Friday, December 31, 2010

A Great White Shark you wouldn't want to encounter

Just how big and menacing can a great white shark get? Check this photo out:

I doubt this little boy would be so chummy with Mr. Shark if they were both swimming in the water.

The image was posted today on The Best Shark Dive in the World! blog.

From DaShark:

Totally amazing!

Yes, this is apparently a picture from Fiji!

The caption reads 'Jaws' of the South Pacific. A shark on the beach, 1956.

I found it by pure chance when leafing through Fiji in the Forties and Fifties, a collection of pictures by local photographer Robertson Rob Ramsey Wright, 1906-1976.
And for an interesting “Shark in a Crowd” photo, check this one out at The Best Shark Dive in the World!

[Get rid of costly cable/satellite bills!]

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Maui shark-attack rescue caught on video
Great Outdoors Awards 2010
Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maui shark-attack rescue on video

Not only do we now have the name of the victim in the shark attack off Maui on Sunday, we also have the video of the professional surfers making the rescue.

The 15-year-old bodyboarder who suffered injuries to his left leg and heel is Vaughn Stover, who was bitten by a shark estimated to be 8-10 feet, according to HawaiiNewsNow.

For more details about the attack, check out our earlier post here. And for the video, right this way...

(WARNING: Some parts are graphic, though it isn't too bad.)



The video, shot by Elliot Leboe, was posted today on YouTube.

Vaughn told HawaiiNewsNow that the bite left a 13-inch gash on his shin, and his foot looked like hamburger meat before doctors sewed him up.

From HawaiiNewsNow:
"I was about 10 or 15 feet in front of my friends when I looked over to them and a shark came out of the water and I felt it on my leg. So, I pulled my leg back and it bit down right on my heel," Stover said. "I freaked out and started paddling. My friends started paddling over to me trying to help me. He helped me calm down and everything. If it weren't for him, (the shark) probably would've come back because I was splashing pretty hard."

Vaughn's talking about his courageous friend Joe Manoia who helped him get in.

A couple of pro surfers [Kai Barger and Tanner Hendrickson] also towed Vaughn and used their leashes to make a tourniquet.
Vaughn also told HNN that once he's healed, he'll be back in the water.

Thanks to The Dorsal Fin for the tip!

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of record
Outdoors Awards 2010
Vietnam: A Windsurfing/Kitesurfing Mecca?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vietnam: A windsurfing/kitesurfing mecca?


The mere mention of Vietnam conjures negative images for many Americans. Ah, but the times have changed, my friends. Today, mention Vietnam to the world’s action-sports crowd and watch them drool.

Or at least watch the windsurfers and kitesurfers drool.

We’re not quite sure they’d call Vietnam a mecca for wind sports, but chances are pretty good that they are probably familiar with Mui Ne, a coastal resort town in Binh Thuan Province of Southeastern Vietnam.

It’s “Where the wind blows,” according to the website of the Jibe’s Beach Club, which boasts of being the first kitesurfing and windsurfing center in Vietnam.  It is one of four kitesurfing schools in Mui Ne.

Mui Ne Beach, as you might have gathered, is known for strong sea breezes, making it very popular for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The tourist season, according to Wikipedia, is December to May.

Interestingly, the area also offers two championship golf courses, Sea Links (at right) and Ocean Dunes Golf Club, the latter designed by Nick Faldo. Of course, wind and golf -- yes, well, maybe plan to play early in the morning.

In February, a Grand Slam event will be held in Mui Ne -- the windsurfing variety not golfing. The 2011 Vietnam PWA Grand Slam is Feb. 25-March 5. It is the first event of the season for the Professional Windsurfers Association.

From pwaworldtour.com:
Mui Ne is located in the south east of Vietnam, on the south China sea. The area has grown up around the fishing industry, but more recently has become a tourist hot spot thanks to the beaches, bars and restaurants.

The area is increasingly gaining notoriety within the windsurfing world as a result of the reliable seas breezes that blow for over 230 days of the year. Typically the water state is fairly flat, with wind blown chop, and other than some shore break there are rarely waves to be found.

No stranger to competition, Mui Ne has proven its self as a top rated race location, having hosted 11 Fun Cup slalom contests in the past, which frequently attract some of the biggest names in racing.
Clearly, Vietnam is not what it used to be.

Thanks to SurferToday.com for the tip!

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Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of record
Great Outdoors Awards 2010
RedBull Snowkiting event offers cool preview video

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of a record number



Since 2006, more than 17.4 million people have watched this shark attack a seal on YouTube.


The Shark Attack File for 2010 increased by one Sunday afternoon when a 16-year-old bodyboarder in Maui was attacked by a shark before being pulled to safety by two professional surfers.

It was the 96th shark attack recorded worldwide in 2010, adding to what already is believed to be a record year for shark attacks, according to record-keepers of such statistics.

The International Shark Attack File reveals that the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks since 1960 was 79 in 2000, when 11 fatalities occurred as a result of the attacks.

The Shark Attack Survivors website details the 96 shark attacks of 2010, including 11 fatalities -- the most since 2000. Eleven deaths sound ominous when compared to the 10 recorded for the previous three years combined.

But if it sounds scary, it probably shouldn’t, considering the Age of Technology that we live in today, among other factors. With the Internet, nothing goes unreported and that includes shark attacks.

Consider this: The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History charted worldwide unprovoked shark attacks and rate of fatality from 1900-2009. It shows the number of attacks increasing and the percentage of fatalities decreasing.

