Margret River Shark Attack: First Hand Account from the Line-up

August 24th, 2010 | By | 2,535 Comments

After last week’s fatal shark attack at Margret River, few surfers could be reached for comment due to the shock and heavy grievance. SWELL caught up with Cen-Cal Surf Instructor, Chance “C-Note” Smith, one of the few guys surfing the point during the first fatal shark attack since 04′ in West OZ. Chance took his chances by selling everything, and moving to the heavy surf zone of Yallingup, home to WCT vets Taj Burrow and Claire Bevilacqua. Here’s what he had to say about the attack,

Chance Calculating Risk and Reward

Chance Calculating Risk and Reward

SWELL: First off, I’d like say how stoked everyone here feels to know your safe. I’m sure the mood over there is pretty heavy. Whats the latest in the Margret River surf community?

Chance: There are a lot of mixed emotions around here at the moment. I’ve talked to a lot of people from both the Margret River area and up here in Yallingup. A lot of people are still shocked, scared, and reluctant to surf as much as usual. The surf community is really tight around here and this attack has brought a fair bit of reality and fear into the equation. We all feel such a loss and are trying to keep good spirits as much as possible. The whole thing was just horrific and just rattled everyone at the beach that day.

SWELL: You survived every surfer’s worst nightmare. Any clue why things played out like they did?

Chance: I think luck had a lot to do with things. There were a couple seals that came up to Matty Walters and I. The Seals came within about 30ft of us and then split towards the rocks at north point. The group of seals looked frantic, which was pretty odd at first, until we realized they were being hunted by a Great White Shark. They were hugging the shore as if they were trying to get out of the water but then took off towards the next peak down where the attack occurred. Out of respect for the victims family, thats all the detail I’ll share except for that we helped him in and tried to keep him alive.

SWELL: Most people would probably black-out with panic, so what advice would you give to surfers put in the situation you just survived?

Chance: My mate and I just tried to stay together and appear as a bigger object in the water, rather than thrashing around like a little injured seal. Catch a wave and go straight ideally. The whole thing happened so quickly and the shark took off. Matty and I were lucky to be out of his way.

SWELL: When stories of this nature surface, rumors start flying. Whats the most random bunch of bologna you’ve heard?

Chance: Thankfully I haven’t really heard anything that wasn’t true. A lot of people approached us to hear the story, but nobody was in the mood amidst the tragic loss.

SWELL: Australian Authorities called for the hunting and killing of the shark. Any thoughts on that?

Chance: It’s a hard call. I wouldn’t have a problem with that shark not being around. I don’t want to defend that specific animal after what happened but the reality is that we surf where they hunt and we look a lot like seals to them. I would feel a lot safer though without that shark in the water but that is a risk of surfing and we know they are around. We can’t just go kill a bunch of sharks. I fell like the whole thing relates to being in the water with those seals so people just need to be aware when not to go in the water.

SWELL: The Beach was closed for 24hrs, right? When the next time you’ll get wet in that zone?

Chance: I know people are already surfing out there but I’m going to stay out of that area for a bit. I surfed the next day up towards Yallingup just to try and shake things off but that was even hard. I was still tripping a bit but I think time will help. The odds are that another attack wont happens for a long time but that whole incident was devastating.

SWELL: Thanks for revisiting that terrifying session C-Note. We can’t wait to get you back here, and we’ll check up on ya up on the Central Coast.

Checking for Seals

Checking for Seals

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49th Brooks Street Classic Surf Comp hits Laguna Beach – Aug 21-22, 2010 – Contest Results

August 23rd, 2010 | By | 2,731 Comments

49th Annual Brooks Street Classic

The Brooks Street Classic was held this past weekend in sunny Laguna Beach with solid surf and frigid waters. Touted as the longest running locals only competition, the Brooks Classic pits the best hometown surfers against each other in friendly 4 man heats.

This iconic surf comp put on by the city of Laguna Beach with help from the whole Laguna Surf & Sport crew is one of the few “last minute” competitions of its kind. Needing a solid south swell to fall on a weekend, the Brooks Classic comes together at 6am the morning of, through word of mouth and many impromptu phone calls/texts.

This past weekend, surfers showed their knowledge of this heaving left as they dodged the mystery chop and massive boils in the 49th staging of this legendary event. With water temps around 55 degrees, the short 15 minute heats kept surfers from turning into popsicles and helped judges power through all of the 100 or so local competitors who signed-up.

Those who made it into the finals duked it out in longer 20 minute sessions and the crowds were pleased as the south swell delivered some memorable rides and boily bombers. One notable highlight was Leah Pakpour snagging the set of the day during the girls/womens finals, where she raced down the line to win both her division and the hoots and hollars from the many spectators on the beach and stairs. Past ‘CTer Jeff Booth took the overall win of the Pro/Am division and made away with the $1,000 cash prize, while Bobby Champan, Eric “Frog” Nelson, and Tristram Miller took 2nd through 4th respectively.

