Famed surf writer Lewis Samuels' account of saving a man from the jaws of great white death has been one of our favs! But is it true? Maybe no!
The internet is such a wonderful thing, ain’t it though? Stories can be shared so freely, so openly, so instantly! Like the story from San Francisco’s Lewis Samuels about how he saved his friend from the jaws of great white death. We loved it so much that we posted it not once but twice here on BeachGrit. Let’s read some again for the third time!
“We were really far out to sea, literally, about a kilometre out to sea. It took 45 minutes to paddle out,” says Lew. “Out of the corner of my eye there was this explosion. And as I turned around, I saw the shark breeching out of the water with him in its mouth. Then they fell down in an explosion of whitewater, like when a whale breaches. Fifteen feet is as big as a car and they’re a lot fatter in person than you’d think they would be. And he was in the fish’s mouth and there was this fucking impact in the water and then there was nothing there, gone, like a fucking whirlpool of displaced whitewater where he’d been. There was no one else near him, just another friend way up the line, and so when the attack happened, what are you fucking going to do? You’re not going to leave your friend out there.”
But, says, Lew, “Let me be fucking honest. My first fucking response was to paddle away. But I thought about it, he was my friend, and whether or not he comes up he needs my help. And so I paddled back over, got there and he popped up out of the water and he pretty much paddled up onto my back, literally, trying to get out of the water. I said, ‘It’s alright, man! Hold on! I’ll paddle you in, man!”
And don’t it give you the chills? Brave Lewis staring his own mortality in the eye. Helping a fellow surfer. Being brave. Mortality. Brave.
The internet is such a wonderful thing, ain’t it though? Stories can be fact checked by others so freely, so openly, so instantly! And apparently Lewis Samuels’ account is not exactly what we in the biz would call “accurate.” Let’s read from someone who seems to know and from the victim himself!
Your Lewis Samuels shark story is a disappointing piece of fiction… especially disappointing because we don’t write, talk, show pictures or tell stories about that spot. It’s off limits. My request is you leave that coast and it’s spots out of your webpage… no matter who’s writing the story or what it’s about. Treat it like outer island Hawaii and just don’t do it.
And you may be thinking “oh who’s this idiot and what does he know about what happened.” Well I know because I was there and I’ve been there surfing it every time it’s good for almost 30 years, and I’ve known Royce since he moved up here 20+ years ago. This is a very special area and has amazingly stayed out of the surf media spotlight and we’d like to keep it that way. It doesn’t matter if your story is about sharks. By naming Royce anybody can figure out where this spot is and that’s publicity this area doesn’t need. Not for any reason. And especially not so some Bolinas clown like Samuels can make a buck. If he would have left Royce’s name out of the story that might have helped because as you know there is a national shark attack data base and anyone can look it up and using his name find the location of this spot. That’s just not OK.
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you have no idea about this area or how special it is so consider yourself informed now. And if you truly are a surfer and you care about surfing and the few remaining secrets left in the surfing world you’ll understand, respect this request, tell Lewis he’s on all our shit list for fabricating such a self serving story, and try in the future to treat Northern Cal. like the special place it is… a place that doesn’t want or need to be in anyone’s spotlight for any reason. Just keep writing about So-Cal and pro surfing and we’ll all be much better off.
Oh ya and just so you can believe I know what I’m talking about I’ll share Royce’s reaction to this story with you –