Translation: More are being reported today than in the days before the Internet and CNN, and we have no way of knowing for sure how many shark attacks occurred in the pre-Technology Age. Plus, there are many more people in the water nowadays, considering the growth in population. Still, this fact remains: The odds of getting attacked by a shark remain long.

Of course, don't tell this to those who were attacked.

The Kihei boy was bitten in two passes by the shark while bodyboarding just outside the Kahului Harbor breakwater, according to The Maui News.

The boy suffered lacerations to his lower left leg, calf, foot and ankle area, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Pro surfers Kai Barger and Tanner Hendrickson, surfing the infamous “Ledges,” heard screams from one of two bodyboarders who were farther out. The two surfers paddled toward them.

“Usually someone yells ‘shark’ and everybody freaks out and heads back in,” Barger told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.  “But we couldn’t hear what he was yelling and I wasn’t really sure what to think. The waves were pretty good and we wanted to stay in. We weren’t sure if it was someone crying ‘shark’ just to have the spot to himself. [...]

“I asked them if they had seen a shark and he said that he had been bitten by one. He lifted his leg and his fin was gone and all of the skin on his shin was off. It was really gnarly.”

Barger told The Maui News the boy probably owed his foot to the fact that bodyboarders wear fins. The shark bit off much of the boy's left heel and took the fin, Barger said. Without the fin, the fish might have taken the foot.

On the beach, Barger and Hendrickson used their leashes as tourniquets and propped the boy’s leg up with his bodyboard until medical help arrived.

Said Barger via the Star Advertiser: “It’s just the code of the water that you help when someone is in trouble.”

Unfortunately, there’s been plenty of trouble in the water in 2010.

Thanks to PeteThomasOutdoors.com for the tip.

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Other shark-related posts on Outdoors 720:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Kayaker terrified by shark
Congress bans shark finning

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 10 Outdoors Blog Posts of the Year

Sure, we got a late start to 2010 here at Outdoors 720. But that isn't going to stop us from giving you a chance to revist our most popular outdoors blog posts of the year in the Great Outdoors. No, sir. We wouldn't deprive you of the opportunity to have a look back.  

Funny, fascinating, frightful. They're all here. Right this way...

Top 10 Outdoors Blog Posts of the Year:

1. Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The Paradise Within -- What a refreshing story going on in war-torn Afghanistan. Skateboarding is having a tremendous impact on the children, giving them hope at a place called Skateistan. The 8-minute documentary itself is worth the click.

2. Surfer breaks erroneous Guinness surfing record, or did he? -- Hilarious. A surfer mistakenly believes the Guinness World Record for continuous surfing is 24 hours. So he surfs for 26 hours. Only, the record was only 15 hours, if it was a record at all.

3. Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin -- A true-life "Jaws" drama going on in Egypt that you gotta see to believe.

4. Boys lost at sea for 50 days; you'll never guess why -- No, you'll never guess why three teens became lost at sea for so long north of Samoa. Or maybe you will.

5. Kayaker terrified by shark -- This one comes with the "Jaws" theme and underwater video. Incredible.

6. Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece -- Heroes or dumb? An interesting take about the two guys who rescued a deer from an icy river.

Whale Wars: Godzilla
7. Whale Wars: Godzilla joins fight against Japanese whalers -- The popular Animal Planet reality TV show, "Whale Wars," is at it again with a new boat called Godzilla.

8. You won't guess what the Pope just blessed -- Here's a hint: It's done in the outdoors and is quite popular every winter.

9. Skateboarding speed record comes from corn -- No kidding. Corn. And a rep from Guinness World Records was there to prove it!

10. Angler catches world-record yellowfin tuna -- This is one, big tuna. Fishing fanatics or not, this is a must see.

And in case you missed it, here are the Great Outdoors Awards for 2010.

Coming soon on Mondays at Outdoors 720: Fishing Presidents

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Outdoors Awards for 2010

In honor of another year of wild and wacky tales from the Great Outdoors, we at Outdoors 720 are proud to present the Great Outdoors Awards for 2010.

Winners need not be present. The envelopes please!

Shark vs. Human Underwater Tennis Award: To the shark and the unidentified human, who played a singles match in a London Aquarium tank (above) as a way to promote Dunlop's new Aeroskin racket, inspired by shark skin. The shark avoided the net at all costs, displayed an awesome backfin and in the end devoured its opponent, showing no mercy. We'll spare you the gory details. Metro.co.uk

Honest Abe Hunting Award: To Jim Karpowitz, Utah’s director of the state wildlife agency who asked to be cited for a fish-and-game violation. Seems he mistakenly -- and illegally -- shot two sage grouse, immediately called in an enforcement officer and requested he be issued a citation. He was cited, and he paid a $138 fine. “I can tell you that even though this is very embarrassing, it feels good to have taken responsibility for the error I made and to hold myself accountable.” Well done, sir. Next time know the regulations and what county you're in. Salt Lake Tribune

Fishing Fanatic Going Overboard Award: To Robert Matsuura, who fished for 10 hours with a hook in his head. But it was worth it. We think. Matsuura was fishing with Sacramento State fishing teammate Peter Lee during the FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship when Lee’s lure hit him in the head. Two of the three treble hooks were deep into his skull. Someone cut the other hook and lure away and he kept on fishing, after taking two Tylenols. The pair ended up winning the event and collecting $50,000 for their university. Then Matsuura had the hooks removed. Said Matsurra: "A family friend is a dentist. He numbed it and pried it out." Yeouch! Still sounds painful. Sacramento Bee via UPI

