attack on a Surfer in Mexico

Published by under Sharks

Another surfers was killed in a shark attack in Mexico at Pantla Beach, 6 miles from Troncones where Adrian Ruiz was killed by a shark a month ago. Pantla Beach is 20 minutes North of Ixtapa. The attack on Ruiz was the first fatal shark attack in Mexico in 30 years.

Osvaldo Mata Valdovinos, 21, was attacked on Friday while surfing off Pantla beach west of Ixtapa and Zihuatenajo. The shark bit off his left hand and broke one of his legs. [Associated Press Link]

Mexican Authorities responded to the last attack a month ago by baiting and killing sharks in the area. Environmentalist deplored the tactics [link].

The map below shows where Pantla Beach is located in relation to Troncones and Ixtapa. Many of the news sources incorrectly reported the attack near Acapulco. Pantla Beach is approximately 100 miles west of Acapulco.

Map Pantla Beach

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May 22 2008

The Cardboard Surfboard

Mike Sheldrake and the Cardboard Surfboard

With all the space-age technology going into surfboards these days (including the collapsible carbon fiber board), you wouldn’t expect the next step in shaping innovation to be cardboard. Mike Sheldrake, a surfer and computer programmer is San Diego, took a novel approach to building a better surfboard: he researched aerospace design and used 3-D computer modeling software to to design a snap-together deck built out of 400 pieces of computer cut corrugated cardboard. He then covered it with fiberglass and epoxy resin. Thanks to a mathematically sound triangular pattern, force is evenly dispersed throughout the board—making it incredibly strong. The design and construction avoid the use of expensive tools, making it cheap and easy to assemble. The result is a cheap, strong design made primarily from sustainable materials and one that’s remarkably beautiful. [Youtube videos below show assembly of the board after jump]

Continue Reading »

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May 20 2008

Surfing 50 States?!

Published by under Uncategorized

Two Australian’s got bored with a year round good surf of Australia, flew up to the U.S., bought an old ice cream truck, and decided to drive around to “surf” in each of the 50 states. Surfing consisted of getting up on a surfboard on some form of water. They’ve got a movie releasing sometime in September/October (don’t hold your breath for it releasing at the AMC megaplex near you). Admittedly, it’s not an idea I would ever conceive, but you’ve got to give them credit for originality and for braving places like Vermont in the winter in a wetsuit! Good on ya! [Surfing 50 States]

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May 14 2008

Amphibious Offroad Vehicles, Surfer’s Transportation Problems Solved

Published by under Gear,Towsurfing


I never really knew that as a surfer I would have such big transportation problems, well at least not until I saw these machines made by Gibbs Technologies. Suddenly, my Toyota 4Runner and Schwinn beach cruiser seem wildly inadequate compared to an amphibious 4×4 off road ATV and truck. This is some of the coolest gear I’ve ever seen! I don’t care if you can drive to pretty much every break in California. I’ll take the Humdinger up the coastal highway and drive it straight into the line-up at Malibu. Combine these with the James Bond surfboard and even North Korea’s hidden surf breaks are within striking distance. Watch these videos:

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