Man charged with assault with a dealing weapon (blade!), damage to personal property (board!)…
Wavepools ain’t real. Life, boys and girls…is raw.
Or at least it is when you surf around Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.
Last week, a confrontation between a pier fisherman and a surfer nearly turned deadly.
Take a read from Lumina News:
“A surfboard was all that got in between the knife of an angry fisherman and the surfer he believed had cut his line, as Wrightsville Beach police charged Jeffrey Brian Caithness, 35, with assault with a deadly weapon, damage to personal property and other offenses after a Friday, August 3 confrontation near the Crystal Pier.
Shortly after 3 p.m., Caithness began arguing with a surfer who was paddling north around Crystal Pier, who he said was too close to the fishing lines being cast from the end of the pier on the Wrightsville Beach south end. At one point, a fisherman threw a line that wrapped around the leash of the 30-year-old surfer, as the surfer and Caithness continued to exchange words, Wrightsville Beach police said.
Once the surfer paddled to shore, Caithness came down from the pier and continued arguing with the surfer before producing a knife and then twice stabbing the board the surfer was holding between his arm and his body. Wrightsville Beach Police Captain. J. Bishop said that while it appeared that Caithness intentionally stabbed the surfer’s board, it wasn’t clear if the fisherman was trying to stab the surfer.
Caithness was arrested and taken to the New Hanover County jail, where he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, damage to personal property, intoxicated and disruptive behavior, communicating threats and resisting an officer.
Police said that Caithness had non-extraditable warrants in Florida and Pennsylvania.”
The surfer remains anonymous, no doubt a bit shaken, so we turned to Wrightsville local and Surf City Surf Shop owner Mike Barden.
BeachGrit: Mike, is surfing next to the pier a go-to spot? Do you have to paddle out next to the pier?
Yes because of the sand trapping affect the pier has on our local break. Both of our piers create mini sand points to their North and South.
What do you think about what happened? Screwed up?
I have surfed next to the piers my whole live (my home break is the North side of Mercers pier, the pier on the opposite end of the beach from where this altercation happened), and have seen this issue arise more than one time. The regulations are in place to protect the pier goers as they are the ones who spend the dollars to cast the line and it is on our towns laws and ordinance that surfing is not allowed inside a posted amount of space adjacent to the piers, for which tickets are written daily at both locations. From secondhand information, there were words between the surfer because he was inside the fishing zone close enough to tangle with the fisherman, hence the altercation.
Is this typical of Wrightsville beach? Do fishermen lose their minds regularly?
I have seen plenty of heated arguments. The issues in my opinion arise when surfers toe the line during the high-volume fishing months pushing closer and closer to the better end of the sandbank forming just off of the pilings. The bottom line is, the law states you can’t surf next to the pier. Signs are posted and most surfers are respectful staying clear. Do I think this kid should have been attacked, of course not, but the law is not in the surfers’ favor.
Seen it before?
Too many to recant taking into consideration I have been surfing next to a pier for the last 34 years. With that said, I know my boundaries more than the average surfer and have never personally had a run in.
Still, would you say that navigating the fishing lines a hassle?
The best practice is to stay clear as I’m a fisherman as well and know the sting of the hook.
This would not have happened at Lemoore.