The Fish Weren't Biting But The Guns Were Award: To the unidentified 71-year-old man, who while fishing from a pier facing Lower Manhattan reeled in a .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun. The barnacle-encrusted gun from the Hudson River was being checked by authorities to determine whether it was connected to any crimes. The man who caught the gun? He carried it to a nearby hotel where a doorman told him to drop it. He did and then returned to his fishing, like any normal fisherman would do. Natch. The Jersey Journal of Jersey City via UPI

Lumberjack Award: To Larry
Lefner, who created this awesome
treetop sculpure in Basalt, Colo.,
in 2004 but was never given
a Great Outdoors Award. So
here's to you Larry! Fly 
Fisherman Magazine   
Brave (or Stupid) Fisherman Award: To commercial fisherman Rodney Soloman, who reeled in a live missile from the Gulf of Mexico. We don't make these things up! The man brought in the "floating" air-to-air guided missile while fishing 50 miles off Panama City. He kept it on his boat for 10 days before returning to Madeira Beach, Fla., where a bomb squad dismantled it. The report said Air Force and Navy use Gulf waters off the Panhandle for weapons training. The missile was said to be very corroded from floating in saltwater for a long time. It was also a "live" and "unstable" missile. So, the Navy or Air Force left an unexploded bomb floating in the Gulf of Mexico? Uh, what's wrong with this picture? AP via USA  Today 

Misguided Skydiver Award: To skydiver Andrew Stack, who steered himself toward trees on his descent and landed in said trees where he hung out for 3 hours before being rescued. Said the Massachusetts skydiving business owner: "He did not steer where he was supposed to go, so he ended up steering himself into the trees." Yeah, we got that. WCVB-TV via UPI 

The Ol' Ring the Doorbell And Run Trick Award: To the deer of Kenora, Ontario, which are driving a certain Rose Allin crazy by constantly ringing her doorbell. "I just wish they'd stop," she said. No word if they ever did. QMI Agency via the Toronto Sun 

Bagging Two Deer Without Taking a Shot Award: To the two Benton Harbor, Mich., fishermen, who witnessed two bucks fighting to their deaths, enabling them to score meat for the freezer. The deer drowned after locking antlers while fighting on the bank of the St. Joseph River. The men obtained permits to claim the carcasses. The report said they are having the heads, which are still locked together, turned into a wall mount. We're assuming they'll untangle the antlers first. The Herald-Palladium via UPI

Cowardly Lion Award: To the cowardly lion, which was scared up a tree by a squirrel-chasing Jack Russell terrier on a farm in South Dakota. That's a 17-pound terrior vs. a 150-pound mountain lion. Don't mess with lit'l Jack. AP via Yahoo! News

Davy Crockett Award: To the Wisconsin woman, who noticed a black bear in distress outside her bedroom window. The bear was choking on a cow bone. She called the sheriff but decided to come to the bear's rescue herself. She put on leather gloves and stuck her hand down the bear's throat and dislodged the bone from the unresponsive bear -- just as a member of the Department of Natural Resources showed up. The bear eventually came to and wandered off with her cubs. Crockett would've been proud. The Lakeland Times via The Outside Blog

Coming soon: A list of the most intriguing 2010 Great Outdoors posts from Outdoors 720.

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Kayaker terrified by shark
Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The paradise within
Boys lost at sea for 50 days; you'll never guess why
Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Antarctica BASE jump by Russian a first



Some people are driven to be the first to do something. Think Sir Edmund Hillary and Mount Everest. The Wright brothers and flying. Alexander Graham Bell and the first phone call.

Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov is such a person. In a wingsuit, he was the first to skydive into the crater of the Mutnovsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia, this after being the first to skydive from the highest point of Mount Elbrus in Europe. He made headlines.

RedBull gives Rozov wings, literally
The BASE jumper with 8,000 BASE jumps under his wings, Rozov made headlines again, this time in Antarctica. He became the first to ever climb the 9,616-foot Mount Ulvetanna in Antarctica and jump off. And oh by the way, the temperatures were as low as 22 below. 

According to the RedBull story posted earlier this month, Rozov flew for 45 seconds down the face of the mountain before opening his parachute and landing safely (see above video).

"It was like a journey to another planet," he said. "It's deeply satisfying and has given me a long and lasting feeling of happiness."

Apparently, he wasn't the first BASE jumper to make a jump in Antarctica, however. The story says he also BASE jumped after ascending Tungespissen and the Holtanna, the only mountain in the Antarctic that had previously been used by a BASE jumper. Details, details.

Our suggestion for the next "first" for Rozov? Climb Mount Everest, skydive to the bottom and phone home to become the first to combine the firsts of Hillary, the Wright Bros. and Bell with the ultimate skydive. Good luck with that.

Thanks to The Outside Blog for the tip.

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
RedBull Snowkiting event offers cool preview video
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Ski flying: Another extreme sport getting off the ground

Congress bans shark finning

No matter your political beliefs or party affiliation, you can rejoice at what Congress did Monday and Tuesday. Unless you enjoy eating shark fin soup.

Essentially, Congress outlawed shark fin soup. Or at least it outlawed shark finning, the practice of cutting off the shark’s fins for soup and throwing the rest of the shark overboard to die.

Congress passed shark conservation legislation that closed loopholes that had allowed the lucrative shark finning trade to continue thriving off the West Coast, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

According to the Post article, shark finning is banned off the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico but not the Pacific.

The new measure by Congress requires any vessel to land sharks with their fins attached, and prevents non-fishing vessels from transporting fins without their carcasses.

