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Pete Thomas
Solana Beach, California
Former Los Angeles Times outdoors reporter; now writes for this website, GrindTv.com and Yahoo homepage
Interests: Outdoor activities, reading, good food, beer and wine
Recent Activity
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Sunny Garcia image courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Maldives By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Sunny Garcia was once a dominant force in pro surfing. He won the world surfing title in 2000, and before retiring from full-time competitive surfing he claimed six Triple Crown of Surfing crowns, at his home breaks on Oahu’s North Shore. But Garcia's popularity stemmed mostly from the larger-than-life status he had achieved while on the tour. His tirades against judges became legendary. His temper often flared, and punches were occasionally thrown. Sunny Garcia, the beefy Hawaiian, was surfing’s bad boy, a powerful and colossal presence in and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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As driving rain and powerful winds began to sweep across Northern California on Thursday morning, a few hearty souls braved the elements and went surfing. On Lake Tahoe. The accompanying images were captured by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at its North Lake Tahoe Station. While the surf may have been up, thanks to 50-mph winds, ski resort operators were hoping the temperature would drop and rain would turn to snow. As of the time of this post, snow in the Lake Tahoe area was falling only above 7,000 feet. Related articles Tiger shark, diver enjoy special reunion at Tiger... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Mark van Coller recently spent several weeks False Bay, South Africa, keeping his camera trained on a seal decoy being towed behind a shark-diving boat. His stunning footage will give viewers a taste of what it’s like to be a real seal in this region (a horrifying thought), where great white sharks are known to savagely ambush their prey while launching free of the water. Van Coller told the Daily Mail, “We filmed just before and just after sunrise, as this is the most active time for the sharks to hunt. “During this time the seals and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Cody Townsend (circled in red) descending a cavernous chute in Alaska; video screen grab By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Cody Townsend was honored Saturday at the 2014 Powder Awards for skiing what was deemed the most challenging line of the past year: a ridiculously steep and narrow tunnel-like chute in the Alaskan wilderness. The accompanying footage is provided by MSP Films, which describes Townsend's chosen route as the “Most insane ski line EVER.” Most viewers, whether they ski or not, probably will agree that it requires a high skill level and a touch of craziness to even contemplate negotiating a chute so... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Chris Zelenka poses with 671-pound blue marlin; photo courtesy of The Charter Desk By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Rather than toss his empty Gatorade bottles into the trash or recycling bin, Jeff Rogers reuses them in a most imaginative way. The fishing captain from Hawaii’s Kona Coast fashions them into big-game fishing lures, dresses them up with vinyl strips, and has found this invention—he names each lure “Gator”—to outperform many of his pricey store-bought models. That became evident Tuesday when a client with Rogers, who skippers the Aloha Kai, landed a 671-pound blue marlin while fishing with one of the Gatorade bottle... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Youth pastor hauls shark onto the beach; photo via Jeff Heglund By Pete Thomas/GrindTv News of the capture–and eventual release–of a great white shark on a North Carolina beach is circulating on the Internet, generating anger among conservationists because of the way the shark was treated. The catch was made at the Outer Banks in October by Jeff Heglund, who used the moniker "Shark Man" when he wrote about his remarkable exploit last month on the Calvary Temple Youth Group blog. Heglund’s story began to circulate after it was posted Wednesday morning on Facebook by the South Florida Shark Club,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv "Love" and "affection" are terms not commonly used to describe encounters with large sharks, but they’re used repeatedly by Jim Abernethy to narrate his recent get-together with a large tiger shark known as Tarantino. The intimate reunion at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas was videotaped and the footage shows Tarantino swimming into the arms of Abernethy and seeming to crave his caresses much like an affectionate dog craves those of its owner after a prolonged absence. As Abernethy and the shark are swept down current, he returns to the camera and Tarantino follows, again swimming into his... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Humpback whale images are courtesy of ©Carla Mitroff By Pete Thomas/GrindTv The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was stuffed with excitement, as far as Southern California whale watchers were concerned. Two types of killer whales–one from the south, the other from the north–were spotted hunting sea lions in what were considered rare sightings. But the greatest spectacle seems to have involved a juvenile humpback whale that breached 30 times, at one point launching completely out of the water, close to shore off Laguna Beach. The sequence shows the large cetacean seeming to levitate briefly before re-entry. Mitroff described the day as "one... