This Week In Surfing: Laird Talks Sharks and Menstruation, Occy’s New Wave Pool, and The Strange Wait In Fiji

1 Jun 2017 1 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Sure, the wave pool looks like a wild time, but what about that incredible looking water slide to the right. Hoot! Image:

Sure, the wave pool looks like a wild time, but what about that incredible looking water slide to the right. Hoot! Image:


Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was June 2, 2017 

1. The Women's Fiji Pro Is Still Going, And Has Just One Heat Left

Well, isn't this a little bit on the strange side. On Wednesday morning the Outer Known Women's Fiji Pro continued with the beginning of Round 4 heats and a possible finish to the event before sundown. They ran Round 4, where Tyler Wright took down wildcard star Bethany Hamilton, and Steph Gilmore got bundled out of the contest, and off the (equal) top of the World Rankings, by Tatiana Weston Webb. They ran the quarterfinals, Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler continuing their dominant 2017s and ascending to the semis. Then the WSL ran those two semi-final heats also, Tatiana Weston Webb and Courtney Conlogue beating Sally and Tyler respectively, and reaching the final. Which the WSL did not run. No, they went on hold.

The event is just 30 minutes from packing up, and it feels kind of weird to be waiting for such a small portion of the comp. It felt especially weird yesterday when a lay day was called. But is it kind of cool, too? Like looking forward to a title fight, or a grand slam tennis final (Bobby would love)? We know the next time the event is called on it will be the final, and there will be a champion. We know that the next 30 minutes of comp surfing really matters. That's certainly an interesting and different take on the confusing mess that is following competitive surfing.

With the same line of thinking, if we up the stakes it gets really really fun. Think about this hypothetical: Imagine the World Title came down to one grand final heat at Pipeline, but we knew days in advance that it was down to two surfers and two surfers alone. Say, Mick and Kelly. And we had a week, no, a month to look forward to a proper sporting showdown. Wouldn't that be fun? No? Okay, yeah, let's leave it as is.

The Women's Fiji Pro reaches its last day of a limited waiting period today and so will have to run (perhaps it already has by the time you're reading this), before the Women's Championship Tour takes a two month break, picking up again at the US Open on July 31.

The men's side of the Fiji event begins on Sunday.

SEE ALSO: Weekend Surf Forecast 2 - 4 June

2. Laird Explains The Most Common Reason For A Shark Attack

Laird! What have you done?! Ahhh, did you guys see this? It's pretty great. Laird got interviewed by paparazzi site TMZ last week and was asked to donate some of his his legendary water man knowledge on the growing shark hysteria in the US, and everywhere else for that matter. After qualifying that shark bites are most often a case of mistaken identity, sharks thinking we're food/seals and not humans, Laird, straight out of left field, says:

“Biggest, most common reason to be bitten is a woman with her period, which people don’t even think about that. Obviously if a woman has her period then there’s a certain amount of blood in the water…”

Yes, Laird! Thank you, thank you for lighting up the Internet with this amazing statement. The quickest of Googles of various scientific research into not just whether or not period blood attacts sharks, but whether human blood attracts sharks anyway, or how much actual regular blood is in a period, reveals immediately that there is bugger all legitimacy to this claim. But you don't even need to do that to work out the lunacy of this call by our Laird and saviour, you just have to look at the idea that it is the "most common reason to be bitten" by a shark. The most common! Which just statistically can not be possible, right? How many surfers have been bitten by sharks in the past ten years? And how many of them have been men and how many of them have been women? By sheer weight of numbers in the breakdown of surfers by gender, there is just no way that this could be the "most common reason".

Anyway, it's sure been a fun week. Surfing World's Danny Johnson might have summed it best on our latest episode of The Dooley when he said: 

“There’s so many shark scientists out there trying to find the answers and there’s so many variables and it seems like this impossible thing – to find out why there’s been this increase in shark attacks – but we could have just asked Laird the whole time!”

3. Speaking Of Fiji... Jules & Ando Are Back

After the release of Jwayward earlier this year, Red Bull have released the B-sides. There is nothing b-rate about this clips in comparison to what the girls were served up for their event. See above. 

4. Connor O'Leary In Fiji

Everyone’s favourite Championship Tour rookie, Mr. Connor O’Leary, recently went on a strike mission to Fiji to score pumping waves and to get some experience at the famed Cloudbreak and Restaurants line-ups before the comp gets started there this week. The underground Cronulla goofy doesn’t look too shabby out there neither. And his mate, Zac Wightman, has got a neat hook on him too, doesn’t he? All in all, it’s a bloody ripper of a cip with some classic Joy Division on the sountrack making it even more nice.