From the Washington Post: 
"Shark finning has fueled massive population declines and irreversible disruption of our oceans," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the bill's author, in a statement. "Finally we've come through with a tough approach to tackle this serious threat to our marine life."

Both Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam), who sponsored the House version, and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Fla.), spoke in favor of the bill Tuesday before it was adopted under suspension of the rules. It now awaits President Obama's signature.
"Some things are just worth waiting for," said Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist for the advocacy group Oceana. "Now we can all be a little less afraid for sharks." 
Although Congress passed legislation aimed at protecting sharks a decade ago, shark finning has continued because the fins fetch a far higher price than the meat. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service, 1.2 million pounds of sharks were caught last year in the Pacific, although it does not say what portion of those landings were fins.[...]

"The bill was snatched from the jaws of defeat," said Matt Rand, who directs global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group, adding that it would help federal officials when they negotiate for stricter global catch limits. "It gives the U.S. a further leadership role and mandate to push for shark conservation from other countries."
Great news for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservationists, and lots of sharks. And to those lovers of shark fin soup, try chicken noodle.

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720.

Thanks to UnderwaterTimes.com for the tip.

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece
Skydiving naked is not...
Skateboarding speed record comes from corn

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wildlife rescue: Saving deer cost pair $90 apiece

Photo capture of WJZ-13 from the Daily Mail.

On the surface, it sounds ridiculous. Two men save a deer struggling for its life in an icy river and each receives a $90 ticket for not wearing a life jacket during the rescue?

Some commenters called James Hart and Khalilalim Abusakran Jr. “heroes.”

But were they?

Or were they just plain dumb?

Candus Thomson, aka the Outdoors Girl at the Baltimore Sun, went with dumb.

Here’s the story:

A deer fell through the ice of the Patapsco River near Baltimore last Thursday. As officials stood by weighing their options, two “Good Samaritans” decided to act. One had a rubber raft.

Baltimore County Fire Department employees warned the would-be rescuers not to act. Then, once they started out onto the ice, Natural Resources Police officers told them they needed to get off the waterway because they weren’t wearing required life jackets.

They acted anyway.

They managed to free the deer by tying a rope around its neck and yanking it to shore. From WBAL-TV.com (where you can also see its on-the-air report) :

"We went out there with some oars and some shovels and started beating at the ice and breaking it up to give the dear an access path out," Abusakran said.

[NRP Sgt. Brian] Albert said that because the men didn't follow instructions, they were each fined $90.

But the men said they did have flotation devices.

"Everyone could see the two big black personal floating devices on the boat," Abusakran said.

Despite getting the tickets, both men said they would do the same thing again.

"I would save a life in a heartbeat, regardless what it was," Hart said.

"It felt good. You can’t replace that feeling," Abusakran said.
Outdoors Girl wrote that the two men were “incredibly lucky that their misguided rescue mission involving a deer swimming in the river didn’t end up killing them or one of the public employees who were called to the scene.”

She wasn’t into giving the men hero status, and for good reason. From Outdoors Girl:

"Given the conditions of the water, what began with an animal in distress could have quickly led to a human tragedy, requiring an emergency response that could have endangered even more lives," Col. George Johnson, NRP superintendent, said in a statement. [...]

"More than likely, if everybody goes away, the deer swims out," said NRP Sgt. Brian Albert of the Patapsco River incident. "They are lucky the deer didn’t kick the living snot out of them."
Good point.

Too bad the deer wasn’t just on the ice rather than in the water. Then they could’ve brought in a helicopter and blown the animal off the ice, like this cool rescue in 2007:




OK, final verdict time. What say you? Heroes? Or just plain dumb?

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Yellowstone's version of UFC: The Bear vs. The Bison
Skateboarding speed record comes from corn
Kayaker terrified by shark

Monday, December 20, 2010

RedBull Snowkiting event offers cool preview video



Snowkiting has been around for awhile, but snowkite endurance races are quite new. In fact, the first was held last winter at Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau in western Norway. And they had such a great time, they're going to do it again.

The RedBull Ragnarok 2011 is scheduled to be raced on a day between March 31 and April 3 with 200 of the world's best snowkiters invited to compete.

Presumably, it'll be similar to last year when they raced for three hours, completing six rounds of about 30 minutes each, covering 6 to 12 miles depending on the wind, according Kiteboarder Magazine. Only four of 110 snowkiters were said to have survived the blustery conditions of the RedBull event.

A description of the snowkiting race from RedBull:
 "Ragnarok" is a legend from Norse mythology; the last battle between the good and evil Gods -- where only the heroes of the battlefield would survive. Red Bull Ragnarok imitates this myth in the respect that only a mere few snowkite heroes will succeed.
Endurance is paramount, and only the toughest riders will make it to the finish line. Freestylers will be favored by having the possibility to overcome some obstacles in order to shorten the track.
The 1-minute, 57-second preview film above not only gives an idea about the race but also offers a great visual of what snowkiting is all about, in case this is the first time you've seen it. It really is quite the adrenaline rush.
.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Shark swims long distance, skydiving naked, snowy bike race and other Call of the Wild headline grabbers

A blue shark. Photo courtesy of NSW I&I via Fishing World
Shark swims long distance
The blue shark recaptured by a longliner off South Africa swam 5,837 miles since it was tagged and released off Southern Australia on May 20, 2005, Fishing World reported. That's more than the distance from Los Angeles to New York and back. But that's nothing. A great white shark, whose species enjoys the longest migratory range of any marine creature on record, once reportedly swam 12,427 miles from Dyer Island, South Africa, to Western Australia and back in just under nine months. Fishing World.