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Killer whales from Mexico are spotted off Oceanside; photos via ©Jonathan Hoover Earlier this month, beachgoers in Tijuana enjoyed a rare sighting of killer whales just beyond the surf. They were believed to be Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales, or orcas, which rarely travel that far north. Now, however, it seems as though the ETP killer whales are taking a liking to U.S. waters. Eight killer whales were spotted Sunday off San Diego, and at least that many were spotted Monday and Tuesday off Oceanside, near the pier. On Tuesday afternoon, killer whale researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger matched two of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv It’s an interesting dynamic when humpback whales begin to lunge feed on anchovies they’ve herded close to the surface, because as they’re charging upward, with their massive mouths agape, gulls and pelicans are diving on the same bait fish. Sometimes, for the much smaller birds, a teachable moment occurs: They’ve either mistimed their dives or failed to get out of the way while resting on the water. Rarely, however, is this event captured so perfectly by a photographer. The accompanying image was captured over the weekend by Kate Cummings, who runs Blue Ocean Whale Watch in Monterey,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Scientists exploring the depths of Monterey Bay off California have captured rare footage of a deep-sea anglerfish, and even managed to collect the live specimen for study. The encounter occurred 2,000 feet beneath the surface and the peculiar-looking fish was observed and captured via the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s remotely-operated vehicle, the ROV Doc Ricketts. Dr. Bruce Robison of MBARI described the anglerfish as being “among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes,” and said the accompanying video contains what's believed to be the first-ever footage of a live anglerfish in its deep-sea habitat. The... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A blizzard that has buried much of western New York in snow is keeping most residents hunkered down indoors. But two adventurous surfers saw in the stormy weather an opportunity to ride a few waves, with a guarantee of not having to deal with crowds. Meet Kevin and Christian, who live along the shore of Lake Erie and like document their adventures around and beyond, and apparently in, Lake Erie. Video screen grab As the mother of all snow storms swept over Buffalo and the surrounding area, Kevin and Christian took note of conditions—26 degrees, 35-mph wind... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Eva Shockey with 510-pound bear; photo via Facebook By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Eva Shockey knew she was placing herself in the crosshairs of anti-hunters before she posted a photo of herself posing with a 510-pound black bear she killed last week to her Facebook page. The famous co-host of “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures” told Field and Stream: “My dad warned me before I even got involved with the show that I was going to have to deal with anti-hunters. I'm a huge target for them because I'm a smiley young woman, and I'm different than who they're used to dealing with."... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Catching an opah off Southern California is rare, although a dozen or so catches were logged during an unusually warm summer-fall season that also produced other odd catches. Finally, however, somebody went overboard and photographed an opah underwater, and most people will agree that the images are spectacular. Ralph Pace, a conservation photographer and Scripps Institution of Oceanography graduate, was part of a research team conducting studies recently near San Clemente Island. The group had snagged an opah with experimental fishing gear, and Pace dove in with his camera before the opah was cut free. “We found... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Photo by Amily By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A shark lover’s dream house? A residence in Headington, England, is making news this week in part because it’s being advertised for rent, but mostly because of the 25-foot fiberglass shark protruding, tail-toward-the-sky, from its roof. This iconic landmark home could be yours for about $3,500 per month, or $800 per week. Headington shark Shark sculpture being installed by crane in 1986; photo via Headington, Oxford That’s more than what most homes are renting for in the east Oxford suburb. But this three-bedroom house is newly remodeled, and anyone who moves in will automatically... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Orca tosses dolphin with Coronado Islands in the distance; photos by ©Carlos Bravo By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Surfers and beachgoers in the Mexican Border city of Tijuana were witness to a rare spectacle Monday, involving killer whales that appeared just outside the surf zone and began to harass dolphins. Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales, which are found off Mexico and Central America, are not commonly seen off the northern Baja California coast–especially so close to shore. Carlos Bravo, a photographer who captured the images for use with this story, said lifeguards and locals said they “have never seen anything like it.”... