The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Month: November, 2014

Life in Salt: Jackson English, Paddleboard Champion and 2014 SurfAid Humanitarian of the Year


Photo Courtesy: Jackson English

Perspective is lost on many a modern day surfer: from the moment we’re out the door and in the shuttle to the airport, we can become preoccupied with hotel check-ins, surf reports, and scheduling around those surf reports. Scrupulous diligence is often required to catch “the wave” — the one on which a surfer can ruminate from their office desk until their next vacation, 6, 8, or 12 months out. This leaves precious little time and attention to acknowledge other conditions existing in the places we are traveling so far to surf. Many of these places are considered to be part of the underdeveloped, or third world (Indonesia, Central America, Africa, etc.), and wholly desperate for the things we are accustomed to having — or not having, as the case may be — ever-ready at our disposal. Maybe we take a mental image or snap a photograph of some haunting case of poverty we can’t even begin to grasp. We get home, upload the photograph, and stare at it for a moment, pledging quietly to ourselves that next time, we’ll do something about it. But a cold winter or 6, 8, or 12 waveless months go by, and we’re foaming at the mouth, chafing at the bit with nothing but the thought of putting ourselves into that perfect wave, which we somehow missed in the previous year.

Then there maybe comes a time, with any hope, when we become resolute to give aid to people in these desperate conditions, unthinkable to so many of us. Maybe it takes witnessing something so horrific, so saddening that it digs as deep as it has to until some circuitry is blown and we have to do something about it. Then maybe, we simply realize that we are able to help, and that taking simple actions before our trip even begins — which won’t bring down our precious wave count on that one vacation week a year — can make all the difference. This was the lightbulb that went off in the mind and soul of waterman, teacher and father of three, Jackson English, SurfAid’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award recipient.

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Photo Courtesy: Jackson English

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A Biodegradable Fishing Net with a Tracking Device Could Help Fishermen Find and Repair Ghost Nets


(Photo: Alejandro Plasencia & Co.)

A biodegradable fishing net sounds counterintuitive, but the Remora System, designed by Alejandro Plasencia, is built to expire in four years’ time, which, as far as fishing nets are made to last, is time enough.

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Japan’s Aphrodisiac, Freediving Women of the Sea


(Photo: Fosco Maraini)

Poetry dating as far back as 750 A.D. tells of a bold and dauntless group of Japanese women designated as the country’s huntresses of the deep. The Ama (“women of the sea”) would spend their days diving to depths of 30 feet and holding their breaths for two minutes at a time in search of abalone, seaweed and other shellfish, all in uncomfortably brisk waters, unclothed.

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Talking Doc’s Story. New York Times Conversations with the Paskowitz Family. Episode One: Izzy Speaks.

Editor’s Note.

This past Sunday, The New York Times published an obituary I wrote on Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz. The story was largely based on interviews with six of the nine kids Doc bore with his loving wife Juliette. The final NYT article came in at around 900 words, but anyone who’s ever seen the film Surfwise, or spent time talking with the Paskowitz clan, knows that the story of the mercurial Doc Paskowitz and his family goes way, way deeper than 900 words. In fact, after I’d finished my last interview, I had a count of around 10,000 words – and believe me, the talking story could have gone on far, far beyond that.


Doc and the Kids at San Onofre. Photo Courtesy: The Paskowitz Family.

If anything became crystal clear during those conversations, it’s this simple fact: Each of the Paskowitz kids has had his – or her – own very unique experience growing up in Doc’s formidable shadow. And each one has his – or her – own opinions on Doc Paskowitz and the sprawling, fascinating, troubled, brilliant and iconic family he spawned. Leading up to the December 13 Paddle Out for Doc in San Clemente, TheScuttle will publish outtakes from my conversations with six of Doc’s kids.

Taking a random approach, what say we start with child number four: The founder of Surfer’s Healing and former Longboard World Champion, Israel Paskowitz, age 51. — CD


Doc, Israel, and Izzy’s Autistic Son Isaiah – the Spark for Surfer’s Healing. Photo Courtesy: the Paskowitz Family.

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To Catch (and Eat) a Herd of Lionfish


Photo by Norbert Wu Productions

One of the worst invasive species in the entire ocean is the lionfish. Coveted as pretty aquarium fish, the lionfish has proven fatal to reef fish around the world when in the late 80’s some schmuck (or schumcks), released this poisonous Indo-Pacific native into the wild.

Lionfish have thus spread like locusts and can devour nearly 80% of a reef’s juvenile fish population within weeks of their arrival. With no natural predators, an ability to eat almost anything and live happily across a range of habitats; combined with a crazy high reproductive output (females can release 2 million eggs per year), there is virtually no end in sight to their population explosion. That is, unless you eat them.

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Wish You Lived Here: Hotelier Conrad Hilton’s Beached Houseboat, Islamorada, Florida


(Photo: Sotheby’s Realty)

This 1948 Chris Craft houseboat built for baron hotelier Conrad Hilton and frequented by President Truman is on the market.

The Bay Bourne Houseboat was originally built for hotelier Conrad Hilton in 1948, and for years she sat alongside the famous Cheeca Lodge, a fly fishing mecca, while President Harry S. Truman composed much of The Truman Letters. Now she’s on the market.

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Here Are a Few Tasty Ways to Relieve Your Wallet, and The Sea


(Illustration by Laszlo Kubinyi/Garden & Gun)

Seafood stocks are in decline, marine scientists are concluding, and whether or not your interest is in the lushness of your pockets or the sea, it’s high-time to start passing on the tuna tartare (which may just be the single-most over-served, boring seafood dish on the planet). Here are a few fish to consider going forward which will not only please your wallet, but your palate, too.

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The Black Seadevil Anglerfish, Filmed for the First Time by MBARI

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Above: A rare glimpse of a deep sea anglerfish, alive and well. Screenshot: MBARI footage

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) ROV Doc Ricketts this 9cm specimen captured nearly 2,000 feet (600 meters) into the depths of the Monterey Canyon to be the first Black Seadevil (Melanocetus) ever filmed alive and at depth. Believe it or not, this gruesome and voracious beast is a female. Any takers, gentlemen?

Watch the footage captured by MBARI’s ROV here:

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