What a shark tag looks like.
Good news for surfers: Waves getting bigger
File this one under the Department of Global Warming: Boat captains guiding ships across the "Graveyard of the Pacific," the treacherous seas across the Columbia River bar spanning Washington and Oregon, confirm what marine scientists have just started to talk about, according to a Washington Post article. Ocean waves are becoming bigger and more powerful, and climate change could be the cause. Maybe we don't need the Kelly Slater Wave Company after all. Washington Post 

Skydiving naked isn't sexy, we're told
Italian skydiver and basejumper Roberta Mancino appeared on Conan O'Brien last week to reveal what everybody has been waiting years to know. Drum roll, please. Jumping out of a plane naked isn't that enjoyable. According to The Outside Blog, that's what the "world's sexiest skydiver" says, adding that every part of your body fluctuates in frantic waves while falling and it can actually hurt. Yet, Mancino has done it four times. Why? The Outside Blog

The Iditarod of Mountain Bike Racing
The Alaskan Sheep Mountain 150 bike race, a mini mountain-bike version of the Iditarod, was won Sunday night by Jeff Oatley of Fairbanks, who completed the 150 miles in 31 hours, 7 minutes, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Conditions were so extreme, about one-third of the field of 19 didn't finish and about half of those who did made a mid-race switch from the 150-mile race to the 100-miler, the Daily News reported. See cool photos hereAnchorage Daily News

Shark tank planned for Brooklyn
Recession? What recession? When it comes to sharks, money apparently is no object. The New York Aquarium announced Tuesday it will construct a $125 million building to house a greatly expanded shark tank, according to The Brooklyn Paper. The plan is to display seven species of sharks. The project is planned to be completed by 2015. The city has promised $49 million, but the aquarium will still need $76 million in donations to fully fund the project, the paper reports. Is Bill Gates a shark fan? The Brooklyn Paper

Once dead salmon species found alive
The black kokanee, pronounced extinct in 1940, has been rediscovered about 310 miles south of the species native lake in Lake Saiko, according to an AP report posted on MidCurrent.com. Lake Saiko is known for its views of Mount Fuji, hot springs bathing and soon, perhaps, salmon fishing. MidCurrent

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The paradise within
Shark terrifies kayaker

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Skateboarding speed record comes from corn

As you will see, one can go pretty fast while being towed on a skateboard made from a corn field.

A skateboard made from a corn field? Yes, I know, it sounds corny, but we'll get to that later.

First, the facts. Lane Segerstrom set the Guinness World Record for fastest speed on a towed skateboard by reaching a two-run average of 78.1 mph (he went 80.5 mph on the first run and 75.7 mph on the second), breaking the old mark of 74 mph by Danny Way for the MTV show "Rob Dyrdek's Fanstasy Factory" in November '08.

The record was set last week on a runway of a private airport in Fort Worth, Texas. Here's the video story from the Guinness World Record folks:



Now, about that skateboard.

It's made by stalk it (corn stalks, get it?; why it doesn't capitalize its name -- don't get it). Stalk it offers a full line of longboard skateboards for every level of longboard skateboarding enthusiast.

The wood is made of Corn Board, a green alternative for wood that is made of corn stover, otherwise known as the leaves and stalks from a corn harvest. The skateboard company is an arm of Corn Board Manufacturing, which offers other "green" wood products.

According to Guinness World Record official Amanda Mochan, who was there to certify the record, Lane was attempting the record to demonstrate the strength and resilience of stalk it skateboards. Lane just happens to be the CEO of Corn Board Manufacturing.

And now you know why Lane Segerstrom risked life and limb going more than 75 mph on a skateboard made from a corn field.

[Related: See recent ESPN story about skateboard speed record for downhill]

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Great Outdoors Awards 2010
Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The paradise within
Shark attack victim thought it was a dolphin
Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of record

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin

Sign on the beach: As per the instructions by the South Sinai Governorate,
Please avoid swimming in deep water as there are threats related to sharks.
                                                                    Photo by EPA via DailyMail.co.uk

What is occurring in the Red Sea is probably the most terrifying event associated with shark attacks since the movie “Jaws” chased everyone out of the water.

Only this it isn’t a horror movie being played out along the Egyptian coast. This is a real-life drama with real shark attacks and real blood and real death.

Over the weekend, the DailyMail.co.uk took a closer look at the shark attacks and spoke with one of the victims in what is an intriguing if somewhat gruesome story.

The Daily Mail reports that in the space of 10 days, sharks have mauled four tourists -- one of them 48-year-old Olga Martsinko -- and killed a fifth, who was attacked just hours after the Egyptian authorities said the water was safe.

“At first I thought it was a dolphin, but then I felt a sharp pain as it came up, sank its teeth into my arm and began to wag me around,” Martsinko told the Daily Mail from a hospital bed in Cairo.

“It tried to pull me down with it into the sea, and I saw the huge jaws of a shark and a sharp fin beside me. The shark let me go for a second and I swam away. But it came back for more, biting me again and again from behind.

“If I had not had my flippers on, it would have taken off both my legs.”

The shark officials believed was responsible
for the attacks. But the attacks started anew
after this shark was killed.
Photo by EPA via. DailyMail.co.uk
More, from the Daily Mail:

The white tip shark chasing her through the water had taken a chunk of the top of her left thigh and buttock. Her hand and arm were missing, and her blood had turned the sea red.

Olga had become another victim of the extraordinary spate of shark attacks at one of the world’s favourite resorts, Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh [a popular tourist destination of thousands of Brits...]