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv It would seem that a 1-year-old elephant would have no chance after becoming surrounded by 14 hungry lions. But not all baby elephants are of the same mettle, perhaps, and at least one young pachyderm is deserving of its valiant new nickname: Hercules. That would be the elephant in the accompanying footage. According to the New York Post, it had strayed from its mother but was able to fend off the lions and ultimately reunite with its herd. The Post uploaded the video Tuesday and viewers might find parts of the footage difficult to watch, as lions... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Ryan Shapiro had just finished taking his SAT exam on Saturday and was hoping that a surf session at Fort Pierce Inlet, Florida, would be the perfect stress reliever. That plan backfired, however, when a four-foot shark attacked Shapiro in waist-deep water moments after he had begun to paddle out. “I just felt the shark completely ... just hit me so hard in the arm,” Shapiro, who is from Boca Raton, says in the accompanying WPTV video news report. “It was just so scary and so real. I was just screaming, and everyone got... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv The problem with most “surfing dog” or “skateboarding dog” videos is that they feature pooches merely riding on boards after being placed on them by their owners. Bamboo is different. He’s able to climb onto the skateboard by himself, propel himself using his hind legs, and even steer in a subtle manner. Probably not X Games material, but remarkable in his own right. Mike Bolaris, Bamboo’s owner and skate partner, uploaded the accompanying footage to YouTube in September, but it began to circulate on social media sites this week. Bolaris said via email that Bamboo is a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Mexico’s Guadalupe Island is seasonally home to dozens of adult great white sharks, which prey largely on seals and sea lions. But it seems that at least one baby sea lion has discovered a means by which to get out of harm’s way when a giant predator is in its midst: Swim into a metal cage and hang out with divers until the threat is gone. The accompanying footage shows the sea lion practicing this escape method as a large white shark is making a pass alongside some cages. Martin Graf, who runs Shark Diver and has... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Capturing selfies that feature animals is a popular trend, but this practice is not always regarded as safe–and this would certainly seem to be the case when the animal is a great white shark. Peter Verhoog, director of the Dutch Shark Society, successfully managed to capture a great white shark selfie while cage-diving at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. He did this by leaning far out of the cage and positioning his camera so it captured his face with the shark passing by. The event was videotaped and the accompanying images are screen grabs. Verhoog, 59, is referred to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A western gray wolf has been documented roaming the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, for the first time in more than 70 years. The wolf was photographed recently, but at the time of this post, as the news was breaking, the photograph had not been made public and the sighting had not been officially confirmed. However, the Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday announced the sighting in a press release. The wolf was wearing what seemed to be an inactive radio collar, and the animal is believed to have dispersed from a pack in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Common dolphins love to race alongside fast-moving boats, swim beneath their bows and surf in their wakes. They just can’t seem to get enough. But apparently, there's much more to this phenomenon than initially meets the eye: Common dolphins, it turns out, also like to make babies during this fun time. Jodi Frediani, a photographer based in Monterey, California, recently captured a series of unique images revealing the mammals sharing intimate relations while swimming beneath the Sea Wolf II, as it plowed across Monterey Bay. A fitting title for her photographs, perhaps, could be "Unsafe sex." “What... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv An 11-year-old Michigan hunter last week killed a rare albino deer while on a hunting trip with his father. This week, the story is generating a wide range of emotional feedback on Facebook. Gavin's father, Mick Dingman, told Livingston Daily that he and his son had spotted the white deer several times in recent years, and that other hunters had talked about trying to bag the animal. An admittedly nervous Gavin used a crossbow from 30 yards to harvest the 12-point trophy buck, and the news quickly spread in hunting circles. "He kind of feels like a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Last week we featured an amazing photo sequence captured by a passenger aboard a whale-watching boat in Monterey Bay, California, showing a humpback whale breaching within 80 feet of another whale-watching boat. Now we've obtained images captured from the boat closest to the whale, showing just how close the whale was to the 43-foot vessel, and its monumental splash. The images posted here were captured by Giancarlo Thomae, a naturalist for Sanctuary Cruises and owner of Kayak Whale Watching. (The images in the first story were captured by Jodi Frediani of Monterey Bay Whale Watch.) Thomae said... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at Pete Thomas Outdoors