Taylor Steele: Saving those sharks

Alex Mitcheson
Talking Heads

By capturing surfing through the medium of film, Taylor Steele has played a pivotal role in the development and articulation of surf culture.

His name has been synonymous with surf filmmaking for the better part of three decades; from cutting his teeth in the early days on the North Shore of Hawaii with punk-fused, high-octane drenched vignettes of Kelly Slater, Dorian et al, before going on to the 2000s capturing the world’s best surfers in an admixture of pristine locations, evocative compositions, and captivating soundtracks — many would argue his works have been an underpinning to what we now see as the modern-day surf film.

What a lot of people don’t realise is in recent years the Californian has begun to focus his filmmaking energies on projects, and documentaries, he considers having a motivating message for viewers: A call to action for a better cause. Working alongside Mick Fanning on Wildark projects in Alaska and Africa has allowed the two to complement an already solid relationship; meaning the dynamic and personal bond the pair have is now going beyond the scope of just wave riding.

Airing this week on National Geographic is 'Save This Shark', a two-part documentary directed by Steele and starring Fanning as he goes on a personal mission to learn more about sharks and debunk common misconceptions. Could the timing be any more delicate, yet appropriate at the same time? The documentary and the issue of shark conversation will certainly divide some people, and whichever view you take on the issue of human/shark co-existence — knowledge should always help us to a better conclusion.

Alex Mitcheson had the opportunity to speak with Taylor on the release of 'Save This Shark' to learn more about his involvement, personal outcomes, and how he views co-existence between us and these oft-misunderstood creatures.

Swellnet: Hey Taylor, thanks for chatting. In honesty, it’s quite the honour for me as I’ve been a fan of your work for the last two decades.
Taylor Steele: (laughs) Awesome, right on. And no, thank you, I’m quite stoked to have a chat about this project.

Great. Firstly, how did 'Save This Shark' first come about?
About three years ago I was doing some work with This Film Studio. We were regularly talking about future stuff and what inspired us in the documentary space. We kind of stumbled across cricketer Kevin Pieterson and quickly became aware of his campaign and desire to help protect endangered rhinos in Africa. We ended up doing a two-part documentary with him titled 'Save This Rhino', and we realised how good a concept it was to bring in a sporting figure as an everyday person’s point of view to these complex subject matters, and ultimately bring awareness and tell the story.

The result of that project was I became passionate and was looking to do other ones.

And that’s where Mick comes in, right? 
Yeah. My relationship with Mick is long-standing and after he saw that one, he knew we could potentially do something cool and do his story justice. I know he had a lot of unanswered questions emotionally on how he might deal with sharks, and knowing what he stands for and his goals with conservation he was the perfect choice. It was always going to be powerful coming from him.

Mick and I have a pact also, whereby I don’t ask him to do something I wouldn’t do myself. With this in mind, he knew I was going to be right there beside him - I’m sure that was reassuring for him.

Relieved to resurface: Steele with 'Save This Shark' producer Michael Lawrence after diving with sharks in the Bahamas

Do you feel a project or documentary like this one has been long overdue?
I think so. It is hard though because there are a bunch of animals out there which are endangered that aren’t necessarily cute or cool, say for example vultures, but they are still really important to the ecosystems they are a part of. Sharks aren’t a rare animal, yet people will often play the fear card when we talk about sharks and that’s why their plight is a hard sell.

What lack of knowledge or misconceptions became evident for you from working on this documentary?
A tonne of stuff. The biggest thing was actually how cautious sharks are and how they are very protective of their eyes. In learning this I became quite confident they aren’t just attacking everything that moves, they do in fact study things for quite a while before engaging. As a surfer, this was comforting for me as you realise attacking surfboards is not what they want to do.

Another aspect was how each species of shark has a different emotional state, like a personality. Hammerhead sharks, in general, are quite sensitive and even get stressed quite easily, and the opposite is bull sharks who come across as quite resilient and durable. When you see these mannerisms clearly, it’s super inspiring. 

