When it comes to surfing post shark attack, are you Derek-Hynd-brave?
I hate to say it but… the yesterday’s shark attack was a long time coming. Over the last couple years there have been countless sightings in the San Clemente area, most recently with a Great White breaching on the Lowers cam.
I surfed Lowers last week Already the lineup was filled with chatter about bait balls, fins and the like. The fear was palpable, but without a gory incident to justify their emotions, people surfed in numbers that screamed of a non-issue.
Then yesterday happened. Details of the woman’s injuries (and survival) remain unclear. According to one of her rescuers, Thomas Williams, the woman’s injuries were indeed life-threatening.
“It was definitely to the point her hamstring was gone,” Williams told the OC Register. “If she didn’t receive immediate care, it was life-threatening. All of the back of her leg was kind of missing.”
Now, what is the proper immediate reaction to such an incident? I’m not talking about culling or conducting a series of studies. Specifically, what does a city do the day after a shark attack?
Let’s hear more from the OCR: On Sunday morning, a sign at the kiosk entering San Onofre surf beach warned of the ocean closure, and a ranger said the area from south of trails to T-street was closed for the day, though many surfers were still out in the water at nearby Lower Trestles, one of the area’s best surf spots, just north of where the attack occurred.
A brief glance at Surfline’s Lowers cam confirms this statement. At time of publication, 30+ people cold be seen frolicking in the chest-high walls — a typical crowd for an April afternoon.
Meanwhile at San’O, a longboard spot roughly equidistant from Church (in relation to Lowers), there are only a few surfers bobbing out at sea.
This raises a few questions:
- Are shortboarders braver than longboarders? Obviously yes in terms of surfing but in regards to sharks as well?
- What does closing five miles of beach even do, besides making it seem like you’re addressing the issue? Sharks go where they want when they want. Yesterday’s assailant is likely snacking on seals in Mexico as we speak. His best friends may still be in town, though.
- How many more attacks, if any, will it take for the International Conglomeration of Cullers to set their sights on SoCal?
While San Onofre has a major issue on its hands, today has proven one thing for sure — a singular shark attack won’t do much to deter Lowers locals.
But two attacks? That might a different story.
One incident can be written off as fluke; two is a pattern. And humans, above all but religion and astrology, use patterns to guide their lives. Let’s hope we don’t see another incident soon, or maybe yes if you prefer empty lineups to human survival.
Until then, see you at Lowers!