Jul 24 2008
Archive for July, 2008
Jul 21 2008
News broke last week that a missing Taiwanese fishing boat suspected of illegal fishing practices ran aground on the reef at the World-class wave, Padang Padang in Bali, Indonesia. The captain and crew fled in the night and boat the sat on the reef, and sat. The swell was completely flat for a few days, an ideal time to extract this boat from the reef and avert a potential disaster. Well, the opportunity to remove the boat came and went. Local officials made little effort to extract the boat. They actually tried to use a couple of Balinese fishing boat to pull it off the reef at high tide. Well, turns out they arrived late and if anyone has been to Bali, you would know that it would take about 100 Balinese fishing boats to pull that thing off the reef. As of the most recent swell, the boat was pounded onto the inner reef, puncturing her hull and spilling oil and fuel on the reef and across the line-up. See images and story below (from Surfline.com).
Jul 21 2008
An amateur photographer, Kem McNair, caught a photo of a Blacktip “Spinner” Shark catching some air sharing a wave with a surfer.
Kem McNair, who had finished surfing at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, before taking three images of the shark, shot in under a second, said: “I saw something in the background and I thought, ‘What was that?’. I looked back at the display on my camera and there it was — a spinner shark.”
Blacktip sharks, known as spinners because of their habit of leaping out of the water, are common in the shallow coastal waters and estuaries of Florida. The majority of shark bites in the state are blamed on the species and New Smyrna beach is notorious for attacks, this year the toll has already reached twelve.
“We see them all the time,” says McNair of the 6ft specimen he captured on film, ” if you ride a wave and the water is clear you may see two or three sharks in the length of one ride…”
Interestingly enough, New Smyrna Beach is ranked as one of the worst in the world for shark attacks. And it’s those Spinner sharks that are most likely to come in for a taste…
Here’s a link to McNair’s site with the three photo sequence of the shark jumping.
Jul 17 2008
Surf forecasting seems to be art and science. The problem is that I haven’t found a site that I think does it well. Surfline is decent, but the models are often off and seem to forecast generally bigger waves than often arrive. Storms and waves have such huge variables that you need a more detailed forecast that’s easy to understand. Adam Wright is a professional surf forecaster since 1999 (probably the time when the term “professional surf forecaster” was first used). He’s worked for Surfline and Wavewatch. He has three forecast sites with daily updates and easy to understand explanations of swell and wind forecasts. He seems to be spot on all the time. Check out the sites.
He’s also got good links to how to forecasting and surf break maps that map out the break and talk about best swell angles, etc. Here’s one for Rincon.
Jul 15 2008
Everyone’s looking for the new Costa Rica to find their patch of beach to build a bungalow and their perfect wave out front. First there was Costa Rica, now Panama and Nicaragua. Scott Balogh of Red Frog Bungalows writes on Bocas Del Toro, the stunning, uncrowded islands on the Caribbean side of Panama with epic surf and beautiful turqoise barrel. The crowds haven’t yet arrived and land is still available. It’s close to the U.S., cheap, and is going off when the rest of the tropics are flat (December to March, June to July).
Jul 15 2008
The notorious Tawainese longliner fishing boat, Ho Tsai Fa No. 18, ran aground on the reef at Padang Padang in Bali, Indonesia at 7PM on Friday night – just in time for opening day of the highly anticipated Rip Curl Padang Cup event the following morning.
“The whole surf community is pretty concerned about the boat as it’s leaking fuel,” said Rip Curl’s Andy Higgins. “With a swell arriving on Friday afternoon, it could break open. So apart from the fact that this could make running our events—the Rip Curl Padang Cup & Rip Curl Pro Search—there impossible, it poses a big threat environmentally as well. Either way, it’s on the top of our ‘to do’ list until we find an appropriate solution.”
Taiwanese authorities had been seeking assistance from the Indonesian government to find this boat well known for illegal fishing practices that’s been missing since May 13, 2008. Taiwanese skipper Tsai Wen-chen and approximately 16 Indonesian crewmen were on board when it went missing.
Check the video of surfers riding Padang by the boat.
Update from CoastalWatch:
The boat has settled on a much more precarious looking angle today, and it’s starting to leak a fair bit of diesel. In fact the whole area around it reeks of diesel. The local ladies on the beach are not too stoked… lucky the wind is offshore, but a bit of swell could bring it in. I don’t think it’s gonna take too much to tip it over… there’s hardly any swell now but the biggest sets are rocking it in a very sketchy looking way. If it tips it’s gonna be a massive environmental stuff up.