The world’s oceans have acted as your office for the best part of three decades, this said, as you’ve gotten older do you feel a sort of obligation to be involved in ocean conservation?
I certainly feel like I have to protect the ocean and do my part. For me, though, it doesn’t stem from my work but simply from all of the enjoyment I’ve had from it over the years. The lifestyle it’s afforded me is one I want to make sure my kids have a chance to enjoy as well.

What’s your opinion on the timing of 'Save This Shark' being released in Australia?
Look, the timing is not ideal in my eyes. Firstly, touching on what happened last week on the Gold Coast, it’s a terrible thing and it’s affected the local area, yet as surfers, I think those things touch every surfer worldwide. He was one of our brothers and one of our tribe for sure and I feel so bad for his family and friends.

On the other side of things this is not going to be great for sharks either. I think looking forward we have to be optimistic and remember we have and are developing technology to get ahead of these things. My biggest hope from this project is pushing towards ways we can live with these animals and avoid hurting one another.

// ALEX MITCHESON

'Save This Shark' airs on National Geographic on Foxtel, Fetch and Sky from 15 September.

Comments

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 12:46pm

Kevin Pietersen, the South African English cricketer!

Yassus, bru!

Shot!

Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 1:44pm

Saving Sharks is Dumb.
Why, global human over population has fished out the oceans. So sharks have less food and are moving close to shore.

Sharks have no predators and so they are NOT declining as fish numbers are.

Saving sharks creates a distortion in nature - there are too many of them now and more and more big sharks will be in swimming areas.

Unless sophisticated side scan radar systems are installed. Many trials have failed for various reasons and cost.

As we cull numerous wild animals, birds etc for conservation reasons, Sharks need culling,

RogersSam's picture
RogersSam's picture
RogersSam commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:19pm

finally someone out there telling it how it is!

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:47pm

Where are you champs in the comments on that other shark story Diving into the Food Chain?

Get over there toot sweet and let rip!

Yew!

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:56pm
Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:02pm

Shark numbers are being reported for years by local and Ozzie fisherman as being on a large increase,

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:03pm

Bit of basic science Logical.
http://resources.hwb.wales.gov.uk/VTC/env-sci/w26_id_pred.htm
Predator populations only go up when prey go up. What do you think they are eating to suddenly go up in population? I don't think the odd human really adds up.
Sure protection will be influencing how many are around but essentially we are the unnatural predators in that relationship. Actually lots of shark prey species are going up because we used to kill those too. This more correctly accounts for why there are more around.
Still we have the option of culling numbers and this depends on your politics and emotions around the issue but our culling or fishing at high levels is the more unnatural distortion from an ecosystem perspective. Shark numbers are probably getting back to what they used to be. Just before you remember it.

Just Floating's picture
Just Floating's picture
Just Floating commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 3:14pm

So, I'm not stating a case for or against a shark cull right here, I do have a question though. By the theory of evolution we all evolved from the same quagmire right? So how come in every conservation argument people are considered as the unnatural element? Maybe, by the theory of evolution our further advanced brain evolution (and you can't really argue that our brains aren't advanced on all the other animals - even if we can be immensely stupid) actually places in the perfect position to determine when the natural balance is out and we cull or not - much like a good farmer working a herd and their land.

Just a thought, I'm sick of being classed as the unnatural element though.

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 5:37pm

Fair point. We are by no means unnatural, and everything we do or make is as natural as anything else. With our big brains i do feel like we have a duty of care to respect and look after the ecological systems which make our world a beautiful and fascinating place to live. In a lot of cases to my mind this means not pushing too hard into the ecosystems we didn't until relatively recently have a major impact on. On a bigger picture level however, regardless of whether we manage to somehow kill ourselves off in some way I'm sure the Earth will come up with some awesome new iteration of life.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 10:08pm

