Tag Archives: Kelly Slater

Bite Me!

As you all know, Murphy is our correspondent for all things beachy in Southern California. Well, I must say the post he sent over was nothing less than a bunch of chicken scratch! It was all I could do to decipher what he had written. Yet, I think I was able to translate his unique Pelican language into something we could all comprehend. At least, I hope I did.

Enjoy everyone!

Is it just me or have you noticed an increase in shark sightings lately?

It seems like almost every week there’s been a report that has raised concerns as to whether it’s safe to dip our toes into the water. Some say it’s due to the rise of temperature in the ocean, while others feel it’s because there are more cell phones capturing this phenomenon that has brought this to our attention

Regardless of the cause, this topic made me think about surfing and how this has affected those who participate in that immensely competitive sport, although we at times may also feel like we are “swimming with the sharks.”

This week there is a surfing event called “Swatch Women’s Pro” at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. Lower Trestles is perhaps better known for the men’s Hurley Pro surfing competition verses the women’s event. Because, well, there are more male surfers than there are women that participate in the sport.

But the reason why I chose to focus on this particular event wasn’t because of women per se, but specifically one woman, that of Bethany Hamilton, a wildcard participant in this year’s “Swatch Women’s Pro” competition.

You may recall a tragic incident back in 2003 when a teenage girl got bitten while surfing off the shores of Kauai by a 15’ Tiger Shark that resulted in amputation, leaving the girl with only one arm.

That girl was Bethany Hamilton.

The interesting thing about Bethany isn’t the fact that she’s a survivor. But it’s the motivation that she demonstrated during her recovery. She didn’t focus on the attack, or her missing arm. In fact, she was back in the water three weeks later and has spent the past decade living her dream of surfing professionally.

You may remember the movie a few years ago called “Soul Surfer” starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. It was an extraordinary story that portrayed Bethany’s strength, fortitude and courage while dealing with the loss of her left arm after the attack.

Yet, the most powerful testimony is the way Bethany approaches her life. She is one highly respected surfer. And when she competes, other women are not thinking about the fact that she’s missing an arm. Bethany Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with and surfs with the same intensity and skill of someone who has both arms.

But here’s something you may not know. Bethany and her husband just had their first child in June. So now she’s scheduled to surf just three months after giving birth against those who have competed throughout the summer and while she was pregnant, although she did continue to surf up until her sixth month.

Bethany put it this way, “I often forget that I have one arm…I think there’s going to be things that will be very challenging with one arm, but I’ll just have to find my own way to take care of the baby…I’ll have to figure it out and be creative.”

And here’s what eleven time ASP World Tour Champion surfer Kelly Slater had to say, “I think it would be a real wakeup if everyone had to go out with one arm and catch these waves—and she doesn’t have a problem with it. On top of that, she just had a kid three months ago, I mean she is…she’s unbelievable.”

Yet, the biggest impression Bethany has made with her peers is her kindness.

She’s truly an inspiration in and out of the water.

So the next time you feel like you’re under a shark attack…

Tell him to “Bite me!” Apparently, it’s not the end of the world.

Way to go Bethany!

(World Surf League with Kelly Slater and Bethany Hamilton at Lower Trestles
Bethany Hamilton & Kelly Slater freesurfing together at Lower Trestles this weekend.
‪#‎HurleyPro‬ ‪#‎SwatchWomensPro‬ September 9 – 20)

So what do you think? Swim with any sharks lately? Had you heard of Bethany Hamilton? Did you and your family have the opportunity to see “Soul Surfer?” In a scale from 1 to 10, what was your opinion of Murphy’s reporting skills? Do you think the Pelican has a future or should we tell him to go take a dive off a long pier? 🙂

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!

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Olympics or Surfing?

17 days

10,500 athletes

2,300 medals

Innumerable cheers, jeers and tears.

What a feat!

But did any of you happen to catch the Surfing event? What? You didn’t watch the surfing competition? Well, it was slightly dwarfed in comparision to the Olympics, I’ll give you that. Yet, while most of you were glued to your TV monitors watching the 2012 Summer Olympic games, in my home, we watched surfing. That’s right, the “Nike U.S. Open of Surfing.”

Yep, this is the same guy I caught playing in my backyard a couple of months ago and now he’s back in a big way. Only this time, he’s brought along quite a number of his friends from all over the world.

It’s been said that the Nike U.S. Open is the “Superbowl of Surfing. It is the epicenter of the surfing world. It doesn’t get any better than this. It is the best of the best. And let me tell you there is a huge difference when watching an amateur surfer verses a pro. Hands down, there’s no comparison.

But why does it all happen here? What makes this area of the Pacific Coastline so special?

Where is here you might ask? Oh silly me, that’s right. I didn’t tell you.

Well, besides deriving its name from an old Beach Boy song, this city is identified with the sport of surfing and is known as the “Surfing Capital of the World.”

Surf City lies across an eight and a half mile stretch of wide open sand along the southern California coastline otherwise known as Huntington Beach. Throughout the world, “HB” is synonymous with world class surfing. Yet, at one time, this area was recognized more for its oil and agriculture than for the sport of surfing.

You see, Huntington Beach is situated at a unique location. No other beach in the world can boast its dependability of surf. It seems there’s an ocean current that provides the ultimate in surfing with waves that are unparalleled; influenced naturally by a diffraction of ocean swells via the island of Catalina off its shore twenty some miles away. And if there is a hurricane off in the distance, all the better.


I could get all techie here, but I have a feeling I’d lose some of you! So let’s just say this is what helped to put Huntington Beach on the “World Map of Surfing.”

But here’s the thing. Even though Huntington Beach is known for its consistency of surf, the worst part of the year for surfing is in the summer. Are you thinking, what I’m thinking? Why on earth would they hold one of the biggest surfing competitions in the world when the surf is not at its best?

Kelly Slater, 40, an eleven time world champion surfer admits that at “this time of year, we only get south swells. You need a combo swell with some west in it or some north in it to kind of make the waves a little peakier and more surfable.”

Oh, that’s just gnarly dude. That makes perfect sense. We get it, right?

See, I told you there was a little techie something to this.

Apparently, the big whoop-de-do about holding the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing in the summer is due to the fan element. The Nike Open attracts quite a swell, of people that is. Hundreds of thousands descend upon the beach just south of the “HB” pier.

Oh, so it’s about the money. Noo, I find that hard to believe.

What still doesn’t make sense to me. And maybe it’s just me. But after all these years, I thought we’ve come further than this. That is, the huge spread in the purse between the Men and Women Champions. While the first place winner in the finals earned $100,000.00 for the men, the women’s first place winner only received $15,000.00.

Say what?


In my research for this post, it looks like there are likely two reasons that might shed some light on this. One, the age span for professional male surfers may reach middle age, while most women stop competing in their early to mid twenties. It seems the womb has something to do with this. And two, men draw more crowds than women surfers.

That’s kinda sad. I think we need more women surfers, don’t you?

Yet, whether you were watching the Olympics or Surfing, no matter what type of athlete or reward, there is a certain enjoyment that is derived from competitive sports. We respect and admire these talented men and women for all their years of hard training and devotion—for they give it their all!

Here’s a little taste of what you may have missed…

So what do you think? Did you watch the Summer Olympics? What was your favorite event or athlete? Do you enjoy the beach or watch the surfers as they ride the waves? Have you ever attended the Olympics or other sporting events?

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