SEE ALSO: Bali Indonesia Forecast 31 May - 10 June

5. Oscar Langburne and Tom Carroll

Come meet Oscar Langburne. He’s a 14 year old goofy-footed Central Coast surfer who looks like he could be the heir to Craig Anderson’s style throne. Makes sense then that little Oscar recently got a bunch of stickers and t-shirts from Ando and Dane Reynolds’ new brand Former, adding the kid to their small but crazy high-profile team.

Oscar also rides for young and dynamic shaper Max Stewart and his board brand Eye-Symmetry, which brings us this beautiful, albeit long, clip where Oscar surf trips through cold New Zealand with the legendary and still so very good two time World Champ, Tom Carroll, also on the Eye-Symmetry program. Loving that modern Nick Cave track in the middle here too.

6. Jay Davies Teases Native Again

This is the second teaser we’ve been given in as many weeks for Jay Davies upcoming RVCA short film that’ll be premiering at a bunch of North American surf shops by the end of next week, and hopefully will be downloadable by then too. Hopefully, because it looks really good. Davies has had the knack for starring in and being a part of the world's best surf clips for a bunch of years now, so to see something a little more significant centred just on him could deliver something really special. Can’t wait.

SEE ALSO: Nick Carroll On: Sharks and Jetskis, The Issues On The Table

7. Albee Layer In Fiji

It’s all Cloudbreak this week! Maui star Albee Layer has a big wave documentary called Nervous Laughter, and apparently this is some of the deleted footage from the project, taken and edited into a seven minute high impact Cloudbreak tube fest. It also features Kai Barger, Billy Kemper, Dege O’Connell and the worst Drake cover you’ve ever heard. No more Drake covers!

8. R.I.P. John Severson

We lost an icon and trailblazer of our culture of surfing this week when John Severson passed in his sleep, aged 83. Severson was the founder, and original editor, of the legendary Surfer Magazine, which he started, just like Bob Evans did with Surfing World in Australia two years later, as a promotional print arm to his body of work as a surf filmmaker in 1960. You could write endlessly about how Surfer – which predates Rolling Stone and many other important counter cultural totems – and thus Severson has influenced and shaped not just surf culture, but magazine and pop culture at large. However the below video from the 2011 Surfer Poll, where Severson received a lifetime achievement award, pays tribute to him and his legacy better than words on a white screen ever could.

VIDEO: 4 World Champions In One Freesurf

9. Occy's New Wave Pool

If a week passes in the surf world, and there isn’t some sort of wave pool news, did the week even really happen? Would time really exist? Would the world be further proved to just be a digital simulation? Thankfully, we don’t need to search within ourselves for the answers to these dreaded existential questions because, yes, there is wave pool news this week. Of course there is. And the news is that there is a new wave pool company with a pool already on the way to construction somewhere north of Brisbane. It’s called Surf Lakes, and the kicker is that the great Mark Occhilupo is signed on in some sort of promotional ambassador role, with one of the breaks in the pool to be named Occy’s Peak. “But first the company needs more money,” ends the Channel 7 news segment on the matter. Don’t we all, Channel 7, don’t we all?

10. Caribbean Guy + RVCA

I want to go to the Caribbean and speak French and surf fun beach breaks and meet RVCA Europe’s new “ambassador” (which probably means he’s a good surfer, but not good enough to be an official team rider, right? Is that how that works?) Erwin Bliss, from Guadeloupe, which is technically part of France. Erwin Bliss… is that the best new name in surfing? It has to be. Erwin Bliss.

SEE ALSO: Rip Up This Magazine, Surfing World Issue 386

10+. Pedro's Bay Trailer

Isn’t it nice that smaller surf brands like Vissla exist, and have rad team riders like Bryce Young and Derek Disney, and Brendon Gibbens, and that they feature them in exciting and off-beat and original surf movies like Pedro’s Bay here? This is only a short trailer, but damn I’m excited to see the whole thing. Bryce Young forever!

It premieres in Victoria, in Dromana of all places, on June 20 at Bass Surf, and then the following night in Torquay on June 21 at Strapper Surf, and will go online on June 28.

Bonus... A Double Dose of Podcasts

Ahh, podcasts... so good for listening to with your ears while your hands do other things, like preparing dinner, or cleaning the house. Here's the two latest from Lipped and The Dooley. Lipped this week gets a solid interview with World Champ Joel Parkinson, who has some pretty candid and choice things to say about the QS, which is gold. It's easily the best interview the Lipped lads have produced so far. While The Dooley, well, gee, the less said about this episode the better. There's always next week, though. Enjoy.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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