Big call assuming our brains are more advanced than all other animals. Considering a shark alone has 7 senses, maybe, just maybe, they, and other creatures who are in rhythm with nature know a thing or two more than us humans...or maybe us humans have been so conditioned in this current state of bullshit that we've completely lost sight and feel of all that's natural.
One more point. At the general meeting of Great White Sharks, 2005, a motion was put forward by a White Pointer to allow humans into the ocean, and to let them be safe. There was a 60-40 majority against allowing that to happen. The general consensus was, that no, while that would be nice for the humans, floating around on their little waves having a blast, this was their home, this was their domain and their kingdom and their place to survive...dog eat dog...shark eat shark if you like...etc. It was nothing personal but fuck, sharks gotta do what a sharks gotta do to get by. So the movement was rejected, much to the disgust of some non sharks. See, apparently, if you enter the sharks domain, as a non ocean native...the shark.. it's rightful place, it's place it has no choice to be, and it's place it needs to be to survive, then you immediately cancel your goodwill certificate because, fuck, it's the foodchain. This is the ocean. It's not a place for us to get our instagram clips, perfect our cutbacks, get 10 second tubes with no consequences....its the ocean. We enter an alien environment that is ruled by alien creatures. Really, if you don't accept that, step out. WE DON'T NEED TO BE THERE. IT'S NOT A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH FOR US. As nice as it is. And i like splashing about in the brine too, its really not important for us to be out there. We are so privelidged that we can even be out there in the first place.

Just Floating's picture
Just Floating's picture
Just Floating commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 12:45pm

Hmmm, well the science (granted, according to humans) is pretty clear on the brain thing. I'm actually not an evolutionist so it's a moot point for me, but don't really want to turn this into a theological debate. Me, if my daughter was to get taken by a shark, I wouldn't be after hunting it down and going for the revenge kill, but I'd sure as shit be wondering if we could've done something to prevent it. Honestly, I'm not pushing for a shark cull, I don't know the best answer but neither am I buying into the unnatural humans line either. I saw the discussion on the shark shield - maybe that's the answer. Boaties have to fork out for compulsory life jackets, maybe surfers should have to fork out for compulsory Shark Shields? In saying that, if we need to cull to make the ocean safe, I wouldn't cry out against it either.

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 4:07am

More wave parks please

Ajp

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 4:13am

And ban eating seafood too
And fishing and everything else that involves the ocean.. boats ships everything ... need to reverse hundred years or so of pollution killing sea grass etc too... yep.. humans are shit and you and I are ??? Shit

Ajp

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:03am

So using your same logic logical we should be culling humans.

Stan France

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 4:05am

COVID

Ajp

Rojosh's picture
Rojosh's picture
Rojosh commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 3:19am

Nailed it !!

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:59pm

The title of this article should be "gotta get that money" or "gotta milk that titty"

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 3:26pm

Interesting isn't it. Culling brumbies that are trampling native vegetation in the Alps, not allowed to kill sharks eating humans. Im not yet decided on the shark/human interaction solution but has anyone heard the logic behind the two contrasting approaches? Is it the "invasive animal" vs "natural" animal? There seems some confusion on the ethical front I reckon. Im not a fan of emotional policy decision making (we humans make terrible emotional decisions dressed up as rationality all too often) but I feel that one child taken soon and it will trigger a much more emotive policy response.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:05pm

17 year old female killed at Esperance in 2017 didn’t change much from memory.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 9:14pm

Valid point but I've got a feeling that if a kid gets taken on the Gold Coast there will be a vastly different response.

ken.vincent's picture
ken.vincent's picture
ken.vincent commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 9:50am

Horses are introduced vermin. Ditto Rabbits, Foxes, Rats & Mice, Camels, Pigs, Trout, Redfin ........... need I go on?.

Joff's picture
Joff's picture
Joff commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 3:38pm

How do we know sharks need saving when science still can't tell us how many there are? More re$earch required.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:22pm

Great just what we need more fuel added to the save the shark narrative, lets make Australia into one big Reunion island scenario.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:54pm

At Reunion offshore fishing forced the bull sharks in, then the bull sharks ate all the native reef sharks, then began attacking people. The ecosystem of the reefs was completely changed.

hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 1:29pm

Indo dreaming spoke to surfers from reunion last time I was in Mauritius. They all say the same thing that the government following the advice of the conservationists made all the reefs national parks. Since the bull sharks there have no predators they have bread out of control. I call it “over conservation”.

