Australian Mick Fanning returns to J-Bay in South Africa this week, the site of his now infamous shark encounter where he was attacked during a World Surf League competition last year.
In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Paul Rodriguez win Street League Skateboarding’s opening event in Munich.
Mick Fanning Returns to J-Bay
Australian Mick Fanning returns to J-Bay in South Africa this week, the site of his now infamous shark encounter where he was attacked during a World Surf League competition last year. The attack was caught on film as part of the live webcast and went viral. But Fanning’s return to the long, right-hand point break has hit a speed bump. During a warm-up surf this week he twisted his ankle on a cutback and will now deal with a high-ankle sprain during the competition (the contest window begins Wednesday). "Obviously I was shattered thinking I wasn't going to surf,” he said. “But after seeing the physio, signs started to look positive, and with some rehab and strapping I'm hoping I'll be able to paddle out and compete. J-Bay is a very special place to me so I am going to do everything I can to paddle out."
Fanning is surfing a modified schedule this year so this could be one of his last events of the season. He’s dealt with family tragedy recently as his brother died during the 2015 campaign.
Algae Bloom in Florida Affects Watersports Enthusiasts
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in four Florida counties as toxic algae has infiltrated the Treasure Coast, having a serious affect on tourism, and especially watersports like stand-up paddling, kayaking, diving, surfing and fishing. Beaches normally packed with sunbathers were filled with demonstrators angry at government officials for allowing polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into Saint Lucie Estuary. It’s a bit of a mess. Warm temperatures and heavy rains have also contributed to the problem. While the algae has affected holiday tourism numbers, there’s no easy fix, or timeline as to when the algae might clear up. "If you kill this algae, you're going to kill the sea grass, the macro algae, all the good phytoplankton that the fish need, (and) everything else," said Bill Louda, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University who’s been studying the algae.
Paul Rodriguez wins First Street League Stop
Paul Rodriguez, who some skate pundits call one of the most influential skaters of his generation, returned to the top of the podium on the most important of stages. The 31-year-old, who’s won four X Games gold medals, outlasted Luan Oliveira and Nyjah Huston in the best trick format to win the opening Street League skateboarding event in Munich, Germany. Rodriguez was in sixth place when he threw a Crooked Grind Nollie Heelflip that earned him a 9.3 with the judges and proved to be the deciding score in the contest.
Enduro Mountain Bike Race in Northern Ireland Sabotaged
In weird news out of Northern Ireland, an attempt to sabotage a mountain bike race was thankfully thwarted by race officials over the weekend at the First Tracks Enduro Cup competition. Logs with sharp branches were placed across the trail, and in the most dangerous trap, wool string was strung at head level across the track, which could have caused serious injury to mountain bikers traveling at speed. The obstacles were removed but officials were perplexed by the traps. Police weren’t sure if it was local kids or something more sinister at work where anti-mountain bike groups set traps for riders, which has brought an economic boom in adventure tourism to the area. "This was an unbelievably dangerous thing to do,” said Insp Houston, a local police officer. "Whoever is responsible could potentially have caused great injury to those participating in (the) event had the route not been checked.” Trails have been sabotaged in the US recently too, with the most recent case happening in Colorado’s Buffalo Creek trail system.