Tuesday, February 06, 2007



Sitting high upon the edge of the sheer cliff, I gazed down at the raging sea which gnawed and tore at its base in a tireless fury. Looking to the north I saw in the distance what I thought was a sea lion dodging chaos, its dark form intermittent against the glowing white, green and blue confusion.
As the sea calmed below me in anticipation of a renewed assault it appeared again and I realized my error: it was a shark...and a big one. It swam lazily south, a dark meandering missile patrolling the ragged shallows. As the sea resumed its churning efforts to reduce the headland the big fish dropped away into the depths.
These prehistoric predators likely strike fear into any that encounter them. Even sitting safely high and dry, my heart had raced upon recognizing its form. The fact that the shark was a mile from a wave I had surfed not an hour before did nothing to reduce the pounding in my chest.
Sharks have been hunted relentlessly through the years, with a vengeance that springs from fear. The reduction in their numbers promises to tip the ecosystem into imbalance, as does the drastic reduction or addition of anything within any closed system.
As a surfer I am cheered that there aren't as many 20 foot white sharks hunting in the Pacific as there were 20, 50 or 100 years ago, but as a resident of the planet I wonder what the long term negative impact will be of their ongoing extermination.
Local Report:

...paddled out in the fog by my lonesome, hoping the outside wasn't as messy as the inside. Luckily it was nice outside. But I got vibed off my peak by a big ass sea lion. He didn't bark, but kept hanging out with me, popping the head up, and I pulled out of a wave he was in. Probably about a one ton sizer. The lion and the fog made me pretty skittish. I kept thinking, over and over, 'today is the day' for the worst of meetings--laid prone, wouldn't even dangle the feet. Then the fog lifted, waves shaped up a bit more, and a few others paddled out. Only in Oregon winter time are you thankful for other surfers paddling out to your peak. The vibe of the other folks was good, and everyone was stoked at each other's rides. All and all, good waves and a good wave count day for me.



Gaz said...

Stop it Doc.............tell me that was your first thought after a bad dream?

Doc said...

Actually...it was the real deal...although it was about 10 years ago...and far from your break.

Anonymous said...

Wow! In all the years of surfing in Oregon and Northern Ca I have never seen a shark and I don't avoid the overly sharky spots as they are most often the best. While I may have never seen one, I have often thought about the unknown presence of such a predator in my vicinity while bobbing in the lineup (not while actually surfing though, a no no for me). I assume there have been times where encounters have occurred unknown to me off course.