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 7:23pm

kill all sharks and turn them into fish en chips

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:03pm

They do have predators: themselves. Perhaps the protection order will backfire& they will proliferate to the point of eating each other to extinction

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:35pm

Are you talking about sharks or humans?

John Kimble's picture
John Kimble's picture
John Kimble commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:15pm

A hypothetical: If you know a murderer or someone with murderous tendencies lives next door to you, would you
A) say 'oh it's their territory, being murdered is just a risk we all take living here'
B) call the cops
C) make a docco
D) all of the above

Rojosh's picture
Rojosh's picture
Rojosh commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 3:22am

Hahahah epic

hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo's picture
hahnsolo commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 1:32pm

Right on!!!

greyhound's picture
greyhound's picture
greyhound commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:31pm

The debate will rage on forever.. no disrespect to those that have been taken but if you want a guarantee.. don’t go in the water.. most pleasures have a price...

Abmay's picture
Abmay's picture
Abmay commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:48pm

If we can't trust science what can we trust. The science is in and it stinks https://tinyurl.com/y3sus564
Chum chum chumeeeees there are koalas everywhere, dropbears in every fork, on every limb I tells ya. The sharks well they're on the decline, nary a tooth to be found.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 1:46pm

found the drop bear in the fossil record:

" Its pseudo-opposable thumb suggests that Thylacoleo may have also been at least partly scansorial (adapted for climbing)."

https://australian.museum/learn/animals/mammals/thylacoleo-carnifex/

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 7:08am

I expect very, very, very little from this.

Bit of science lite smothered in touchy-feely motherhood statements about how misunderstood the white shark is and it's blah, blah, blah.

I did cock an eyebrow at this statement: "I certainly feel like I have to protect the ocean and do my part. For me, though, it doesn’t stem from my work but simply from all of the enjoyment I’ve had from it over the years. The lifestyle it’s afforded me is one I want to make sure my kids have a chance to enjoy as well".

And wondered if Steele had considered the ramifications of increasing white shark numbers on the enjoyment of this lifestyle and future kids enjoying it.
Noted that Steele no longer lives in Byron- too sharky for his kids?
Also lots less kids already out there due to shark numbers.

An ethical question that I very much doubt the doco would address, let alone wrestle with in any meaningful fashion.

Is that an over-dramatisation?

I dunno, maybe, but when you see strings of actual real-time data like this and the chief scientist responsible for parsing the info claims that these pings could all be separate sharks it does make you wonder.
East coast surfers could be moving into an ecosystem where the apex predator has been the dolphin to one where the apex predator is now the white shark and that will have effects. It is now.

The data: DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 06:18:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020
1

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 06:10:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 06:02:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 05:52:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 05:46:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 05:38:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

SharkSmart
@NSWSharkSmart
·
Sep 18
DPI Fisheries advise: tagged white shark detected by Lighthouse Beach, Ballina receiver at 05:32:00 AM (AEST) on 18-Sep-2020

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:54am

Agree and your quoting Ballina....well if they are all different sharks pinging then as you scroll down thru a 24 hour period across the north coast its similar at port and south west rocks.....so does this mean we have a plague of white sharks forming.....not looking good for the future of surfing if this is the case.

simba

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 8:55pm

Agree on your indictment of the doco. It’s just feel good baloney dressed up in the latest trendy ethical cause to burnish the filmmaker’s and his crew’s social media reputation. While that’s probably a bit harsh and I too am interested in shark psychology (though I already knew they were cautious and protective of their eyes because they can’t afford to get injured) I think it’s just a little bit off when the human tragedies and near misses are seriously mounting up. And that’s WITH the NSW Government’s massive spending rollout post-2015 attacks. One question though - I’ve often wondered if the repeated pings aren’t just the same shark swimming back and forth in and out of range of the listening station? I know each shark has a unique ID because they are tracked with the satellite tags. But do the acoustic tags have an individual ID that is published by the DPI so we can ascertain if it is one or many?

Thor-Zone's picture
Thor-Zone's picture
Thor-Zone commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:24am

It is not a complicated question. Do you prioritise sharks or people? As the human population of Australia increases, and more and more people are going to the beach, and as the shark population increases, there are going to be more and more tragedies as time goes on. A choice must be made to support people in the water or leave them to the sharks.