Dr. George Burgess, a leading American shark expert called in by the Egyptian government to assess the danger to tourists, looked out over Garden Bay and predicted that it would not be the last shark attack in the Red Sea coast resort.

“It is not a matter of if it happens, but when,” he said. “If you put as many people in the water as there have been here, you are going to have more attacks.”

Burgess offered two explanations for the recent shark attacks:

1) The sharks are hungry because tuna, their top food source, are being over-fished in the Red Sea, and...

2) Local dive-boat operators are suspected of secretly throwing dead chickens overboard to attract sharks for their clientele.

The fact all five attacks occurred in the early afternoon when sharks have grown used to being fed by boats at that time, according to the paper, suggests that the latter is true.

Whatever the case, it's definitely not safe to go into the Red Sea these days.

Said Burgess to the Daily Mail: “The sea is a wilderness, just like a jungle. It can never be made entirely safe for humans, in Sharm el-Sheikh or any other resort. We can only try to reduce the odds.”

Read the entire Daily Mail story here. But we must warn you: One photo in particular is grueling in nature -- the wound to the buttocks of Martsinko.

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Thanks to UnderwaterTimes.com for the tip.

Other interesting posts at Outdoors 720:
Kayaker terrified by shark
Whale Wars: Gozilla joins fight against Japanese whalers
Headlines: Boys lost at sea for 50 days; you'll never guess why
Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The paradise within

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Skateboarding in Afghanistan: The paradise within


In war-torn Afghanistan, a glimmer of hope shines bright in an otherwise dark existence, and it comes on a small board with four wheels.

A skateboard.

Skateboarding in Afghanistan?

Yes, it's true. But not only can you find boys and girls skateboarding the streets of Afghanistan, you can find a state-of-the-art, indoor skateboard park in Kabul. It’s called Skateistan and it is giving children new life.

Murza doing an early grab on
on the big quarterpipe
Murza, 17, who lives in Kabul: “When I was living in my own village of Charekar, there was always fighting. I am so used to it that it doesn’t scare me anymore. We can’t escape the violent situation. It’s been happening throughout my life, and it will continue into the future.

“I used to wash cars...Now I work at the skate park.”

The story began when Australian skateboarders Oliver Percovich and Shama Nolan took their skateboards to Kabul in 2007. Children were mesmerized. They wanted to learn to skate. So the Aussies started a small skate school in Afghanistan.

It didn’t take long for skateboarding to take off among the youths, prompting the Aussies to think bigger about how they could reach more kids. The answer? By bringing more skateboards to Afghanistan and building an indoor skatepark.

As detailed in a USA Today article, Percovich pitched his idea for establishing a school and skateboarding facility where children could skate year-round.

The embassies of Canada, Norway, Denmark and Germany listened, and soon donations from those countries reached $600,000. This got the attention of Gen. M. Zahir Aghbar, the president of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee.

The committee provided land next to the National Stadium, where reportedly the Taliban once held public executions and maimings before the U.S. overthrew the repressive regime in 2001.

On Oct. 29, 2009, Skateistan, the world’s first co-educational skateboarding school, opened on 17,800-square feet of land that once saw only destruction.

Now it sees Afghan children -- sees them communicating, sees them building relationships and confidence, sees them being kids, having fun.

Today, 320 regular Afghanistan students are receiving training from experienced skateboarders in a secure environment, spending an hour in the classroom for every hour skating.

Zazilla standing on a bombed-out tank overlooking Kabul
Zazilla, 12: “At Skateistan, I don’t feel that my surroundings are ruined, I feel as though I’m in a nice place.

“I can feel people questioning my right to skate. Their opinions are meaningless to me. I really like skating and I won’t stop.”

The story of Skateistan and what skateboarding in Afghanistan means to Murza and Zazilla and other Afghan youths is poignantly told in the eight-minute documentary below entitled “Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul.”

Filmed in Afghanistan in January, it won Best Documentary and Best Photography at the L.A. Film Festival in September.



In October, Skateistan posted the documentary by Diesel New Voices on YouTube, where it continously reaches out to the world to tell its story and generate donations to keep the Afghanistan program going.

From the Skateistan website: “For many youths, this is the only schooling they receive. Several of them have spent their days working on the streets of Kabul since the age of 7 or 8. And the girls have virtually no other chance to take part in sport. To keep doing what it does, though, Skateistan requires donations immediately and is asking for your help."

If you are so moved, see how to donate here. It must be noted that Skateistan is a non-governmental organization.

* * *

The documentary shows kids skateboarding in the desolate streets of Afghanistan amid destroyed buildings. This is contrasted by the shots of skateboarding in the pristine, peaceful confines of the indoor skatepark. Ironically, a missile shell dissects the base of one quarterpipe.

Skateistan's logo is more telling of its message: A skateboarder breaking an automatic weapon in two.

Murza: “I don’t want war anymore...

“My hope is that my country is led by someone who is able to bring peace.

“Until then, the future is uncertain.”

Thanks to GrindTV Outdoor for the tip, Skateistan for the photos.

Follow Outdoors720 on Twitter at @outdoors720

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
The next Tony Hawk is already soaring to new heights
Bicyclist stunt-artist video goes viral on YouTube
Surfing legend Kelly Slater gets a bronze statue

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Angler catches world-record yellowfin tuna

While the monster yellowfin tuna was being cranked up on the scale, a couple of people in the crowd of nearly 200 started rooting the fish on: “Four, four, break four!”

