The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: accidents

Holy Hell. This is Why Giant Waves are the Greatest Show on Earth.

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That’s gonna hurt. In fact it might just kill you. A frozen moment of carnage at Jaws.
All frame grabs courtesy: World Surf League. 

Yesterday I had the honor of reporting on the the inaugural Big Wave World Tour Pe’ahi Invitational for Surfline.com. Holy hell. The. Most. Insane. Surf. Contest. Ever. Watching it live in my living room on, and wondering if Greg Long, Billy Kemper, Carlos Burle, Shane Dorian and a slew of other madmen were going to even survive this cerulean gladiator pit was a wild, stomach clenching ride – even from the safety of the couch.

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Shane Dorian. Will he make it? Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

At the end of the line, feel free to give my Surfline story a click, and comment on whether you agree with my prognostications, or whether I’m missing something altogether. — CD

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A view from the contest HQ. Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

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Maui Local Albee Layer. Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

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Helicopter Pilot Don Shearer gets his cameraman a drone’s eye view. Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

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The ski would end up a casualty of the wildest surf contest in history. Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

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Greg Long. Maybe the biggest wave ever paddled into at Pe’ahi. At least Jaws guru Dave Kalama thought so. Frame grab courtesy: World Surf League. 

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The Cocovore’s Fallacy. How a German Escapist’s Coconut Utopia Went to Hell in a Handbasket.

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“Man, how noble in reason…” – Hamlet. Photo courtesy of Christian Kracht, author of Imperium.

Did you ever read the book The Beach? The story of the turn-of-the-twentieth-century German nudist and ideologist August Engelhardt reads like a heinously nightmarish, psilocybin-riddled version of Alex Garland’s novel.

In the late 19th century, in the wake of the popularly published works of Darwin and Thoreau, many German youths were looking to get back into nature, a movement known as Lebensreform (Life Reform).

Some actually did. Unfortunately, in 1902, Alex Garland’s prophecy was not yet at the disposal of the young Engelhardt, a nudist and proponent of Lebensreform left Europe for the South Pacific island of Kabakon (now Papua New Guinea) with a library of books and an even more simplified idealogical approach: He was going to live on nothing but coconuts.

Engelhardt’s theory was that coconuts–how god-like they sit atop their skyward perch, how infinite in faculty–were a magical substance of divine provenance bearing all the sustenance a man needs; and if apes live on raw fruit, why shouldn’t we?

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Somewhere in Ireland, This Surfer’s Head Is Still Ringing.

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. . . and that’s on their way down. Screenshot from @the.surf.journal’s video below.

How this poor waverider isn’t severed symmetrically is beyond me, though I don’t think the same could be said for his surfboard.

Bitten by a Shark During Her First Ocean Swim, A Colorado Woman Vows to Go Back in the Water

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Screenshot ©GoFundMe/Fox 31 Denver’s video (below).

Before she ever set foot in the surf at Cocoa Beach, Florida, 28-year-old Colorado woman Jill Kruse, who was about to wade into the ocean for the very first time of her life, felt that something was going to go wrong.

Many of us have this sneaking premonition around the sea, but after a moment or two, the reality of the situation seems almost silly to acknowledge: you have a one-in-11.5-million chance of being bitten by a shark, according to the University of Florida’s “International Shark Attack File”. What are those chances on your very first time in the ocean?

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40 Years Ago Today, The Edmund Fitzgerald Sank with 29 Crew Aboard “When the Gales of November Came Early”

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Photo: AP/News Tribune files.

The Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot iron ore carrier broke up and sank with all 29 crew aboard in 80 mph winds and 25 foot seas approximately 17 miles off Whitefish Point, Michigan in Lake Superior forty years ago today.

Watch an early news report on the tragedy followed by Gordon Lightfoot’s 1976 ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which he wrote two weeks later after he felt that the ship and her crew had been dishonored by an NPR piece which misprinted the the vessel’s name:

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Lessons in Boating: So This Is Why My Father Told Me Never to Buy an Aluminum Boat.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Don’t ever buy an aluminum boat with rivets. This is never a good sight, but I must admit it evoked comical imagery from my Disney and Looney Toon-watching days. Word to the wise: A cork or partially chewed gum may work in the cartoons, but it most certainly does not work on an aluminum boat in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Owen James Burke.

I promised I’d buy myself something classic for my seaward adventures in New Zealand. Something wooden, open-sea-worthy. Timeless. Big sweeping lines with a tall, sheer bow, ready for any swell the South Seas might throw her way. Instead, I ended up with a small, leaky tin boat. I suppose I got what I had coming.

We used to call those “fizzies”, my dad replied when I wrote to report that I’d purchased an old aluminum boat.

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Yes, the entire deck of my poor, neglected skiff doubles as a livewell and petting tank. At least my mussels, abalone and sea urchins can stay fresh. Photo: Owen James Burke.

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More (Mis)Adventures in #Vanlife: No More Bananas Permitted Aboard Raw Paua.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

The first time I was old enough to begin my quasi-annual fly fishing trips with my Uncle Thom, I pulled a banana from my boat bag about an hour into our day’s outing. Within what felt like the blink of an eye, the once-bitten banana was out of my hand and drifting downstream past the boat.

I wish I could have seen the confusion smeared across face. I have no doubt that my uncle got a kick out of it.

He later brought to my attention the old angler’s adage: never take bananas aboard a boat. Why?

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. . . Here’s why. Photo: Owen James Burke.

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“This Is My Wilson”: A Canadian Man Survived Rapids and Whirlpools Clinging to a Crab Float and Jerry Cans for Hours off Vancouver Island

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Photo: CTV News.

“Kevin Strain is having difficulty deciding where he’ll hang the crab float he credits with saving his life,” the Vancouver Sun reports after Kevin Strain, who was not wearing a life jacket, remained alive and afloat for more than two hours thanks to a pair of 20-liter (6.6 gallon) fuel cans and a crab float to which he clung after the fishing vessel he was aboard struck a rock.

“This is my Wilson,” he told the Sun.

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