Yippee's picture
Yippee's picture
Yippee commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:29am

Well said Thor. And crikey I am sick of hearing “more chance of being killed by a bee sting” what b.s. My answer to them is YOU have more chance of being killed by a bee sting, cause you are a landlubber, my community is in the water where the sharks are. My community have already suffered many attacks and violent deaths by shark attack. It’s time the non surfing public showed some compassion to our group, and the increased threat we face.

Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:28am

Ocean Ramsey.
What are people's thoughts about her?

She's got a digital course now on shark behaviour and safety. https://www.theinertia.com/environment/ocean-ramsey-wants-to-teach-you-e...

Here she swims with other people around a whale carcass that apparently the sharks have satiated themselves on.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/10725478

It would be interesting to get her thoughts on the attacks in Aus, even better if she posted on here and chatted to people who've had dangerous encounters.

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 5:30pm

The sharks she chooses are pregnant and like all pregnant woman the last thing on their minds is dinner, they just want a cup of chai and a back/fin rub.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:42am

$149 for the course.

excuse my cynical heart, but cashing in on this seems a bit mercenary.

If she genuinely has info to share then lets hear it.

Maddy (pip) Stewart has compiled a free guide here: https://www.surfingguidetosharks.com/the-guide

personally I think it's full of misinformation, but your mileage may vary.

Patrick's picture
Patrick's picture
Patrick commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:51am

I don't know much about sharks & their behaviour and thankfully haven't had an encounter in 35 years of surfing.

Is there something in her swimming with them safely in deep ocean whereas surfers get attacked in relatively shallow water?

Reading Ramsey's guide on what to do during an encounter (it's on one of her posts somewhere) she makes it sound almost breezy to deter a shark. Far cry from some of the stories on the other thread.

Edit* just realised it's probably to do with her behaviour in the water... she talks about how to act like a predator species.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:57pm

Maddy's guide:

Water temp:

"“White sharks come in shore when the water surface temperature is about 18 degrees, and there hasn’t been an attack in WA when the temperature wasn’t 20 or below,”. Cold-water upwelling’s carrying nutrients and allowing great whites to push furthest inshore could be the sole factor for grouped shark attacks in WA."

-ok, cold water and attacks, double negative used but that's ok, got it. Then:

"Increasingly warm waters around the globe due to climate change and El Niño can also effect sharks, it’s suggested to have led to the highest number of shark attacks ever recorded in 2015, this is due to greater interactions between humans and sharks in the water, and temperature changes allowing sharks to coexist in closer proximity to humans. "

OK, warm water and attacks correlation, got it. Hang on, wtf

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 3:55am

More sharks... a lot more people in the ocean .... more accidents...
Mistakin identity. If sharks liked humans as food I think fatal attacks would occur every 3 minutes world wide ??

Ajp

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 1:27pm

Save the sharks from what?? Ive heard a lot of poeple saying this lately but when asked they dont know wht they are saving them from ..there not comercially fished ...fin trade doesnt happy anymore in australia ...Flake is mostly gummy shark small bronzies etc the big sharks are inedible and who the fuk can land a 500 kg animal anyway whites are protected so no weekend warriors are killin em ..they have plenty to eat with whales everywhere ..marine parks up an down the coast ...the queensland ..nsw government are the only poeple netting and drum linning and there not putting a dent in em ....where is the threat we are saving them from other than a bull or white getting a wettie stuck in its throat ...have a talk to any trawler operators up and down the QLD ...NSW coast ask em haw many there seeing last few yrs or recreational and commercial line fisherman in the great barrier reef area ...fkn things are eating 50 % of the fish you hook ...save the surfer is more apropriate

Pastmypeak

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 8:58pm

Right on!

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 5:12pm

Won't be long until 'Jaws' gets a PC makeover ,
"What if Jaws was a Disney movie?" .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr1pFnJj6H0

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 7:07pm

that's worth posting over in the new surf drama thread, excellent plot!

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 3:44pm

So what if he doesn't eat fish, so what if he likes to dress like a dolphin..so what..