As in 400 pounds.

Well, it broke “four.” It broke a world record, too.

The fish weighed 405.2 pounds and will put Mike Livingston of Sunland, Calif., into the International Game Fish Assn. world-record book. That is, if it is approved, and it probably will be. The current record is 388 pounds, 12 ounces by Curt Wiesenhutter in April 1977.

Livingston caught the fish last week aboard the long-range fishing vessel Vagabond out of Point Loma (Calif.) Sportfishing. It was weighed Monday morning upon the boat’s return from the 10-day trip.

See the entire story and video of the weigh-in at GrindTV Outdoor. It’s worth a look.

So how long do you suppose it took Livingston to catch this huge yellowfin tuna?

According to GrindTV, nearly three hours, or about as long as it would take to watch a Major League Baseball game. Think about that!

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Other interesting posts:
Kayaker terrified by shark
Boy fishing in Australia reels in a stick of dynamite
Whale Wars: Gozilla joins fight against Japanese whalers

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shark attack? No, but kayaker gets quite the scare

Definitely NOT a basking shark!

We don’t know much about Eileen, yet we can assume that she is afraid of sharks. Any sharks. Even sharks that are harmless, like a plankton-eating basking shark.

But we’ll give Eileen this: When you’re on a kayak and you see this huge fish with a shark fin coming at you, and someone jokingly starts with the “Jaws” theme, yeah, many of you are probably going to scream like she did on this video.



Shark attack? More like a heart attack. For Eileen, anyway.

We believe Eileen is in the blue kayak with the paddle raised in the air as if she’s ready to attack the shark, harmless or not.

And the part in the underwater video of the shark opening its mouth wide? That’s how these types of sharks feed, filtering the plankton out of the water they suck in.

Incidentally, the basking shark is the second-largest living shark after the whale shark, so you can understand Eileen’s uneasiness. So scared was she you probably didn't hear her utter the words, "I think I'm going to need a bigger kayak!"

FYI: The video was posted on YouTube the other day by Great Outdoors Dublin, and Eileen is from Shearwater Sea Kayaking in Ireland, but that's all we know. Finally, a tip of the shark fin to DorsalFin.com for the tip.

[Get rid of costly cable/satellite bills!]

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Other interesting posts:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Shark swims long distance, skydiving naked and other headlines
Headlines: Boys lost at sea for 50 days; you'll never guess why
Surfer breaks erroneous Guinness surfing record, or did he?
.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rhinos Wave Charge turns into a kitesurfing snowfest


Rhinos Wave Charge 27th Nov 2010. from Rhinos Wave Charge on Vimeo.

Kitesurfing is considered an action sport, but last weekend's kitesurfing event off the Ireland coast could have been called an extreme sport. As in extreme temperatures. As in sub-freezing temperatures. As in three inches of snow.

The above video posted by Rhinos Wave Charge the other day said it was the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Ireland. Can't confirm that, but the country is definitely experiencing a big chill.

Also, not much was written about the 2010 Rhinos Wave Charge on the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula, though Surfer Today reported today that Mark Barry was the best rider of the year.

So we're guessing the Irishman won the event. Doesn't matter, the video offers a great compilation of kitesurfing photos and video worth seeing. Take a look as you sit around the fire -- and share with your friends!

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Other interesting posts:
Video: Big-wave surfers catch 50-foot waves off ... Ireland?
The next Tony Hawk is already soaring to new heights
Bicyclist stunt-artist video from Scotland goes viral on YouTube

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kelly Slater Wave Company is officially launched



Let’s see, we already have artificial snow, artificial reefs, artificial sweeteners, artificial Christmas trees, artificial grass and even artificial gravity, so why not artificial waves?

Imagine the possibilities: The perfect wave on request. No waiting for waves. Made-for-TV surfing events. Surfing in the Olympics.

Those last two are probably the biggest reasons for surfing legend Kelly Slater to get behind the concept, one that has been through five years of research and development.

Most of those in the surfing community have been hearing about plans for such a wave-making venue for at least a year, but now apparently things are far enough along that Slater decided to make it official by issuing a press release Thursday about his company.

[See press release here, via Surfline.com]

The 10-time surfing champion Kelly announced the launching of the Kelly Slater Wave Company, a “company devoted to making a world-class surfing experience accessible to the sport’s enthusiasts across the globe.”

He talks about it in the above video, the third of three parts he recently released on YouTube.

[See all of Slater's YouTube videos talking about the wave company here]

The company’s pioneering wave-generation and control technologies feature the world’s first natural, deep-water, world-class wave. The wave is generated outside a large circular pool and breaks on an inner island where it breaks endlessly.

The vision includes surrounding commerce in the form of beaches, restaurants, bars, pools and retail. Sounds great and very ambitious, but in this economy? Hmmm.

This is not Slater surfing an artificial wave.
Says Slater in the release: “From the start, we’ve been committed to creating an authentic surfing experience. It’s been a long and challenging development period, led by a formal scientific investigation, but we now understand how to generate and control the elements that produce ocean-type waves. Our technology can create a wave that suits anyone from beginner to pro level, and can be adjusted easily for everyone in between.

“This project has unlimited potential to add to surfing. I’d like to see this be a sort of default wave for when the surf in the ocean isn’t good, as well as a platform to help anyone advance from the level they’re at quickly and easily in a safe environment. Our technology will allow everyone, no matter their age or skill level, to have a rewarding surfing experience.”

[Get rid of costly cable/satellite bills!]