After nabbing 2nd in the Past two events, Steve "Ralph" Manee was stoked to finally win his division

After placing 2nd in the Past two events, Steve “Ralph” Manee was stoked to finally take the first over Mike Todd in the Sr. Mens division

Sponsors included:
City of Laguna Beach, Laguna Surf & Sport, Costa Azul, Quiksilver Boardriders Club, Volcom, Electric, Matix, Billabong, Skull Candy, Turkey, XS Energy Drinks, Screen Works, Laguna Apparel, Mozambique

Here are the Final Results 2010 49th Annual Brooks St. Classic in Loving memory of Jack Denny

Cy Chambers Award – Adam Mejia

Tom Chambers Award – Austin Silvers

1st – Dave Vanderveen (Orange)
2nd – Ted Taylor (Yellow)

1st – Ted Taylor (White)
2nd – Tobie Grierson (Yellow)
3rd – James Henry (Orange)
4th – George Vitolo (Green)
5th – Paul McMannus (Red)

1st – Travis Sampson (White)
2nd – Dave Vanderveen (Red)
3rd – Paul “Pablo” Cernich (Green)
4th – Walter Viszolay (Blue)

1st – Leah Pakpour (Red)
2nd – Taylor Pitz (Blue)
3rd – Hannah Fait (White)
4th – Brenda Joseph (Green)
5th – Lauren Hampton (Orange)

Boys 13 & under
1st – Shane Chapman (White)
2nd – Tobie Grierson (Blue)
3rd – Michael Chapman (Green)
4th – Harrison Kirkman (Red)

Jr. Men 14-17
1st – Austin Silvers (Green)
2nd – Adam Mejia (White)
3rd – Chris Williams (Blue)
4th – Derek Strombatne (Red)

Men 18-23
1st – Porter Hogan (Green)
2nd – Brad Burdick (Red)
3rd – Issac Zoller (Blue)
4th – Tyler Stanaland – (White)

Sr. Men 24-29
1st – Steve Manee (Red)
2nd – Mike Todd (White)
3rd – Clayton Snyder (Blue)
4th – Blake Pettit (Green)

Masters 30-39
1st – Hans Hagen (Blue)
2nd – Eric “Frog” Nelson (White)
3rd – Steve Hurst (Red)
4th – Tristram Miller (Green)

Sr. Masters 40-49
1st – Jason Steris (Green)
2nd – Bobby Lockhart (Red)
3rd – Sean Brown (White)
4th – Paul “Pablo” Cernich (Blue)

Grand Masters 50+
1st – Scott Holt (white)
2nd – Phil Johnson (Blue)
3rd – Doug Bunting (Red)
4th – Keith Gregg (Green)

1st – Jeff Booth (Blue) – $1,000.00
2nd – Bobby Chapman (Green) – $750.00
3rd – Eric “Frog” Nelson (Red) – $500.00
4th – Tristram Miller (White) – $250.00

pictures taken by David Vanderveen winner of the paddleboard division

Product Showcase: Catch Surf Original 54 Beater

August 19th, 2010 | By | 3,607 Comments

We caught up with with our homies over at Catch Surf the other day to peep the factory and rap over the busy din of the machinery about one of the most prominent soup slayers in their line, the Original 54 Beater. We snapped a few behind the scenes photos and got some footage of Catch Surf Prez George educating Swell’s very own Bill “Ask a Dude” Laity on the finer points of radness concerning said Beater. Enjoy kiddies. We sure did

Makin' dem stringahs stick.

Makin' dem stringahs stick.


Laying a Beater down.


Don't let the longhair with the mellow demeanor fool you. No hippies here. Just all time shredders with full time jobs.

Radness stacks.

Radness stacks.


Giant Kelp Forest Thriving off San Onofre!

August 19th, 2010 | By | 2,152 Comments

If you are like us and you noticed the unusual abundance of kelp appearing off San Clemente then you are not alone.

Researches are now saying that the artificial reefs planted by Southern California Edison are beginning to show signs of success and so far results look promising. The kelp restoration project has been successful thus far thanks to efforts by ecologists and the power company. The artificial reefs that hold the ecologically significant algae were planted to offset damages from the power plant just south of San-O where large kelp forests were once present.

So pretty much this is the marine equivalent of re-planting an entire forest… only its sheephead and garabaldi that flourish rather than birds and monkeys…

kelp forest off San Clemente
Drive south on the 5 around Calafia and you will see the growing plumes of brown thalluses popping up everywhere

This $46 million dollar project will not only support our defenseless sea creatures, but it will also keep the surf glassy for sessions at San-O and San Clemente. Plus now Chuck’s nursing whites will have a healthier food source with all the new marine life.
Kelp Thalluses..

Read the full story below and be stoked that artificial marine innovations are finally panning out!