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 9:00pm

Hilarious!!

roondog's picture
roondog's picture
roondog commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:18pm

any t shirts, stickers and trucker caps available ? - WANKFEST

The Fire's picture
The Fire's picture
The Fire commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 9:56pm

Yeah lets get rid of millions of years worth of evolution just so a few people can feel safe in the ocean for a couple hours.

Talk about cancel culture..

Peace

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 9:03pm

Hardly. No one wants to eliminate all the risk (a la COVID) at the expense of an ecosystem. But there has to be a balance. Right now, do you think the system in in balance? Do you really think surfing as a recreational pastime would even have happened if there were three FATAL attacks every year on a 230km stretch of coastline?

Rojosh's picture
Rojosh's picture
Rojosh commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 10:27am

Funny how all the “don’t cull” comments and it’s “there home” arguments have dropped right off since the last attack

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 12:41pm

Fuk every body is prepared to clear native bush areas so they can buiĺd a nice house .... work in mines that trash the enviroment and drive cars on roads thats cleared more scrub displacing animals .... eat shit thats grown in cages or pens pumped full of growth hormones ....we al do it but somehow culling a few sharks is an issue ....wonder how theyd react if a family member gets taken ....fuks me i think its all a bit hipocritical ...no body wants to eradicate the fkn things ...but there has been a major explosion in numbers which will remain or increase for a long time yet ...we arent talking about being attacked in a far away remote wilderness..the shits happening in metro areas .....if it was dingoes in the street they would be culled ...

Pastmypeak

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 8:29am

I have no problems with some targeted culling given the obvious (to all but the scientists...) population boom in GWS. But in practice it is a bit more complex.
If they tended to mostly have local territories (it seems some do) it would be simpler to have an impact on safety with a measured approach. But with the migration patterns meaning many are just travelers, with no fixed abode, you would probably have to do something major to significantly improve general safety across the eastern coast. I can't see that happening unless there is a Reunion style behavioural shift making swimming or surfing in the "safer" places such as the GC or Sydney so dangerous that the general public are almost in a state of shock.

In the next decade that scenario is possible as apex predators tend to become bolder and more aggressive with higher population densities and more competition for food.

A less frequent attack here and there might ruin your fun and slowly empty the surf in certain areas but will be blamed on the victims.

But, in the meantime, as we watch and wait, it is really every man, woman and child for themselves. And that includes not just experienced surfers. It also includes ocean swimmers, between the flags splashers, casual dippers, kiddies body boarding in the shorebreak, kayakers, snorkelers, divers, triathletes and feet danglers - particularly given so many GWS are hanging out in very shallow water.

For surfers regularly venturing outside the safer zones for long surf sessions and parents of such where the risk equation is nudging too high for comfort, waiting for someone to do something is not going to help you over the next 5 years or so. You have to work out your own solution(s).

Aside from the range of risk lowering approaches we all know, the shark shields may be your best bet. I know the reduction of bite on bait in the testing was less than ideal (down from 90% to 40% or something like that). But the research found the average distance to bait kept was greater and the number of approaches made before a bite (indicating hesitancy) was many times more on average with the shield active than without. Given the bait was tasty and smell fish with repeated passes made to entice action, one would think the shield would be much more effective in practice in all but explosive breach stealth attacks than the research suggested.

If a serious investigation or move to attack by a GWS in a riskier spot for you personally was even say a once in 300 event and the shield was 90% effective at discouraging such an event becoming a full attack your odds become so much much lower (roughly one in 3000) and peace of mind many times higher.

From what I have read vibrations have a far bigger role in attracting sharks from long distances than electric impulses and so it appears that concern may be less an issue than many think. Your paddle stroke, wipe out splash into the deep channel, any leg kicking or maybe even just a fin hum could bring them in from a kilometre away for a look more so than the electric impulse. That remains something to research more. I don't have one but if I lived in north NSW or WA and surfed a lot, I might.

Frogg

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 4:38pm

I'm certainly thinking about it but it ain't cheap.

Looks like over 500 for the kit and then around 200 for the kit for extra boards.

