Category: Surfing

Ocean Conservation for Surfers: Why Care about Healthy Oceans?

I recently attended a conference sponsored by the European Association of Surfing Doctors; a group of surfers that are also medical doctors and health practitioners. Held near Biarritz in the beautiful Basque region of southern France I was tasked with telling the group why they should care about a healthy ocean and what they can do about it.…

My Life in Surf Boards

The surf board is an essential part of a surfer’s interaction with waves. Some might say it is the spiritual connection between the surfer and Mother Nature. The size, shape, and style of the board reflects both the surfer’s personality and approach to wave riding as well as the trends in board styles and design over…

Shark Attacks and the Surfer’s Dilemma: Cull or Conserve?

Sharks are frequently in the headlines these days as a series of attacks across the globe has turned Shark Week into Shark Year. With an unusual number of publicized attacks on the US eastern seaboard, Reunion Island, Australia and in South Africa, hardly a week goes by where the media or local politicians don’t cry out for action to increase the…

Dr. Abalone’s Field Guide to the Six Species of Surfers

After traveling the world these last four decades searching for interesting creatures and critters, I, Dr Abalone, have discovered a consistent pattern among the creatures that inhabit the waves and beaches of the known planet called surfers. Based on my observations, which are herein described, I propose the identification of six species of surfers, each with distinct behavioral…

Surfing Bali in the 1970s

Bali, 1978. A distant memory, more like a dream. In my mind a mystical blend of a stunningly beautiful island, my youth, an exotic culture, and the most awesome waves in the world, all in a haze of magic mushrooms. I was 20 and visiting my parents stationed in the Philippines, Subic Bay. My older brother Craig told me…

Aiming for the Ultimate: Riding the Tube

The first thing that got my attention was how the noise of the crashing wave suddenly went silent. … Another interesting aspect was how everything seemed to slow down. This slow motion sensation, combined with the silence, had me wondering whether I had entered a different world from the one outside the tube. The most…

What Lies Beneath: the Waves, Reef and Marine Life of Maverick’s

The wave at Maverick’s is unique in many ways: its location, the geology and geomorphology of the reef, and the massive swells that surfers ride. In many ways Maverick’s allure is the story of its reef, which is legendary for creating both a perfect large wave and a reef seemingly designed to punish those attempting to ride it . As if the reef and wave weren’t enough you can add the fact that great white sharks frequent the area and occasionally clear the lineup with their presence. In the early days, before it became popular, surfers knew it would eventually kill people with its strong currents, long period swells, 10-15 wave sets and multi-layered inner reef full of valleys, holes and crevasses leading into a boneyard of exposed, jagged rocks. And it has.