A state-of-the-art research lab in Los Angeles houses a working model of the circular wave pool. A team is readying to develop, market, license and sell KSWC’s patentable wave-generation control technologies to promote surfing, according to the release.

So what does this mean? Don’t expect Wave Land to be built in a neighborhood near you anytime soon. But if you want to invest in one or build one, go to Slater’s website. Oh yeah, that’s not built yet.

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Photo of Slater via Sportlige.com
Thanks to the Outside Blog for the tip!

Other interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Skateboarding speed record comes from corn
Surfing legend Kelly Slater gets a bronze statue
Lindsey Vonn impersonates Sharon Stone for ESPN The Magazine
Shark attack on marlin caught on video
.

Call of the Wild Headline Grabbers

Photo from The Daily Telegraph

Boys lost at sea for 50 days; you’ll never guess why
By now, you’ve probably heard the story about the three boys who were lost at sea for 50 days, surviving on raw fish and a misguided seagull before a fishing trawling found them last Friday. But here’s the rest of the story: Filo Filo, 15, Samu Pelesa, 15, and Etueni Nasau, 14, (pictured above) were boating from their village on Atafu atoll north of Samoa to the neighboring atoll of Nukunonu when their boat ran out of gas. Where were they going? To find vodka. “We were drunk, we were drinking,” Etueni said at a news conference, according to The Daily Telegraph in Australia. Added Filo: “We went to look for more, cause we had finished our bottle.” The boys are expected to finally return home on Dec. 16. Said Etueni, on what they’ll do when they get home: “We’re just gonna get there and celebrate, we’re gonna have a party when we get there.” Oh no! Someone quick, hide the boats. The Daily Telegraph.

Boy catches state-record smallmouth in Colorado
Conner Peitsmeyer, 11, was fishing with his dad in 35-degree weather at Aurora Reservoir last month when the lad caught the 6-pound, 8-ounce state-record bass. “When he caught that first big one, Conner told me he was shaking,” his father Michael told the Colorado Division of Wildlife, “but he wasn’t sure if it was from the cold or from the excitement.” Colorado DOW.

Alaskan men go deer hunting and bag a 405-pound halibut
Six friends went deer hunting on Kodiak Island last month. The hunting was slow, so they decided to go fishing for halibut. Good idea. Andy Workman and Jason Bergman of Wasilla combined to land what is believed to be the biggest halibut ever caught out of Kodiak. It was an estimated 405 pounds. In all, the group caught three halibut and bagged nine deer. “We brought back about 630 pounds altogether,” Workman told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “Alaska Airlines loved us.” Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

A deer knocks 7-year-old runner off course
An unidentified girl running in a 5K run in New Jersey on Thanksgiving day was among 2,000 runners but was the only one knocked to the ground by a deer. The deer ran across the road and straight into the girl, according to NorthJersey.com. It didn’t say whether she finished the race or was like a human caught in headlights. NorthJersey.com.

Hunter shoots once, bags two bucks
A Wisconsin bowhunter bagged two deer for the price of one arrow last month. (OK, he admitted using two but didn’t need to). WEAU.com reported that Rodney Hurst of Hixton was standing alongside a corn field when he spotted two fighting bucks, a 10-pointer and a 12-pointer. The younger one finally won the battle, but couldn’t untangle itself from his conquered foe. Their antlers were locked. Hurst called the fish and wildlife folks, paid for an additional deer tag and bagged 'em both. WEAU News.

Grandma bags five-point deer
At age 76, Bea Leach still has a steady aim. The Times Herald in Port Huron, Mich., reported that the grandmother took the deer on her property about 35 miles northeast of Detroit. Her grandson Zachary Leach, 14, who also took a deer this season, told the Times Herald it’s “cool” that his grandma hunts because “you don’t really hear or see any grandmas that are 76 and still shooting deer.” Playing bingo, maybe. Washington Post.

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Other interesting posts by Outdoors 720:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Kayaker terrified by shark
Surfer breaks erroneous Guinness surfing record, or did he?
Boy fishing in Australia reels in a stick of dynamite

Thursday, December 2, 2010

National Parks honored on more quarters by US mint


2011 Coin: Olympic National Park, Washington -- Depicts a Roosevelt elk standing on
a gravel river bar of the Hoh River with a view of Mount Olympus in the background. 

The National Park Service, facing difficult budgetary concerns, is at least getting some love -- if not money -- from the U.S. Mint.

The designs for the second set of coins in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program were announced Wednesday via a press release from the mint in Washington, D.C.

Making the tail’s side of the coin for the 2011 quarters will be Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania), Glacier National Park (Montana), Olympic National Park (Washington), Vicksburg National Military Park (Mississippi) and Chickasaw National Recreation Area (Oklahoma).

One needn’t wait to see the first set of America the Beautiful Quarters. You might find one of these 2010 quarters in your pocket or purse right now:

Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas), Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming), Yosemite National Park (California), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) and Mount Hood National Forest (Oregon).

2011 Coin: Glacier National Park,
Montana -- Depicts a classic
view of the northeast slope of
Mount Reynolds towering
in the distance, while a mountain
goat clamors over the rocky slopes
of the park's high country.
George Washington remains on the flipside for all these classically designed quarters, which came about from the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008. (If only a dollar would stretch as long as that title).

The act directs the mint to issue 56 quarters with designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, D.C. and the five U.S. territories.

Might take you a while to collect them all since the last coin will be released in 2021.

For now, let these National Park quarters help remind you of what Oprah Winfrey essentially told us last month to do, and that’s to go visit a National Park.

And then consider donating a few quarters.

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