To fit me and the fam out would come in well north of 2 and half grand.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 8:26am

My kids don't surf. But I have thought about the scenario of being a parent of surfers and know that the possibility of such a major injury or a loss in such circumstances with the associated guilt , the blame (wife saying "you got them into surfing..." "You wouldn't spend a few thousand..." ) would blow my world apart.

If my kids surfed in the risker zones I would spend the money in a heart beat.

Frogg

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 6:09pm

I have been using the RPELA shark deterrant for more than 5 yrs as a commrcial fisherman ive seen the increase in shark numbers and decided to put them in all my boards im really suprissed how few poeple have put them ...i dont think its a fail safe but it does lower the risk especially if you want to escape the crowds ....personally i think they are well worth the money

Pastmypeak

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 5:33am

Seems that the GWS #'s are definitely on the increase inshore where most recreational activities occur in the ocean. A mate who witnessed a 4.5 m GWS attack in 2016 (the guy survived by some miracle) invested in a REPELA & was sent in from a local reef break after the other surfers told him they actually attract the sharks who come in to investigate the signal given off, he took it back & got his money back! We had a drum line trial here over a 6 mnth period recently which tagged heaps of GWS juvenile & young adults, however the bigger GWS (bigger than 3.5m) didn't seem interested in taking the baits. Data collected in the trial revealed that 90% of those that were tagged & released left the area they were tagged in & I can back this up from personal experience after a 3,5 m GWS was tagged @ my local( after it had been hanging around for a couple of weeks) released & was not seen there again. So maybe the smart drum lines are the answer for the immediate future until humans come up with a better solution to our increasing interactions with the top predator in the ocean we surf in. Personally I am a lot more cautious when surfing now & selective about the prevailing conditions I now go surfing in but I'm still surfing!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 5:44am

so you need to get the Rpela routed into the boards?

DudeSweetDudeSweet's picture
DudeSweetDudeSweet's picture
DudeSweetDudeSweet commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 6:56am

There’s a fella who does POV surfing from Reunion Island on YouTube who’s got one inserted into his board . Doesn’t seem to slow down his surfing even in small waves.

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 9:34am

As far as RPELLA atracting sharks that is just bullshit ...ive surfed and lived in the west coast of VIC on my own plenty of times and south west WA over the last 5 yrs using the device theres plenty of RPELLA units out there in oz ..south africa and the reunion islands ...human vibrations paddling splashing etc atracts sharks the oil smell of our skin even pissin in your wetsuit is a scent !! the shark deterant are designed to interupt those shark recepters so it makes it harder to detect you and if they get close to make it uncomftable enough to turn the shark away ..the more poeple in the line up with em the better and safer youl be in my opinion...ive seen how these work behind my trawler and line fishing boat while the sharks are feeding not GWS as to far north fot them but bulls ...bronzies up to 10 ft ..they dont like it and fuk of when you put in the water with em ...again i dont think it would stop an agitated GWS or big BULL in full flight if they decided you where dinner but most times they have a look first thats when they help ..ive no finnancial interest in the device but i rate it ..it is designed by a surfer to make it safer for them to surf especially when you live and surf in south west WA its cost him shit loads with nothing but red tape from the government and fuk all support from australian surfers .....chk out the RPELLA website or ring the bloke and have a chat to him he is a life long surfer and shaper in WA and his kids surf in WA ....and the hold back from a lot of poeple is they will effect performance ??? Fuk me they weigh fuk all your leg rope would effect performace more....and once installed there idiot proof !!

Pastmypeak

ozracer's picture
ozracer's picture
ozracer commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 1:47pm

I'm not a fan of killing sharks across the board, in fact I happen to like the reef and other non-aggressive shark species and dislike the practice of de-finning purely for soup and unsupported health benefits in some countries. My issue is human meddling in the protection of the gws and which has now resulted in an imbalance. There are many who probably welcome the rise and rise in gws numbers back to pre colonisation times, not unlike croc numbers in the north of the country. Time to trial other deterents as the gws does seem to fear the Orca and who may respond to other methods of fear where they sense threat. At present the gws has no fear of passive scientific methods and so a trial where a few are sacrificed in certain high risk areas and left to decompose offshore to monitor the behaviour of remaining gws would be interesting. At the very least, it will have been trialled which is more than what is occurring at present.

