Emily was stoked. We were headed to Trails, a picturesque and uncrowded surf break in San Onofre just south of the infamous break, Trestles. The grueling hike in-and-out makes it undesirable for most wave-riders, especially with such a great shortboard spot next door, but the waves are decent and great for longboarders who dislike crowds. I, however, was less psyched for the adventure. Trails was a renowned Great White Shark breeding ground, and we just so happened to be in peak breeding season.
I don’t necessarily think that I have a fear of sharks, but my anxiety about them increases with my relative location to water. I don’t mind the more crowded breaks because having other surfers around increases my odds of survival (plus Doheny isn’t known for shark sightings). Emily says that if I’m afraid of being eaten by a shark, I’m in the wrong sport. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a healthy respect for the ocean and its creatures. Though admittedly, I am a little cowardice.
I know surfers peacefully paddle alongside sharks all the time without even realizing it. They don’t like the taste of humans or neoprene wetsuits. Studies show they only attack humans if they mistake us for seals, if they are provoked, or if they have no other food options due to an injury. I rationally understand that the odds of even seeing a shark are slim (especially since they use the element of surprise when they hunt). However, if one does mistake you for dinner, you’re lucky to get away with all of your appendages. I might not have been so worried if there hadn’t been news stories about recent shark sightings only a few miles away. I really shouldn’t have watched Soul Surfer and reruns of Shark Week before driving down to California. Continue reading