Looting has kicked into overdrive and so far it doesn’t really seem like any effort is going to be made to get this thing off the reef. It’s slowly being dismantled on site and anything of value is being taken. There’s people all over it and around it. The load of fish has been cleaned out, now crew are taking petty containers, tanks, radio gear etc. A lifeguard came past proudly holding the steering wheel and I was like no way, this thing isn’t going anywhere, ever.
You can’t help assuming that it’s starting to look like it could become a permanent feature of Padang Padang.
Even if they did want to get it off, there’s no real big tides until Friday, when some swell is supposed to kick in as well. If no-one gets it’s off the reef by then it’s gonna get smashed back to Taiwan. Let’s hope it doesn’t get smashed square into the lineup.
Jul 14 2008
I’m not sure I would substitute Israel for your next surf trip to Central America, but Israel does get consistent waves. From December to March, exposed beaches get hit with regular storms blowing off the surprisingly long fetch of the Mediterranean. Epic uncrowded waves? Unlikely. Fun surf in remarkable and unique surroundings? Absolutely. Lori from the Surfing Village shares info on surfing in the Holy Land, in particular surfing in Haifa, the stunning city in the North of Israel with Israel’s best waves.
Jul 14 2008
Yes, the sharks have returned. Well, they were actually always there. Three fatalities (San Diego and two in Mexico) and a fatality in the Bahamas have whetted the media’s appetite for the sensational and dark nature of the Ocean’s beast. This past week there was an attack on a swimmer on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. It was the second attack of the year and resulted in minor injuries, but has fed the media’s shark frenzy. Sightings of one or more large great whites off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts have also set off the media. There has not been a great white attack in Massachusetts since 1936, but that hasn’t stopped the media from printing headlines like, “‘Jaws’ returns to stalk Martha’s Vineyard.” In spite of the article’s headline, it goes on to say that there’s been a couple confirmed sightings of sharks or a dorsal fin, but no attacks. In the 19 years of the shark fishing tournament, no one has caught a great white.
In spite of the media’s hype, shark attacks and related fataties are still excedingly rare. Check out our post on your chances on dying from a shark attack in relation to other causes of death. Point is, you’re still more likely to die of a collapsing sand-hole incident than from a shark attack, even if you are a surfer! Here’s a link to wikipedia’s entry that lists all fatal, unprovoked shark attacks.
Jul 09 2008
Surfers have a history of challenging mother nature and her fiercest side. Its enabled surfing to progress from its roots of surfing Waikiki to charging 80 ft waves at Jaws. So some of us won’t be surprised by the images of Hawaiian surfer, C J Kanuha, paddling up to the point where spewing molten lava meets the sea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Volcano, Kilauea, meaning ‘much spreading’, has been continually erupting in Hawaii since 1983, but more molten rock than usual is flowing from an outbreak that started last November. The lava eventually reaches the ocean on the east side of the big island and flows into the sea boiling the surrounding water.
CJ paddled up to the area where the lava was flowing into the sea and got within 20 ft of the molten lava. At that point, the water, close to boiling, began melting the wax on his board and burning his feet. CJ calmly paddled his board back out and away from the lava. Only a surfer knows the feeling…
Nice work CJ, wouldn’t a canoe have worked also?
Check out the article at the Daily Mail for spectacular photos of the lava.
Jul 09 2008
$5/gallon gas has everyone bummed especially surfers. The AP published an article talking about how the price of gas and oil is having an effect on surfers and the industry. In truth, how many of us live walking or biking distance from our local break. More often most of us pack up a car or truck every week or so and motor off to the best wave within driving distance. Driving distance to surfers is a liberal term, but now that a tankful is between $75-100 we might start to see fewer trips to the distant breaks. Rising gas prices are also likely to cut into liberal expenditures, like surfboards. The surfboard industry grew rapidly in 2002-2007, but they’re likely to be hit by the recession that the rest of the country has been feeling. The resin used to gas surfboards is made from oil, so shapers’ costs are rising while consumer spending is dropping. Interestingly, the AP article reported that Surftech reported a 15% increase in sales while most other surfboard shapers and manufacturers reported flat or declining sales. I wonder if it because surfers want whatever board their going to buy to be durable so they won’t have to buy another soon. Surfline.com, in the meantime, has seen an increase in views of their webcams and on their subscription services. How is gas and the economy effecting your surf habits?
(photo credit zinkwazi)