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 3:52pm

@ Shaun Hanson - Thanks for sharing your experience/review. Pretty interesting.

Just curious, do you also have Shark Eyes stickers on your boards?

Pristine

Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson's picture
Shaun Hanson commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 6:20pm

No i dont have eyes or stripes... in my commercial fishing experience i dont think it makes any difference ....i have 7 or 8 boards and all have RPELA housings in em ...

Pastmypeak

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:31pm

Interesting. Thanks for the reply mate. Cheers.

Pristine

Peter Russell's picture
Peter Russell's picture
Peter Russell commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 4:06pm

A few years ago in the Ballina Shire a GWS was caught on a smart drumline, tagged No. 37 and released to later return to attack a surfer on the same coastline! I think ozracer is onto something with experimenting on an Orca deterrent. They just love scaring the shit out of GWS enjoying their livers as a delicacy.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 5:02pm

Same shark,Is that true? No reason why it couldnt be. Might be hard to implement an Orca themed deterant; they have tried KillerWhale audio broadcasts but surprisingly it had no effect on GWS behavior. Get used to it; the most likely thing to happen is NSW govt will subsidize SharkShields.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:35pm

I was thinking about the eyes.

if you look at shallow water approaches, it seems the shark is too acute of an angle to see the bottom of the board.

the eyes would have to be on the legs, down the bottom maybe, printed on the wetsuit?

maybe that might deter that leg bite they seem so fond of?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:55pm
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 8:25pm

What about eye on a side fin

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 7:50pm

"if you look at shallow water approaches, it seems the shark is too acute of an angle to see the bottom of the board."

That's probably true in very shallow water but it doesn't have to be very deep for a smaller shark, that could still do serious damage, to make its way underneath if it wanted to I reckon. I'd say that 99% of my surfing is done in water easily deep enough hence why I use them on all my boards. For a cheap, hassle free potential deterrent, why not. Definitely going to look into Rpella going forward too.

Pristine

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 8:02pm

380 dead pilot whales in Tassie doesn't rate a mention on swellnet but the prospect of culling a few GWS or hanging a couple of dead ones off a buoy near high density surf zones sends the internet into meltdown. We are such a bunch of procrastinating hypocrites it's no wonder we are getting the current number of attacks.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020 at 8:28pm

Yep the poor pilot whales... Macquarie harbour is very interesting as the tides in there are driven by atmospheric pressure (imagine a big bag of water and pushing down on it/releasing) - which might make rescue harder.

Some washed up on Ocean beach (iirc name) nearby - the time I got there I looked around for a local surfer to join in the water (apparently there were 6 on the coast) and there was a 14ft tiger shark fished off the beach the week before...

Just Floating's picture
Just Floating's picture
Just Floating commented Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 at 12:52pm

Shark Eyes, get 'em tattooed on the outside of your lower legs for summer surfing and sewn into your wettie for winter surfing, hehe, easy and long lasting.

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 3:24am

Nature...... survival of the fittest
Humans..... are shit
But.... we’re winning!!!!! Lol
Also.. cage diving with sharks... from a sharks view.. they not stupid and probably getting annoyed about slow seals in cages they can’t get into easily. If it isn’t associating us with food to them..
We can now ban cages and see how that ‘pans’ out ! We should leave them be and their prey and simply stay outta their way. When schools are on the move, move yourself outta there..
More wave parks would be a solution
Solutions are good huh

Ajp

Polly2's picture
Polly2's picture
Polly2 commented Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 3:24am

Nature...... survival of the fittest
Humans..... are shit
But.... we’re winning!!!!! Lol
Also.. cage diving with sharks... from a sharks view.. they not stupid and probably getting annoyed about slow seals in cages they can’t get into easily. If it isn’t associating us with food to them..
We can now ban cages and see how that ‘pans’ out ! We should leave them be and their prey and simply stay outta their way. When schools are on the move, move yourself outta there..
More wave parks would be a solution
Solutions are good huh

Ajp